(Last Updated on : 18/01/2010)
The hymns on Death in Rig Veda reveal a world, in which death is regarded with great sadness but without terror, and life on earth is preciously clung to, but heaven is regarded as a gentle place, rich in friends and ritual nourishment, a world of light and renewal. The hymns on Death are composed of several parts like hymns dedicated to the Yama, the funeral fire, the hymns dedicated to the process of burial and a lot more.
The most important hymn of the hymns dedicated to Death is the hymn on Lord Yama
, king of the dead, the first mortal to have reached the other world and the path-maker for all who came after him. The hymns also invoke Yama to come to the funeral in order that he may lead the dead man to heaven. It also invokes famous ancestors already in the world beyond. The hymn also addresses the two dogs of Yama. The two dogs are considered dangerous and benevolent at the same time. They are considered dangerous because they kill a man and at the same they are considered benevolent because they lead a man to heaven.
The hymns say that a person who has departed from the universe is accompanied by Yama towards heaven. It is Yama who takes mankind to the place where all his ancestors had moved after death and to the place where all living beings have to go ultimately after life has ended on this earth.
The Rig Vedic hymns on Death have also addressed the dead man. It has asked the dead man to move forward without fear and go to the place to where all his ancestors had gone after death and at that very place he will be able to see Yama and Lord Varuna
the two kings rejoicing with the sacrificial drink Soma. It has been said that on meeting with the two kings a man has the scope to drink the rewards of all his good deeds in the universe and gradually unite with the Fathers in the highest heaven.
The dead man has been asked that death is the time when one has the opportunity to give away all imperfections and move towards the right path. Lord Yama on the other hand has been asked that he should leave the soul of the dead man to be guarded by his two dogs and towards the end of the hymns Yama has been prayed in order to grant happiness to the departing soul.