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I have read a story in blog of Yama dying and entering the afterlife where he becomes the lord of the dead and Yami mourning over him.

The gods try to pacify her but she says "Yama died today!"

So to help her cope with her grief the gods create the Night (for previously there was only day in the beginning). Another variation of this story says the Gods created the Night and made Yami its deity.

Does anybody know if this story has a scriptural basis?

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The story is described in Kanda 1, Prapathaka 5, Anuvaka 12 of the Maitrayani Samhita of the Yajur Veda

yamo vā amriyata te devā yamyā yamam apābruvaṃs tāṃ yad apṛchant sābravīd adyāmṛteti te 'bruvan na vā iyam imam itthaṃ mṛṣyate rātrīṃ sṛjāmahā ity ahar vāva tarhy āsīn na rātris te devā rātrim asṛjanta tataḥ śvastanam abhavat

Yama and Yami ("the twin") are the first man and woman. Yama died. The gods sought to console Yami for the death of Yama. When they asked her she said, "To-day he died." They said: "In this way she will never forget him. Let us create night!" Day only at that time existed, not night. The gods created night. Then morrow came into being. Then she forgot him. Hence, they say, "Days and nights make men forget sorrow."

  • Thanks! Is the Maitrayani Samhita available online to read? – Arya Sep 12 '17 at 17:00
  • @Arya You can read the Maitrayani Samhita in Sanskrit here. Unfortunately it's never been translated into English. Otherwise it would have been added to my list by now :-) – Keshav Srinivasan Sep 12 '17 at 19:45
  • Is there any allegory to explain this otherwise illogical story? Or is it just for the last line moral? – Surya Sep 13 '17 at 2:16
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    @Surya I don't think it's an allegory at all. It makes perfect sense to me. The day was continuing forever, so Yami didn't stop mourning the death of Yama, and the gods divided time into day and night so she and future people could move on from their loss. – Keshav Srinivasan Sep 13 '17 at 2:56
  • @KeshavSrinivasan Yes but unfortunately due to something called rotation of the earth I don't think its possible for night to be created. – Surya Sep 13 '17 at 15:39

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