What is your deepest desire? To be a millionaire, to buy a sports car, to find the true love or to being aware of your death in advance, just so, you could finish your impending wishes?
You may or may not get rest but you cannot deny that you definitely get a heads up before your death arrives.
The God of Death, Lord Yama, also known as Lokpala (Guardian of all directions) of the South. According to the Hindu legends, he was the first mortal to have died, but by the virtue of his precedence, Lord Shiva crowned him as the ruler of the departed.
It is believed at the time of death, Yamadoots arrives in to take the soul from ‘Prithvi Lok’ to the gates of hell and heaven where the soul is reprimanded for his Karmas in his life in front of Lord Yama.
Lord Yama then decides the fate of the soul, whether to send it to hell or heaven. As mentioned in ancient scriptures, Lord Yama on of his devout devotee, Amrita, to send a letter of intimation before death.
Story of Yamraj and Amrita
Once lived a man named Amrita, in a village close to the banks of Yamuna, where he religiously performed austerities and atonement towards Lord Yama as he feared death. His main purpose was to befriend Lord Yama, so to keep death at a distance.
Impressed by Amrita, Lord Yama decided to grant him his vision, which was unlikely of him, as his glimpse is only granted to those who are in the arms if death.
He said, “I know by the aid of my divine powers that you seek to befriend me; your wish has come true. My presence is only available to those upon whose death my messengers or I take their souls to my domain.”
“Those that are born must die and those who die will be born again, this is the eternal law. No one can escape death, yet I grant you my vision while you are still living.”
To this Amrita obliged and replied,”As a token of friendship, I ask this one favour: if death is inevitable, then since I am to die, at least let me know beforehand when my end is due so that I will be able to make proper provisions for my family.”
With the promise to inform beforehand of his death, Lord Yama also asked something in return “As soon as you receive the message, you must set about making preparations,” and saying this he vanished.
Many years passed and Amrita with confidence over the promise of Lord Yama gave up all austerities and started living a life committing sins. Soon, all his hair turned grey.
Soon some years later he lost his teeth but pleased and convinced with the fact that his death is nowhere near, he gave up religiously praying to Lords.
For more years passed and his eyesight became dim, almost making him blind, yet he was astounded to receive a letter from Yamaraj.
With old age catching up with his body, he could hardly stand and was bedridden and paralysed, yet he thanked his friend for sending no letter announcing his death.
Then one-day Yamdoots arrived while he was sleeping and was surprised. Startled he searched house his to find a letter of death from Lord Yama.
He was angry over this betrayal, but as fate would have it, he was accosted to the Yamalok, in front of Lord Yama. Seeing Lord Yama sitting in front of him and smiling, he said, “You have betrayed me, you did not keep your word, you failed to send any warning letter and now you come in your fearful form to take me away. Are you not ashamed to thus deceive a friend?”
Lord Yama politely replied, “Your desire for pleasure made you blind, how then could you not see the letters which I had sent to you? Not one, but four letters were sent; you heeded them not.”
Aghast by this information, Amrita said, “Four letters? But not one reached me! They may have gone astray in the post.”
To this Lord Yamaraj said, “Despite your cleverness, you were foolish enough to believe I would take up a pen and write to you. With your body as Paper, bodily changes as my Pen and time as my Messenger, O deluded mortal, I sent you four letters.”
“Years ago, your hair turned grey that was my first letter, when your teeth began to fall out that was my 2nd message, my third letter was sent when your eyesight failed, and the fourth when you became paralysed.”