The Punishment of Yamaraja for Sinful Person
Dhirasanta Das Goswami: Yamaraja has instructed his servants the Yamadutas, “Swan-like persons are exalted persons who have no taste for material enjoyment and who drink the honey of the Lord’s lotus feet. My dear servants, bring before me for punishment only persons who are averse to the taste of that honey, who do not associate with the swan-like devotees and who are attached to family life and worldly enjoyments.
Bring to me those persons who do not use their tongues to chant the Holy Name and qualities of Krishna, whose hearts do not remember the lotus feet of Krishna, and whose heads do not bow down even once before the Lord.”
At the moment of death, if the person is impious and quite sinful, the messengers of Yamaraja who are fierce, horrible looking persons with twisted features, copper red flaming hairs that stand on end and frightening to behold, appear at the deathbed of the person and forcibly drag him from his body with ropes. In the scriptures one may find detailed descriptions – it is said that the hounds of hell come ahead several days before to sniff out those very sinful persons about to die. Such experiences frighten the person so much that he dies of fright. Here are some accounts:
Michael who fell from a crane and hit his head was in the hospital and almost died there that night in intensive care. He explained afterwards, “I was attacked by 5 horrible-looking monsters that came in through the window. They said they had come to get me.” He even mentioned that one appeared to have a rope. He was so frightened by their appearance that he threw a chair at the window and four nurses had to restrain him.
In another encounter a devotee was looking after her father during the last moments of his life. The last day before he died, he said there were big dogs in the room and ugly persons floating outside the window. Hours before he left this world he became terrified over something he was experiencing whilst lying in his hospital bed. He was saying, “I beg you, let me loose, please let me loose.” He was “thrashing” around like a madman. I came and asked him, “What’s happening?” He said, “O Sue, I tried to get away, but they got me.” He cried out again and again, “O for God’s sake let me rest, just for ten minutes let me rest. Please, I beg you.” I said to my dad, “Do you want me to hold your hand and chant?” “Yes, yes.” he said. I held him tight for the next three hours while chanting and at one point I asked him, “Have they still got you?” “No, they have let me go.” I continued chanting until he breathed his last.
In a hospital it is called “Terminal Restlessness” and the nurses are advised to pump the patient with morphine and ignore the cries and ramblings.
On the road to Yamaraja’s abode the sinful person is taken over long stretches of hot, dry sands, insulted in various ways by other horrible creatures and bitten by dogs. At the end of this terrible journey he is taken before Yamaraja who is in charge of punishing the sinful. He is then forced to accept a position of suffering according to his sins in one of the 27 hellish regions.
However, most persons are not quite that sinful and therefore they may expect a more normal departure from their body.
At the time of death, the spirit soul departs from the material gross body. At that time the soul covered by the subtle body of mind, intelligence and ego, leaves the body. The subtle body always travels with the soul wherever he goes in this material world. Therefore the living entity is in a continuity of this material existence throughout his different lifetimes. Death may come from a variety of causes, but when it actually happens the first thing a person experiences is total blackness. All is dark, but this darkness lasts only for a few moments. The Supersoul, situated right next to the soul, illuminates a hole which appears to the soul to be a light at the end of the tunnel.
There are 118 different passageways by which one might depart from the body. The Supersoul illuminates only one of these passageways according to the karma of the soul. He selects the passageway just according to the previous activities of the living entity and as soon as it is illuminated, the soul naturally wants to move towards the light. As soon as he is out of the body, he feels relieved of the burden of the material frame and starts to move, naturally drawn towards his next form. At that time he will experience the world from the point of view of the subtle body and will see things much clearer than they are seen through the present body. Just try to imagine how much more beautiful the world must seem when seen through spiritual eyes!
He then enters into the womb of a new mother as it is being impregnated by the new father and awaits the time until the new body develops itself sufficiently. When the embryo is about 7 months of age it is sufficiently developed to support consciousness and the baby awakens in his new body and immediately moves, sometimes kicking his mother from within in a vain attempt to get out of the horrible entanglement he has found himself in.