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Yamapuri: The Hindu hell (or more accurately purgatory)

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CollectionsArthur Llewellyn Basham
Title: Yamapuri: The Hindu hell (or more accurately purgatory)
Author(s): Basham, Arthur Llewellyn
Photographer: Arthur Llewellyn Basham
Keywords: Laksmi, other goddesses, Ganesa, Visvakarman, Surya, Wishing Cow, Hell, etc;posters;photograph
Description: In the circular central picture sits Yama or Dharmaraja, the god of the dead. At his feet is Citragupta, his scribe and record keeper. He refers in his book of records to the good and bad deeds of the souls brought before his master. The deeds are balanced one against the other in the scales, and Yama decrees the fate of the soul accordingly. Below is the river Vaitarani, the Hindu Styx. The sources differ in this. According to some it is a river of putrid filth which only those souls sent to the lowest purgatory have to cross. As depicted here it is a fast-flowing river which all souls have to cross before coming to Yamapuri. Those who have given a cow to a brahman or have otherwise served the priestly class are ferried across by clinging to the tails of cows. The others are tormented by snakes and water monsters while swimming across. Above the central picture is Visnuloka, Visnu's heaven, where a very righteous soul has been sent by Yama, and is enjoying the bliss of the High God's presence. Above and at the sides are pictures of the agonies of sinners, tormented by demonic creatures in punishment of specific sins, which are mentioned in Bengali and Hindi captions. These are: (top line, left to right) lying, overloading vehicles so as to harm the draught-animals, killing a child, killing a husband. (second line, left to right) theft, suicide, 'the well of Naraka' (the deepest pit of the infernal regions, selfishness or pride). (Third line, left) betraying confidences or disloyalty. (right) killing an embryo. (fourth line, left) killing birds (right) adultery
(bottom line, left) killing a woman
(right) abandoning one's family.
Other Identifiers: ANUA 682-3969


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