The Whole Journey from the 13th Day to the 361st Day to Yamaloka | Narottam Das

Radhika Raman Das
By Radhika Raman Das 1k Views Add a Comment 14 Min Read

So in this article we continue from the previous article called “What to do from the cremation day to the 13th days ceremony”. In this article we shall be discussing what happens when the soul leaves the residence after the 12/13th day puja and his/her 348 day journey to Yamaloka.

Once the presiding Pundit had eaten his share of the Prashad and leaves after the puja on the 12/13th day, the Yamadutas (the {dutas} messengers of Lord Yamaraj) then escort the soul which is called the Pindaja Sharira (a body made out of Pindas), in the southerly direction to Yamaloka (the Planet of the Lord of Death). Below is the account from the Garuda Purana of what happens for the next 348 days journey through’ the 16 cities the soul has to pass through’.

Garuda Purana – Preta Khanda – Chapter 5

81-82 “Lord Vishnu said, O Garuda, I shall now tell you how people go to Yama’s abode. On the 13th day, after Shravana – Karma (Sapindi rites), he is captured by Yama’s attendants. He is led in the way like the caught-up monkey.”

83 “The body attains a form like air. Born out of Pinda it assumes a shape different from the one born from the womb of the mother.”

84-85 “88,000 yojanas {1 yojana = 8 miles (13 km)} long is the distance between the mortals and Yama’s worlds. 200.5 He covers daily. So in 348 days he reaches Yama’s city, being dragged by Yama’s servants”

91 “Which is heated by a burning sun, is infested by dogs and flies, which echoes with the howling sounds of jackals, he is dragged by Yama’s messengers.”

93 “Thus as his body is eaten, torn asunder, pierced, he suffers immensely.” 94 “There are 16 cities along this way. Now hear about them.”

95 “Yamya, Sauripura, Nagendra-bhavana, Gandharva, Shailaagama, Kraunca, Kroorapura, Vicitra-bhavana, Bahvapada, Duhkhada, Naanaa-kran-da-pura, Sutapta-bhavana, Raudra, Payovarshana, Shitaadhya and Bahubheeti – these are the 16 cities not seen by you.

96 “Firstly he goes to Yama saying, ‘O son, o son’ he cries painfully remembering his own misdeeds.”

97 “He reaches that city on the 18th day. There is Pushpabhadra river and a good looking tree.”

98 “He wants to take rest there but Yama’s servants do not bide him to do so.”

99 “Here on earth, whatever is given by his sons, the pindas, and so forth due to affection or kindness he eats the same and then he goes to Sauripura. As he goes he cries being beaten with clubs.”

101 “King Jangama rules in that city who can assume any shape at will”

102 Whatever is offered to him in the three fortnights together with the oblation of water, he eats and drinks. He is then stuck with clubs.”

103 “Neither daily gifts were given nor pastures made, nor the sacred books such as the Vedas sand Dharma sastras offered in charity nor the Puranas heard. Now, O body, you suffer for your acts of omission”

104 “Having eaten the rice balls offered by the relatives in the second month, he moves further.”

105-106 “ As he goes onward he laments being struck with the sword. “A fool that I am, I have lost everything to others. I obtained manhood by virtue of accumulated merit”. Then he reaches Gandhamaadana in the third month.”

107-108 “There he eats the rice-ball. Then he goes further. As he goes further he laments being beaten by Yama’s emissary. O body, suffer for whatever you have done.”

109-110 “He reaches Shailaagama in the 4th month. There stones rain upon him continuously. Having eaten the 4th monthly oblation he moves. As he moves, he is struck again with the stones by the messengers.”

112-114 “In the 5th month, he goes to Kroorapura. Having eaten the rice balls and drunk water by his relatives he goes to Kroorapura. As he goes, he laments, being struck with spears. “O mother, O father, O brother, O sons, O wife. I was advised by you. I have reached this state.” As he laments thus Yama’s servants say to him.

115 “Where are your mother, you father, wife, sons, friends, o fool. Now suffer the results of your evil activities. All sinners go by this ancients path”

117 ”In less than six months he reaches Kraunca and having eaten the rice-ball and drunk water he rests there for a while and then leaves for Vicitra nagara.”

118 “As he goes, he laments being struck off with spear heads by Yama’s emissaries.”

120 “Vicitranagara is ruled by King Vicitra. Being satiated with the six monthly rice-ball he moves further”

122 He laments “Do my brother, son, parents or any one exist who may take out a sinner like me falling in the ocean of distress”

123 “As he goes, there in the way is Vaitarani, it is 100 yojanas long, full of pus and blood.”

124-125 “There are the boatmen. They say, “give me the liberal fee”(i.e. if the person has performed the Go-daan prayer – the gift of a cow to a Brahmin), if he has gifted the Vaitarani cow, he can get into the boat and cross the river. But if he has not gifted the cow, he is brushed aside by the boatmen and has to swim across the river.”

126 “While swimming in the river he is bitten by birds with sharp beaks, like crows, cranes, ants and so forth. The gift of the cow at the time of death serves for the relief of the deceased.”

127-128 “The gift of the cow destroys all sins and affords all facilities. The deceased goes to Bahvaapada in the 7th month. After partaking in the 7th monthly offering made by the relatives he reaches Bahvaapada, where he laments being struck with the iron club.”


129 “Neither you have offered gifts nor gave oblations nor performed penance nor undertook bath nor rendered a good act. So O Foolish creature, now suffer for whatever act you have done.”

130-132 “In the 8th month, after eating the rice ball and drunk water, he goes to Naanaakranda-pura. Being struck with pebbles there, he says, ”Where are those sweet dishes by my wife.” In the 9th month he eats his rice-ball in Naanaa-krana-pura.

133-135 “Then he laments in many ways. In the 10th month he reaches Sutapta-bhavana. Thus moving, he laments in the way being struck with ploughs. “Where the massaging of my feet by my sons and where the dragging of my legs by the thunder like hands of messengers. He then eats the rice ball given in the 10th month together with the offering of water oblation.

Lord Yamaraja (the Lord of Death)

136 “At the end of the 11th month he goes to Raudra-pura. As he goes to Raudra-pura he laments being struck in the back.”

138 “There he eats the rice ball given by his relatives and then he goes to the city called Payo- Varshana.”

140 “At the end of the year he eats the annual Shraddha offered by his relatives.

143 “Having partaken of the annual shraddha there, he goes to Bahubhooti. He has assumed by this time a body composed of the essence of his merit accruing from the gift of riceballs.

145-149 “He then reaches the city of Yama nearby. It is forty yojanas in measurement. There are 14 doorkeepers called Shravanas.

There very soon among Death and Time, he sees Lord Yamaraja with red eyes, looking fierce and dark like a heap of collyrium, with fierce jaws and frowning fiercely, chosen as their lord by many ugly, fierce-faced hundreds of diseases, possessing as iron-rod in his hand and also a noose. The creature goes either to good or bad state as directed by him.

150-154 “A sinner goes to a bad state. Those who have given umbrella, shoes and shelter see Lord Yama as gentle-faced with earrings and with a shining chest. In the shraddha of the 11th and 12th month many brahmanas should be feasted because then the deceased is very hungry. He, who does not perform the needful while alive, suffers afterwards.”

Chitragupta of the left and Yamaraja seated on the throne

It is noted that throughout the souls journey to Yamaloka, the soul is sustained by offerings made on earth by the family of the deceased in the form of Pindas and Tarpana (libations of water). So one will ask how do we know that the deceased will receive these offerings. Lord Vishnu explains to Lord Garuda in the Garuda Purana chapter 18 V.27 “Lord Varuna receives those gifts and hands them to Suryadeva; from Suryadeva the deceased person obtains these offerings in the form of energy.”

At the end of the 348 day journey to Yamaloka the soul enters the court of Yamaraja (see the picture above). Here Yamaraja consults with Chitragupta (see picture below) the recorder of all ones deeds. So Chitragupta reads out from the great register of worldly deeds called the Agra Sandhaanee aka The Akashic Records, the wrongful and the good actions the soul had performed in his/her lifetime. The information obtained through the services of the Shravanas and Shravanees. They watch what you do in your time on Earth.

Shree Yamaraja decides by which path and through which door the soul will enter his domain, East, West, North or South.

The good people enter by the East Gate. Those who during the rainy seasons give gifts or provide shelter to the homeless, those who serve their mothers and fathers and teachers, those who read religious books and the Puranas, worshipers of Lord Shiva and of the deities, pure minded people enter through the East Gate.

The West Gate (Pashchim Marga) is for the worshipers of Lord Vishnu, Those who read scriptures, make japas of Gayatri, who practice non-violence, non-stealing, agni hotra or havan ceremony, who recite the Vedas, who practice Brahmacharya, ascetics, renunciates, who have the attitude of non-attachment (vairagya) and who have spiritual knowledge, enter through the West Gate

The South Gate is for the sinners who suffer the worst tortures in hell of the Vaitarani river that holds boiling hot blood and flesh.

Lord Yamaraja and the Yamadutas

Lord Yamaraja then metes (Dispenses) out justice by condemning those who committed terrible sins to a hellish existence of pain, torture and suffering. Those who were virtuous and performed only noble and righteous deeds are raised to the status of Pitrs and sent to the heavenly planets to reap the awards of their good actions.

After both categories of souls have experienced sufficient pleasure or punishment appropriate to their individual karma, they must then return to Earth to once again repeat the cycle of birth and death until the ultimate goal of self-awareness or self-realization is achieved which is called KRISHNA PREMA – the Love of Sri Krishna.

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Raman (Radhika Raman Das) joined ISKCON in 2003 and got initiated by HH Bhakti Caitanya Swami Maharaj in 2011. As the Editor in Chief at "The Vaisnava - Online Magazine", he helps readers around the world hone in their Spiritual Curiosity, express their unique realizations as aspiring Vaisnava writers and enthusiasts, as well as to spread the digital seed of Srila Prabhupada's mission to spread Krishna Consciousness all around the globe.
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