यमुना, yamunā

Yamuna is a sacred river in Hinduism, second only to the Ganges in holiness, and is its main tributary. Like Ganges and Sarasvati, the river is worshiped as the goddess of the same name. In Vedas, Yamuna is known as Yami, in later literature as Kalindi. It is believed that bathing in Yamuna or drinking its water washes away all sins.

In Puranic literature, Yamuna is described as the daughter of the God Surya and his consort, Sanjna (Saranya), the Goddess of the clouds, and the twin sister of the Death God Yama. Her other brothers are Vaivasvata Manu (the predecessor of humanity), the Ashvina twins (Gods of medicine), and the planet Shani. Yamuna was Surya's favorite child.

The legend explains the origin of the name Yamuna. To endure her husband's dazzling radiance, Sanjna had to cover her eyes in his presence. Offended by this, Surya called his son Yama (samyama – restraint). Sanjna did her best to keep her eyes open, but she still couldn't help blinking. Then Surya named his daughter Yamuna.

Also with the name "Yamuna" is associated the meaning of the word "yama" – a twin, a pair (on the one hand, the twin sister of Yama, on the other – the river flows parallel to the Ganges, being her pair).

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Yamuna is usually depicted as a beautiful girl with a jug, her vahana is a turtle, a symbol of creation. Yami and her twin brother Yama are a pair of deities-creators. While Yama is the god of death, Yami is the goddess of life.

Legend of the origin of the night

RigVeda says that the twins Yama and Yami loved each other very much. They lived carefree on Earth, where the day lasted forever, spending time at their pleasure. Once Yami returned home and found Yama under a tree motionless. Not wanting to disturb his sleep, Yami waited a long time for him to wake up, but Yama did not wake up. In the end, Yami tried to wake her brother up, but in vain. Yami cried so hard that she risked flooding the entire Earth with her tears. The gods came to calm her down, but all she could utter was: "Yama died today ...".

Cataclysms spread on Earth from Yami's suffering, and gradually Gods realized that her suffering would not dry out, because Yami did not move in time – she was always in “today”. Then the Gods and Goddesses together created the sunset. A soothing coolness set in, and Yami's sobs subsided. When the Sun rose again the next morning, Yami whispered, "Yama died ... yesterday."

Over time, the pain of loss subsided. The Earth was saved to always give hope for a better tomorrow, and Yami now flows across the Earth as the divine river Yamuna.

Yamuna and Krishna in Puranas

ЯМУНА.jpgIn sources related to Krishna, the Goddess is mainly referred to as Kalindi. In the myth of the birth of Krishna, Yamuna parted at the request of Krishna's father Vasudeva to allow him to safely carry the baby to the other side.

Krishna spent most of the days of his youth in Vrindavan on the banks of Yamuna, playing the flute with his friend Radha and the cowherd boys of the gopis.

Once, during the youth of Krishna, the waters of Yamuna became poisonous due to the huge five-headed snake Kalya that settled in it, and all living things in the area died. In the fight against the snake, Krishna performed his dance on its five heads, each step of which was fatal for the snake. Kalya begged for mercy, and Krishna asked the snake to live in the deepest place of the ocean, where it would not harm anyone. Kalya agreed and crawled away, the rays of the Sun warmed the water, and it became crystal clear again.

Bhagavata Purana describes the meeting of an adult Krishna with Kalindi while hunting in the woods together with Arjuna. At the request of Krishna, Arjuna asked the girl who she was, to which she replied that she was the daughter of God of Sun Kalindi and that she was waiting here in austerity for her named Vishnu. As an avatar of Vishnu, Krishna marries Kalindi, who later gave him ten sons.

Interesting Facts

  • The river is also called Yumna, Yamna, Jamuna, Jamna.
  • Yamuna has a length of 1376 km, begins at the Yamunotri glacier, flows through the territory of the states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and at Allahabad (Prayaga) flows into the Ganges.
  • The confluence of Yamuna, Ganges, and the mythical Sarasvati River – Triveni Sangam – is the greatest pilgrimage site.
  • In yogic texts, Yamuna is associated with the Pingala channel, Ganges with Ida, and Sarasvati with Sushumna. The confluence of these three channels (three rivers) in the subtle body is also called Triveni.
  • Now Yamuna is one of the most polluted rivers in the world, especially in the suburbs of New Delhi.
  • Of the famous cities, except for the capital of India, Agra, Mathura, Vrindavan are located on the banks of Yamuna. In Mathura and Vrindavan they celebrate Yamuna-jayanti – the day the river descends to Earth (the 6th lunar day of the light half of the month of Chaitra).