The Son of Death


Based on a mythological Tale
Retold by Vasu Gangapalli

Once upon a time, long, long ago, Yama, the lord of death fell in love with a woman from the planet earth. As you know, love is blind and it was the same case with Lord of death too. As he failed to realize the true nature of this woman with whom he was deeply in love with. Only after their marriage, did he come to know that she was not only a nagging lady, but cunning as well. She always found some silly reason or the other to pick a quarrel with him, whom everyone else feared.

Soon, they both had a son whom they named Yama Kumar. That seemed to be the only silver lining in other wise the gloominess that seemed to have descended in Lord Yama’s marital life. His wife did not teach Yama kumar anything as he started to grow up.

One night, Yama went to take the soul of an eight year old kid who was of his son’s age. Also he had quarrelled with his wife that evening before he left for his job. He reached the boy’s home with a disturbed mind. Seeing the boy sleeping peacefully beside his parents, brought tears to his eyes. He gently woke up the soul of the little boy.

‘Did you come to take me?’ The little boy asked Lord Yama, rubbing his eyes, while his body lay still beside his mother.

‘Yes…’ muttered Yama.

‘Can I take my parents along with me?’ The soul of the kid asked Yama, ‘I think they love me very much and it would break their heart when they realize that I’m gone forever!’

‘I’m afraid they can’t come along with us as their time isn’t up yet!’ Lord Yama replied sadly.

‘Okay,’ The kid said, ‘would I go to heaven at least?’

‘Well, that depends on your deeds, my little boy,’ Yama said.

Yama made the boy to sit on top of his bull and they both went to his kingdom which was above the planet earth.

‘My lord, there seems to be a small mistake,’ Chitragupth said, going through his ledger book, ‘You have brought eight year old Sajjan Kumar instead of bringing his neighbour Sajjan Kumar who is eight years old.’

‘Oh, my goodness!’ Lord Yama said, ‘I better drop him back before his parents wake up!’

For the first time, Lord Yama felt happy and silly at the same time.

‘Can I have a tour of heaven before I go back to my parents, please?’ The kid asked Yama.

‘Alright, I would seek Lord Indra’s permission and you can go there.’ Lord Yama replied.

So, the kid got a wonderful tour of heaven after Lord Yama got Indra’s permission. Later, Yama took him back to his home. He gently tucked him on the bed beside his mother. He bent down to kiss him on his forehead, before taking his leave.

Back home, Lord Yama’s quarrels continued with his nagging wife. Finally, he got feed up with her and went back to his kingdom.

‘I’m really glad that you are back, my lord,’ Chitragupth said, pleased to see him back, ‘by the way, where is your family?’

‘They are better off on planet earth,’ Lord Yama said, sitting down on his royal throne, ‘now, I realized how difficult it is to play a husband’s role when you have a wife who doesn’t understand you, forget getting love and affection!’

‘I agree, my lord,’ Chitragupth said, nodding his head in agreement. He too had a glimpse of her true nature before Yama married her. He had even warned Yama then, but he hadn’t listened to him then.

‘I should have listened to you then, Chitragupth,’ Lord Yama said remembering it, ‘B ut then only after burning our fingers do we realize how hot the fire is!’

‘Don’t you worry, my lord,’ Chitragupth said, ‘Look at the positive side, you have a son who could bring you back your lost joy.’

‘Yes, I’m hoping against the hope!’ Yama said, with a sigh.

Years went by; soon, Yama Kumar grew up into a young handsome man. However, he was not able to earn his living as he hadn’t learnt anything worthwhile when he grew up.

‘Chitragupth, I’m really worried about my son,’ Yama said.

‘I’ve an idea, my lord,’ Chitragupth said, ‘Why don’t you tell him learn medicine and he could become a physician.’

‘That’s a very good idea, Chitragupth!’ Yama said, very pleased.

So, that night, Lord Yama met his son on planet Earth and told him what was on his mind. Yama Kumar listened to his father, learnt medicine and became a physician.

‘I’m glad that you took my advice and have become a physician, my son,’ Yama said, ‘But bear one thing in your mind…’

‘What is it, father?’ Yama Kumar asked him.

‘Evey time you see me near a patient, you will know that the patient is going to die. You must refuse to treat that patient.’ Yama said.

‘Alright, father,’ Yama Kumar replied.

So, Yama Kumar started treating only the patients who were going to survive. He became very famous.

One day, the princess of that land fell ill. Many doctors from far and wide came to the kingdom to treat her, but they all failed. When Yama Kumar went to see her, he found his father, Lord Yama was there and realized that the princess was going to die. He pleaded and said;

‘Father, please don’t take the princess away, she is so young and beautiful.’

‘Son, I’ll have to fulfil my duty, but for your sake, I will take her after three days.’ Lord Yama said.

The princess slowly started recovering from her sickness in the presence of Yama Kumar. The king and queen were pleased to see their only daughter recover from her illness and she started to like Yama Kumar. He told her everything that had happened so far.

‘So your father is going to come back after three days to take me, right?’ The princess asked.

‘Yes, but I have a plan to save you from him.’ Yama Kumar told her.

‘Really? Do you like me so much?’ She asked.

‘Yes, very much!’ Yama Kumar replied.

‘But no one had defied him so far, right?’ She asked.

‘Well, don’t forget that I’m his son!’ Yama Kumar replied, smiling at her.

When Yama returned after three days to take her, Yama Kumar shouted at the top of his voice;

‘Mother, father is here, you can meet him now!’

Yama did not want to meet his wife, and on hearing this he was so scared that he ran away as fast as he could forgetting the very reason why he had come there!

The princess burst into peals of laughter witnessing what had just happened in front of her eyes.

So, Yama Kumar was able to save the princess’s life. The king was so pleased with him knowing what had happened that he gave his only daughter in marriage to him and they both lived happily after.

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