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Yāmā

1. Yāmā.– A class of Devā, mentioned in lists of devā between those of Tāvatiṃsa and those of Tusita (e.g., Vin.i.12, A.i.228; iii.287; M.ii.194; iii.100, etc.). Two hundred years of human life are but one day to the Yāma devā, and two thousand Years, composed of such days, form their life period (A.i.213; iv.253). Sirimā, sister of Jīvaka, was born after death in the Yāma world and became the wife of Suyāma, king of Yāmabhavana. From there she visited the Buddha with five hundred others. SNA i.244 f; see also VvA.246 for a lay disciple (upāsaka) born in the Yāma world. In the Hatthipāla Jātaka (J.iv.475) mention is made of four Yāma-devā who were reborn as men.

The meaning of Yāmā is explained in the Commentaries (e.g., VibhA.519; PSA.441) as “those that have attained divine bliss” (dibbaṃ sukhaṃ yātā payātā sampattā ti Yāmā). Other explanations are “misery freed” or “governing gods.” Compendium, p.138, n.2.

2. Yāmā.– In some contexts, Yāmā seems to have been derived from Yama, king of the underworld — e.g. in such expressions as “Yāmato yāva Akaniṭṭhaṃ” (From the underworld to the highest heaven). KhA.166.

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