Yama or Yamarāja, also called Imra, is a god of death, the south direction and the underworld, belonging to an early stratum of Rigvedic Hindu deities… Yama is the lokapala (“Guardian of the Directions”) of the south and the son of Brahma. Three hymns (10, 14, and 35) in the 10th book of the Rig Veda are addressed to him. He has two dogs with four legs and wide nostrils guarding the road to his abode (cf. hellhound). They are said to wander about among people as his messengers.[better source needed] He wields a leash with which he seizes the lives of people who are about to die…
Joanna Jurewicz says:
This place is undecaying (ákšita) and immortal (ámåta), the sun or its shining (svàr) is there together with everlasting light (jyótir ájasram), there are shining spaces there (lokÁ jyótišmantaÿ) and it is high up in the sky (triòaké tridivé diváÿ, 9.113.7, 9). The place thus described evokes the idea of the sun understood not as the heavenly body but as the embodiment of the extra-terrestrial happiness gained in Somic exaltation. At the same time, this is the place where rules Yama, who is here called King Vaivasvata (rÁjā vaivasvatáÿ, 9.113.8). This very name makes us think about the sun because vivásvat is explained as the sun in the RV9. We may presume that King Yama, who was the first to die and to show the way to all mortals, went back to his father’s place, i.e. to the sun.
Considering the above, originally it seems Yama represented death in a neutral way, similar to how the stork in the West delivers babies to parents, Yama takes away dying people to another place, possibly to a positive place.
In MN 130, Yama is also the god of death. When beings die they are led before him to be judged according to their deeds. Birth, old age, illness, punishment for crime and death, are regarded as his messengers, sent among men as a warning to abstain from ill and do good. Yama questions beings brought before him as to whether they have seen these messengers and profited by them. If the answer is in the negative, the nirayapālas (wardens of hell) take them away to the different hells.
This seems somewhat consistent with the Vedic & Brahmanistic tradition, although not totally with a positive outcome.
Dhp44 to 48 refers to Yama, Mara & the Destroyer (Antaka), where it states:
44. Who shall overcome this earth, this realm of Yama and this sphere of men and gods? Who shall bring to perfection the well-taught path of wisdom as an expert garland-maker would his floral design?
45. A striver-on-the path shall overcome this earth, this realm of Yama and this sphere of men and gods. The striver-on-the-path shall bring to perfection the well-taught path of wisdom, as an expert garland-maker would his floral design.
46. Realizing that this body is like froth, penetrating its mirage-like nature, and plucking out Mara’s flower-tipped arrows of sensuality, go beyond sight of the King of Death! (maccurājassa)
47. As a mighty flood sweeps away the sleeping village, so death carries away the person of distracted mind who only plucks the flowers (of pleasure).
48. The Destroyer brings under his sway the person of distracted mind who, insatiate in sense desires, only plucks the flowers (of pleasure).
My questions are:
Did Mara originate in Buddhism?
Are Yama & Mara depicted as the same in Dhp 44?
If not, how to they differ?