40 Faces of Death: A Grim Reaper Gallery


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Yama the God of Death
Godong/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Here we see the Buddhist Wheel of Samsara. The details of the wheel (which you'll find here) illustrate the pleasures, torments, hungers and passions that rule our lives and shackle us to the endless cycle of death and rebirth.

What monster is this which holds the entire wheel in its claws? Why that is Yama, the cosmic of beast of impermanence forever feasting on everything we attempt to keep for ourselves.

Death personifications are ancient, you see, and you'll find them throughout the world. To understand the forces that rule our lives, we pour them into animal and human forms.


About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.