Brahma first created all that was found in the universe – mobile and immobile. He, however, found that once created, he had no control over these objects.
Wrath filled him as he realized that none of his creation could be destroyed. In anger, he let go a terrible fire which raged over the universe, destroying everything that came its way.
The fire blazed for eons, until Lord Siva became concerned. He appeared before Brahma and prayed to him to cool his anger.
After much persuasion Brahma regained his composure. He then created from his own body, a maiden who was dark, with red eyes and red tongue, wearing diverse ornaments.
Brahma called her Death and ordered her to go to the universe and slay all the creatures that he had created. But Death, being a lady, became sad at having to deprive creatures of their lives, for she thought that she could cause much sorrow by her action.
Her prayer to Brahma, not to be given this task, went unheard. She therefore performed a severe penance which lasted many billion years. At last Brahma appeared before her and asked what she wanted.
Death again requested that she should be excused from causing the end of all creatures. Brahma told her, “I am pleased with your penance. But the work I have given you has to be done. I understand your feelings. But you need not experience any sorrow as I ordain that creatures would bring their own death.
You will be assisted by Yama. Disease, fights and natural calamities would cause creatures to die by themselves. It would be realized that whatever is born, has to die. There could be no escape from death.”
This assuaged Death’s feelings and she has set about her task faithfully ever since.