Kamadeva

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Kamadeva
God of Love, Attraction and Sexuality
Kamadeva1.jpg
Madan on his parrot
Devanagari कामदेव
Sanskrit transliteration Kāmadeva
Affiliation Pradyumna, Vasudeva
Abode Ketumala-varsa
Mantra काम गायत्री (kāma-gāyatrī)[1]
Weapon Sugarcane Bow and Floral Arrow (pushpa dhanu and pushpa shar)
Mount Parrot
Personal Information
Consort Rati, Priti
Parents Brahma
Siblings Daksha, Dharma, Agni
Greek equivalent Eros
Roman equivalent Cupid

Kāmadeva (Sanskrit in Devanagari: कामदेव), Kama or Manmatha is the Hindu god of human love[2] or desire, often portrayed along with his female counterpart Rati. Some narratives also reference Pradyumna, Krishna's son, as a reincarnation of Kamadeva.[2]

Etymology and other names[edit]

The name Kama-deva (IAST kāma-deva) can be translated as 'god of love'. Deva means heavenly or divine. Kama (IAST kāma) means "desire" or "longing", especially as in sensual or sexual love. The name is used in Rig Veda (RV 9, 113. 11).[3] Kamadeva is a name of Vishnu in Vishnu Purana and Bhagavata Purana (SB 5.18.15), and of Krishna as well as Shiva. Kama is also a name used for Agni (Atharva Veda 6.36.3).[citation needed]

Other names used in reference to Kamadeva are Manmatha/Manmathudu (one who agitates), Atanu (one without a body), Ragavrinta (stalk of passion), Ananga (incorporeal), Kandarpa (inflamer even of a god), Madana(intoxicating),[3][4] "Manmatha" मन्मथ (churner of hearts), Manasija {he who is born of mind}, a contraction of the Sanskrit phrase Sah Manasah jāta), Ratikānta (lord of Rati), Pushpavān, Pushpadhanva, Kusumashara कुसुमशर (one with arrow of flowers), Abhipura (also a name for both Shiva and Vishnu[5]), and simply Kāma (desire, longing).

Iconography[edit]

Kāmadeva is represented as a young, handsome man with green skin who wields a bow and arrows. His bow is made of sugarcane with a string of honeybees, and his arrows are decorated with five kinds of fragrant flowers.[6][7] The five flowers are Ashoka tree flowers, white and blue lotus flowers, Mallika plant (Jasmine) and Mango tree flowers. A terracotta murti of Kamadeva of great antiquity is housed in the Mathura Museum, UP, India.[8]

Some of the attributes of Kamadeva are: his companions are a cuckoo, a parrot, humming bees, the season of spring, and the gentle breeze. All these are symbols of spring season, when his festival is celebrated as Holi, Holika or Vasanta.[citation needed]

Textual Sources[edit]

Kamadeva shooting his love-arrow at Shiva

Images and stories about Hindu god Kamadeva are traced to the verses of the Rig Veda and Atharva Veda, although he is better known from the stories of the Puranas.[6]

According to Shiva Purana, Kamadeva is a son or a creation of Brahma. In other sources such as the Skanda Purana, Kamadeva is a brother of Prasuti; they are both the children of Shatarupa created by Brahma. Later interpretations also consider him the son of Vishnu.[9] According to Matsya Purana, Visnu-Krishna and Kamadeva have a historical relationship.[7]

Kamadeva is also mentioned in the 12th-century Javanese poem Smaradahana, a rendering of the myth of Kamadeva's burning by Shiva and fall from heaven to earth. Kama and his consort Rati are referenced as Kamajaya and Kamarati in Kakawin poetry and later Wayang narratives.[citation needed]

Mythology[edit]

Kamadeva is wed to Ratī, the daughter of Daksha, created from his sweat. Rati is a minor character in many traditional dramas involving Kamadeva, and in some ways represents an attribute.[10] The goddess Vasanta (spring), who also accompanies Kamadeva, emerges from a sigh of frustration.[11] Kama often takes part in Puranic battles with his troops of soldiers.[12]

Birth[edit]

The story of the birth of Kamadeva has several variants in different Puranas.[13] In the version of Mahabharata,[14] a Prajapati named Dharma is born from the right breast of Brahma and begets three sons, Sama, Kama and Harsa.[15] In some versions Kamadeva arises from the mind of the creator god, Brahma,[16] yet in others he is the son of Sri. Kamadeva is sometimes portrayed as being at the service of Indra:[17] one of his names is "obedient to Indra". Kamadeva's consort Rati, whose very essence is desire, carries a discus and a lotus, and her arms are compared with lotus-stalks.[18]

Incineration by Shiva[edit]

Madan-Bhasma (Shiva Turns Kama to Ashes)

One of the principal myths regarding Kama is that of his incineration by Shiva, the Madana-bhasma (Kama Dahana). It occurs in its most developed form in the Matsya Purana (verses 227-255)[19] but is also repeated with variants in the Shaiva Purana and other Puranas.[20]

In the narrative, Indra and the gods are suffering at the hands of the demon Tarakasura who cannot be defeated except by Shiva's son. Brahma advises that Parvati should seduce Shiva, since their offspring would be able to defeat Taraka. Indra assigns Kamadeva to break Shiva's meditation. To create a congenial atmosphere, Kamadeva (Madana) creates an untimely spring (akāla-vasanta). He evades Shiva's guard, Nandin, by taking the form of the fragrant southern breeze, and enters Shiva's abode.

Kama with his two wives Rati and Priti.

After he awakens Shiva with a flower arrow, Shiva, furious, opens his third eye, which incinerates Madana instantaneously and he is turned into ash. However Shiva observes Parvati and asks her how he can help her. She enjoins him to resuscitate Madana, and Shiva agrees to let Madana live but in a disembodied form; hence Kamadeva is also called Ananga (an- = without; anga = body, "bodiless"), or Atanu (a- = without; tanu = body). The spirit of love embodied by Kama is now disseminated across the cosmos: afflicting humanity with the creation of lust. Lord Shiva agrees with Mother Parvati's proposal and their union is consummated. Their son Kartikeya goes on to defeat Taraka.[21]

Reincarnation as Krishna's Son[edit]

The myth of Kamadeva's incineration is referenced in the Matsya Purana to reveal a relationship between Krishna and Kamadeva.[7] In the narrative, Kama is reincarnated in the womb of Krishna's wife Rukmini as Pradyumna, after being burned to ashes by Shiva's anger.

Beliefs and worship[edit]

A Hindu God (November 1853, X, p.127)[22]

The deity of Kamadeva along with his consort Rati is included in the pantheon of Vedic-Brahmanical deities such as Shiva and Parvati.[23] In Hindu traditions for the marriage ceremony itself, the bride's feet are often painted with pictures of Suka, the parrot vahana of Kamadeva.[24]

The religious rituals addressed to him offer a means of purification and re-entry into the community. Devotion to Kamadeva keeps desire within the framework of the religious tradition.[25] Kamadeva appears in many stories and becomes the object of devotional rituals for those seeking health, physical beauty, husbands, wives, and sons. In one story[where?] Kamadeva himself succumbs to desire, and must then worship his lover in order to be released from this passion and its curse.

Rituals and festivals[edit]

Kama (left) with Rati on a temple wall of Chennakesava Temple, Belur.

Holi is a Spring New Year Festival in southern India and many western regions. It is sometimes called Madana-Mahotsava in Sanskrit, or Kama-Mahotsava. Some[who?] have suggested that the replacement of Kamadeva by Krishna had its germ in the early medieval period. Initially the spring festival Holi was being held in reverence to celestial Vedic figure of Kamadeva, however it is presently dedicated to Krishna.[26] This festival is mentioned in Jaiminis early writings such as Purvamimamsa-sutra, dated c.400 BC.[27]

The Ashoka tree is often planted near temples. The tree is said to be a symbol of love and is dedicated to Kamadeva.[28]

In Gaudiya Vaishnavism[edit]

In the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition, Krishna is identified as the original Kamadeva in Vrindavana. The demigod Kamadeva also incarnates as Krishna's son Pradyumna after being burned down by Shiva. Since he was begotten by Krishna himself, his qualities were similar to those of Krishna, such as his colour, appearance and attributes.[29] This Pradyumna is not considered identical with Vishnu's vyuha-manifestation called Pradyumna, but is an individual soul (jiva-tattva) who, owing to his celestial powers, becomes an emanation of Vishnu's prowess.

The Kamadeva that was incinerated is believed to be a celestial demigod capable of inducing lusty desires. He is distinguished from the spiritual Kamadeva.[30] Here Krishna is the source of Kamadeva's inciting power, the ever-fresh transcendental god of love of Vrindavana, the origin of all forms of Kamadeva, yet above mundane love, who is worshiped with the Kama-Gayatri and Kama-Bija mantras.[30][31][32]

When Kamadeva is referenced as smara in Bhāgavata Purāṇa (book 10) in the context of the supramundane love between Krishna and the gopis (cowherd maidens), he is not the deva who incites lusty feelings.[30] The word smara rather refers to Krishna himself, who through the medium of his flute increases his influence on the devoted gopis. The symptoms of this smarodayam (lit. "arousal of desire") experienced by the gopis have been described in a commentary (by Vishvanatha Cakravarti) as follows:[33] "First comes attraction expressed through the eyes, then intense attachment in the mind, then determination, loss of sleep, becoming emaciated, uninterested in external things, shamelessness, madness, becoming stunned, and death. These are the ten stages of Cupid’s effects."[30] The beauty of Krishna's consort, Radha, is without equal in the universe, and her power constantly defeats the god of love, Kamadeva.[34]

Temples[edit]

While it is believed that there are no temples to Kamadeva, and no murtis (statues) of Kamadeva are sold for worship on the market,[35] yet there is an ancient temple of Madan Kamdev in Baihata Chariali, Kamrup district in Assam. Madan is the brother of Kamdeva. The ruins of Madan Kamdev are scattered widely in a secluded place, covering 500 meters.

Some other temples dedicated or related to this deva:

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Kāṇe, Pāṇḍuraṅga Vāmana; Institute, Bhandarkar Oriental Research (1958). History of Dharmaśāstra. 
  2. ^ a b Sanford, A.W. (2005). "Shifting the Center: Yak&sdotu; as on the Margins of Contemporary Practice". Journal of the American Academy of Religion. 73 (1): 89–110. doi:10.1093/jaarel/lfi005. 
  3. ^ a b Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary
  4. ^ Edgerton, F. (1912). "A Hindu Book of Tales: The Vikramacarita". American Journal of Philology. 33 (3): 249–284. doi:10.2307/288995. JSTOR 288995. 
  5. ^ Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam, ed. India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 61. 
  6. ^ a b "A study of Kamadeva in Indian story literature". Archived from the original on January 14, 2009. Retrieved 2008-07-06. 
  7. ^ a b c Sanford, A.W. (2002). "Painting words, tasting sound: visions of Krishna in Paramanand's sixteenth-century devotional poetry". Journal of the American Academy of Religion. 70 (1): 55–81. doi:10.1093/jaar/70.1.55. 
  8. ^ History of Indian Theatre By M. L. Varadpande. p.188. Published 1991, Abhinav Publications, ISBN 81-7017-278-0.
  9. ^ The Book of Hindu Imagery: Gods, Manifestations and Their Meaning By Eva Rudy Jansen p. 93
  10. ^ Benton 2006, p. 32
  11. ^ Benton 2006, p. 33
  12. ^ Benton 2006, p. 34
  13. ^ Benton 2006, p. 23
  14. ^ Adi Parva, Chapter 66, Verses 31-33
  15. ^ Vettam Mani (1975). Puranic Encyclopaedia. Motilal Banarsidass,. ISBN 978-8120805972. 
  16. ^ Benton 2006, p. 36
  17. ^ Benton 2006, p. 44
  18. ^ Benton 2006, p. 31
  19. ^ Daniel Ingalls (1968). Sanskrit poetry, from Vidyākara's "Treasury". Harvard University Press,. ISBN 0-674-78865-6. , p.58
  20. ^ Klaus Klostermaier, (2000) Hinduism: A Short History. Oxford: One World Publications.
  21. ^ Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty, (1975) Hindu Myths: A Sourcebook Translated from the Sanskrit. London: Penguin Books, p.157-159 [1]
  22. ^ "A Hindoo God". The Wesleyan Juvenile Offering: A Miscellany of Missionary Information for Young Persons. Wesleyan Missionary Society. X: 127. November 1853. Retrieved 29 February 2016. 
  23. ^ Hooja, R. (2004). "Icons, artefacts and interpretations of the past: early Hinduism in Rajasthan" (PDF). World Archaeology. 36 (3): 360–377. doi:10.1080/0043824042000282795. Retrieved 2008-07-06. 
  24. ^ Arnold, A.J. (1996). Monsters, Tricksters, and Sacred Cows: Animal Tales and American Identities. University of Virginia Press. p. 186. 
  25. ^ Benton 2006, p. 84
  26. ^ Journal of the Oriental Institute, p. [2], Oriental Institute (Vadodara, India)1919)
  27. ^ Christian Roy (2004). Traditional Festivals: A Multicultural Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO. p. 193. ISBN 1-57607-089-1. 
  28. ^ Ray, N.; Datta, P.C. (1981). "Pharmacognostic Study of the Bark of Saraca indica" (PDF). Pharmaceutical Biology. 19 (2): 97–102. doi:10.3109/13880208109070585. Retrieved 2008-07-13. 
  29. ^ Prabhupada, A.C.B.S. (1972). Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. p. Ch. 55: Pradyumna Born to Kṛṣṇa and Rukmiṇī. 
  30. ^ a b c d Swami Sivarama (1998). Venu-gita. Budapest, Bhaktivedanta Kulturális és Tudo. p. Ch. 2: "The gopis assemble together". ISBN 963-03-7649-0. 
  31. ^ vṛndāvane aprākṛta navīna madana, kāma-gāyatrī kāma-bīje yāṅra upāsana (Caitanya Caritamrita, 2.8.138)
  32. ^ Miller, B.S.; Siegel, Lee (1980). "Sacred and Profane Dimensions of Love in Indian Traditions as Exemplified in the Gitagovinda of Jayadeva". Journal of Asian Studies. 39 (3): 622–623. doi:10.2307/2054724. JSTOR 2054724. 
  33. ^ Bhagavata Purana 10.21.3 Tika, “caksu-ragah prathamam cittasangas tata ‘tha sankalpah nidra-cchedas tanuta visaya-nivrittis trapanasah / unmado muriccha mrtir ity etah smara-dasa dasaiva syuh.”
  34. ^ Beck, Guy L. (Ed.) (2005). Alternative Krishnas: Regional and Vernacular Variations on a Hindu Deity. SUNY Press. p. 65. ISBN 0-7914-6415-6. Radha is without equal in the universe for beauty, and her power constantly defeats the god of love, Kamadeva. 
  35. ^ Benton, C. (2005).  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  36. ^ "Braj Mandala Parikrama in Mathura". www.agraindia.org.uk. Retrieved 2008-07-13. 
  37. ^ http://www.columbuslost.com/2015/03/temple-for-cupid-thadikombu-dindigul.html
  38. ^ Atherton, C.P. (1995). "The Harsat-Mata Temple at Abaneri: Levels of Meaning". Artibus Asiae. 55 (3/4): 201–236. doi:10.2307/3249750. JSTOR 3249750. K. Deva suggests it is Kamadeva in the EITA 

References[edit]

  • Benton, Catherine (2006). God of desire: tales of Kamadeva in Sanskrit story literature. Albany, N.Y: State University of New York Press. p. 236. ISBN 0-7914-6565-9.