Kama: God of Beauty in Indian Mythology
MarkusAO Dec 28th, 2016 93 Never
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- # PURANIC ENCYCLOPAEDIA: KAMA
- ## KAMA I. God of beauty in Indian mythology.
- 1) General. A Prajapati named Dharma was born from the right breast of Brahma. Dharma was very handsome. Three sons, Sama, Kama and Harsa who were exceedingly handsome, were born to him. Of them, Kama became the god of beauty. His wife was Rati. Sama became the husband of Prapti. Harsa had Nanda for his wife. (M.B. Adi Parva, Chapter 66, Verses 31-33) .
- In Kalika Purana we see another story about Kama's birth. Brahma created ten Prajapatis. After that, the woman Sandhya was created. At the very moment of her birth, Brahma and the Prajapatis were irresistibly fascinated by her charm and they sprang up from their seats. All their thoughts converged on the same object. At this time a handsome youth emerged from Brahma's mind with a floral bow in his hands. Immediately after his birth, he asked Brahma "Karis darpayami" (Whom should I make proud?). Brahma replied-Let the minds of living beings be the aim of your arrows". He suggested Rati the daughter of Daksa, to be Kama's wife. Since he stirred the mind of Brahma, he got the name "MANMATHA", and since he was extremely attractive in appearance he came to be called "KAMA". (For further details, see under "RATI."
- 2) How Kamadeva got the name "KANDARPA". As soon as Kama was born, he went to Brahma and asked him "Karis darpayami ?" (Whom should I mak~: proud ?). Therefore he got the name "KANDARPA". (Kathasaritsagara) .
- 3) Brahma cursed Kama. Once Brahma was meditating upon Para Brahman for the purpose of creation. He felt carnal thoughts rising in his mind. At once a girl was born from his mind. She appeared before him and did obeisance to him. This girl was Sarasvati. Brahma fell in love with her: He declared that she should stay in the tongues of all living beings, and particularly at the tip of the tongues of all scholars. After that he made Sarasvati his wife. Soon he felt repentant for his weakness of mind. His anger blazed at Kama who was the cause of all this. He cursed that Kama would be burnt to ashes in the fire from Siva's third eye. After that Brahma gave his carnal desire to the great sage Atri who transferred it to his wife Anasuya. It hardened itself within her and took the form of Candra, who was thus born to her. (Brahmanda Purana, Chapter 43)
- 4) Kama was burnt up in fire. Long ago an Asura named Taraka, who was proud of his invincible might, was causing much havoc and terror in the whole world. Even the gods were afraid of him because hehad received a loon that diva's son alone was capable of killing him. It was the time when Parvati, the daughter of Himavan, was performing a penance praying that Paramesvara should become her husband. Taking advantage of this opportunity, Indra sent Kama to rouse the passion of love in Siva's mind. Kama reached Siva's seat and tried to stir up his passions. Siva who was enraged at this, opened his third eye blazing with fire. Kama was burnt to ashes in that fire. The place where Kama's body (Anga) fell, came to be called "Angarajya". Since he lost his body, Kamadeva got another name "Ananga". (Valmiki Ramayana. Bala Kanda, Chapter 23).
- 5) Kama's Next Birth. When Siva burnt up Kama, the latter's wife Rati prayed to Siva to restore her husband to life. Siva was pleased and said that Rati would be born in the world and Kama would take birth as her son." (Kathasaritsagara).
- According to Siva's blessing Rati was born in the world under the name of Mayavati. She became the kitchenmaid of an Asura named Sambara. At that time Sri Krsna approached Siva with a request that he should be blessed with a son. Siva blessed him saying that Kama who was burnt up in the fire of his eye would be born as the son of Rukmini, Sri Krsna's wife. Accordingly, Rukmini, conceived and a handsome child was born to her.
- Sambara, who employed Mayavati as his kitchen-maid had received a boon from Siva. A condition laid down in it was that Sambara would die not long after Kamadeva's birth in the world. So Sambara was making careful enquiries to ascertain whether Kama was born anywhere in the world. It was during this period that Sambara received the news that Kama had been reborn as Sri Krsna's son. At once he went secretly to Rukmini's house and stole the little baby and threw it into the sea. A sea-fish swallowed the child and a fisherman who caught it presented it to Sambara. When Sambara cut it open, he saw a lovely baby inside the fish. He entrusted the child to Mayavati to be brought up.
- At this stage, the sage Narada happened to come there and he explained to Mayavati in secret, that the baby was Kamadeva and she was Rati. From that time, she brought up the child with great affection and tenderness. As years passed and Kama grew up into a youth, Mayavati began to make amorous advances towards him. Looking upon her with regard due to a mother, Kama was displeased with these advances. Then she told him what Narada had disclosed to her about their relations in the past life. She advised him to kill Sambara and to leave the place for Dvaraka as soon as possible.
- As advised by her, Kama killed Sambara and both he and Mayavati went to Dvaraka in a Vimana and paid their respects to their parents there. In the presence of a large number of sages, Kama was christened "Pradyumna". Aniruddha, the husband of Usa, was the son of Pradyumna. Besides Aniruddha, Pradyumna had a daughter Trsa.
-  From Kathasaritsagara we find that Udayana and Vasavadatta were the rebirths of Kama and Rati.
- 6) Other names of Kama. The following names have been used for Kama in the Puranas: -- Madana, Manmatha, Mara, Pradyumna, Minaketana, Kandarpa, Darpaka, Ananga, Kama, Pancasara, Sambarari, Manasija, Kusumesu, Ananyaja, Puspadhanva, Ratipati, Makaradhvaja, Atmabhu, Iraja, Isma, Kinkira, Abhirupa, Grdhukalakeli, Karijana, Ramana, Dipaka, Madhudipa, Samantaka, Muhira, Rupastra, Vama, Puspaketana, Makaraketu, Ratinayaka, Ragavrnta, Samsaraguru, Gadayitnu, Mapatya, Mayi.
- 7) Kama's weapons. Kama has a bow made of sugar-cane, its string is made up of beetles, and the tips of his arrows are flowers. His vehicle is the parrot and the sign on his banner is fish [Makara]. The five flowers of his arrows are: -- Aravinda, Asoka, Cuta, Navamalika, Nilotpala. Besides these, he has five more arrows which are: Unmadana, Tapana, Sosana, Stambhana and Sammohana. (Amara Kosa).
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