Kamadeva – God of Love

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In Rig Veda Kamadeva is the Hindu deity of love, desire and attraction. The word Kama means longing or desire in sensual or sexual love and Dev means divine or heavenly. The name Kama is also used for Agni. In Vishnu Purana and Bhagavata Purana,

Kamadeva is the name of Vishnu, Krishna and Shiva. Kamadeva is also the name of author of Prayaschita padyata, a Sanskrit work.

Kamdeva is usually regarded as the son of Krishna and Rukmini, the forms of Vishnu and Lakshmi. But in some places He is also said to be the son of Lord Brahma. He loves to wander here and there with beautiful nymphs especially in spring season losing his shafts.

It is said by a legend that Goddess Sati married Lord Shiva against her father, Daksha’s wishes. Once Daksha arranged a grand fire sacrifice or Yagna, but did not invite Sati and her husband. Despite of this Sati participated in the event against the wishes of her husband. But when she reached there she had to face the insult of her husband and got infuriated. Feeling disobedient Sati entered in the fire. When the news of sudden death of Sati came to the knowledge of Lord Shiva, he became extremely furious and could not control His anger and so He started a deep meditation.

The entire world got misbalanced in his absence and so Sati took rebirth as Goddess Parvati in order to win the heart of Lord Shiva and to awake Him from his trance. But all her trials went in vain and so she took the help of Kamadeva who agreed for the well being of the world despite of all risks. Kamadeva awakened Lord Shiva with His love arrow. After being disturbed by Kamadeva, Lord Shiva opened His third eye and punished him with the gaze of His eye that turned Kamadeva into ashes.

After the death of Kamadeva the whole world became barren and infertile and love seemed to have disappeared from the earth. Later on Kamadeva took rebirth as the son of Krishna and Rukmini.

He has been depicted as a handsome, winged young man with green skin. He holds a bow made of sugarcane with strings of honeybee and arrows decorated with five kinds of fragrant flowers. These five fragrant flowers include Asoka tree flowers, white and blue lotus flowers, jasmine plant and Mango tree flowers. His vehicle is a parrot and his companions are a cuckoo, humming bees, the gentle breeze and the season of spring. The flowers of Asoka tree symbolizes fertility, the lotus represents purity in life and the blue lily peace and tranquillity. The mango flowers represent fulfilment and prosperity and the jasmine increases the sensitivity of seduction.

Lord Kamadeva is worshipped along with his wife Rati especially during Holi to commemorate the legend Kamadeva. Rati and his friend Vasanta that is spring help him to select his shafts to be used on the current victim. He is worshipped to attain purification of mind and desire.

The god of Kamadeva beside his partner Rati is incorporated in the pantheon of Vedic-Brahmanical deities such as Shiva and Parvati. In Hindu customs for the wedding ritual itself, the bride’s feet are often decorated with pictures of Suka, the parrot vahana of Kamadeva. The holy rituals addressed to him propose a means of purification and re-entry into the society. Loyalty to Kamadeva keeps longing within the framework of the holy tradition. Kamadeva also appears in other stories and becomes the object of positive devotional rituals for those seeking health, physical beauty, husbands, wives, and sons. In one story Kamadeva himself succumbs to desire, and must then adore his lover in order to be free from this passion and its curse.

As per some customs worshiping Radha Krishna, Radha could not be compare in the universe for beauty, and her strength continually defeats the god of love, Kamadeva. When Krishna played his flute, as explained Bhagavata Pura?a,the women from vraj came to Krishna but not because of the control of kamadeva but due to love. It is a delusion that kama means love, kama literally means trishNa i.e. desire or thirst. On that day all the gopis and krishna played ‘Rasa’ and the 5 chapters which explains this rasa-leela is known as rasa-panchadhyayi and it is called as kama-vijayi-granth.

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