Indian Mythology (by ApamNapat)

Kama - The God of Love


Kama is the God of Love and Lust. He is also referred to as Manamatha. He is the most handsome among both men and Gods. He is equivalent to the Greek/Roman Cupid. He uses a bow of sugarcane, and shoots flower tipped arrows at humans to make them fall in love. He is married to Rati, one of the daugters of Daksha.

There is some confusion as to his origin. Vishnu Purana says that he is the son of Dharma (Yama), and Shradha, a daughter of Daksha. However, a more popular report, based on the Sh.P. makes him the wish born son of Brahma.

Once, when Shiva had been saddened by the death of his wife Sati and decided to renounce the world, the Devas were afraid for the fate of the universe. They knew that unless Shiva become happy again, the world was doomed. They wanted him to fall in love again and beget children. They tasked Kama, to see that this happened, for it was his province.

Kama went to the desolate forest where Shiva was deep in meditation. He was accompanied by spring, and in an instant the entire forest was transformed into a beautiful garden. An indescribably intoxicating fragnance filled the air. For Shiva to fall in love, a suitable woman was required. Luckily Uma, the daughter of Himavan, the king of mountains had vowed to marry Shiva. She was an incarnation of Parvati and was thus a suitable wife for Shiva. She used to spend all the time ministering to his needs. Shiva was barely aware of her presense, such had been his sorrow on his beloved wife's death.

Now the time was ripe. Kama fitted one of his best flower-arrows in his bow of sugarcane and let the arrow fly, aimed at the heart of Lord Shiva. The arrow struck its target and Shiva opened his eyes. He instantly fell in love with Uma. However, his anger rose immediately, when he realized that Kama had presumed to interfere in his affairs. He opened his third-eye, the seed of destruction and gazed with blazing anger at Kama.

Such was the potent power of Shiva's gaze that Kama was instantly reduced to ashes. Seeing her husband's death, Rati fell at the feet of the Lord and beseeched him to spare her husband. At last, moved by her desparate pleas, Shiva relented and brought Kama back to life. However, there was a caveat: Kama would be formless from now on. Only Rati, his wife could see his handsome form, he would be invisible to all others. You can read this story here.

Last Modified At: Fri Jan 14 19:03:06 2005