Kamadev: Agent Of Ishq

 

Kamadev is the Hindu god of Love, Desire, Pleasure. The way he is depicted tell us something about the place of eroticism in traditional Indic thought.

As Amrita Narayanan in her introduction to The Parrots of Desire says, “If pleasure is that which makes life live able, then Kama, as a god of pleasure, might have been invented to allow people to worship the notion of erotic gloss.”

Kamadeva has also been referred to as Manmatha/Manmathudu (one who agitates), Atanu (one without a body), Ragavrinta (stalk of passion), Ananga (incorporeal), Kandarpa (inflamer even of a god), Madana(intoxicating),”Manmatha” मन्मथ (churner of hearts), Manasija (he who is born of mind), Pushpadhanva, Kusumashara  (one with arrow of flowers) among other names

Like another god of desire, the Roman god Cupid, Kama wields a bow.

In this animated film made with the drawings of mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik we see that Kama’s bow is made of sugarcane, and strung with a string of bees – symbolizing fertility, sweetness, attraction and pleasure. His companions are the cuckoo, the parrot and spring, also symbols of pleasure, fecundity and hoy. Kamadeva’s five arrows are topped by flowers, each symbolizing an effect of desire, which are said to be fascination, disturbance, burning, desiccation and destruction.

All the symbols around Kama place love and desire in nature, of nature, and from nature.

 

 

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