KÂMA, KÂMADEVA – The God (Deva) of Love

There are two versions of Kâma’s birth. According to the Mahâbhârata, Kâma is the son of Dharma, who was born from the right breast of Brahmâ. Dharma had three sons: Kâma, S´ama, and Harsha.

All were very handsome like their father. According to Kâlikâ Purâna, Kâma was born from the mind of Brahmâ. Brahmâ created ten Prajâpatis (progenitors) first and then an exceptional woman called Sandhyâ. When Sandhyâ was born, Brahmâ and the ten Prajâpatis were very much attracted by her beauty.

At that moment of excitement a handsome youth sprang from the mind of Brahmâ holding a bow of flowers and arrows of sugarcane. The youth asked: “Whom shall I make excited?” And Brahmâ answered that he should excite men with kâma (love, desire).

Kâma was blamed by many versions of the myth for Brahmâ’s creation of and marriage to Sarasvatî. She was mind-born from the creator—from his meditation. But then Brahmâ fell in love and married his own daughter, Sarasvatî.

KÂMA, KÂMADEVA - The god (deva) of love

For this, he blamed Kâma, who, Brahmâ said, had excited him with his magic arrows. So Brahmâ cursed Kâma to be turned into ashes by the fire of the third eye of S´iva. (For more see the entry on Pârvatî.) Kâma’s greatest moment was when he was sent by Indra to wake up S´iva so that he could deal with Târaka, the great asura (demon) troubling the world.

S´iva was angry and burned Kâma to a crisp. Kâma’s wife Ratî pleaded with S´iva to restore Kâma to life. But all that S´iva would do was to give Ratî a rebirth as mother of a reborn Kâma who was reborn as Pradyumna. (See more in the entry on Rukhmini, Ratî’s name when she was reborn.)

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