Online Encyclopedia

KAMA, or KAMADEVA

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V15, Page 645 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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KAMA, or KAMADEVA, in Hindu mythology, the god of love. He is variously stated to have been the child of Brahma or Dharma (virtue). In the Rig Veda, Kama (desire) is described as the first movement that arose in the One after it had come into life through the power of fervour or abstraction. In the Atharva-Veda Kama does not mean sexual desire, but rather the yearning after the good of all created things. Later Kama is simply the Hindu Cupid. While attempting to lure Siva to sin, he was destroyed by a fiery glance of the goddess' third eye. Thus in Hindu poetry Kama is known as Ananga, the " bodiless god." Kama's wife Kati (voluptuousness) mourned him so greatly that Siva relented, and he was reborn as the child of Krishna and Rukmini. The babe was called Pradyumna (Cupid). He is represented armed with a bow of sugar-cane; it is strung with bees, and its five arrows are tipped with flowers which overcome the five senses. A fish adorns his flag, and he rides a parrot or sparrow, emblematic of lubricity.
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