Legends & Myth’s of India: Siva and Kama

Check out this seductive and lustful tale of Siva and Kama, from Legends & Myth’s of India , to which helped save the world from disillusionment :

The great god Siva is famed for his potency and for the length and intensity of his intercourse with his wife Parvati; but he is also the greatest of ascetics. During his ascetic phases, Kama, the god of love, is hard put to arouse him and distract him from his meditative trance.

When the world was oppressed by the demon Taraka, and the gods were told by Brahma that only a son born to Parvati and begotten by Siva could crush the demon and save the world, Kama was sent by Indra to break Siva out of his trance. The love-god approached Siva, and fired one of his arrows of desire at him; but this first attempt failed. Siva was infuriated at being interrupted in his meditations, and with a burst of fire from the third eye that he has in the middle of his forehead, he blasted Kama to ashes. Later, influenced by pleas from Parvati and by the distress of Rati – Kama’s wife – Siva relented. He restored Kama to life, and Kama’s union with Rati was celebrated by a lavish wedding ceremony, attended by all the gods and by the Seven Divine Sages who now form one of the sky’s constellations.

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Why did Shiva punish Kamadeva and reduce him to ashes (bhasma)?

In the story of Ramayana, the violence and aggression of Ravana the Rakhsasa king of Lanka, also posed a threat to the world. Indra and his wife Sachi were specially alarmed by the strength and prowess of Ravana’s son Meghanada, who by defeating Indra in combat on an earlier occasion had acquired the name ‘Indrajit’ (‘vanquisher of Indra’). They went to Siva’s abode on Mount Kailasa, and spoke first to Durga (Parvati), because Siva was engaged in meditation.

‘I appreciate your concern,’ said Durga, ‘but I have two problems. One is that my husband is locked in meditation and it is impossible to distract him from it; the other is that he is indulgent towards Ravana, because Ravana has always been his loyal devotee.’

‘But is it right’, said Indra, ‘to indulge a monstrous Rakshasa who cruelly abducted Rama’s lovely wife Sita?’

‘Yes,’ said Sachi, backing her husband up, ‘just think of the misery of Sita, shamed and humiliated, kept captive on the island of Lanka, pining night and day for her noble husband Rama!’

Durga took note of what Indra and Sachi said, agreed to do what she could to enlist Siva’s aid.

But how to break through his trance? She decided to send first of all for Rati, Kama’s wife, and seek her advice.

‘The first thing a wife must do,’ said Rati, ‘if she wants to get her way with her husband, is to make herself seductive and beautiful. You may be a goddess, but even you could do something about your appearance. Let me have a look at your wardrobe, and see if I can give you a new and irresistible look.’

With Rati’s help, Durga dressed herself anew in dazzlingly sexy garments, and when her transformation was complete she gazed at herself in the mirror with considerable confidence and satisfaction.

‘Fine,’ said Durga. ‘But now we need your husband. My appearance alone won’t do it: we need your husband’s arrows to plant some desire in my husband. He may look austere and celibate at present, but the moment he gets interested, it’s a very different story.’

But when Kama was called, he himself got very alarmed. ‘You forget’, he said, falling at Durga’s feet, ‘how your husband treated me last time he was pierced by my arrows! Do you want me to be blasted to ashes again?’

‘Yes,’ agreed Rati, ‘my husband may look well again now, but the pain he suffered was terrible – not to mention the distress that I felt!’

‘Don’t worry,’ said Durga to Kama, ‘my power will protect you this time; and just to make sure, do a puja to Agni before you approach Siva. If the god of fire is brought on to your side, he won’t allow my husband to misuse the fire of his third eye.’

Kama was somewhat reassured; but – playing for time – he said to Durga, ‘To be sure of protecting me, you’ll need to come with me when I approach your husband. But my wife has helped you to dress in such a ravishing way, the whole world will swoon when you emerge from your palace! Ravana and Meghanada will have a free run – no one will be in a fit state to resist them. What are you going to do about that?’

‘There’s an answer to that too,’ said Durga. ‘I’ll simply cover myself with a cloud, and I won’t remove it until you’ve fired your arrow and Siva is ready to receive me.’

So Kama performed a puja to Agni as instructed, and then he and Durga went off to the palace on Mount Kailasa where Siva was meditating, immobile and smeared with ash. At Durga’s command, Kama shot an arrow at Siva. It pierced him, and he began to stir menacingly.

‘You see what you’ve made me do!’ said Kama, getting into a panic. ‘His third eye is getting red, and there’ll be a blast of fire from it in a second, and nothing – neither you, nor Agni himself – can save me from it.’

‘There’s room for you in my bosom,’ said Durga lovingly. ‘You just nestle there, and I’ll then remove the cloud. When Siva sees me before him, in the clothes that your wife so cleverly chose for me, I think your arrow will begin to have the right effect – and a few more arrows from you should finish the job.’

Kama did as she advised, huddling fearfully in her bosom, but also rather enjoying the warmth and fragrance of it. Durga removed the cloud, Siva looked up at her, and a smile appeared on his lips. ‘Fire again,’ hissed Durga to Kama, and the love-god fired a shower of arrows at Siva.

They did their work. The great god was utterly overcome. The fire in his third eye was eclipsed by Durga’s radiance, and flowers rained down from the sky.

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But Durga did not lose sight of her objective. Before she let her husband gain from her what he now so lustily wanted more than anything else, she insisted that he do something about Ravana and Meghanada.

‘If you must!’ said Siva. ‘Ravana has been my devotee for years, but I dare say you’re right – abducting Sita like that was a criminal act, and he must pay for it. I’ll arrange for Lakshmana to be supplied with some special weapons. With those, he will kill Meghanada, Ravana will be defeated, and Sita will be rescued. Is that good enough for you? If it is, then let’s not waste any more time!’

Thus did Kama vanquish Siva again, without being blasted at all this time. Indra was sent to Maya, goddess of magic and illusion, to collect the weapons. They were given to Lakshmana, and even Meghanada could not withstand them. The world was saved from Ravana, and Sita was freed from his hideous clutches.

Pg: 154 – 158

One thought on “Legends & Myth’s of India: Siva and Kama

  1. Pingback: Year 4: Life, Reflections, Myths, Psyche | Inside A Soul

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