Kamadeva
   Kamadeva or Kama is the Indian cupid, the god of love. He is found in the VEDAS as a divinity, but his character was developed in the Indian epics and PURANAS. Most famously Kamadeva is known to have been burned to ashes by the third eye of Lord SHIVA. In that tale, Shiva was in a state of MEDITATION and ascetic withdrawal. The gods des-perately wanted him to marry and have progeny, because they knew that his offspring would be able to defeat the demon Taraka who was plaguing them. They sent the god of love to awaken sexual desire by shooting him with his flower arrows. Shiva became angry at Kamadeva for his presump-tion and he incinerated him with his third eye. Upon the mournful request of Kamadeva’s wife, RAT I, Shiva relented and restored the god of love to life, but without a body. This is why he is invis-ible. In other versions of the story, Kama is not revived, but rather reborn as Pradyumna, the son of KRISHNA.
   Further reading: Catherine Benton, God of Desire: Tales of Kamadeva in Sanskrit Story Literature (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2005); Cornelia Dimmitt and J. A. B. van Buitenen, Classical Hindu Mythology: A Reader in the Sanskrit Puranas (Philadel-phia: Temple University Press, 1978); E. Washburn Hopkins, Epic Mythology (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1986).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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