Call It Kamadeva Day!
Like Cupid who is the God of love in Roman philosophy, Kamadeva is held to be the god of love according to Hindu mythology. The name Kama-deva (IAST kāma-deva) can be translated as 'divine love' or 'god of love'. Kama can be literary translated as wish, desire or longing, especially as in sensual love or sexuality. Kama in Hinduism has another significance. It comes under the four goals of life -Dharma, artha, kama and moksha. Kama involves the enjoyments of life that includes sexual fulfillment, sensual gratification, sensual pleasure , love, and also the aesthetic enjoyments of life.
Kāmadeva is represented as a young and handsome winged man who wields a bow and arrows. His bow is made of sugarcane with a string of honeybees, and his arrows are decorated with five kinds of fragrant flowers. The five flowers are: Ashoka tree flowers, white and blue lotus flowers, Mallika tree and Mango tree flowers. A terracotta murti of Kamadeva of great antiquity is housed in the Mathura Museum, UP, India. The deity of Kamadeva along with his consort Rati is included in the pantheon of Vedic-Brahmanical deities such as Shiva and Parvati. In Hindu traditions for the marriage ceremony itself, the bride's feet are often painted with pictures of Suka, the parrot vahana of Kamadeva. Kamadeva also becomes the object of certain devotional rituals for those seeking health, physical beauty, husbands, wives, and sons.
Generally described as the son of Lakshmi and Vishnu, he is also said to be the son of Brahma. Surrounded by beautiful nymphs (Apsaras), he loves to wander around specially in springtime, loosing his shafts indiscriminately, but with a preference for innocent girls, married women and ascetic sages. Shiva burned him to ashes as punishment for disturbing his deep meditation, but Kamadeva’s shaft had gone home and Shiva could not obtain peace until he had married Parvati. During all this time Kamadeva lay dead and love disappeared from the earth. At length Shiva allowed him to be born as the son of Krishna. The god of desire thus fittingly became the son of Lord associated with love.
Perhaps no other faith glorifies the idea of love between the sexes as Hinduism. This is evident from the amazing variety of mythical love stories that abounds Sanskrit literature, which is undoubtedly one of the richest treasure hoards of exciting love tales. The tale-within-a-tale-within-a-tale format of the great epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana, lodges a lot of love legends. Then there are the charming stories of Hindu gods and goddesses in love and the well-known works like Kalidasa's Meghadutam and Abhijnanashakuntalam and Surdasa's lyrical rendition of the legends of Radha, Krishna and the gopis of Vraj. Set in a land of great natural beauty, where the lord of love picks his victims with consummate ease, these stories celebrate the myriad aspects of the many-splendored emotion called love. Classical love legends from Hindu mythology and folklore of India, like Shakuntala-Dushyant tale, legend of Savitry and Satyavan, Radha-Krishna amour etc., are both passionate and sensuous in content, and never fail to appeal to the romantic in us. These fables fuel our imagination, engage our emotions, sense and sensibility, and above all, entertain us.
May I call upon the commanders of all sorts of saffron Senas, to recall to their mind all their gods, whose love- lores are the most revered part of Hindu mythology, before they order attack on lovers in India on this worldwide day of love, the Valentine Day. If they have problem with the Western name of the Valentine Day, they can as well call it Kamadeva Day, but let love bloom and spread its sweet fragrance everywhere for everyone to enjoy without fear.