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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Call It Kamadeva Day!

This blog is especially addressed to the brigades of Ram Sena, Shiv Sena and all the allied Senas who have declared war on all the love birds who dare open their wings on the Valentine Day in India. According to them, the self acclaimed saviors of the Indian culture, it is anti-Indian (read anti-Hindu) for lovers to express their feelings of love for each other, even if it is done as simply as sweet exchange of the blooming beautiful red roses or writing romantic messages on MMS or giving greetings through Valentine Day cards. May I remind them of their own revered deities of the Hindu mythology, whose stories of love and sacrifice they must have read and reread as they grew up, and before them their elders and before them their ancestors in all ages.

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.


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