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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Kama

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the Hindu deva or deity of Love, one of the most pleasing creations of Hindu fiction, is, in the Sanscrit poetr of later periods, the favorite theme of descriptions and allusions. The genealogy of this deity is quite obscure; according to some Puranas, he was originally a son of Brahma; according to others, a son of Dharma (the genius of Virtue), by Sraddha (the genius of Faith), herself a daughter of Daksha, who. was one of the mind-born sons of Brahma. The god Siva, being on one occasion greatly incensed at Kama, reduced him to ashes; but ultimately, moved by the affliction of Rati (Voluptuousness), the wife of Kama, he promised her that her husband should be reborn as a son of Krishna, and he was accordingly born under the name of Pradyumna, who was' the god of Love. " But when the infant was six days old it was stolen from the lying-in chamber by the terrible daemon Sambara; for the latter foreknew that Pradyumna, if he lived, would be his destroyer. The boy was thrown into the ocean, and swallowed by a large fish. Yet he did not die, for that fish was caught by fishermen, and delivered to Mayavati, the mistress of Sambara's household; and, when it was cut open, the child was taken from it.

While Mayavati wondered who this could be, the divine sage Narada satisfied her curiosity, and counseled her to rear tenderly this offspring of Krishna. She acted as he advised her; and when Pradyumna grew up, and learned his own history, he slew the daemon Sambara. Mayavati, however, was later apprized by Irishna that she was not the wife of Sambara, as she had fancied herself to be, but that of Pradyumna-in fact, another form of Rati, who was the wife of Kama in his former existence. In the representations of Kama we find him holding in one hand a bow made of sugar-cane, and strung with bees, in the other an arrow tipped with the blossom of a flower which is supposed to conquer one of the senses. His standard is, agreeably to the legend above mentioned, a fabulous fish, called Makara; and he rides on a parrot or sparrow-the symbol of voluptuousness. His epithets are numerous, but easily accounted for from the circumstances named, and from the effects of love on the mind and senses. Thus he is called Makaradhwaja, 'the one who has Makara in his banner;' Mada, 'the maddener,' etc. 'His wife, as before stated, is Rati; she is also called Kamakala, 'a portion of Kama,' or Priti, 'affection.' His daughter is Trisha, 'thirst or desire;' and his son is Aniruddha, 'the irresistible.' See Muller, Chips, vol. ii, ch. i, especially p. 127-135; Vollmer, Mythol. Wortenbuch, p. 1008.


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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Kama'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/k/kama.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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