Happy Valentine's Day!
Statue of the maiden getting ready, Belur temple, Belur, Karnataka, India (11th century)
The 40 some intricately carved statues of maidens in various poses of normal daily life capture not only the excellence in carving, but also the life style of the socialite of the era. These statues also capture the essence of kAma-shAstra-s regarding the moods and types of the heroine.
kAma-deva (the god of desire) is no chubby cherub with a small play bow. But a handsome young man with deadly bow with :
- a string of bumble bees (that hummm around flowers)
- five arrows : unmAdana (intoxication), tApan (fever), shoShaNa (weakness), stambhana (stupefication) and sammohana (spellbound, hypnotized)
- that churn the heart (hence he is called 'manmatha' - the heart churner),
- his friend vasanta (spring),
- wife rati (intercourse).
Only shiva was able to resist such a deadly marksman and burnt him to ashes. Hence, kAmadeva got the name ananga (without body, i.e. desire can't be seen but felt).
He is the youngest of the gods for he is born every moment as desire, in the heart of young (and old). He is the oldest of the gods, for even before creation came the 'desire' to create - kAma.
Happy Valentine's Day, once again.
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