Valentines Day - Kama & Rati


The shops are filled with gifts for Valentine ’s Day on February 14th every year. Is it only to show our love and affection only with the gifts to our beloved ones; the love should be shared with affection and sensual desire.

Hindu mythological story on Kama the lord of love

Kama is the god of Love in the Hindu mythology. The story of Kamathaga by Lord Shiva is described by the great poet Kalidasa in his Kaviya Kumarasambhavam. Lord Shiva was engaged in meditation, and Parvathi the daughter of Parvatharajan of Himalayas serving the Lord who is in deep meditation. The demon king Tharakasura troubled the Devars. The creator Brahma informed the suffering Devar’s that the son of Lord shiva has the power to fight with the demon king and defeat him. The devars requested kama the love god to divert the attention of Lord shiva towards Parvathi for the birth of a son to defeat the demon king. kama also discharged an arrow of flowers at him, but Shiva reduced him to ashes with a glace from his third eye,. Rati the wife of Kama attempted to committee suicide, but the devars felt that without Kama and Rati the world will become a desert. In response to the plea of Rati, Lord Shiva restored her husband, but only as a mental image, representing true love and affection, not just carnal desire, and hence forth he is known as Ananga (bodiless). This story is about the power of two energy of heat which will be opposed mutually together. It is noticed in the Indian symbolism that the heat can be produced by two forms, namely by sexual desire and tapas (by ascetic practices). These two forms mutually opposed together and the chastity will take over the desire, i.e., Kama

The spring (Vasantha) is the season to denote love and the spontaneous renewal of all vegetations in the world.

Buddhist mythology

In Buddhist mythology Kama is known as a yaksa called Mara, Lord Buddha triumph over Mara through his meditation.

Lord Shiva as Kamanthaga

In Tamil Nadu the act of Kamanthaga ( destroying the Kama) by Lord Shiva is seen as sculptural representations. There is a temple known as Thirukkurikkai associated with the burning Kama, and there is ash mound to show the enactment of Lord Shiva.

Even today the destroying of Kama is enacted by the local the folk artist known as Therukoothu (road side dance drama performance).

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In the ancient Tamil society the Lover boy undergoes a sort of martyrdom in public. To get the public sympathy including the parents of the girl whom he loved he rides on a palmyra horse. This was made up of single leaf branch of palmyra palm. Sitting and riding the palmyra horse is a painful process, because the edges of leaf are notched and indented which will cause pain and even bloodshed.

Thiruvalluvar also speaks about the love and riding on palmyra horse.

Nona udambum uyirum madalerum
Naninai nikki niruttu – ( Kural 1132)

Meaning: experience anguish and shame which the body and soul cannot endure, it is better to mount the palmyra horse as a remedy. To conclude the celebration of Valentine’s day or venerating God Shiva as Kamathaka is meant for understanding and practicing the way of eternal bliss.


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