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Kāmadeva (Sanskrit: कामदेव) is the Hindu deity of love. His other names include Ragavrinta (stalk of sassion), Ananga (incorporeal), Kandarpa ("inflamer even of a god"), Manmatha (churner of hearts), Manasija (he who is born of mind, a contraction of the Sanskrit phrase Sah Manasah jāta), Madana (intoxicating), Ratikānta (lord of Rati), Pushpavān, Pushpadhanva (one with bow of flowers) or just Kāma ("longing"). Kamadeva, is son of Hindu goddess Sri and, additionally, is the incarnation of Pradyumna, Krishna’s son. In his spiritual form he is believed to be Krishna, by Vaishnava followers in Hinduism.
The name Kama-deva (IAST kāma-deva) can be translated as 'divine love' or 'god of love'. Kamadeva is also a known as a name of Vishnu in Vishnu Purana and Bhagavata (SB 5.18.15). It is also sometimes used as name of Shiva and the name of author of Sanskrit work Prayaschita padyata. Kamadeva is one of the names and epithets used for Krishna. Deva means heavenly or divine. Kama (IAST kāma) can be literary translated as wish, desire or longing, especially as in sensual love or sexuality. Kama is also a name used for Agni. The name is also used in Rig Veda (RV 9, 113. 11).
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.
Images and stories about Hindu god Kamadeva are traced to the verses of the Rig Veda and Atharva Veda although he is better known from prominent and lesser known stories of the Puranas.
The story of the birth of Kamadeva is told differently in several Puranas. In some stories Kamadeva arises from the mind of the creator god, Brahma. In other stories he is the son of Sri. Kamadeva is sometimes portrayed as being completely at the service of Indra. Just as Shiva accepted the river Ganga, flowing from the snowy mountain, Kamadeva married his consort Rati. She carries a discus and a lotus in her hands, with arms compared with the lotus-stalks. Rati is often a minor character in many traditional dramas involving Kamadeva, she is in some ways represents an attribute of the god of desire. Goddess Vasanta also accompanies Kamadeva, but unlike Rati whose very essence is desire, Vasanta emerges from a sigh of frustration. Kama is often takes part in Puranic battles. As a warrior, Kamadeva needs troops of soldiers.
According to the Matsya Purana, Visnu-Krishna and Kamadeva have a historical relationship. Krishna is sometimes worshiped as Kamadeva in Gaudiya traditions, but according to the Krishna-centric Gaudiya Vaishnavism, Kamadeva was directly a part of Vasudeva Krishna after this deva was burned down by Shiva. In this form Kamadeva is believed to be a demigod of the heavenly planets especially capable of inducing lusty desires. This Kamadeva, who later takes his birth from the womb of Rukmini - Krishna's wife, was named Pradyumna, but some suggest that he is not the Pradyumna of the Vishnu category and thus Vaishnavas believe that he belongs to the category of jiva-tattva, or conditioned souls, however due to exhibiting special power in the category of demigods, devas, he became a part of the prowess of Vishnu form Pradyumna. That is the view of the Six Gosvamis, who maintained that Kamadeva was burned to ashes by the anger of Shiva and later merged into the body of Vasudeva. And it is explained that in order to get his body again he was placed in the womb of Rukmini. It is believed that because he was begotten by Krishna himself, his qualities were similar to those of Krishna, such as his colour, appearance and attributes.
The attributes of demigod Kamadeva are as such: his companions are a cuckoo, a parrot, humming bees, the season of spring, and the gentle breeze. All of these are symbols of spring season, when his festival is celebrated as Holi, Holika or Vasanta.
According to the text Shiva Purana, Kamadeva is a son or a creation of Brahma, while according to other sources including the Skanda Purana, Kamadeva is a brother of Prasuti; they are both the children of Shatarupa, a creation of Brahma. Later interpolations consider him the son of Vishnu All sources concur on the fact that Kamadeva is wed to Ratī, a daughter of Prasuti and Daksha.