The second attempt of kAma

The contest between shiva and kAma is much celebrated in Hindu literature. The effects of kAma on shiva have been enshrined in the highest poetry of saMskR^ita by kAlidAsa in poem on the birth of the war-god. But the brahmANDa purANa is unique in providing a version of the tale, where kAma has a second attempt to go at shiva and in this attempt conquers him. It is one of those eternal pieces of decorative prose in Hindu literature. The tale goes thus:

After ishAnI had through her side glance revived manmatha. She then said by my boon your arrows will torment the living world. IshAna succumbing to your darts will be unable to burn you now and will suffer the pangs of kAma. bhava will even give half of his body to his wife to that he can remain perpetually conjoined to her…

Having received the boon kAma set forth to complete his task. From his hair pores emerged thousands of madanas who were of splendid appearance and could enchant the universe. After deluding the world with his arrows kAma again reached the Ashrama of the aweful rudra to conquer the moon-crested deity. He was accompanied by vasanta, chandra, sweet breezes of spring. The sounds of kokilas followed him, as he embraced by rati, lifted his victorious bow and showered volleys of arrows on rudra. Struck by these arrows, powered by kAmeshvarI’s assurance shiva as overcome.

rudra abandoned all regular observances and became sick with longing, frequently meditating on gaurI. His cheeks lost color and he heaved deep sighs of frustration. He was shedding tears constantly and recollected again and again umA haimavati. The fever raging in his frame was not cooled by the ga~Nga flowing from his head nor the cool rays of the chandrakalA. The trident-bearer was thus tormented by the arrows of manmatha. He rolled frequently in the flowery bed brought by his circle of gaNas headed by nandin, bhR^ingin and kAlabhairava. Supported by nandin he went restlessly from one flowery bed to another, rolling restlessly on them. The soma exuding from the kalA did not cool his frame. Desirous of suppressing he flames in him he applied snow on himself and sat on slabs of ice. On the slabs of ice he drew the pictures of umA with his nails. Looking at the pictures further enhanced his pangs. He drew her picture standing coquettishly and casting side glances on a slab of ice. He placed the slab all over his body and experienced horripilations and distressing sexual emotions. He imagined her to be around everywhere and conversed with them as though she was in front of him in a mad delirium. Considering her his ultimate goal he spents days and nights narrating her nectar-like anecdotes. He started making garlands of flowers and wreathing her as though she was around. Thus did the great pashupati suffer from the grip of kAma.
The piece is not merely a narrative but the representation of the shAkta view of the longing and ultimate merger with the shaktI.

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