The Shiva Purana

by J. L. Shastri | 1950 | 616,585 words

This page relates “power of kama and the birth of his attendants” as found in the Shiva-purana, which, in Hinduism, represents one of the eighteen Mahapuranas. This work eulogizes Lord Shiva as the supreme deity, besides topics such as cosmology and philosophy. It is written in Sanskrit and claims to be a redaction of an original text consisting of 100,000 metrical verses.

Disclaimer: These are translations of Sanskrit texts and are not necessarily approved by everyone associated with the traditions connected to these texts. Consult the source and original scripture in case of doubt.

Chapter 9 - The power of Kāma and the birth of his attendants

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Brahmā said:—

1. O great sage, when Kāma went to Śiva’s abode along with his attendants an adversely surprising incident occurred to which listen please.

2. After going there, the heroic Kāma competent to enchant others spread all his wiles and charmed all living beings.

3. O sage, spring too showed his prowess in order to delude Śiva. All the trees simultaneously bloomed.

4. Kāma and Rati played many a trick. All living beings fell victims of their wiles but not Śiva, the lord of Gaṇas.

5. O sage, the efforts of Kāma who was accompanied by spring were futile. He returned to his residence being cured of his arrogance.

6. O sage, Kāma saluted me, and bereft of arrogance and completely despondent he told me in faltering voice.

Kāma said:—

7. O Brahmā, Śiva, an expert in Yogic practices cannot be charmed. Neither I nor anyone else has the power to enchant Siva.

8. O Brahmā, different tricks were tried by me and my friends as well as by Rati. All those became futile in regard to Śiva.

9. O Brahmā, listen to the different kinds of efforts undertaken by us in trying to enchant Him and the manner we did them I shall explain, O sage.

10-11. When Śiva was in the state of trance with full control of senses, I tried to agitate him—the three-eyed lord Śiva, through the fragrant cool breeze that blew with force and that usually thrilled everyone.

12. I lifted up my bow and fitted my reputed five arrows. Going round him I tried to enchant him.

13. Even as I entered the zone, the living beings fell into my power but lord Śiva and his Gaṇas were not moved at all.

14. O Brahmā, when Śiva went to the Himālayan ridge, Rati, Spring and I reached the place.

15. Wherever He went whether on Meru[1] Nāgakeśara[2] or Kailāsa, I too went there immediately.

16. Whenever Śiva was out of Samādhi I used to place a pair of Cakravāka birds in front of Him.

17. O Brahmā, those birds exhibited diverse gestures of amorous dalliance with brows and other limbs.

18. Many pairs of deer and birds, playing about in front of the great lord Śiva, indeed exhibited many gestures of love to excite Him.

19. Pairs of peacocks exhibited various gestures of pleasing eagerness with their gambolling tricks at His sides and in front of Him.

20. Never did my arrow find any vulnerable point in him. O lord of the worlds, I tell you the truth. I am incompetent to enthral Him.

21. Spring too did the needful in enchanting Him. O, listen to it, O fortunate Being. I tell you the truth, the truth alone.

22-23. He caused the various kinds of flowers to bloom in the place where Śiva was stationed—flowers such as Campakas, Keśaras, Punnāgas, Ketakas, Mallikās, Kurabakas etc. etc.

24. He made the lakes abounding in full-blown lotuses in the hermitage of Śiva, very fragrant by causing Malaya breezes to blow.

25. He made creepers full of flowers twine round trees as if resting on their laps with great attachment—Seedlings of Dhattūra were scattered to beautify the place.

26. On seeing the trees abounding in beautiful flowers rustling in the fragrant breeze, even the sages became slaves of Kāma, then what about other (ordinary mortals)?

27. In spite of all these, no cause of deflection from steadiness was seen in Śiva who did not evince any sentimental feeling, not even anger towards me.

28 On seeing these and realising His ideal conception I am averse to any further attempt at deluding Śiva. This is my firm opinion that I tell you.

29. When he finally eschews Samādhi we cannot even stand in His presence, within sight. Who can think of charming Him?

30. O Brahmā, who can stand facing Him with eyes blazing like fire and as fearful as flocks of large alligators or a horned animal[3].

Brahmā said:—

31. On hearing these words of Kāma I, the four-faced lord, though desirous of saying something did not say anything and was agitated with anxious thoughts.

32. On hearing the words of Kāma—“I am incompetent to enchant Śiva”,O sage, I heaved a deep sigh due to extreme sorrow.

33. The gusts of wind generated by my deep sighs were of various forms and very violent. They were tremulous and terrible and appeared to have shaking tongues (of flames).

34. They played on different musical instruments, drums etc. of terrible nature and of loud sound.

35. The groups of beings issuing forth from my deep breaths stood in front of me, Brahmā shouting “Kill!—Cut!”

36. While they were shouting “Kill—Cut”, Kāma heard those words and began to speak to me.

37. O Brahminical sage, on seeing the groups of beings Kāma stopped them and on their presence, said.

Kāma said:—

38. O Brahmā, O lord of subjects, O initiator of all creations, who are these terrible, awful heroes?

39. O Brahmā what is the work that these will be doing? Tell me. where will they be staying? Please employ them there.

40. O lord of Gods, after employing them in their task and assigning them proper names and places, be pleased to assign me my future course of action.

Brahmā said:—

41. O sage, on hearing the words of Kāma, I, the creator of the universe, spoke to him showing him the task of the Gaṇas.

42. Even as they were born they shouted “Māraya” “Kill”, very frequently. Hence let their names be “Māras.”

43. These groups of beings will hinder the activities of all creatures, O Kāma, except Your Worship as they are engaged in various avocations of love.

44. O Kāma, their chief occupation will be to follow you. There is no doubt that they will assist you always.

45. Wherever you go for fulfilling your duty, whenever it be, they will invariably follow you and render assistance.

46. They will create confusion in the minds of those who fall as victims to your weapons. They will hinder wise people in the path of knowledge in all possible ways.

47. O excellent sage, on hearing these words of mine, Kāma along with his mistress Rati and his comrade spring delighted a little.

48. The groups of beings too, after hearing this surrounded me and Kāma and stood in their own shape.

49. Then I, Brahmā, spoke to Kāma lovingly—“Do my bidding. Let these beings accompany you. You shall go again to enthral śiva.

50. With full attention you put forth further efforts so that Śiva may suffer delusion and take a wife unto Himself.

51. O celestial sage, on hearing these words, Kāma humbly paid homage to me and considering the gravity of the matter spoke to me again.

Kāma said:—

52. I have already made sufficient efforts in this matter of enchanting Him. The delusion could not be effected. Nor it is going to take place now. Nor will it ever take place.

53. Acting on your directive after giving it the due honour and after visiting my troops I shall go again with all pomp and show.

54. But I am certain that He will not be deluded. O Brahmā I have fears that He may reduce me to ashes.

55. O great sage, after saying thus Kāma, accompanied by Vasanta and Rati started with his troops to the abode of Śiva, despite the fear lurking in his mind.

56. Kāma employed all his wiles as before. Vasanta too employed various means racking his brain in diverse ways.

57. He used many tactics. His troops too tried their best. But Śiva, the Great Soul, was not afflicted the least.

58. Kāma then returned to my abode. I had great pride in his troops but now distress and discomfit stood facing me.

59. O dear, bowing to me with despair and dejection while standing before me without pride and arrogance, along with his troops and Vasanta, Kāma spoke to me in these words.

60. O Brahmā, more efforts were put by us to enthral Him, but they all went in vain as He was absorbed in deep meditation.

61. There my body was not reduced to ashes because He is merciful. My previous merits too may have been the cause. As for the lord there is no affectation or change in Him.

62. O Brahmā, if you desire that Śiva should take a wife unto Himself, you should employ some means with modesty. This is what I think proper in the circumstances.

Brahmā said:—

63. Saying this, Kāma returned to his abode along with his followers after saluting me and remembering Śiva, the destroyer of arrogance and the favourite of His devotees.

Footnotes and references:


Meru is situated in the centre of the earth. It is described in the Purāṇas as the four-armed Svastika, evolving in four directions each with seven constituent members. It can be identified with the highland of Tartary, north of the Himalayas. It is variously called Sumeru, Hemādri (the Golden Mountain) Ratnasānu (jewel peak), Karṇikācala (lotus mountain), Amarādrī, Devaparvata, ‘mountain of the Gods’. On its extent and identification with the Great Pamīr knot of Asia, see the Geography of the Purāṇas Ch. III. PP. 47-52.


Nāga-Keśara, the Nāga mountain which can be identified with the Farghana Valley on the basis of the produce of this region, the account of which is given by Huen-Tsang. Ibid. Ch. V. PP. 80-81.


The text is corrupt in all printed editions. The present translation is conjectural.

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