The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words

This page describes Kama is Burned which is chapter 24 of the English translation of the Skanda Purana, the largest of the eighteen Mahapuranas, preserving the ancient Indian society and Hindu traditions in an encyclopedic format, detailling on topics such as dharma (virtous lifestyle), cosmogony (creation of the universe), mythology (itihasa), genealogy (vamsha) etc. This is the twenty-fourth chapter of the Kaumarika-khanda of the Maheshvara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 24 - Kāma is Burned

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Nārada said:

1-2. On hearing this along with his wife, he became highly delighted in his mind. After bowing down to me he said, “If it is so, I am (really) meritorious. I will tell you something more. The right hand of my daughter is spread out (as in offering a thing and thus) faces upwards. What is the reason thereof? O Nārada, I wish to hear about it.”

3-6. On being asked thus by the Mountain, I told the reason then: “Her hand is always in the position of offering freedom from fear to all the living beings. Therefore, the hand faces upwards. O Mountain, she is the wife of the Bull-emblemed Lord of the universe. She is the future mother of all the worlds. She is the sanctifier of all living beings. Hence steps should be duly taken by you, O most excellent one among the leading Mountains, so that she can be immediately united with the Pināka-bearing Lord quickly. In this, O Himālaya, a great task of Devas is involved.”

7-8. After saying this to Himālaya I took leave of him and informed Vāsava too: “Greater part of my duty has been accomplished by me. But the Five-arrowed one (i.e. Madana, the god of Love) should be induced (and sent) for the remaining part of the task.” After directing him thus, O Phālguna, I went to Tāraka.

9-11. I am fond of quarrels and hence I went to him for intimating this matter to him clearly. Urged by my suggestion, Himādri directed Pārvatī along with her friends to propitiate Bhava (i.e. Śiva). She served that Lord. On seeing her good conduct, Pārvatī was employed (by god Śiva) (to fetch) flowers, water, fruits etc. She duly carried out (the task assigned to her). At my instance, Mahendra remembered Smara (god of Love), O descendant of Bharata.

12. On coming to know that he was being remembered, (the mind-born god of Love) whose missile was the sprout of Mango tree, appeared immediately in the company of Rati and Vasanta (i.e. the spring season).

13-16. The intelligent one (i.e, Indra) touched him (gently) smilingly and spoke to him these words: “O lover of Ṛati, of what avail is much advice to you? You live in the mind. Hence you know what is in the mind of all living beings. Still, I will tell you (something) remembering my eagerness for my own task. It behoves you, O Manmatha, to carry out a great task of mine. Maheśvara, the lord of compassion, is separated from his wife Satī. Unite him with the goddess born in the house of Himādri. When the goddess and the Lord are satisfied, they will carry out whatever you wish.”

Madana said:

17-20. This is not true, O Lord of Devas. Indeed that Lord has taken pleasure in penance. As Manu has said, magnificence and refulgence cannot be attained by other means (than penance). In the Vedāntas, the Brāhmaṇas censure and insult me every now and then: “This Kāma (Lust) is a great fire of great appetite, a great sinner. Spiritual knowledge is enveloped by this eternal enemy of wise men. Hence this Kāma should be abandoned always by excellent men, as though it is a serpent.” How will Maheśvara be delighted with me of such a nature? Just as Vāsudeva, the preceptor of the universe, is not pleased with a sinner addicted to drinking liquor, (so is Maheśvara not delighted with me).

Indra said:

21-25. Do not say so, O highly fortunate one. Without you, which man on the earth is competent to attain (the four aims in life, viz.) Dharma, Artha, Kāma and Mokṣa? Whatever is achieved in the world has Kāmanā (Desire) at its root. How is it then that those who aspire after salvation censure Kāma? True indeed is the statement in the Veda that your form is threefold, O Manmatha, viz. Tāmasa, Rājasa and Sāttvika. If the desire is not for liberation(?) it is your Tāmasa form. A mere desire for something, with the intention of having some pleasure, is your Rājasa form. The desire of a simple nature for some object is your Sāttvika form. Who is it, tell me, who does not resort to one of these three forms?

26-27. You are the Great Being itself worthy of being worshipped. Carry out this task of ours. On seeing even ordinary persons afflicted learned men save them even at the cost of their own lives, while this (task) is great and has great outcome. Thinking thus, you make that task clearly manifest in every respect.

28. On hearing this and saying “So be it”, Smara (i.e. Madana) went to Himādri. He was accompanied by Rati and Vasanta. He was richly (endowed) (supplied) with cuckoo and other parts of his army.

29. There he saw the holy region of the hermitage of Śaṃbhu. It was full of many kinds of trees and was teeming with animals which were quiescent therein.

30. There he saw the gatekeeper of the Three-eyed Lord, named Vīraka as if Lord Maheśāna incarnate, and ten thousands of his Gaṇas.

31-32. He saw Maheśāna with the eyes fixed on the tip of the nose. He was seated in the middle of an altar under the shade of a Devadāru tree. His body was straight and erect. He was seated motionless, comfortably engaged in meditation. Maheśvara had controlled all the sense organs and had entered the Supreme Ātman through (his) Ātman. He was a storehouse of penance.

33. On seeing him in that posture, Madana tried to enter within him. Under the pretext of the humming (of the) bee, he entered the mind (of Śiva).

34. In the meantime the Lord with the eyes opened and the mind affected with love, remembered the daughter of the king of Mountains.

35. (Ushered in and) announced by Vīraka, the daughter of the Mountain entered. At that time the highly fortunate girl entered in the same manner as she used to do usually.

36. The Lord found that his mind had become enamoured of her. He sportingly curbed (the feeling) and looked behind. There he saw the Lover of Rati (Madana) with the bow fully bent.

37. With the compassionate feeling of destroying (that feeling of love), the Lord went to various places.[1] Everywhere he saw Madana standing behind with the arrow fully drawn on the bow.

38. Mahādeva wandered over rivers, mountains, hermitages and lakes. But he saw him always behind him.

39. After wandering over all the three worlds, he came back to his hermitage once again. On seeing him still stationed behind, Hara released a deep breath.

40. Thereafter, O son of Pāṇḍu, Kāma was reduced to ash by the fire emanating from the third eye even as the heaven-dwellers were lamenting.

41. After reducing him to ash, the fire that arose from the eyes of Hara increased in size in order to burn the entire universe. It filled the faces of all cardinal points with its flames.

42-43. Thereafter, for the sake of the people of the universe Bhava divided that fire of Smara among proud people, the moon, flowers, songs, bees, the beaks of the cuckoo and sporting grounds. Indeed when one is near them, the heart of lovers becomes more affectionate.

44-45a. That fire gets enkindled eternally. It is very difficult to be cured and is conducive to unhappiness.

On seeing Smara reduced to ash by the flames of the fiery breaths of Hara, pitiable Rati cried and lamented along with (her) friend Madhu (‘Spring’).

45b. She who was thus crying was consoled by Madhu in various ways:

46. On hearing the lamentations of Rati, the Bull-emblemed Lord of Devas looked at Kāma’s wife with great compassion and said:

47. “O gentle lass, though he has no body, your husband will do everything necessary at the time of amorous dalliance. There is no doubt about this.

48. When Lord Viṣṇu incarnates as the son of Vasudeva, he who will be born as his son, will be your husband.”

49. On being told thus, Rati bowed down to Rudra and went away as she pleased in the company of Vasanta and others.

Footnotes and references:


Śaṅkara’s fleeing away from Madana and Madana’s pursuit of Śaṅkara is a special feature of this episode in this (Kaumārikā) Khaṇḍa.

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