Puranic encyclopaedia

by Vettam Mani | 1975 | 609,556 words | ISBN-10: 0842608222

This page describes the Story of Rati included the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani that was translated into English in 1975. The Puranas have for centuries profoundly influenced Indian life and Culture and are defined by their characteristic features (panca-lakshana, literally, ‘the five characteristics of a Purana’).

Story of Rati

Wife of Kāmadeva and some Purāṇas hold the view that Kāma was the son of Dharma whose father was Brahmā. But, the story of Kāma and Rati is described in the Kālikāpurāṇa as follows.

Brahmā created ten prajāpatis. A beautiful lady called Sandhyā was his next creation. As soon as she was born, seeing her exquisite beauty Brahmā and the prajāpatis jumped to their feet. All of them thought in the same way. While the court of Brahmā was in such a perplexed confusion, an extremly handsome person emerged from his mind. Fish was the symbol on his flag, and he aked Brahmā thus: "Oh father, what should I do? Give me a suitable name and you should also decide upon a place and position and also a wife for me." Brahmā told him as follows:—"You be moving about everywhere in this world (full of men andwomen) engaged in the eternal function of creation with the five arrows of flower in your hands and thus multiply the population. Your arrows will go everywhere and no one, not even the Devas will dare to obstruct your arrows. Everyone will yield to your behests. Viṣṇu, Śiva and I also will yield before your arrows. You will enter the hearts of living beings in invisible form and giving them happiness engage yourself in eternal creation. The chief aim and object of your arrows of flower will be the hearts of living beings. You will be given a suitable name just now."

The prajāpatis, who understood the wish of Brahmā, after mutual consultation said: "You emerged churning our minds. Therefore, you will become famous under the name Manmatha (he who churns the mind). You will lay low Śiva’s haughtiness and conceit. Oh! best among men, Dakṣa, chief among the prajāpatis, will give you a wife."

Happily pleased at the above words of Brahmā Kāma held up in his hands the bow and arrows of flowers and decided to shoot five arrows, i.e. harṣaṇam (pleasing or gladdening), Rocanam (attracting or tempting), mohanam (deluding or infatuating), śoṣaṇam (weakening) and māraṇam (killing). He decided to use the arrows first against Brahmā and then against the prajāpatis. Accordingly the arrows shot forth and Brahmā and all the prajāpatis overwhelmed by sexual passion stared at Sandhyādevī. Sandhyā also got excited and from her body sprouted up 49 parts; 64 kalās (arts) also were born from her. She used incessantly against the leaders of the world (Brahmā and others) who were downed by the arrows of sexual passion, arrows dear to Manmatha. The expressions of Brahmā made Sandhyā sick with love.

Śiva, who was just then travelling along the sky, seeing the boisterous exhibitions of passion by Brahmā and others alighted there. He ridiculed Brahmā for his display of passion towards his own daughter Sandhyā and spoke further like this: "This Kāma too is a fool. He tested his arrows here itself, he has no sense of propriety and discretion."

Brahmā was thoroughly ashamed at the words of Śiva. He perspired and swept with his hands the drops of sweat that oozed from his body. With great difficulty he controlled his passion and gave up Sandhyā. From the drops of sweat falling on the ground from the body of Brahmā were born the pitṛs called Agniṣvāttas and the Barhiṣadas, the former 64,000 in number and the latter 4,80,000. Drops of sweat from the bodies of the prajāpatis also fell on the ground and from them were born the Devas. The pitṛs called Somapās are the sons of Kratu; those called Svakālikas are the sons of Vasiṣṭha; sons of Pulastya are called Ājyapās and Havirbhuks are the sons of Aṅgiras.

Brahmā, who was angry that Kāma shot his arrows against him in the presence of Śiva cursed the former that he would be burnt to ashes in the fire of Śiva’s eyes, and Kāma trembling with fear at the curse prostrated at the feet of Brahmā and wept Then Brahmā said that though he would die in the fire of Śiva’s eyes, he would be born again.

From the drops of perspiration that fell on the ground from Dakṣa’s body arose a beautiful woman, and Dakṣa told Kāma that the woman, his daughter would become famous as Rati devī. Dakṣa gave Rati Devī to Kāma to be his wife. Thus did Rati become Kāma’s wife. (For the second birth of Rati see under Pradyumna and for other details see under Kāma.)

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