The God of desire/covetousness, where desire refers to everything worthy of desire. He is the son of Brahma, in Vishnu myths he is the son of Vishnu.

His companion is Vasanta, spring. His mount is the parrot. His bow is made of sugar cane, the string of bees, the five arrows – Harshana, Rochana, Mohana, Shoshana, Marana – of flowers. Kama is married with Rati, together they are desire and love. Another name of Kama is Manmata.

Kama’s appearance – Brahma had just created Shatarupa when a golden male, armed with a bow and five arrows, arose from him. He bowed and asked what his duties were. Brahma made him master of desire.

Kama, full of zest for action, immediately shot an arrow at Brahma. He stared at Shatarupa and Shatarupa returned his wistful look. Kama was happy with himself, he was up to the task.

In order not to lose sight of Shatarupa, Brahma grew three more heads, Shatarupa flew into the sky, Brahma grew a fifth head that looked upwards. The situation became embarrassing, the Gods asked Shiva for help. Shiva admonished Brahma not to offend against his daughter. He came to his senses, but blamed Kama for his behavior and cursed him one day to be burned to ashes by Shiva’s forehead eye.

Kama no longer understood the world: ‚I am innocent, I just did my duty.‘ Brahma saw that he had overreacted and promised that Shiva would bring him back to life afterwards. So it happened, when Shiva had burned Kama to ashes, Rati gathered it up, brought it to Shiva and he brought her husband back to life.

Shiva had Kama burned to ashes because he tried to wake him out of his meditation in order to father a son with Parvati.

For the Shiva story read

In the Vishnu story Kama is reborn as Krishna’s and Rukmini’s Sohn, Pradyumna, and Rati as Mayavati. Both were united again.