Kama was the second son of Dharma, one of the Prajapatis born
from the right breast of Brahma. His other two brothers were
Shama and Harsha. All three brothers were extremely handsome but
Kama excelled all and became the god of love, beauty and passion.
He was married to Rati, the goddess of beauty. As to how Kama
became prey of Shiva's wrath there are two stories in prevalence.
In the process of creation Brahma created a girl who was
extremely beautiful, sweet tongued and wise. She was named
Saraswati. Brahma placed her on the tip of each one's tongue but
himself fell in her love. After he realised that his act was
immoral, he cursed Kama for kindling in him the related passion.
He cursed that he would turn to ashes by Shiva's wrath.
Brahma's curse takes effect later. After the death of his wife
Sati Shiva retired to Himalaya and engaged himself into deep
penance. Those days a demon Taraka had grown quite powerful after
he was blessed with the boon that save the son of Shiva none else
would be able to kill him. Shiva had refused to marry any woman.
Thus, Taraka was practically invincible. This made him arrogant
and he began harassing even gods and snatching from them the
Indraloka. In the mean time Parvati, the daughter of Himavana,
fell in Shiva's love and vowed to marry none but him. She engaged
in rigorous penance for winning the Parmeeshvara. Indra decided
to exploit this situation. He sent Kama to rouse in Shiva's mind
the passion of love. Accordingly Kama reached where Shiva was
engaged in penance and shot at him his arrows of passion. The
enraged Shiva did not open his normal eyes as these were buried
in meditation. He opened instead his third eye. There emitted
from it a flood of fire and Kama was burnt into it. His wife Rati
moaned and prayed Lord Shiva to revive her husband but Shiva said
that he would live for ever but only as 'Ananga', the one without
a material form.
This excellent Madhubani painting has its canvas divided into
upper and lower compartments. The upper one portrays Lord Shiva
engaged in deep and rigorous penance inside a tree-grove on a
mountain range, obviously the Himalayas. He is seated on lion
skin. His third eye has been prominently portrayed on his
forehead. On his right he has his trident and drum nailed into
ground and on his left he has his 'kamandala'. The 'Neelakantha'
or the blue throated Shiva has been portrayed as total blue.
Black trees with green leaves are typical of Madhubani art. The
lower compartment depicts Rati and Kamadeva. Kamadeva has in his
hands his bow and arrow ready to shoot. Two flowering plants, one
each on both sides, further symbolise Kamadeva and the season of
spring when Kama is stronger than ever else. In front of Kamadeva
there emerges a heap of fire and coal like black ashes under it.
It depicts the prime theme, that is, Kamadeva reduced to ashes.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr Daljeet. Prof. Jain
specializes on the aesthetics of ancient Indian literature. Dr
Daljeet is the chief curator of the Visual Arts Gallery at the
National Museum of India, New Delhi. They have both collaborated
on numerous books on Indian art and culture.
Of Related Interest:
Shiva - The Sensuous Yogi (Article)
Kama-Artha-Siddhi Sadhana (Tantra Painting)
Madhubani painting is also known as Mithila art as it is practiced
in the Mithila region of India and Nepal. It has specifically
originated from the Madhubani district of the state of Bihar.
Traditionally, the women of this region created these paintings
and in recent years, it has become a widely practiced art and has
now become renowned throughout the world. This art expresses the
creativity and culture of the people of Mithila and is passed from
one generation to another. In this way, the heritage of Madhubani
art has been preserved for many decades.
The subjects of these paintings are usually religion, love, and
fertility. Sometimes, social events like festivals, weddings, and
royal court are also depicted in the paintings. The most commonly
painted designs and themes are the forms of Hindu Gods and
Goddesses such as Ganesha, Shiva, Saraswati, Lakshmi, Krishna, and
Ram. The characteristic features of Madhubani paintings are their
vibrant colors and eye-catching geometrical patterns. The empty
spaces are filled with traditional motifs such as floral and
foliate patterns, animals, birds, geometrical structures, and
other designs. The local artists create these paintings using a
variety of items such as matchsticks, twigs, brushes, pens, or
even their own fingers. The paints are usually made with natural
dyes and pigments.
As simple as it may seem, the making process of the world-famous
Madhubani paintings is certainly not easy and requires lots of
Traditional Madhubani paintings are done either on cloth,
handmade paper, or canvas. Select the medium of painting as per
your choice. If you have chosen cloth, attach it to cardboard to
make a solid base.
The making of the painting begins with making a double-lined
border. This is a very important step because the border is
filled with various geographical shapes and patterns or other
motifs. The average width of the border is 1.5 - 2 cm.
Now that the border is created, you will be left with a blank
middle space. This is the main workspace. Start drawing your
choice of figure, designs, and shapes. These must be relevant to
the Madhubani painting themes.
When the key design has been made, the empty spaces in between
are filled with some designs.
Now is the time to color the painting using vivid shades and
hues. Colors in Madhubani are sourced from nature; Indigo is
used to produce blue, flower juice produces red, turmeric gives
yellow, leaves produce green, cow dung mixed soot gives black,
and rice powder gives white.
To paint these colors, the artist uses a bamboo stick and wraps
cotton around it. This acts as a traditional brush.
The entire painting is now painted using this special brush with
natural vibrant colors. · However, in modern times, the common
brush is used and instead of natural colors, artists prefer to use
Since the entire painting is made with natural materials and
colors, it appears simple yet enriching. Originally, this art was
created on mud walls or soil grounds but when it evolved over many
years, the people of Madhubani started to make it on fabric and
paper. Today, this art has become globalized and is receiving
worldwide attention and appreciation.
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