Thursday, January 3, 2019




(  Done in green stone. As per description , the image relates to 8th or 9th Century AD  Kashmir )

Kaamadeva (kaamdeev in kashmiri) is god of love ,youth ,desire and union. Among the other names of Kaamdeva, the most commonly used in Sanskrit literature are Madana ( Madan-Vaar or Madan in kashmiri ) and Manmatha. I was told by an elderly sanskrit knowing person that over a passage of time, Manmatha was shortened to Matha or Mathyo in spoken kashmiri  language and finally to Mattyo . In kashmiri poetry, Mattyo also means loved one or the beloved .

Kaamdeva is always depicted with greenish or reddish complexion decked with flowers, ornaments and a bow . He is often attended by a parrot believed to be his Vehicle. Vasanta ( Spring season or Soant in kashmiri) is his trusted companion. He is always shown accompanied by a band of Musicians and Dancers.

In Kashmir, kaamdeva images were sculpted in temples of Awantipora and Anderkot ( capital of king Jayapida grandson of king  Lalitaditya) . Some sculpted images ( broken) of kaamdeva from kashmir can be seen in  various museums of USA and Europe . A few were lying in SPS Museum Lal Mandi Srinagar .Kaamdeva images were sculpted in Awantswamin temple of kashmir  .More than four  kaamdeva  ( seated ) images  with consorts have been identified in Awantiswamin temple at Awantipora kashmir by scholars.

The description given for one Kaamdeva stone image held in Metropolitan Museum Of Art New York reads:

‘ Though rarely represented in Kashmiri art, Kama, the god of love, is here identified by a wondrous mythical creature (makara), who spews arrows from its jaws. The bow and arrow and a pair of lovebirds are Kamadeva’s principal identifiers. This subject is a rare survivor from early medieval Kashmir.’

Kamadeva was very popular deity in ancient and mediaeval Kashmir. Festival in honour of this deity was held annually in Kashmir in the month of Chaitra that coincided with the advent of spring . images of Kaamdeva were specially made for the festival .Kaamdeva  stimulates physical attraction .Nilamata Purana, Rajatarangini and persian chronicle Tofatul Ahbab make explicit mention of this festival celebrations in Kashmir . Present day Soant festival of kashmiri pandits is a reminder of this ancient tradition.

Nilamata Purana informs us :

‘ Kaamdeva painted on cloth should be worshipped with various types of garlands and diverse incenses on the 13th day of Chaitra.’

( Verse 679 of Nilamata Purana)

Word Kaamdeva and Madana has been used by almost every Kashmiri poet. Even sufi poets have used the words Kaamdeva and Madana . Many modern kashmiri poets have also used Kaamdeva symbolically .

I quote stalwart modern poet Dina Nath Nadim :

‘Siyaahi guvv vachhuss zeuss noor  voatleuvv
Hupaaer khoat Kaamdeev vulamaniey pahaadus ’

( Dina Nath Nadim )

‘The beams dug a well in the bosom of Darkness ,
 For  daylight  to  spread   all  around .
Behold ! There emerges Kaam Deva ( Sun ) climbing  the Mountain.’

I quote some lines from Farooq Nazki's poem.

"Oburr Khoat Voalunn Nabh Ta Gagraayee Laajinn,
Yuthhuyee Roodh Logunn ,
Draemin Kaanijeiv Taar Vuznaavie Bomburuvv,
Satut Aav Laraan ,
Katij Tchaai Boad Kuth ,
Vuchhun Taalwuss Jild Poatt Vaeini Awezaan ,
Heutun Oull Yerrun,
Chhu Az Kaam deevuss Atchunn Dard Ghaamuss………
Draamien Tchakalaa Peith Paetch Gurreitt Aab Joii Zun
Sabz Makhmalas Tus Magar Badh-Naseebi ,
Sabz Neiuv Bahaaruv,
Gurreitt Aab Myaaniss Diluss Aainaa Khaanuss ,
Pushurnum Bahaarun………."

(Farooq Nazki)

My english rendering would be:

‘Clouds suddenly emerge ,
Engulfing the sky .
Behold !Here comes thunder,
And the moment rain danced down ,
The humming bumble bees made the grassy lawns sing in unison .
The wood pecker too joined hurriedly ,
The swallow entered the sitting room ,
Looking at the dangling board of the room ceiling ,
it started building a nest over there .
And *Kaamdeva is Knocking to enter this township of pain .
A Muddy water torrent swept away the Green grass patch over here ;
Unlucky was this green velvet like turf ,
that got carried away .
To this mirror that my heart is ,
this spring had nothing to offer except the muddy water.’

 I quote sufi poet Wahaab Khaar ...

‘Shaam Sondarunn Burr Karnuss ta Lo Lo
Kaam Deevus log Par Muss Ta Lo Lo
 “Wahaab Khaar ” Chhuyee Deidi Tal Intezaarus
Chhuyee Praaraan Deedarus Ta Lo Lo’
( Wahaab Khaar )

‘ Shaam Sunder ( beloved ) has left me undone ,
My Kaamdeva  is now engrossed with others
Love !This Wahaab Khaar  is waiting for  you at the gate ,
He waits now just to have your glimpse only .’

And 19th century romantic poet Rasul Mir has repeatedly used Madan and kaamdev in his poems. I quote:

"Tse yi-vaan roshe chhukh nataah
hoshe dallayo madno
Baa rivaan sormaa chesman
Sormaa chhaalaeyo madno."

( Rasul Mir)

My english rendering would be:

" And there you stay away from me my annoyed love
And here my senses give me up.
These tears trickle down my eyes
And wash all the Kohl ."

And Mehmood Ghami ,another 18th century poet writes :

" Sonaa chham paama diwaan,
kaamdeevo jana-waaro,
Tanaa wotum riwaan,
maer mandeh madan -vaaro"

( Mehmood Ghami )
My english rendering would be:

‘Unpleasant are the remarks
that my sister-wives pass at me,
O- Kaamdeva ,
You , a flying bird,
I weep ever since you left me ,
My charismatic Madana .’

According to EB Havell noted art historian :

‘ In Kashmir , Kamdeva  sculptures were done to decorate temples and protect them from lightening, thunder and evil eye .’

(Avtar Mota)

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