vasanta and kAmadeva in shivapurANa

by Sarvesh K Tiwari

We glean through that portion of the shiva purANa where makaradhwaja boasts of his glory to devarAja, and mentions the season of vasanta as his retainer:

pa~nchaiva mR^idavo vANaste cha puShpamayA mama
chApastridhA puShpamayaH shijinIbhramarArjjitA
balaM sudayitA me vai vasantaH sachivaH smR^itaH
ahaM pa~Nchabalo devA mitraM mama sudhAnidhiH
senApatishcha shR^i~NgAro hAvabhAvashcha sainikAH
sarve me mR^idavaH shakra ahaM chApi tathAvidhaH
(shivapurANa, rudrasaMhitA, pArvatIkhaNDa)

{Made of tender flowers are the five arrows of mine,
which shoot from a flowery bow through three points, pratya~nchA of which emits the buzzing sound of bees
One’s beloved is my force, season of vasanta my attendant and secretary,
It is I who command the five senses, and I have the moon for my friend,
flirtatious gestures I appoint my soldiers; and shR^i~NgAra their lieutenant}

SP on the utpatti of vasanta season:

chintAviShTasya me tasya niHshvAso yo viniHsR^itaH
tasmAt vasantaH saMjAtaH puShpavrAtavibhUShitaH (2.2.8.37)

{(says prajApati,) Being engrossed so in my botheration, the sigh which I emitted,
gave birth to vasanta decorated with its flock of flowers}

In an archaic way SP etymologically connects vasanta with vasati:

vasanterantahetutvAd vasantAkyo abhavatayam (2.2.8.47)

{it is vasanta that ultimately causes vasati, or home (by inducing the motivation for settling down in marriage!)}

It seems there must have been temples dedicated to madanadeva in ancient Hindu soceity, and during the days preceding to the holikotsava, Hindus did celebrate madanotsava dedicated to kAmadeva. Now a days of course, it has become limited only to the celebration of colourful holI.

In mR^ichcHakaTike we find multiple mentions of madanAyatana, i.e. the temple to kAmadeva. and aside from a shrine in devapATana in nepAla, where He appears fused into imagery of mahAdeva, we are not aware of any functioning temple to kAmadeva.

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