Perhaps no other faith glorifies the idea of love between the sexes as Hinduism.
This is evident from the amazing variety of mythical love stories that abounds
Sanskrit literature, which is undoubtedly one of the richest treasure hoards
of exciting love tales.
The tale-within-a-tale-within-a-tale format of the great epics of Mahabharata
lodges a lot of love legends. Then there are the charming stories of Hindu gods
and goddesses in love and the well-known works like Kalidasa's Meghadutam
and Abhijnanashakuntalam and Surdasa's lyrical rendition of the legends
of Radha, Krishna
and the gopis of Vraj. Set in a land of great natural beauty, where the lord
of love picks his victims with consummate ease, these stories celebrate the
myriad aspects of the many-splendored emotion called love.
The Lord of Love
It is relevant, here, to know about Kamadeva, the Hindu god of carnal love,
who is said to arouse physical desire. Born out of the heart of Creator Lord
, Kamadeva is depicted as a youthful being with a greenish or reddish
complexion, decked with ornaments and flowers, armed with a bow of sugarcane,
strung with a line of honeybees and floral arrowheads. His consorts are the
beautiful Rati and Priti, his vehicle is a parrot, his chief ally is Vasanta,
the god of spring and he is accompanied by a band of dancers and performers
- Apsaras, Gandharvas and Kinnaras.
The Kamadeva Legend
According to a legend Kamadeva met his end at the hands of Lord
, who incinerated him in the flames of his third eye. Kamadeva had
inadvertently wounded the meditating Lord Shiva with one of his arrows of love,
which resulted him to fall in love with Parvati, his consort. From then on he
is thought to be bodiless; however, Kamadeva has several reincarnations, including
Pradyumna, the son of Lord Krishna.
Revisiting the Love Stories
Classical love legends from Hindu mythology and folklore of India are both passionate
and sensuous in content, and never fail to appeal to the romantic in us. These
fables fuel our imagination, engage our emotions, sense and sensibility, and
above all, entertain us. Here we revisit three such love stories: