God of Desire: Tales of Kāmadeva in Sanskrit Story Literature

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SUNY Press, Nov 3, 2005 - Religion - 236 pages
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God of Desire presents Sanskrit tales of the Indian deity Kāmadeva as he battles the ascetic god Śiva, assists the powerful goddess Devī, and incarnates as the charming son of Kṛṣṇa. Exploring the imagery and symbolism of the god of desire in art and ritual, Catherine Benton reflects on the connection of Kāmadeva to parrots, makaras (gharials), and apsarases (celestial nymphs), and to playful devotional rituals designed to win his favor. In addition to examining the Hindu literature, Benton also highlights two Buddhist forms of Kamadeva, the demonic Māra, who tries to persuade the Buddha to trade enlightenment for the delights of a woman, and the ever-youthful Ma˝juśri, who cuts through ignorance with the bodhisattva sword of wisdom. Tales of Kāmadeva from the Hindu and Buddhist traditions present desire as a powerful force continually redefining the boundaries of chaos and order and gently pulling beyond the ephemeral lure of passionate longings.
 

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Contents

Stories mold worldview
5
Structure of this study
21
Rati
29
Priti Karṇotpalā Skanda Purana
35
CHAPTER THREE KAMADEVA Reborn AS PRADYUMNA
65
The Tale of Khanḍaśila and the Well
87
CHAPTER FIVE WORSHIPPING KAMADEVA
93
34
106
NOTES
191
69
194
K KE 8
208
SANSKRIT TEXTS
211
GENERAL SOURCES
219
77
231
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Catherine Benton is Lecturer in the Religion Department at Lake Forest College.

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