God of Desire: Tales of Kamadeva in Sanskrit Story Literature
God of Desire presents Sanskrit tales of the Indian deity Kaμmadeva as he battles the ascetic god Sċiva, assists the powerful goddess Devi, and incarnates as the charming son of Kr|s|n|a. Exploring the imagery and symbolism of the god of desire in art and ritual, Catherine Benton reflects on the connection of Kaμmadeva 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 Kaμmadeva, the demonic Maμra, who tries to persuade the Buddha to trade enlightenment for the delights of a woman, and the ever-youthful ManĊjusŒri, who cuts through ignorance with the bodhisattva sword of wisdom. Tales of Kaμmadeva 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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