HOLI & KAMA DAHANAM
The Full moon day in the month of Maasi ( Tamil ), Phalgun is considered as Holi. This is the day when Kaman was burnt by Lord Shiva.
Post Daksha Yagam, and after losing his consort, Shiva continues his Thapas in Mt.Kailash. The episode of Dakshayani has kindled the feeling of passion, love, affection, sadness due to loss of his consort, deep grief..Still, Mother Parasakthi wants Shiva to get out of his excess disorientation and grief and get back to his normal state.
So, Devi takes birth as Parvathy in Himagiri as the daughter of the King Himavan. Himagiri ( Himalayas), since it houses Mt.Kailash, Lord Shiva is a guest to their kingdom. Like in the previous birth, when she was born as Dakshayani (daughter of King Dakshan), wherein, she took great efforts to somehow convince her parents and even Lord Shiva to marry her, she thought that, this birth again she will take all efforts to marry Shiva. In the previous birth also he was very indifferent and this time also, he was so.
In the meantime, Simhamuha, Tarahasura, Surapadman were creating unrest to all. Sages suffered under the Asuras. This was the curse which they got for attending Daksha Yagam, in which Lord Shiva was insulted by his father in law - Dakshan. The sages understood that only an offspring of Lord Shiva can kill the asuras. But Lord Shiva was deep in penance. It became all the more important for all the Rishis, Devas also to get Shiva back to normalcy from his grief and out of his tapas.
As a short cut, they thought, they would engage Kaman ( Cupid) to disturb the Tapas of Lord Shiva and make him develop a soft corner for Parvathy. Kaman's vehicle is Parrot. Bow and arrow is his weapon. The bow is made of sugarcane and the string is made of honeybees. Arrow is made of flowers. He is accompanied by Spring season and Goddess of Love ( Rati Devi). Capricon is his zone. ( We can see, the winter ends and spring starts during this period of the year - Feb / March).
Parvathy got upset and gets into deep penance, standing on one leg, surrounded by fire. After a great Thapas, Lord Shiva pays heed to marry Parvathy. Unlike other people's thapas to Shiva, Parvathy's tapas to Shiva is different. She wants to get back that Shankara, to engage with the cosmos and get things around in full harmony. That’s the objective of her interest to marry Shiva. It’s just for the benefit of all the worlds. In the previous birth Sati came away from her house and married Shiva. This time she didn’t want to do so. She requested Shiva to come to her father and seek permission. In the previous case of Sati, Shiva goes to Dakshan, as a very rough person, with bootha ganas surrounding him, giving an unpleasant look. Dakshan rejected the proposal, saying Shiva looks like a barbarian. But, in this birth, Shiva listens to the words of Parvathy and takes the form of Shankara ( a grihasta ) and goes as a beautiful groom. This birth, it was a loving family, Shiva, Parvathy and a good father in law - Himavan. In Sati's case, it was an indifferent, rough husband and a tough Dad (Dakshan).
Kaman failed miserably before Shiva. If we look at Kamakshi, she has all the weapons of Kaman. Parrot, Bow and arrow..But, she didn’t use them against Shiva. Her eyes are filled with divine love for all the worlds , hence called Kamakshi. She won over the heart of Shiva, by sheer devotion and unconditional love. Parvathy has a mirror in her hand facing Shiva. When Shiva's eyes open, he is remembered of Sati and didn’t want another such episode. He became an understanding, loving Shankara.
Lord Shiva also considers Rathi's request to bring back Kaman alive. But Shiva made him formless. In Shiva's world, even Love is Divine. There is no physical lust between Kaman and Rathi.
This particular Kama dahanam has supposedly happened in a place called Thirukarukai, near Mayiladuthurai in Tamilnadu. We get to see nearby villages like Villianoor ( where Kaman took his Vil - i.e Bow in Tamil)
, Kanganampudur - means where Kaman took the owe (kanganam) to stir Shiva..Even now Kama Dahanam is a main function in this temple in Thirukukkai.
( The Gopuram in the temple, depicting Kama shooting the arrow on Shiva ).
It’s believed that it’s on this day of Holi, this Kama dahanam happened. Shiva burnt Kaman ( Lust ). That’s why, on Holi, people set bonfire. ( On the 5th day, on Rang Panchami, people play by throwing colors on each other, like what Krishna used to do with Gopis. )
May this Holi, spread the message of Divine Love across all hearts.
GOD IS LOVE.