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Kamantakamurti – Shiva as Kamantaka Murti

Kamantakamurti of Shiva is associated with the famous incident mentioned in the Puranas in which Shiva burns down Kama or Manmatha, the god of love. After death of Sati, Shiva entered into severe penance and this caused imbalance in the galaxy. Demon Taraka wrecked havoc in the universe as he had got a boon that only a son of Shiva will annihilate him.

Since Shiva was performing intense austerities, Demon Taraka knew that he will never father a son. Meanwhile, Goddess Shakti had appeared as Parvati but Shiva showed no intention of returning to worldly life.

Devas then deputed Kama, the god of love, to create lascivious thoughts in the mind of Shiva.

Kama aimed flowery arrows at Shiva. Angry at being disturbed, Shiva opened his third eye and burnt Kama into ashes.

As Kamantakamurti, Shiva is sitting in meditating posture and Kamadev is sculptured as having fallen down at the glance of Shiva.

The murti of Shiva has three eyes, four arms and his head is covered with a jata mukuta. He has a terrific look.  He carries akshamala and a snake in two hands. One hand carries a flag and one hand is in Suchi Hasta posture.

The size of Manmatha in the murti should be one-half that of Shiva. The complexion of Kamdev is yellow and he wears golden ornaments. He also carries five flowery arrows and a bow made of sugarcane.

Shiva as Kamantakamurti is generally sculpted on walls of temples. The murti is also found on the gopurams of South Indian temples.

Story of the Rebirth of Kamdev