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Kumarasambhavam of Kalidasa – Story and Importance of Kumarasambhavam

Kumarasambhavam of Kalidasa is a mahakavya – epic poem – in eight cantos. Kumarasambhavam is of great importance because the story deals with the marriage of Shiva and Goddess Parvati. The marriage was necessary to save the universe as only through the marriage can Kumara take birth. From the divine union appeared Kumara, Muruga or Kartikeya, to destroy Tarakasura.

Story of Kumarasambhavam                                        

Shiva was engrossed in self-contemplation after the death of Mata Sati.

Demon Tarakasura was creating havoc in the world after getting the boon that he can be only annihilated by a son born of Shiva.

Mata Sati, takes the form of Goddess Parvati, is born again on earth as the daughter of Himavan, the mountain king.

From a young age, she dedicates herself to serving Shiva who was meditating in the mountains.

Indra, the king of Devas, suffered huge setbacks in the battle against Demon Tarakasura.

With Shiva showing no interest in Goddess Parvati, the boon of Brahma that only a son of the divine couple can vanquish Tarakasura was making the demon immortal.

Indra then decides to tempt Shiva. He took the help of Kamdev, the Hindu God Love.

Kama was overconfident about his powers. This is how Kalidasa portrays Kamdev’s overconfidence.
“Though my weapons are but flowers and my army but the spring, I will make Shiva himself lose his firmness. Which archer will equal me?” (III. 30)
He then approaches Shiva who was in total Samadhi. This is how Kalidasa portrays Shiva’s meditation.
“Still like a rainless cloud, still like a waveless ocean, still like an unflickering flame.” (III. 48)
Goddess Parvati, who was an ethereal beauty, walked in when Kamadev was planning to hit Shiva with his arrows. This gave a boost to his confidence.

Kamdev placed his arrow, called sammohana (the infatuating one), on his bow and took aim. Before the arrow was released something drastic happened. Suddenly, Shiva came back from his Samadhi and looked around angrily. A fire flashed forth in anger from his third eye and it reduced Kamdev into ashes.

There was utter chaos. Rati, wife of Kamdev, appears on the scene crying wildly.

Rati, lamenting over her husband’s death, decides to burn herself, but a heavenly voice promises her that though not visible he would live forever disembodied (Anaga).

A major highlight of Kumarasambhavam is the lamentation of Rati set in the viyogini meter. The great warmth of its feeling is a supreme achievement of Kalidasa.

Goddess Parvati realized that her ethereal beauty was not capable of bringing Shiva out of Samadhi.

She then takes a firm resolution that penance was the sole means of winning Shiva.

She performed intense penance like standing amidst four fires in hot summer and neck-deep in freezing water in winter. Seasons passed by.

Then one day Shiva appeared before Parvati in the form of a celibate.

The celibate said all negative and bad things about Shiva to Parvati.
Parvati however said, “Well, maybe Shiva is a you depict him, but I love him and him only. Maybe love is blind.”
She then decided to go away from the scene. But someone held her back, she then realized that someone was Shiva.
Shiva then told her, “Verily you have bought me by your penance.”
Here ends the story of Kumarasambhavam.