Kamadeva: the deity emerges out of original chaos

Kamadeva, God of Love, 18th-19th century. US public domain via wikimedia
Kamadeva, God of Love, 18th-19th century. US public domain via wikimedia

In the image above, we see a man sitting on a bird. He holds a bow and arrow. He is Kama Deva, the god of love. Kamadeva is said to be the son of the mother goddess Shri Devi.

Carl Jung speaks of “Kama, the God of love”, as “a cosmogonic principle.” Cosmogony is the emergence of the cosmos. In the hymn of creation (Nasadiya Sukta) from the Rig Veda (10.129), we find Kama mentioned as a cosmic principle, as cosmic love.

Nasadiya Sukta

nāsa̍dāsī̱n no sadā̍sīt ta̱dānī̱m nāsī̱d rajo̱ no vyo̍mā pa̱ro yat | kim āva̍rīva̱ḥ kuha̱ kasya̱ śarma̱nnaṁbha̱ḥ kimā̍sī̱dgaha̍naṁ gabhī̱ram ||1||

THEN was not non-existent nor existent: there was no realm of air, no sky beyond it.
What covered in, and where? and what gave shelter? Was water there, unfathomed depth of water?
na mṛ̱tyurā̍sīda̱mṛta̱ṁ na tarhi̱ na rātryā̱ ahna̍ āasītprake̱taḥ | ānī̍davā̱taṁ sva̱dhayā̱ tadekaṁ̱ tasmā̍ddhā̱nyanna pa̱raḥ kiñ ca̱nāsa̍ ||2||
Death was not then, nor was there aught immortal: no sign was there, the day’s and night’s divider. That One Thing, breathless, breathed by its own nature: apart from it was nothing whatsoever.

tama̍ āasī̱ttama̍sā gū̱ḻhamagre̍’prake̱taṁ sa̍li̱laṁ sarva̍mā i̱daṁ | tu̱cchyenā̱bhva pi̍hitaṁ̱ yadāsī̱ttapa̍sa̱stanma̍hi̱nā jā̍ya̱taika̍ṁ || 3 ||

Darkness there was: at first concealed in darkness this All was indiscriminated chaos.
All that existed then was void and form less: by the great power of Warmth was born that Unit.

 kāma̱ stadagre̱ sama̍varta̱t ādhi̱ mana̍so̱ reta̍ḥ pratha̱maṁ yadāsī̍t | sa̱to bandhu̱ masa̍ti̱ nira̍vindan hṛ̱di pra̱tīṣyā̍ ka̱vayo̍ manī̱ṣā ||4||
Thereafter rose Kama in the beginning, Kama, the primal seed and germ of the cosmic intellect. The kavi (sages, seers) recognize or trust that intellect within their hearts that which links the inner and outer worlds (my translation)
ti̱ra̱ścīno̱ vita̍to ra̱śmire̍ṣāma̱dhaḥ svi̍dā̱sī 3 du̱pari̍ svidāsī 3t | re̱to̱dhā āa̍sanmahi̱māna̍ āasantsva̱dhā ā̱vastā̱tpraya̍tiḥ pa̱rastā̍t ||5||
Transversely was their severing line extended: what was above it then, and what below it? There were begetters, there were mighty forces, free action here and energy up yonder

ko a̱ddhā ve̍da̱ ka i̱ha pra vo̍ca̱tkuta̱ āajā̍tā̱ kuta̍ i̱yaṁ visṛ̍ṣṭiḥ | a̱rvāgde̱vā a̱sya vi̱sarja̍ne̱nāthā̱ ko ve̍da̱ yata̍ āaba̱bhūva̍ ||6 ||

Who verily knows and who can here declare it, whence it was born and whence comes this creation? The Gods are later than this world’s production. Who knows then whence it first came into being?

i̱yaṁ visṛ̍ṣṭi̱ryata̍ āaba̱bhūva̱ yadi̍ vā da̱dhe yadi̍ vā̱ na | yo a̱syādhya̍kṣaḥ para̱me vyo̍ma̱ntso a̱ṅga ve̍da̱ yadi̍ vā̱ na veda̍ || 7 ||

He, the first origin of this creation, whether he formed it all or did not form it,
Whose eye controls this world in highest heaven, he verily knows it, or perhaps he knows not.



  1. Most of the translation is from Griffith. I created my own translation for the 4th hymn.


  1. Mialphaniomega: https://mialphaniomega.wordpress.com/2015/10/07/nasadiya-suktam-hymn-of-creation-commentary-recital-sanskrit-english-word-for-word-translation-translations-in-tamil-english-french-german-spanish-and-italian-explanation-notes/
  2. An explanation of the translation of the Nasadiya Sukta (hymn 10.129 of the Rigveda) by Kant Sing
  3. http://www.swami-krishnananda.org/vishnu/nasadiya.pdf
  4. Rig Veda, tr. by Ralph T.H. Griffith, [1896], at sacred-texts.com




2 thoughts on “Kamadeva: the deity emerges out of original chaos

  1. In addressing this qitueson in what spirit do you live I suspect it would be important to understand just how Jung could discuss such matters himself. he did not use such language to merely to describe his situation (mid-life crisis) in an allegorical manner. They were no literary conceits either. He was pulled into his discoveries by engaging in an experiment! He had a methodology for entering a domain where such discoveries may be made. His discovery was of autonomous subjectivities that could address him and relativize him as ego. They could also impose a binding commitment on him.With all this, I would suppose that each of us would need some similar phenomenology in order to find in what spirit we live without running the risk of engaging in fancy (Coleridge), conceits or allegorical thinking etc. none of which binds us with their necessity.Jung did get so bound, did make a commitment and took a stand that he lived with his whole life, thus making him an initiate. The spirit in which he was became his truth (which means Truth as inflected through his personality). We can all live factually in the spirit of the times or some other without being touched in our consciousness by that fact at all. I think it would take an initiation to make that fact a truth in which consciousness is transformed by the facts. Then one could probably talk of the spirit in which one lives John Woodcock

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