Kama was an old name for the WWF wrestler Charles Wright (currently known as The Godfather). Kama was nicknamed "The Ultimate Fighting Machine", and he was the one who melted down The Undertaker's urn of cremated remains into stylish gold jewelry. This was after his stint as Papa Shango, the voodoo medicine man who made black goo squirt out of the Ultimate Warrior's eyes.

Kama is the god of love in Hindu mythology. The beautiful embodiment of desire, he is the inspiration for the famous work on lovemaking, the Kama Sutra. His name is reflected in several Indian names such as Kami (loving) and Kantu (happy, one of the names for Kama). Love's wife is Rati - passion - and his best friend is Vasanta, spring. He wanders about surrounded by apsaras, beautiful girls whose main goal in life is to lure ascetic sages out of their godly devotion.

All colour and sweetness, Kama has many similarities with Eros/Cupid of Greek and Roman myth. He is often depicted as a child (why will be explained later), and carries a bow and arrows which can shoot love into the heart of the sternest ascetic. The bow's shaft is made from sugarcane, the bowstring from a line of buzzing bees, and his five arrows are tipped with flowers. Kama is sometimes shown with wings, but usually he rides a parrot which flies him through the three worlds.

There are several stories about Kama, for he is a mischievous god, and frequently fires the arrow handed to him by Vasanta. The most famous legend tells about when he took it upon him to put desire into the heart of Shiva, the god who had forsworn earthly things forever.

The demon Taraka haunted the lands, and not even the gods could do something about it. Finally Indra, foremost of the gods, went and asked for advice from the Creator. He was told that the only one who could kill the demon was the seed of Shiva.

Now Shiva had no children, and his wife was dead - in his great mourning, he was lost to the world, sitting deeply concentrated in meditation. Something needed to be done before Shiva's child could conquer the demon. But who could do it?

The gods turned to Kama, the handsome god, the god of love. "Can you awaken Shiva?" they asked. "Can you light a fire in him so that he produces a fighter strong enough to conquer the demon?"

"Sure!" Kama volunteered, without thinking twice, perhaps he didn't even think once. He then went home and told his wife all about it. Rati was less than happy. "You could at least have asked me first!" she said. "Don't you know that Shiva is a god of awesome powers? Who are you to tease him?" Kama just laughed and kissed her, and soon he had convinced her to come along and disturb Shiva. Vasanta accompanied him as always.

Lord Shiva had retreated to the mountains, to the distant Himalayas. Kama pulled out an arrow and shot it right at him. The god awoke suddenly. "Who dare disturb my meditation?" he roared. He spotted Kama, and immediately knew who had been the perpetrator. Shiva opened his third eye in the middle his forehead and burned Kama to ashes.

Rati, seeing her husband go up in smoke, was devastated. She begged and pleaded with Shiva to bring her husband back to life. Shiva had calmed down a little and decided to grant her wish - but only partially. He restored Kama, but only as a mental image, representing true love and not physical lust. This earned Kama the name Ananga - the bodiless.

Despite his demise, Kama's arrow had hit home. Shiva's juices were flowing, and he agreed to take Parvati as his wife. Yet his seed was so full of energy that only Agni, the fire, could bear to take it. Agni transferred the seed to Ganga who bore the god-child Kartikeya, who was destined to slay the demon Taraka.

Rati was of course not happy having just an image for a husband. Finally, after Parvati had convinced him, Shiva allowed Kama to be reborn in a proper body, this time as the son of Krishna. Some stories say that Rati became a wet-nurse for the little child, others that she too was incarnated. Anyway, eventually they married again, and love was restored to the world.

After the deed of Kama, Shiva gave up his self-contained holiness and formed a unity with Parvati. As a powerful sexual power, he is worshipped in the representation of the Shiva linga, a phallic symbol which is always seen together with its female counterpart, the yoni. At the same time, the outcome of the story highlights the destructive power of sexuality.

In another, related legend, it was Shiva himself who was the threat. Mourning the tragic loss of his first wife, the god retreated into deep meditation. He was a fearsome sight as more and more anger and sorrow built up in him, and the other gods became afraid. They knew they must stop this build-up of negative energy before it was too late. Turning to Kama, they begged him to re-awaken the love of Shiva.

Kama was less willing this time. Shiva looked fearsome indeed, his face frozen into a grimace of despair, his long hair held up with hissing snakes. But the love-god also knew it was important, for who knew what would happen happen to the world if he did not act? He raised his bow, pointed an arrow at the great Destroyer - and promptly lost his courage.

Then he saw Parvati, daughter of the mountain, the goddess sent by the gods to win Shiva's heart. Her beauty, Kama had to admit, was even greater than that of his own wife. She would surely be able to raise Shiva's spirits! And he sent off the arrow. With the same result as before.

Poor Kama, twice killed and several times halfway restored, has many aspects because of his experiences. He can be The Bodiless, he can be a little boy, he can be a fair youth, in the same way that love can be innocent, experienced, dirty, or pure.

Kama is not an object of worship like the higher deities. He is seen more as a force of nature and a temptation to the holy and virtuous. The son of the goddess of wealth, Kama is more closely connected with material existence than with holiness. In this sense, however, he is a positive force. He ensures the cycle of life by making people fall in love and get babies. Kama's father is either Vishnu, the preserver, or in other legends Brahma, the creating aspect of God.

Kama's negative aspect is Mara, the god or demon responsible for the suffering of love.

Kama - a beloved breakfast cereal

Kama means desire in Sanskrit, yes. It's a tributary to Volga as well. Kama (Kobudo-Kama) is also a frightening sickle-shaped weapon in martial arts. And Kama admittedly is the Hindu god of carnal love, in whose honor the famous Kama Sutra may have been written.

But in Northern Europe, Kama (with or without capitalization) is first and foremost a traditional Estonian breakfast cereal, used for centuries to enhance the taste and nutritional value of various types of sour milk - kefir, yogurt, etc. In the absence of sour milk, Kama may also be eaten with sweet milk, with fruit juices or even with water. In Estonian the word kama is pronounced as an evenly stressed monosyllabic word, with ultra-short "a"'s and an unstressed, equally short "m".

Appearance of Kama cereal:

Kama looks like a brownish powder or meal, giving off a slightly bread-like, enticing aroma.

Kama is prepared by:

  • mixing a number of grains (rye, wheat, oats, barley) together with dry peas and/or beans
  • boiling the mixture in slightly salted water
  • draining off the water and letting the grains (+ peas, beans) air-dry, preferably in sunlight
  • roasting the dry mixture in an oven until it gets its appetizing brownish color
  • grinding the roasted mixture to the optimal powdery consistency of kama - not too fine, not too coarse, but just right

The proportions of the ingredients have varied between different parts of the country, but the commercially marketed Estonian brands of Kama (or Kama jahu = Kama meal) have a rather consistent composition, taste and aroma.

Nutritional data of Kama (per 100 g, approx.):

  • Energy - 1325 kJ (= 310 kcal)
  • Carbohydrates - 60 %
  • Proteins - 12 %
  • Fibre - 14 %

The relatively high fiber content of kama (some 14 %) is a valuable bonus, giving the habitual kama-eater digestive regularity and probably a certain protection against colon cancer. Kama is such a beloved foodstuff in Estonia, that commercial food companies have developed a wide range of kama-containing products, in addition to the traditional kama jahu (meal):

In spite of the great enthusiasm for Kama in modern Estonia, this foodstuff is virtually unknown today in neighboring Finland and Sweden. However, according to ethnological sources, many northern Finno-Ugric peoples - the Karelians, the Udmurts, the Vepsa, the Vadja - have used kama or kama-like foodstuffs in the past.

A Karelian kama-like product was actually brought to Värmland (western Sweden) by the Karelians who were invited by the Swedish king to settle there in the 17th century. (It had become a strategic necessity for the Swedes to populate the uninhabited forest regions bordering to Norway.) This particular kama-like product is mainly based on oats and made into soft granules by pouring the meal into boiling water. The resulting dish - called "nävgröt" (= "fist porridge") in Värmland - is hardly a regular feature of the diet in western Sweden today. But you can always get it at the many country fairs in Värmland, as a demonstration of "what the old folks used to eat".

The kama was the traditional sickle of Japanese peasants. Consisting of a short wooden handle (about 13 inches is typical) to which a gently curved 7-inch blade is affixed at a right angle, the kama is an extremely efficient tool for cutting all manner of grasses, and cereal crops, as well as leafy crops such as spinach, lettuce, and rubharb. Modern versions of the timeless kama, nowadays made with resin handles and plastic sheaths for the blade, are still used by Japanese gardeners and farmers for a wide variety of cutting needs.

But outside of Japan, the kama is perhaps best known as a martial arts weapon, especially in karate, where it is one of the five major weapon styles along with the bo, nunchaku, sai, and tonfa - all variations of farming tools which were secretly turned into weapons by the resourceful Okinawans because possession of swords by the common people was outlawed. The kama was also the weapon of choice for the ninja, due to its easily concealed small size and its innocent appearance as a common farming implement.

Used as a weapon, the kama has many assets. Typically used in pairs, the backward curving blade of the kama lends itself to all manner of slashing, hooking, thrusting and blocking maneuvers. The kama is particularly useful in rapidly disarming an enemy by hooking the blade or shaft of his weapon, and can also quickly cripple by hooking around and slicing an arm, leg, wrist, or ankle. When used for combat, kama are often attached to a long weighted chain to form a powerful combination weapon known as the kusarigama.

Ka"ma (?), n. [Skr. kAma love, the god of love.]

The Hindoo Cupid. He is represented as a beautiful youth, with a bow of sugar cane or flowers.

 

© Webster 1913


Ka"ma (kä"mä), n. (Theosophy)

Desire; animal passion; -- supposed to create the ka"ma ru"pa (rOOpa) [Skr. rUpa shape, image], a kind of simulacrum or astral likeness of a man which exists after his death in an invisible plane of being, called ka"ma lo"ca (lO"ka) [Skr. lOka space, world], until the impulses which created it are exhausted and it finally fades away.

 

© Webster 1913

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