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Warning! This page contains spoilers for Aru Shah and the Song of Death.
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Kamadeva (pronounced: "KAH-mah-deh-vuh") is the Hindu god of the human love and desire. He is often portrayed along with his wife, Rati.
Kamadeva was the son of Vishnu and Lakshmi. He wields a bow made out of sugarcane, with string made out of honeybees, that can bring together people's hearts. Vasanta, the ritu of Spring, often accompanies Kamadeva as love if supposed to feel like eternal spring. The handsome young archer rides a parrot as a vahana and is married to Rati ("RAH-tee"), the goddess of love and carnal desire who was born from the sweat of Daksha, the god of kings.
In Ramayana, when Surpanakha confronted Rama, Laxmana and Sita, she was attracted to both men. She wanted one of them to marry her, but Rama was already married to Sita and Laxmana just outright refused. Surpanakha tried to attack Sita but Laxmana cut her nose off causing her to reveal her demonic appearance. She rushed to her brother, Ravana the demon king, who stole Sita because of this causing Rama to start a war. Kamadeva took responsibility for this event.
One time, the land was ravaged by a terrible demon that could only be defeated. The gods needed Kamadeva's help to get Shiva and Parvati, the Mother Goddess, back together after Parvati had been reborn on earth. But Shiva had been deep in meditation and refused to open his eyes due to being devastated over her loss. So Kamadeva arrived with the stuff of crushes like Spring and music, which made Shiva so angry he opened his third eye and incinerated the god of love. However, Shiva and Parvati got back together and had a son, Kartikeya, the god of war.
While awaiting Kamadeva's reincarnation, his beloved wife, Rati carried his bow and arrow for him. But the pain upon his departure was felt so keenly that her soul song fled granting Kamadeva's weapon a dark power. Anyone struck by grief and armed with the knowledge of enchantment could carve out their own soul song. The sheer desperation of that act would give them the power to wield Kamadeva's bow and arrow for a terrible purpose of literally ripping out the hearts of humans and turned them into zombies. So after Rati's soul song returned and was reunited with Kamadeva, he gave the weapon to Uloopi who had it locked up in the treasury of the Naga Realm.
Kamadeva first appeared in his office at Loves Park, Illinois. He walked toward Aru Shah, Mini, Brynne Rao, and Aiden Acharya, and although teens were his favorite customers, thieves weren't so much. Four blades hovered above each of them, he saw that Brynne thought he was weak. But Kamadeva said that empirical evidence points to the opposite of no desire, he showed how Surpanakha fell in love with Rama and Laxmana and how he got incinerated by Shiva. While they were watching the scenes on the floor, Kamadeva looked into each of their hearts and saw ripe yearning, especially in Aiden. He believes in their innocence, unfortunately Uloopi wouldn't believe him because she blames him for her falling in love with Arjuna, Aru's previous incarnation. Only by bring the bow and arrow to Uloopi would prove their innocence, Kamadeva explained what happened to his weapon to them. He doesn't use them anymore but he doesn't miss them, he'd have to lie in wait at coffee shops or youth group lunches these days, take intro to philosophy classes at eight thirty a.m., or scroll through Reddit Fortnite threads these days. The current army of Heartless zombies is nearly invincible, but Kamadevas told the Pandavas that if the thief's soul song is returned then effects of the bow and arrow would be reversed. Unfortunately he couldn't do this himself or even help the Pandavas, it's their quest and the Soul Exchange is in dire straights. But he does tell them that the thief's soul song is in the place where the weapon was stolen, Naga Realm treasury. Kamadeva tells them that they must speak the name of the thief over it to reveal the location of the stolen weapon, then plunge the arrow into through the thief's heart to cleanse it of its dark power and restore the Heartless. The god of love then took them to his office, he shined beams of light on Aiden's camera to prevent competitors from learning his secrets. In his office, he made a glass door to an aquarium appear, before they left he game them a card for Durvasa if they needed help but warned them to be very polite to him. After recovering the bow, the Pandavas requested Kamadeva to listen to Meenakshi's story to which he obliged. In return for recovering his bow, Kamadeva granted each Pandava present there a boon. For Mini, he granted her a single minute of time, which he said, "Can erase a full minute of words you didn’t mean to say. Very handy for first-time crushes.” For Brynne, he presented her with his favorite recipe book. For Aru, he gave her a silver lipstick tube which he said was,“A celestial spotlight made of crushed stars and aged moonbeams." He told her to use it when she feels like the world should see her in a different light. He gave an enchanted love arrow to Aiden. He also revealed that Aiden was Draupadi in another life.
The hair of the stylish, young and charismatic Kamadeva was a shock of black curls. He wore an expensive and dark Nehru jacket and a bright blue parrot rode on his shoulder. He would have looked like the up-and-coming CEO of a global corporation or a Bollywood movie star if it wasn't for his bright and green skin.
- Kamadeva's name literally translates as "god of love." "Kama" means love and "deva" means god. On the other hand, the name of his wife, Rati, comes from the Sanskrit root ram, meaning "enjoy" or "delight in."
- It is unclear if the parrot riding on his shoulder is his vahana.
- The swan outside his office that guards a key to it, known to grow three stories tall and attack intruders violently when threatened.
- His Greco-Roman counterpart is Eros/Cupid, they even have bows and arrows. Except Kamadeva is more fashion-forward and less overtly cruel.
- His Egyptian counterpart is Hathor.
- His Norse counterpart is Freya.
- Aru Shah and the Song of Death, Ch. 9
- Aru Shah and the Song of Death, Glossary