Rati is the goddess of love, carnal desire, lust, pleasure, and passion. She is a daughter of Daksha and wife of Kama, the primary god of love. Her mount is a peacock and her weapon is a divine sword. She was born from the sweat of Daksha.
- Father: Daksha
- Husband: Kama
- Sons: Harsha, Yashas
During the creation of the universe, Brahma created his ten mind-born sons. Their names were Marichi, Atri, Pulaha, Pulastya, Angiras, Kratu, Vashishta, Narada, Daksha, and Bhrigu. After that, a beautiful woman named Sandhya was born from Brahma’s mind. Suddenly, a handsome man named Kama sprung from Brahma’s mind.
He was assigned to spread love around the world. He decided to start by performing his task on Brahma, his ten mind-born sons, and Sandhya. Brahma and his sons became attracted to Sandhya. Dharma, another son of Brahma, called Shiva for help. Shiva came there and told them that what they are doing is sinful. After Shiva left, Daksha started sweating and from this sweat, a beautiful lady was born. She had a golden complexion and perfect, slender body. Brahma was then enraged at Kama and cursed him, but then blessed him. He then left the spot.
After Brahma had left, Daksha said, “Kama, I have found a perfect wife for you. She is born of my own body.”
Daksha presented the beautiful lady who had been born of his sweat to Kama. He then said, “She will be known as Rati. She will be your constant companion.”
Great festivities took place at their marriage. Both Rati and Kama were overjoyed to marry each other. Everybody at the marriage was happy, especially Daksha.
Trying to Seduce Shiva
After the marriage, everyone went back to their appropriate abodes. At Satyaloka, Brahma started thinking about what had just happened. He then had an idea. He went to the abode of his ten mind-born sons, Kama, and Rati. Brahma said, “Shiva is a Yogin, so he despised us being attracted to a women. If he doesn’t allow men to be attracted to women, then the creation won’t progress. We must have Shiva take up a wife! Only Kama and Rati are capable of this feat. Kama, you and your wife shall pursue Shiva wherever he travels and seduce him.”
“We will surely do as you say, Brahma. But we need a women for Shiva to be attracted to,” Kama said.
Brahma started thinking about by whom Shiva is to be enamoured. As he was in deep thought, he heaved a sigh from which a being was created. He was covered with flowers and carried the presence of spring with him.
Brahma said, “Kama, I have created a constant companion for you. He will be known as Vasanta, which means Spring. His duty is to follow you and delight all people. Now go, and try to seduce Shiva. I will create a women who will captivate Shiva.”
Kama, Vasanta, and Rati went to the spot where Shiva was staying. All three of them did various attempts to spread love around Shiva, but Shiva completely ignored all of this. Unsuccessful, they returned to Brahma.
Hearing what had happened, Brahma heaved a deep sigh of frustration. From this sigh, a group of violet beings playing on various loud instruments were created. They were shouting: Kill, Cut.
“Oh Brahma, who are these people that you have produced. What is their job in this universe? Why have they been created?” Kama questioned.
“They are shouting Maraya (which means kill) very often. Hence, they will be known as the Maras. This group will go around violently disrupting the activities of everybody. But they can only be controlled by you. Their sole purpose is to follow you as companions wherever you go,” Brahma answered. “Now go and try to seduce Shiva again.”
Kama, Rati, Vasanta, and the Maras went to Shiva but failed once again. Knowing that nothing could be done to seduce Shiva, Rati, Kama, Vasanta and their followers returned to their abode.
Incineration of Kama
Once, Indra called Kama, Rati, Vasanta, and all their followers. Indra and Kama lovingly greeted each other.
Indra praised Kama and then said, “The Asura Taraka has become invincible. He has a boon from Brahma that only a son of Shiva can kill him. But as you know, Sati recently died and Shiva doesn’t have a son. We have not been able to do anything against him. Shiva is currently engaged in meditation and Parvati, the daughter of Himavat, is serving him. You must create love between them so that they have a child that can kill Tarakasura.”
Accompanied by Vasanta and Rati, Kama went to the spot where Shiva was meditating. First, Vasanta spread the effects of Spring everywhere. The beautiful environment was perfect for love. Shiva was surprised but stayed in his penance. Kama spread love everywhere. Parvati then came there with two of her maids and brought flowers to offer to Shiva. Kama shot his flowery arrow of love at Shiva. When Shiva saw Parvati, he was enamored by her beauty. He started staring at her and starting undressing her. But, Shiva immediately came out of this lustful state and went back to being detached. Shiva looked around and saw Kama on his left side. He was enraged and opened his third eye. A great fire originated from his third eye and reduced Kama to ashes.
All the gods were shocked when they saw this. Rati became insane by seeing the death of her husband. All the devas approached Shiva and said, “Oh Shiva, Kama did not have bad intentions. He is helping us in ending Taraka. Please revive Kama. We cannot bear to see the distress of Rati anymore.”
“Kama will surely be resuscitated,” Shiva assured. Hearing this, the devas were delighted and went back to their respective abodes.
Resuscitation of Kama
Finally, the marriage of Shiva and Parvati occured and it was being joyfully celebrated. In the midst of the celebration, Rati approached Lord Shiva with a bag of Kama’s ashes. She begged him to resuscitate her husband. The other ladies, like Saraswati, started piteously crying and also requested Shiva to revive Kama. Shiva agreed and glared at the ashes. Instantly, the ashes were transformed into Kama deva. Kama was alive once again!
Rati’s happiness knew no bounds. Kama and Rati eulogized Shiva and then bowed down to him. They then met Brahma, Vishnu, and the other gods. They participated in the rest of the marriage ceremonies and then went back to Swarga.
In Dwapara Yuga, Kama incarnated as Pradyumna, Krishna’s son. Shiva told Rati that the incarnated Kama will be the asura Sambara’s destroyer. Rati assumed the form of Sambara’s kitchen-maid, Mayavati. When Pradyumna was a baby, Sambara abducted him and threw him in the ocean. Pradyumna was swallowed by a fish. The fish was soon caught and taken to Sambara’s kitchen. Mayavati cut the fish and found baby Pradyumna in it. She decided to raise and nurture him.
Once, Narada came to Mayavati and told her that she was an incarnation of Rati and Pradyumna was an incarnation of Kama. This caused Rati’s motherly love to change to the love of a wife. Pradyumna was annoyed by this, so Mayavati told him everything, including that he was a son of Krishna. Mayavati started training Pradyumna in combat and magic. Mayavati instructed Pradyumna to defeat Sambara and he did so. Pradyumna married Mayavati and returned to Dwarka with her.