Although many miles apart, Rati felt Kama’s incineration and collapsed to the ground, tearing out her hair in anguish.
“Without the Pleasures of Love in the world, what remedy will there be for mankind’s suffering?” she wept. “Without Love, bulls will abandon their cows, stallions their mares, and bees their flowers. Couples will separate, families will fragment, communities will collapse – and life will lose all meaning.”
Shiva was so moved by Rati’s grief that he cast his ‘nectarine soma glance’ upon the pile of perfumed ashes. He thereby not merely restored Kama to life, but, in compassionate recompense, rendered him greater, more powerful and more pervasive than before.
Shiva had afforded Kama new life, to stir loving passion in all people in the form of an incorporeal deity called Ananga, The Discarnate, or Aniruddha, the Ungovernable and Unobstructed. For Shiva had dissipated the God of Sensual Love into flowers, songbirds, tastes, scents, music, upon the breeze and even into crows, that mankind separated from their loved ones might ache with longing when reminded of them through their senses.
Thus Kama is known as Smara, Loving Recollection; Hrcchaya, He who Abides in the Heart; and Samsaraguru, the Teacher of the World.
Shiva also gave the reborn god a place in his own heart, at which Parvati rejoiced, and together the divine couple made love for an ecstatic one thousand divine years, being equal to ten earthly millennia.
However, Shiva’s impulsive incineration of Kama had not resolved the problem of the demonic Taraka and his ravaging of the universe. In addition, Shiva now found himself to be in such a state of extreme udita, sexual arousal, that he was payasvat – so full of ‘potent juice’ that he was overflowing.
Just as there had been but one who could arouse him, so there was now only one who could resolve Shiva’s irrepressible arousal: the mighty Agni, God of Fire, symbol of the ‘inner light’ that inspires humankind to explore beyond the obvious.
Agni therefore willingly leapt forwards to kneel before the great lord’s linga and, as the Vamana Purana describes, “swallowed like a man tortured by thirst swallows water”, whilst delivering Shiva to what the Skanda Purana unsurprisingly describes as “supreme bliss”.
However, Agni’s bulging mouth was unable to contain Shiva’s fiery, jasmine-perfumed seed. It squirted between Fire God’s straining lips and landed far below them in the River Ganges.
But even Mother Ganga could not bear the powerful emission and began to boil so hard and fast that she was in threat of complete evaporation. Her only choice was to cast the divine discharge ashore at a forest of tall, white-flowering kaasha grass, where the city of Varanasi now stands.
There Shiva’s semen glowed so brightly that it caught the attention of the Krittika, six ‘sky-faring’ wise-women who were accomplished in the profound meditative practices of Tantra Yoga, which had afforded them boldly independent minds.
In the chill of the evening air, these six sister matriarchs sat around to warm themselves by the mysterious shining deposit – which promptly took the opportunity to seep through their unsuspecting buttocks.
However, once imbued with the women’s shakti, the sneaky seed could no longer be contained and broke out of their bellies in fiery sparks to form before their startled eyes into a child: Skanda, the Spurt of Semen …
[Part 5 follows soon]
Read more in Limitless Sky
 Although Holi is considered an especially joyful annual festival, during which conventions are broken, friendships renewed and old enmities laid to rest, in some districts women still sing dirges and laments on the day to venerate the grief of Rati at the loss of her beloved Kama. Rati is also called upon to oversee the tantric rite of appeasement, called Shanti, which is employed to mitigate in the practitioner the results of unwise action and the disquiet caused by bad dreams.
 Soma is both the term for a consciousness-expanding plant preparation and a synonym for semen. The mythical keepers of soma are the Gandharvas – irresistibly handsome, musical men, heroic in sexual dalliance, born of the scent of flowers upon which they feed, who possess the secrets of male pleasure.
 Their union took place on the shore of Lake Sipra, where it was witnessed by Shiva’s taurine vehicle, Nandi, who stood guard for the duration. The divine bull later recounted all he had seen and heard, including the 84,000,000 sexual positions undertaken by the Supreme Couple. It is said that it was these ‘asana’, only 729 of which are feasible in the human form, that were condensed and recorded to subsequently become the basis of what we now know as the Kamasutra, the ‘Thread of Desire’.
Legend also attributes the text’s original compilation to one Dattaka, who, at a whim, was changed into his female form by Shiva. When he was later made male again, he found himself fully conversant in the sexual habits, arts and needs of both sexes, which he proceeded to record in honour of Shiva.
 There are over half a dozen different accounts of this myth from all across India. In an 11th-century version found in the Kathasaritsagara, Shiva summons Agni, who has taken the form of a crow, and orders him to swallow his semen.
Inevitably, a far more conservative version is now being propagated that credits Skanda’s birth to the sparks of fire released from Shiva’s third eye when Kama tried to rouse him from meditation, thereby avoiding all reference to Shiva’s intimacy with Agni and the generative Spurt of Semen.
 Hence his name Krshanureta, The Fire-seeded One; and by necessity Rjumushka, He who has Strong Testicles.