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» Informational Articles » God-Goddess » About Maa Rati Devi: Hindu Goddess of Sexuality

Rathi Devi

Falling in love with a special someone is an indescribable divine emotion. Everyone wants to find that one person who they can love and who loves them with their entire heart and soul. All the success and money in the world somehow pales in comparison to the joys of pure love. If you desire to seek a partner who genuinely loves you, a soul mate you can happily live with forever, you should worship specific deities who are believed to bless their devotees as they go about their quest to find true love. By venerating them, you can summon their blessings to obtain unconditional love and have blissful matrimony. One of the divinities you should pray to seek your soulmate is Rati Devi – Goddess of love, lust, passion, carnal desire and sexual pleasure.


Who is Rati & what is the meaning of her name?

In Sanskrit, the name ‘Rati’ implies to ‘enjoy’ or ‘to delight in’. Even though the verb root typically talks about any kind of enjoyment, it generally has undertones of physical and sensual pleasure. Goddess Rati is believed to be the daughter of Prajapati Daksha. She is considered to be the main consort, female counterpart and the aide of Kama (Kamadeva), the deity of love. Since she is the lifelong companion of Kama, Goddess Rati is usually portrayed alongside him in numerous legends and temple sculptures. Devotees generally worship her along with Lord Kama.

The immense beauty and sensuality of Goddess Rati have been discussed a lot in scriptures. She is showcased as someone who had the supernatural capabilities to charm the God of Love – Kamadeva. As his spouse, she is regarded as the Kama-patni. She is believed to be representative of the female seed. Goddess Rati is deemed to be the Venus of the Hindus.

Rati Devi is commonly related to the arousal and delight of sexual activity. The numerous sex techniques and positions have their Sanskrit names stemmed from hers. She is meant to only stand for the pleasure portion of sexual activity and does not associate with childbirth or motherhood. It is said that Goddess Rati can captivate and lure you with just a look with body parts that clearly demand male attention, the Rati-parvai. It is acknowledged that as soon as they catch a glimpse of her, there is nothing left to resist, the Rati-mayakkam.


Origins of Goddess Rati in Hindu Scriptures

The Kalika Purana discusses a story that talks about Goddess Rati’s birth. After the conception of ten Prajapatis, Lord Brahma produced Kama (Kamadeva) – the God of Love, from his mind. Kama had been given the task of spreading love in the universe by shooting his flower-arrows. Prajapati Daksha was asked to get Kama married.

Kama shoots his arrows against Brahma and the Prajapatis, who are all believed to be incestuously attracted to Lord Brahma’s daughter Sandhya. Lord Shiva who was passing by, observes them and laughs. This embarrasses Brahma and the Prajapatis who start sweating. From the perspiration of Daksha emerges a gorgeous woman named Rati. She is the lady who is presented to Lord Kama as his wife. However, at the same time, Lord Brahma curses Kama to be charred into ashes by Lord Shiva in the future. After Kama pleaded forgiveness, Brahma promised him that he would be reborn.

The Brahma Vaivarta Purana recounts that Sandhya committed suicide since her father – Lord Brahma – lusted for her. Lord Vishnu revives her and calls her Rati, and gets her married to Lord Kama. As for the Shiva Purana, it is cited that after her suicide, Sandhya is reborn from the perspiration of Daksha as Rati. In specific Hindu scriptures, Lord Shiva is mentioned as Rati’s father.

The appendix to the Hindu epic Mahabharata – Harivamsa – states that Lord Kama and Goddess Rati are blessed with two children – Harsha (Joy) and Yashas (Grace). But the Vishnu Purana remarks that Rati Devi as Nandi only has one son – Harsha. Both the epics - Mahabharata and Ramayana - talks about Rati as the consort of Lord Kama.


Iconography of Goddess Rati

As per the legend, Lord Kama was pierced by her love-arrows upon catching a glimpse of Rati’s body. She is showcased as a beautiful woman who wears a striking smile and has a fair, pale and creamy complexion. She has big expressive eyes, plum breasts, long-flowing dark hair, slim hips, tiny waist, long legs, voluptuous thighs and glowing skin.

Goddess Rati and Lord Kama are commonly portrayed on temple walls as ‘welcome sculptures’, representative of good fortune and prosperity. Since she is his lifelong companion, Rati Devi is always showcased alongside her husband Lord Kama. She is also incorporated as a minor character in any sketch involving Kama. The textual descriptions of Goddess Rati demonstrate her as seductive, luscious and an enchantress. Along with her male counterpart and husband Lord Kama, she rides a parrot as their mount (vahana or vehicle). Occasionally, Goddess Rati who is extremely beautiful and feminine is portrayed riding a horse like a queen, representing her Kshatriya origin as Prajapati’s daughter. Rati Devi is usually shown wielding a sword as that is her weapon.

In the Tantric imagery, Goddess Chinnamasta is portrayed as standing upon copulating Rati and Kama, while she is carrying her severed head in her left hand. This depiction is interpreted by a couple of experts as the symbol of self-control of sexual desire, while others observe this imagery as Goddess Chinnamasta being the epitome of sexual energy.


Rati Goddess Story & History

Lord Shiva went into deep sorrow after his wife Sati’s death and returned to his ascetic ways. Taking advantage of his absence, the ferocious demon Tharkasura caused havoc in the universe. He had been granted a boon that only Lord Shiva’s son can slay him. Other celestial beings wanted Lord Shiva to address the tense situation but unfortunately, he was in deep penance.

Therefore, Lord Kama is instructed by the other devas to get Lord Shiva to fall in love again. Along with his wife Rati and Madhu or Vasanta (spring), Kama headed out to Mount Kailash and shot his love arrows at the deity and invoked desire. Thus, Shiva becomes enchanted by Parvati, the reincarnation of Sati, but since he was also disturbed, he charred Kama with his third eye.

The legend further states that the grief-stricken Rati went crazy because of her husband’s death. She proceeded to smear herself with her spouse’s ashes. Goddess Rati performed severe penance and appealed to Parvati Devi to negotiate with Lord Shiva to revive her husband. Goddess Parvati assured her that Lord Kama would be reborn as Pradyumna, the son of Lord Krishna, an avatar of Lord Vishnu on earth. She was advised to proceed to demon Sambara’s house to wait for him.

So, Rati manifested into Sambara’s kitchen maid Mayavati and anticipated her spouse’s arrival in the asura’s home. Sambara was already foretold that Kama’s reincarnation would be his slayer. The demon figured out that Kama had taken rebirth as Pradyumna, the son of Lord Krishna and his wife Rukmini. He abducted the child and hurled him into the vast ocean, where he was gulped down by a fish. When the fishermen caught the fish, they directed it to Sambara’s kitchen.

When the fish was sliced, the child was discovered by Mayavati, who chose to nurture and raise him. The divine sage Narada disclosed to Mayavati that she was Goddess Rati and the child is Lord Kama. As the child grows, the maternal love of Mayavati transforms into a romantic love of a wife. The reborn Kama initially rejected her advances as he regarded her as a mother. Mayavati revealed the secrets of their previous births as recounted by Narada.

She informed him that he was the son of Lord Krishna and Rukmini and not her son. Mayavati tutors Pradyumna in the art of magic and war and counseled him to slay the demon Sambara. Pradyumna eventually emerged victorious as he slayed the dreaded asura. He returned to Dwarka, Lord Krishna’s abode with Mayavati as his wife in their original forms. They are believed to have lived as a couple for 63,000 years happily.

Characteristic Attributes of Goddess Rati

Goddess Rati was intensely devoted and passionately in love with her husband, Lord Kama. She stands for just the pleasure aspect of sexual activity and not child-birth or motherhood. She can captivate any man with just a mere glance thanks to her exceptional beauty and unquestionable sensuality. Unlike Apsaras, Goddess Rati works either alone or in partnership with her spouse Kamadeva. She is so undoubtedly charming and alluring that she can entice numerous men at the same time. She also has the power to shape-shift. She can turn into almost anything her heart wishes for.


Significance of Goddess Rati

Symbolically, Goddess Rati is known to denote love, beauty, sexual pleasure and as a woman who is extremely happy and blissful with her lover or husband. Spiritually, she is known to stand for the impurities of rajas and tamas. Thanks to her association with Lord Kama – the auspicious God of Love, she has been bestowed with the status of a premier Goddess. Thanks to her extraordinary stature, Rati shows up in Hindu art, dance, iconography and literature, signifying both love and sexual pleasure.


Interesting Anecdotes about Goddess Rati

There is another fascinating tale about Goddess Rati. It is associated with the exquisite form of Lakshmi, referred to as Saundarya Lakshmi. It was believed that at one point Goddess Rati was rather plain-looking. Due to this, she was not able to draw the attention of any eligible suitors. Rati was extremely dejected and miserable but was able to receive Goddess Lakshmi’s compassion and generosity. The deity was able to teach the art of ‘Solah Shringar’ to Rati, which in turn, made her the most gorgeous woman in the three worlds. As anticipated, Lord Kamadeva was enthralled by Goddess Rati and eventually ended up making her his main consort. Incidentally, the term ‘Shringar’ integrates the term 'Shri', which is believed to be another name for Goddess Lakshmi. Thus, the Gods of Love received the blessings of the Goddess of Prosperity.


Vahana of Goddess Rati

Goddess Rati, along with her husband Lord Kama, is depicted riding a parrot as their vahana (mount or vehicle). Sometimes, Rati Devi is also showcased riding a horse like a queen, signifying her Kshatriya origin as the daughter of Prajapati.


Festivals Dedicated to Celebrate Goddess Rati

Vasant Panchami (Basant Panchami)

This festival honors the preparation for the arrival of spring. It is also believed to mark the beginning of planning for Holika and Holi, which usually takes place approximately forty days later. Apart from worshipping Goddess Saraswathi, this auspicious occasion also has devotees venerating Lord Kama and his wife Goddess Rati. This festival is meant to stand for romance, love, youth, beauty and spring as well as a commemoration of woman and womanhood via Rati where Kama – desire – is to be honored.


How to worship, please Rati Devi & what are the various benefits of it?

Kamdev Rati Puja

The Kamdev Rati Mantra needs to be chanted 108 times after sunrise to make the deities happy by sitting on a yellow cloth. It is also recommended to have a yellow bow at your home as it is believed to improve the relationship among family members. The perfect day to conduct the Kamdev Rati Puja is on the holy occasion of Vasant Panchami (Basant Panchami) as spring is regarded as the season of love.

Benefits of Worshipping Goddess Rati

Praying to Goddess Rati and conducting the Kamdev Rati Puja is said to help you lead a blissful married life. Couples who are struggling to be compatible with each other need to conduct this Puja as it is believed that companionship between partners will significantly improve. It is assumed that the performer of the puja will be bestowed with good looks as well as charm. If you venerate Goddess Rati, it is thought that you will be blessed with a life partner who will keep you physically and mentally satisfied. Revering the Goddess will bolster the bond between you and your loved one.

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