Have you ever wondered why green parrots were chosen for being pet birds? In mythology, there has been a strong association of the damsel in love to carry a cage with a green parrot in it which has through ages been associated with the flavor of sensual love. In mystic poetry, green parrots hold the secret of her love mate, and have often spilled those beans when someone comes along and lets them free.
In the world of ancient iconography green parrots have been associated with the Lord of Love - Kama, who holds a sugarcane bow with a string of honey bees. The form of Parvati, Kanchi Kameshwari, holds a Green Parrot and a sugarcane bow with a string of honey bees in her hand as she resides on her beloved the Great Lord Shiva, at the Kamakshi Amman temple in Kanchipuram. Green parrots are associated with this potent essence of mortal love that transforms into divine love while sugarcane and honey bees describe the sweetness of such love. Somewhere along the way we lost the main meaning and just blindly followed the rule of pet birds. Maybe that’s a reason why parrots and love birds made it as pet birds in cages…a hope to keep the love energy active within grihasta.
But here is the twist to this beautiful story. While Goddess Kamakshi holds the green parrot in her hand, it is her consort Lord Shiva who slays Kama, the green parrot who hold the 5 potent arrows of love. Is there something for us to look deeper and wake up to? Kama, the cupid, Lord of sensual mortal love, holds 5 potent arrows tipped in 5 sacred flowers that can mesmerize any human to fall prey to the power of mortal sexual love and stay captive within its sweetness. And with one hit there is practically no chance of revival. It is one such deadly mistake that the great Devas made when they approached Kama to strike these arrows into the Great Yogishwara Himself. But little did Kama know of his own fate when he did that.
The great Ravana (yes I admire this asura) has furiously written this sacred verse on the potency of the love of Lord Shiva, who is way beyond the small world of love that Kama promises us.
Karaala bhaala pattikaa dhagad dhagad dhagaj jwala-
Ddhananjayaa hutee kruta prachanda pancha sayakae
Dharaa dharendra nandinee kuchagra chitrapatraka-
Prakalpanaika shilpini, trilochane ratir mama. ||7||
He on whose intense forehead the great fire of enlightenment burns Dhahaga Dhaga
He who burnt the God of Love, the one with five arrows,
He who describes the essence of pure love by drawing beautiful lines
On the tip of the breasts of the daughter of the mountain
He is of deep interest to me
Why did Lord Shiva burn Kama with the great fire of enlightenment? Now this fire of enlightenment is not any old fire, it’s the divine fire of wisdom. Let’s get past mere mythology and dive into the sacred world of Tantra Shastra. The divine fire of wisdom can destroy the mere fire of sensual love and that decided the fate of Lord Kama. That also decides our fate, if we choose to have the lesser fire of carnal desire burn in the divine flame of spiritual wisdom.
Our problem is that we didn’t ever get past the mythology of why Lord Shiva killed Kama. The deeper meaning of this great mythology is the deep wisdom that somewhere in our race to live, we have lost our purpose or never dug hard enough to find it.
What a beautiful verse the Demon Ravana writes:
The intensity of spiritual wisdom is so high in the great Yogishwara, that the arrows of mere mortal love practically had no effect on him. He writes instead of the spiritual essence of Lord Shiva's love, who is a greater spiritual lover, who describes a higher form of love that is not mere sensual excitement. Clearly the great Yogishwara is not a mere mortal, and such minor flames don’t affect him, hence it was Kama who burned in the fire of wisdom. Did he kill him - No, did Kama die - No, but symbolically Kama, the God of lesser love was taught the art of greater consciousness in spiritual love.
What effect does this story have in our world?
We are capable of greater love, in our mere mortal existence to move ahead beyond sexual boundaries. Divine love, bhakti, and a sense of greater adoration brings compassion into our minds towards lesser beings and greater bliss towards divinity. We have just one trump card - abundance of love - we need to channelize it towards greater spiritual bliss and not waste it in lesser mortal pleasures. The mythological story has a deeper secret towards earning spiritual energy and the green parrot is a constant reminder of how far away we are from it.