Kamadeva - The God of Love is perhaps the one of the most famous deities of Hinduism. As the Indian counterpart to cupid, he is the presiding deity for love, desire & attraction.His usual epithet is Manmatha which is explained as mato manaso manthaḥ manmathaḥ : He churns the heart and hence Churner of Hearts [Manmatha]. Love/Desire being formless he is also called Ananga [The one without body]. He has a parrot as the vehicle and carries a bow made of sugarcane strung with bees, using which he shoots flower-arrows to instill passion among people.
Contary to the Victorian inspired puritanism which was established in post-independant India, Ancient and Medieval India were very expressive of desire. Love (and as an extension Sex) had a deep and importance place in ancient India. The various Kamashastras - Kāmasūtra, Ratirahasya, Anaṇgaraṇga, Nāgarasarvasva - that spans across various periods of history bear witness to this factor. Maithuna (copulation) was one of the Pañcamakāra-s (Five M's) behind the theory of Indian Tantra.
As a matter of fact, Kamadeva himself was worshipped as a deity in Ancient India, and there were supposedly specific temples dedicated to Kamadeva. People prayed to Kamadeva to fulfil their desire (which was mostly for a loved one). For Instance, The Tamil epic Cīvaka Cintāmaṇi dated to the 10th century, speaks of a princess named Suramañjarī who visits the temple of Kamadeva and prays for attaining the man she desires (i.e the protagonist of the Epic, Jīvaka). The text also refers to the fact that the idol of Kamadeva was made of Gold in that temple.
[...] செம்பொன் மாடம் புக்கு அநங்கன் பேணி வரம் கொள்வல் நாளை என்றாள் [...]
[...] cempoṉ māṭam pukku anaṅkaṉ pēṇi varam koḷval nāḷai eṉṟāḷ [...]
[...] visiting the golden Temple [I shall] worship Ananga and pray for the boon [of attaining my desired man] tomorrow she said [...] (Verse 2052)
[...] காமன் மாடத்துள் இழிந்து [...] சூடு அமை மாலை சாந்தம் விளக்கொடு தூபம் ஏந்திச் [...] தொழுது நிற்பத் [...]
[...] kāmaṉ māṭattuḷ iḻintu [...] cūṭu amai mālai cāntam viḷakkoṭu tūpam ēntic [...] toḻutu niṟpat [...]
[...] Entering the temple of Kamadeva [...] carrying Garland, Lamp & Incense [...] they were worshipping [him] [...] (Verse 2055)
As we could see, worshipping and praying to Kamadeva fulfilment of desires was pretty much a common practice in ancient times. However, as it happens, the worship of Kamdeva vanished in India as time passed.
A few mantras dedicated to Kamadeva are being presented here. They are extracted from the text "Mantra Mahodadhi" (Greate ocean of Mantras) composed by "Mahīdhara". It is a medieval text composed around 16th century, explaining various rituals for deities of the Hindu pantheon along with their mantras.
Kama Bīja - Seed Syllable of Kamdeva
The Kama Bija is as follows:
As the Bija of Kamadeva, it is often associated with Vashikarana (attraction).
The mantra invoking Kamadeva along with the Bija:
klīṁ kāmadevāya namaḥ
Kāmadeva nāmāṣṭakam - Eight Names of Kamadeva
Namashtakams are a group of eight special names used to praise a deity. Mantramahodadhi presents the names along with the Praṇava (oṁ), kāma bīja (klīm), name in the dative case (caturthī) and finally ending with the homage (namaḥ)
oṁ klīṁ kāmāya namaḥ
oṁ klīṁ bhasmaśarīrāya namaḥ
oṁ klīṁ anaṅgāya namaḥ
oṁ klīṁ manmathāya namaḥ
oṁ klīṁ vasantasakhāya namaḥ
oṁ klīṁ smarāya namaḥ
oṁ klīṁ ikṣudhanurdharāya namaḥ
oṁ klīṁ puṣpabāṇāya namaḥ
Here Kamadeva is praised using his various epithets.
Kāma : Love/Desire
Bhasmaśarīra : Ash-Bodied. For Shiva had burned Kamdeva with this third eye and turned him into Ahses.
Anaṅga : Formless
Manmatha : Churner of Hearts
Vasanta-Sakha : Companion of Spring
Smara : Recollected thought [of love]
Ikṣudhanurdhara : Carrier of Sugar-cane bow
Puṣpabāṇa : The one with flower arrow
Gāyatrī is one of the famous metres in Sanskrit prosody. The mantras composed in Gayatri metre are referred to as Gayatri Mantras assuming the name of the metre. The usual form of the Gayatri metre consists of 24 syllables split into 3 metrical feet (pāda) of 8 syllables each. This is known as Tripāda Gāyatrī. The most famous Gayatri mantra is the one present in the Vedas, dedicated to the Sun. However, other deities also have specific mantras composed in the Gayatri metre.
The Gayatri of Kamadeva:
kāmadevāya vidmahe |
puṣpabāṇāya dhīmahi |
tanno'naṅgaḥ pracodayāt ||
Mantramahodadhi expounds the benefit of chanting the Kamagayatri as:
gāyatryeṣā budhairuktā japtā janavimohinī
This (eṣā) Gayatri [when] spoken (uktā) & chanted (japtā) by the learned (budhaiḥ) [causes] attraction of people (janavimohinī)
Verses Invoking Kamadeva
The 23rd chapter of Mantramahodadhi describes in detail the rituals pertaining to woshipping Kamadeva. Here are a few invocatory verses extracted from the rituals.
namo'stu puṣpabāṇāya jagadānandakāriṇe |
manmathāya jagannetraratiprītipradāyine ||
Homage to the (namo'stu) carrier of flower arrows (puṣpabāṇa), the creator of world's joy (jagat-ānanda-kārin) |
The churner of heart (manmatha), and the bestower (pradāyin) of pleasure (rati) and love (prīti) [which is] the eye of the world (jagannetra) ||
devadeva jagannātha vāñchitārthapradāyaka |
kṛtsnān pūraya metvarthaṁ kāmān kāmeśvarīpriya ||
Oh ! God of Gods (devadeva), Lord of the world (jagannātha), bestower (pradāyaka) of the desired (vāñchita) material gains (artha) |
Completely (kṛtsna) fulfill (pūraya) material gains (artha) [and] desires (kāma) for me (me), Oh ! lover of Kameshvari (Rati) (kāmeśvarī-priya) ||
There are two other Mantras of Kamadeva of which I couldn't trace the source. I give them as such, I am not sure of the validity and correctness.
oṁ namo bhagavate kāmadevāya śrīṁ sarvajanapriyāya sarvajanasammohanāya jvala jvala prajvala prajvala hana hana vada vada tapa tapa sammohaya sammohaya sarvajanaṁ me vaśaṁ kuru kuru svāhā
oṁ namo bhagavate kāmadevāya indrāya vasabāṇāya indrasaṁdīpanabāṇāya klīṁ klīṁ sammohanabāṇāya blūṁ blūṁ saṁtāpanabāṇāya saḥ saḥ vaśīkaraṇabāṇāya kampita kampita hūṁ phaṭ svāhā
1.The Festival of Kamadeva in Ancient Tamil Nadu, S. Ramachandran : http://www.sishri.org/kaaman.html
2. Civaka Cintamani with Tamil commentary : http://temple.dinamalar.com/news_detail.php?id=13559
3. Mantra Mahodadhi with Hindi commentary : http://www.scribd.com/doc/91923032/Mantra-Mahodadhi-Mahidhar-Trans-by-Sudhakar-Malaviya-Part2
4. Amarakhosha with Sanskrit commentary : http://archive.org/stream/namalinganusasan00amariala#page/n21/mode/2up