Thursday, June 2, 2011



NOTE OF WARNING -  Those who are below 18 years  OR dislike discussions on 'erotic' work of art in Hindu temples are requested to stay away from this Blog.

Dance of 'Kama' under tree of life. 
Man dances with his woman held in tight embrace - posture resembling 'Tantrik Bouddha' depictions. Does the man have a 'jata' - matted hair - and a snake on his right upper arm? Siva and Shakti  in union , tree of life blooming in joy ? 
Obscure and damaged ,yet a remarkable wall-relief at Virupksha temple,Pattadakal
( Note - Can a viewer please tell me - what I have described as 'tree of life'
is actually a collage of celestial viewers ?)

During  my visits to the temples of SriMukhalingam, Hampi, Pattadakal and Aihole, I often wondered what was the attitude of the creators of these temples  - the kings, religious leaders and the society in general - towards  'Kama' , the primal urge . A lot has been written analysing  Hindu scripture , religious practices and Hindu art through centuries.  I am no student of sociology - but, I felt, 'Kama' was ever-present in the mind of the people who 'created' these temples. The society did believe that expressions depicting  primal urge need not  be be put away from public view. The society were told that 'Dharma' - religion, 'Artha' - money,'Kama' - primal urge and 'Moksha' - salvation form the core of human strives. Meaning of each word has been expanded - yet, each segment of Hindu society, through ages, interpreted those words in their own way.

Excellent craftsman ship in this wall-relief of 'Mithun murty'.Woman stands  with a slight 'bibhanga', her right hand around the trunk of a long and slender tree, a 'kamandalu' - water-pot in her hand. A hermit with matted hair , standing in 'swastika' pose, touches her chin tenderly.
SriMukhalingam temple.

'Kama' - is it Love or Lust ? It is Desire  and there is a force,an urge  inherent in this word. Like any feeling , it has shades of varying range. The borders between these shades are not so distinct - and as I go through the photos of numerous  'Mithun murty', sculpted by different artists, in different centuries, the study looks very interesting. Physical proximity - postures showing eagerness of the poignant moments - or lack of it - was brought out in varying details. Some of these  'Mithun murty' were sculpted by inexperienced hands , therefore do not  have much artistic merit. Such wall-reliefs were often placed away from the most-visited areas, yet, worth a 'dekko'. I have posted photo of one such wall-relief in this blog.

 The couple is stimulated. Man pulls  the woman  closer during embrace.She  is all but naked - her lowered girdle highlights her nudity.Man's right hand holds forward a full bloomed lotus which covers his erected  phallus.  She is  pushing  down the man's girdle. 
The companion's lower body is covered. She turns away from the ensuing 'act'. 
Durga temple,Aihole.

The couple is stimulated. Woman pulls  the man  closer during embrace.She  is  explicitly working on her companion's crotch . Man's right hand holds  a flower which is yet to bloom. The sizes of the flowers indicate the states of male excitement ! 
Huchchappyana Matha,Aihole.

We can see the fervour of 'Kama'  brought out through postures of couples - 'Mithuna murty' , gods and their consorts - in standing and seated postures. Then the sculptors often took a step forward - they added companion/s to the 'twosome'. As the postures evolved with the society ,'Tantrik' practices  came out on the open. In this phase, we find men and women engaged in coitus and other acts of sex , often in groups.  Michael D. Rabe, in his well-researched book - 'Tantra in practice' - has devoted a big chapter to 'Secret Yantras and Erotic Display for Hindu' . Here, he has correlated 'Tantrik Yantras'   with the sculptures created.

 'Kamakala Yantra' superimposed on a famous sculpture from Khajuraho temple. 
Source - Internet .

In this blog , I  have brought out 'Kama'-enriched work with 'Mithuna murty' which I came across  my February,11 visit and shall leave out  those where acts of sex have been shown explicitly.  Explanatory notes and my comments are in the descriptions of the photos.

 A near-Rape scene. Crudely sculpted, yet the postures captured the woman's resistance 
to the act of violation.
Huchchappyana Matha,Aihole.

Passion of Sugriba.
Vitthala temple,Hampi.

Note - Part II in

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