Sunday, August 19, 2012



NOTE - Those have aversion to erotica of Indian temples and are below 18years of age are requested to stay from this post.

A holy  man and his disciple.

After I posted  photos from our collection on King NarasimhaDev I , as depicted on the walls of Surya temple, Konark, I started to look for depictions of  holy men  . I found quite a few of them - male sages with shaven head, matted hair , old and middle-aged.  I found one photo where he is instructing a disciple - not a very delicate work.  There is one among existing work in  'chlorite' - sages in meditation. Rest are so very different !

Sages in meditation with disciples in attendance.

Male sages on this temple's wall covers many sects - naming my guesses will be somewhat delicate.  Quite a few are shown in grotesque postures. A  good number of them have been shown in active or passive acts of coitus and various stages of excitement . Blow-ups of the faces and torsos make interesting viewing.

Here I start with a bald holy man who has - not one or two - but three companions . He holds a  bag in his left hand, lifted beyond the reaches of  women around him - glee on his face, sculpted centuries ago still make this wall-relief  stand out.

This wall-relief tells us a tale !
(The 3rd woman, kneeling in front of this holy man, not in this frame).

 A holy man with shaven head !

 I shall cite one specific example which is a large  composite. Two questions regarding this sculpture : First - Does this signify  ritual of slaughter of  some  sect ? The composite here has a man's face.Round eyes, matted hair, glimpse of fangs. His lower portion is that of a lion. He tramples a hunter, smaller in size . The hunter's features,ornaments and hair style have  similarity with those of the composite. He holds a hunting knife and shield. Specially noticeable is the chain around the waist of the hunter. Second - Is this at all a face of a holy man ? We  find identical waist-chain in another sage, being coaxed by a courtesan.

Man-lion Composite,attacking a hunter on an ornate pedestal . 
A camouflaged secret practice of sacrifice or a scene from a drama ?

Sage with matted curly hair and beard - noticeable similarity between this figure and the ones above.

Watch the waist band.

The artisans of Surya temple have depicted holy men of various sects without reverence.  I have seen  not-so-serious depictions elsewhere, but not so noticeable as Konark !   In some areas , we find grotesque figures - I would guess that the artisans chose appearances of some of these figures  based on holy men moving around those days  ! Anthropologists and Sociologists who are expert in Kalinga's social situation of 12th century AD can throw more light on this fact. But, in whatever literature I have come across, I did not find any reason of this irreverence.

I have  here photos of one wall of the famous 'Nata Mandira' and a couple of blown-up figures .

 Dancers and sages as grotesque abandon the walls of 'Natamandir'

 Grotesque figures of holy men standing on decorated pedestals.
While one is skeletal, others are well-fed. One is stark naked, wearing different ear-rings. Does that point to a specific sect ?

I have  in my HDD   many more photos to convey to the readers of what we found at the Sun temple at Konark. But, one has to stop somewhere. I shall end with one full-frame of erotica with a holy man at the the centre of activity.  As  persons familiar with this temple are aware of,there are numerous wall-reliefs with erotica of sages - but closer scrutiny will lead a discerning viewer to categorisation.

 A holy man, with his matted hair placed high on his head,in accompaniment of two women, one tall and other short, standing a crude pedestal, under the near-mandatory tree of life.

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