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The Erotic Sculpture of India

Part - 3

Here, I would like to bring out another interesting and genuine motive behind the erotic sculptures of India. But before starting the discussion, I think we might have to get informed about the Khajuraho temple because most of the world-famous erotic sculptures are sculpted in this temple. The related debate will help us understand the erotic sculptures of India more widely.

Khajuraho, situated in Madhya Pradesh, is the heart of India. The temples of Khajuraho date back to AD 900 to 1130, the golden era of the Chandela dynasty. Each ruler of the Chandela dynasty needed to construct at least one temple during their reign was mandatory, which led to the establishment of Khajuraho as a hub of art, culture, and religion. Scholars believe that the Chandela dynasty chose Khajuraho as the capital for its strategic location; however, there may have been other reasons as well, which we will explore later.

Khajuraho Temple
Khajuraho Temple

Earlier, we discussed the Hindu theosophy, which involved the hidden meanings behind erotic sculptures. It may have been difficult for the average person to comprehend fully. It is impossible to define a nation's character solely through spiritual precepts unrelated to its inhabitants' daily lives. Throughout history, Indian society has been founded on the principles of spirituality. Teaching people by focusing on the temple or places of worship was widely accepted. During the Chandela dynasty, the rulers specifically selected temples to educate the general Indian population about Hinduism. Those erotic sculptures are very close to our experience, which replaced metaphorically into the direction of Hindu theosophy that made it adorable for the general viewers. In my research on Gothic art, I came across instructions on how to build a temple. According to the scripture, a suitable location for the temple is where children can play freely without fear, cows can move around and rest peacefully, and nature's beauty creates a peaceful atmosphere. Inaugurating a temple in such a place would be ideal for connecting with God through meditation.

After founding the temple, scripture suggested making some erotic sculptures in the open places or on the front view of the temple. In the Sanskrit term, it said -

"Mythunai Sakhasodhang Bhivusayatt"

The ancient sculptors adhered to the same principles without compromising their integrity. They could extract the true spiritual essence from the depths of the stones. It is said that Lord Shankaracharya was once defeated in a debate because he lacked knowledge about sexual intercourse. He humbly requested his opponent more time to learn about the subject. He then transferred his soul into the body of a deceased king and spent several months with his wives to gain understanding. After leaving briefly, he came back and participated in the discussion. As a result of his efforts, he ultimately emerged victorious. On the other hand, there is a mythological story in Purana where Lord Shiva destroyed Kamadev, the deity of sex, with the fire of his third eye. This was because Kamadev had repeatedly tried to interrupt Lord Shiva's meditation.

Khajuraho Sculpture
Khajuraho Sculpture

These incidents serve as a reminder that balance is crucial for human beings. Being disproportionate in any aspect of our lives can negatively impact our existence. I have also tried to bring forth those facts to make the sense that those erotic statues were sculpted not just to show sexual peccancy. The thought behind it reached too far, and it was difficult to guess. Moreover, it clarifies that besides a monk's devotional life, spiritual philosophy also admitted the usual demands of domestic human life.

In contemporary times, biological science students employ various models to comprehend human anatomy, much like how spiritual doctrines were learned by observing sculptures. However, in the past, sculpting erotic models in front of temples, as seen in Konark, Khajuraho, and other temples, for teaching the highest level of spiritual doctrines was considered a risky endeavor. Nevertheless, no dedicated institutions for learning existed during that era, and no such conventions existed. Temples were the only places for learning, and thus, it was necessary to carve those models in the temples for teaching purposes.

Several opinions based on historical facts and spiritual and theosophical doctrines are behind the erotic sculpture. Without any confusion, those are stands on the solid dais.

According to ancient spiritual teachings, one should not react negatively when encountering objectionable things. Instead, one should focus on faith and reflect on one's connection with God. This practice can help clear the mind and restore purity, allowing for a stronger spiritual connection. We may not often prioritize this reflection in our busy lives, but it is an important opportunity to do so.

Similarly, as Indian yogis believed, those who are hungry will not stop searching for sustenance until they find it. Likewise, those who prioritize material wealth may only be capable of relinquishing it once they realize its limitations. Therefore, it is necessary to have a luxurious life in every aspect until a soul feels annoyed with it. After spending a long time, when an individual feels the worthlessness of a luxurious life, he would look for simplicity. His soul will be thrust for peace, love, and spirituality, which is the point of self-refinement. We know Lord Buddha was born in a palace, and his father was the king of Nepal. His childhood was spent just like a prince, with huge luxury and dazzling. But his soul turned to relinquishment when he saw the three stages of human life. He saw a greybeard unable to walk on the road, which made him sorrowful. On another day, he noticed a sickly older adult crying in anguish. Finally, he saw a dead body that was carrying a few guys on the road. All three stages of life made him curious to discover the truth of human life, and his sorrowful heart considered how someone would overcome those demanding situations. Here, the soul of a prince turned towards relinquishment when he felt exasperated in the life of a prince. He was frisky until he experienced such realities of human life. This is when someone understands what he was and what he did; then, he gets shamed for his bustle. It can come in several manners. Buddha was Lord, but not we are. Those sculptures always help to remember the darkest side of our souls. We are ashamed to see our darks in open daylight, which allows us to go towards the self-refinement. Silently, we get repentant for our work and ask for pardon from God. God is shining in the temple and waiting for you. You have already confessed your impurity and were ashamed before entering the temple. Now, it's time to have compassion for you. You are now competent to receive peace and love from God, who never discouraged anyone. Because all we are the son of almighty. This is the way to present yourself in front of God. 

Khajuraho sculpture Laxmi Narayan
Khajuraho sculpture Laxmi Narayan

Just take a few more times to see the faces of those sculptures full of peace and purity, indicating spiritual existence. Should it have been possible if the creators had any other immoral motif?

Image Resource - Khajuraho Temple

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