Sex is considered as an interesting subject in India from very beginning. It might be in the form of Sacred Sex, Tantric sex or any other, but it always had an important place in the Hindu Mythology. India is the birthplace of Kama Sutra. The religious stories of India are full of the people’s desire of sex like Vishwamitra-Menaka, Indra-Arundhati, Kamdev-Rati etc.Later, our Maharajas became famous for their 100 wives. There were hundreds stories centred around semen shared by Hindu saint and sinner alike. Our temples are famous for the exotic carvings of the various position of a man and a woman during sex.
But Then there are contradictions. Sex is still a tabu here.Girls have to hide their body, separate lines are there for ladies and gents and talking about the sex still looks awkward.Then how the sex has such an important place in our mythology? While walking around the temples in Hampi and capturing those incredible exotic carvings at the temple tower, walls and pillars, I was only puzzled. This post is about those exotic images from Hampi.
I was walking down the Hemakuta Hill, when came across the erotic carvings at the tower of Virupaksha Temple. Interestingly, erotic carvings is generally outside the temple only, in most of cases. Inside the temple, these carvings are generally prohibited. In Hindu Mythology, Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha are considered as four goals (also known as Purusharthas) of life. These are considered to be noble goals as long as these follow the dictates of Vedic morality. Out of these four, Kama is related to physical or emotional pleasure. Sex is also one of those activities which gives great pleasure and satisfaction.
According to Kama Sutra (written by Vatsayayana, Chapter II),the man should practice Dharma, Artha and Kama at different times and in such a manner that they may harmonize together and not clash in any way. He should acquire learning in his childhood, in his youth and middle age he should attend to Artha and Kama. In his old age he should perform Dharma and thus seek to gain salvation i.e. liberation. Moksha is a long process which can be achieved only when all material desires are fulfilled that a person is always engaged in pleasure till a time comes that he is satisfied of all these things going around the temple and then he enters the temple to see the God.That is first you have to deal with very natural things like Kaam and only after crossing this, you can attain Gyan or knowledge of God. This is why these types of erotic carvings are only outside the temple because it signifies that all those feelings must be left outside the temple, before entering the inner sanctum.There are no such sculptures inside the temple.
Some people also said that these images were meant for the sex education and since, a temple was visited by a large part of the society, the creatures found the temple pillars, walls and tower as ideal places for these images to spread awareness.
Moving further from the Virupaksha Temple, I found similar images at the pillars near Achyutaraya Temple.
In my opinion, Sex is a sacred act,recognized as human desire to be satisfied and which may be used to attain the ultimate goal of enlightenment. Erotic images at the temples in Hampi or Khajurao should only considered as a medium of this enlightenment.