Home » Why Khajuraho Temple Has erotic sculptures, Hinduism View On Sex (Kama), Tantric Sex explained?

Why Khajuraho Temple Has erotic sculptures, Hinduism View On Sex (Kama), Tantric Sex explained?

by Hath Yogi
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Introduction: Debunking Myths Around Khajuraho’s Erotic Sculptures

The temple in question is well-known for its erotic sculptures, which have been criticized by some left-leaning individuals for their content and significance. However, it may come as a surprise to learn that sexual imagery accounts for less than 10% of the temple’s overall sculptural design. It is akin to judging and creating a buzz about an entire movie based on a single-bedroom scene. Nevertheless, the rationale behind the temple’s erotic themes is worth explaining but first, let us talk about Khajuraho being more than that.

Historical Background: Khajuraho’s Evolution Over Centuries

The Khajuraho group of monuments was constructed during the reign of the Chandela dynasty from 925-1050 CE. Under the rule of Hindu kings Yashovarman and Dhanga, the construction of most of the temples took place. Originally, there were 85 temples in Khajuraho, but only 25 of them remain today. The Khajuraho temples were in active use until the end of the 12th century. However, in the 13th century, the Delhi Sultanate army, led by the Muslim Sultan Qutb–ud-din Aibak, attacked and seized the Chandela kingdom. Following this, various Muslim dynasties controlled the temples until the 18th century, during which time some temples were desecrated, and many were left in neglect.

It was in the 1830s when a British surveyor named T.S. Burt rediscovered the temples, bringing them back to global attention. These temples are devoted to various Hindu deities and also include Jain beliefs. Of the surviving temples, six are dedicated to Bhagawan Shiva, eight to Bhagawan Vishnu, one each to Bhagawan Ganesha and the Sun God, while three are dedicated to Jain Tirthankaras.

The Kandariya Mahadeo Temple, dedicated to Bhagawan Shiva, is the largest among the temples in Khajuraho. The Chausat Yogini temple was the first one to be built among the temples that are still standing, and its artwork symbolically represents the four goals of life (Purushartha) in Hinduism: Dharma, Kama, Artha, and Moksha.

Khajuraho is also a center of tantric traditions and spiritual practices, with the Matangeshwara temple named after Matanga, who chose Khajuraho as the place to pursue his spiritual practices.

In the tantric tradition, the Sixty-Four Yoginis are the presiding deities that guide and govern the fabric of life, and awakening these forces is considered essential for spiritual accomplishment. Tantric texts like Rudra Yamala explain that the Yoginis breathe life into matter, hold the body and mind together, and animate them through prana.

Now coming back to the question why there is a need of such erotic sculptures in a temple?

The reason can be explained through the two ways-

1. Through the right hand of the god- In hinduism sex is known as Kama which is one of the four purushartha. Purushartha defines the four most important goals of a human life and kama is one of them. We have never seen sex as a taboo, but we have always believed that one can’t achieve moksha by ignoring kama.

In Rig veda 1.79, there is conversation between Lopamudra (the one who have written several hymns of Rig veda after receiving it through yoga) and her ascetically inclined husband Agasta, Lopamudra argues that depriving her of companionship does not make Agastya spiritually complete. She suggests that he must first fulfill his worldly responsibilities before pursuing his spiritual journey and achieving success.

In another words, the concept behind the public display of erotic scenes in the sculptures of the Khajuraho temple is rooted in the belief that humans cannot eliminate erotic thoughts from their minds as long as they are limited beings. It is therefore deemed more beneficial to confront these temptations and mental fantasies directly, overcome them, and transform them into higher spiritual experiences if one desires to attain communion with the divine

One more thought can be made from it which is- The sculptures are intentionally depicted in the mandapams of all temples to remind devotees of their own mental shortcomings and vulnerabilities. By confronting these imperfections, one can strive to purify and cleanse their inner self before approaching the divine with a pure heart.

2. Through the left hand of the god- Tantra practices are based on the belief that the human body is a microcosm of the universe and that every individual has a divine energy within them that can be awakened through various practices, including the channeling of sexual energy.

Tantra sex is considered a sacred practice, which involves the union of the male and female energies to achieve spiritual growth and Moksha. In this practice, sexual energy is not considered as something to be suppressed or denied, but rather to be harnessed and directed towards the ultimate goal of enlightenment or moksha. The aim of tantric sex is not just pleasure or procreation, but the attainment of a higher form of consciousness, where the individual is in complete harmony with the universe.

Conclusion

The Western culture viewed sex as a taboo, which led to questions being raised about the erotic sculptures in Khajuraho. In contrast, Hinduism regards marriage as sacred and even the gods are depicted as being in union with their spouses. The union of male and female is revered as the ultimate and complete form in Hinduism.

For example- Bhagawan Brahma is considered the creator and requires knowledge to create, hence he is depicted as married to Maa Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge. Similarly, Bhagawan Vishnu is considered the operator and requires wealth to operate, hence he is depicted as married to Maa Laxmi, the goddess of wealth. Bhagawan Shiva, the destroyer, requires power to destroy, hence he is depicted as married to Shakti, the goddess of power.

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