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Khajuraho Temples. Kama Sutra sculptures. Photo 14

All Photos: Khajuraho
the Temples
of Love

Sexual and erotic sculpture, Photo 14. Khajuraho temples, India
"Temple of Love". Kama Sutra sculptures of Khajuraho, famous throughout the world

The Kama Sutra is an ancient Hindu text written by Vātsyāyana - an Indian philosopher in the Vedic tradition who lived around 2nd century AD in India. Kama Sutra is widely considered to be the standard work on human sexual behaviour in Sanskrit literature.
Contrary to western popular perception, the Kama Sutra is not exclusively a sex manual; it presents itself as a guide to a virtuous and gracious living that discusses the nature of love, family life and other aspects pertaining to pleasure oriented faculties of human life. Kama Sutra, in parts of the world, is presumed or depicted as a synonym for creative sexual positions; in reality, only 20% of Kama Sutra is about sexual positions. The majority of the book, notes Jacob Levy, is about the philosophy and theory of love, what triggers desire, what sustains it, how and when it is good or bad.
So the Khajuraho Temples gained popularity for the sex sculpture, but 90% of the sculptures show usual life of people.

Khajuraho "the Temples of Love": erotic art as a sort of illustrated Kama Sutra

James McConnachie, in his history of the Kamasutra, describes the sexual-themed Khajuraho sculptures as "the apogee of erotic art"
Beside the heavenly nymphs are ... most notoriously, extravagantly interlocked maithunas, or lovemaking couples."

Having taken into account the various theories about the significance of representations of these postures in mandirs, and examined them in light of the canons prescribed in the Shilpa works, Dr. B.J. Sandesara has justified their place in mandir sculpture as illustrating Kama which is one among the four purusharthas (Dharma, Artha, Kama) leading to moksha.

"The mithunas are there for the sexual education of the young and ignorant,."
Francis Leeson in Kama Shilpa

Khajuraho is a beautiful city situated in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India. The city is well known for its erotic temples, sculpture and vibrant culture. The ancient temples attracts the tourists from all over the world. Sculpturers are known by the name of “Shilp-shastri”, which means one who does sculpture art. There are certain temples, where you can see the beautiful stonework.

The temples of Khajuraho are highly decorated with art carved sculptures. Whilst Khajuraho temples are famous for the sex art, sexual themes are covering less than 10% of the Khajuraho temples sculpture. Then, most erotic scene panels are in proportional balance with the non- sexual arts. The wall arts cover numerous sides of human life and values are major in Hindu pantheon.

Mithuna at Khajuraho

Maithuna is a Sanskrit term used in Tantra, "sexual union" in a ritual context. It is the most important of the five makara and constitutes the main part of the Grand Ritual of Tantra variously known as Panchamakara, Tattva Chakra, and  Panchatattva.

Although some sects and schools consider this to be a purely symbolic and mental act, a look at different variations of the word maithuna clearly shows that it refers to female-male couples and their union in the physical, sexual sense and is synonymous with kriya nishpatti (mature cleansing). Just as neither spirit nor matter by itself is effective but both working together bring harmony so is maithuna effective only then when the union is consecrated. The couple become for the time being divine: he is Shiva and she is Shakti. The scriptures warn that unless this spiritual transformation occurs the union is carnal and sinful.

Yet it is possible to experience a form of maithuna without physical union. The act can exist on a metaphysical plane without sexual penetration, in which the shakti and shakta transfer energy through their subtle bodies alone. It is when this transfer of energy occurs that the couple, incarnated as goddess and god via diminished egos, confronts ultimate reality and experiences bliss through union of the subtle bodies.

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