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The Effect of Tantra: The Love making symbols (erotic carvings?) in Holy Temples of Nepal

Updated on February 15, 2013

The Erotic carving in Holy Hindu Temples of Nepal

the erotic carving in Holy Hindu temples of Kathamandu
the erotic carving in Holy Hindu temples of Kathamandu

The Tantric way of Life

In Kathmandu valley here are many temples full of love making carvings in the strut sometimes said kaamasutra postures but there does not seem any direct link between carvings in tundaal (hewn wooden strut) and Kaamasutra as put forward by Baatsayan. Why love making scenes in holy temples is something of study and there are some explanations put forward by city tour guides which are mostly based on myth. The tantra is base of such art and it has its own explanation. I have found some guides explaining tourists about the reason of inclusion of such arts as '' there was no Google at that time''.The explanations given by tour guides are personal and vary from person to person and I have found no authority made an labor to prepare the most believable information on about such temple, architect and under the tradition it was made.

The erotic carving in the struts of Pagoda styled temples of Nepal is different to different persons. It is something amusing for common lay people, religious and sacred to superstitious people, a password for Tantric. The mythologies are base of decoding meaning from such erotic (sacred love making) carvings in Hindu temples.

Explanation 1

At that time the production was based on agriculture. More man power was needed for the society but many people were taking sanyas( leaving home being monks and sadhus) and to attract them back to productful day to day life the sex symbols were used in Sacred temples. These would arouse desire to them and change their path of life.

Explanation 2

There was no effective medium for communication and to deliver the message of sex education to people the means of art was choose to maintain continuity of generation in society. The diseases used to take life of many people and people want to secure their lineage on Earth.

Explanation 3

At Mahabharata war a celibate lady was fighting from side of Kaurava and she was unconquerable by direct fight. Lord Krishna requested. Hanumana materialized from chariot of Bhimsen by which the virgin queen come to see something unbearable. Being a celebiate she retaliated from battleground. She developed hatred for gods and started destroying temples. To prevent temples from destruction of her fury erotic carvings started keeping in or near temples.

.Explanation 4

The lustful lord Indra, the king of heaven will not let his bolt(bajra) fall in place where erotic things are placed. To prevent temples destroying from the bolt of Indra the erotic arts are used in temples.

All temples do not use erotic arts. The temples where erotic arts are put are on the foundation of tantra. Here the tantric explanation should be taken more in account. Tantra is taken as a moment that developed in the time of 7th century AD where five “M”s viz. Matsya (fish), Maamsa (meat), Mudraa (posture), Madiraa (wine) and Maithuna (sex) are of great importance. According to tantra base of creation is sex but it is not everything. Tantra takes sex as step for spiritual progress and transformation. The four levels of explanations on the arts of struts are explained here

FIRST STEP: The level of lust (== Mahakaali-level)

Reproduction is the beginning of the living world. Sex is its base.
Only the base has carving of a couple making love or in playing posture.

SECOND STEP: The level of prosperity (== Mahalakshmi level)
Even beasts do sex. If now sex all time, things can be accumulated for future. Humans work for prosperity.
There are some vessels representing the wealth in the step just above the base of the strut.

THIRD STEP: The level of wisdom (==Mahasaraswoti level)
If knowledge is there, you can excel in your life. Humans are different from other animals because they have knowledge and proper insight.
A tall figure carrying either book or musical instrument or flower or bead or some other things is in the third step, portraying the essence of wisdom.
This step is transitional. If you do not give up arrogance though you are wise, you will fall down. (You will nothing different from a beast fighting for food and living for sex!). Else, you will advance to the upper level.

FOURTH STEP: The level of Enlightenment
Above all is the level of illumination. Enlightenment, I prefer to say. There are three or four lotus like halos. All representing the step above wisdom.
Conscious void, shapeless void, “something void” (if there are three halos! All these steps and carvings portray the steps and things in human life. All symbolic.

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