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Why did ancient Hindu temples have sex or erotic sculptures?


Date: 19 Sep 2016   Posted By: Naresh Kumar Behera     Group: Religion    Category: Hinduism   

If you go through the ancient Hindu temples in India, you will found many erotic and sex sculptures around the temple walls. Some of the UNESCO World Heritage temples in India like Konark, Lingaraj, Khajuraho, Ellora, Markandeswar, Udaipur Jagadish Mandir, Hampi, etc have to erotic carvings in stone. Since my childhood, I've few doubts in my mind why such sexual images created in holy places. Do you think ancient architects prefer sex as a symbol of sanctity?
Experts: do clarify this.


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Author: Venkat Satish Mamidisetti    20 Sep 2016      Member Level: Gold     Points : 3  (Rs 3)    Voting Score: 2


There are various concepts of understanding this issue and different group of people like general devotees, Hindu preachers, priests perceive the erotic sculptures on the temples differently. Despite whatever may be the reason for sculpting erotic pictures of the temples, they proved to be the perfect canvas for artists and thus encouraging this art.

The major reasons that I know are:
  • These sculptures can only be seen outside the temple but not inside the core area in where the god is sculpted. Hindu writings say that it is the indication of the god saying that "Do leave your materialistic and sexual carvings outside the temple and enter into my sanctum place inside the temple with pure heart that needs only my blessings without any other intentions".
  • Temples are the most visited ones by everyone. In the ancient world, sex education is a taboo. So these erotic sculptures on the temples were one of the source for sex education and sculpting them on the temple strongly depicts that this sexual activity is important for our humankind to regenerate and to have kids so to form generations of mankind on earth.
In this way erotic sculptures on the temples helped mankind to educate themselves and showed the art of human survival.



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Author: Partha Kansabanik    20 Sep 2016      Member Level: Diamond     Points : 1  (Rs 1)    Voting Score: 0

Although I am not an expert in ancient Hindu philosophy or literature, I am attempting to express my views in this regard:-

(a) You are mistaken that sculptures with erotic messages are curved in temples. It is not correct. The Ellora and Ajanta are caves, not temples. Similarly Khajuraho is not temple of Gods and Goddesses. There is no erotic sculpture in Konark. I feel that only outside the temple(s) of Kamdeva and/or Rati (who are Sex God/Goddess), such erotic sculptures can be seen.
(b) Even if there are sculptures near temples, these are outside the temple, more precisely not near the 'sanctum sanctorum'.
(c) Such sculptures prove that the subject of sex was not a taboo among ancient Indians/Hindus.



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Author: Mahesh    21 Sep 2016      Member Level: Gold     Points : 2  (Rs 2)    Voting Score: 0

Nudity in cultural sculptures and painting were portrayal of the art. And it was meant for the artist to show the liberal nature of the culture. Almost every culture invaded by the mughals later stopped doing the nudity in art and instead approached the art without nudity. Prior to that most of the liberal cultures from Europe had the nudity in the art. And the sign of the liberal culture always goes to show how open they were from the concept of art. However some cultures and religions consider nudity as a bad sign of the society and this ends up judging the entire religion. Though Hinduism adapted to both liberal and conservative values. It all comes down to how you view the cultural art form your perspective.


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Author: Alok Kumar    22 Sep 2016      Member Level: Silver     Points : 4  (Rs 4)    Voting Score: 0

Hindu religion is based on four pillars that is Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. Ancient Hindu religion was at its peak at that time and there was a proper balance among all four. All four pillars were given equal importance in every sphere of life. Maharaja Janak was given the status of 'Rishi' in spite of his total devotion to Grihasthashram. . Kaam Shastra was written by Vatsyayan at that time and sex was not considered as taboo. After the invasion of foreigners especially Muslims, this balance got disturbed.
Temples, those days were considered as a place where all four pillars were given equal importance symbolically. There used to be different idols of different Devi/Devatas, which was the symbol of Dharma. There used to be lot of gold, diamonds and various ratnas to show the importance of Artha in our life. Many foreigner invaders came to India and looted the huge wealth stored in our temples. There used to be erotic sculptures to show the equal importance of Kama. Moksha was believed to be achieved if any one follows all previous pillars strictly as per guidelines.
Just to show the importance of Kama and its sacredness, erotic sculptures were displayed in temples so that there should be no confusion in the minds of general public regarding Kama.



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Author: gsadhiks    23 Sep 2016      Member Level: Silver     Points : 2  (Rs 2)    Voting Score: 0

For this query we can find various reasons one small reason is that Hindu religion is one of the largest religion which is followed by many across globe and has connection for relating to early inception of humans and civilisation on earth. Temples of Hindu have been often denoted as the replicas of the cosmology of the universe. As per the spiritual and religious manuscripts and Vedas it has been stated that the architecture and the sculptures of a temple not only defines about the cosmology of the universe but explicitly portrays sensual material pleasures on their walls, which conveys the point that we do not have to get distracted by these temptations and should move forward single minded towards the Lord and Almighty.


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