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Love and Lust (An Anthology of Erotic Literature from Ancient and Medieval India)

Love and Lust (An Anthology of Erotic Literature from Ancient and Medieval India)
$35.00
Item Code: IDD905
Author: Pavan K. Varma
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers
Edition: 2004
ISBN: 8172235496
Pages: 344
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 9.5" X 6.5"
About The Book

A compendium of evocative and sensual writing spanning 5000 years of Indian literature…

In this comprehensive anthology, the authors forcefully drive home the point that the fascination with eroticism is age-old. The absence of inhibition and guilt and the candour and boldness with which society set about seeking its pleasures find expression repeatedly in writings over the ages. The literature of India, both religious and secular, is full of sexual allusions, sexual symbolisms and passages of such frank eroticism the likes of which are not to be found elsewhere in world literature. For example, some sections of ancient texts like the Vedas, the Upanishads, the epics (the Mahabharata and the Ramayana), the Brahmanas, the puranas and devotional hymns like the Saundarya Lahiri (by Adi Shankaracharya) are studded with graphic sexual imagery. The sacred and the sensuous were thus seen as integrated elements of human existence.

In the medieval period, writers, poets, dramatists, painters, sculptors and artists, whatever be their language and idiom, gave full vent to their creative talents suffused with the sexual metaphor. Kalidas and Jayadeva stand out as exemplars of this genre. It was basically the evangelical fervour of the Victorian era that imposed severs strictures on the so-called heathen 'amorous degradation' and sought to 'cleanse' the Indian people by propagating Western 'morality' and values'. And the Victorian hangover still persists. The underlying themes of this volume are that, in the Indian tradition, the relevance of desire, with eroticism as its natural attribute, was pragmatically accepted and that women were given equal status as men in the pursuit of pleasure.

Think of erotic literature form India and what immediately comes to mind is Vatsyayana's Kamasutra. This was indeed not the first study in erotology nor was it the last. Beginning with the Rg Veda (written some 5000 years ago) right up to the seventeenth century, Indian literature is marked by diverse genres replete with unabashed eroticism in which love, lust and life are explored to their fullest extent…

Today, the philosophical acceptance of desire and the erotic sentiment has been asphyxiated by a hypocritical morality that has for much too long equated sex with sin and desire with guilt. The purpose of this anthology is to provide enough evidence of an alternative vision, so that readers can get a glimpse of the sense of maturity and honesty that animated our ancestors.

About The Author

Author-diplomat Pavan K. Varma has penned several successful and critically acclaimed books such as The Great Indian Middle Class and Krishna: The Playful Divine apart from an authoritative biography of the renowned poet Mirza Ghalib. He has also translated Kaifi Azmi (a well-known Urdu poet) and Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee into English. He was, until recently India's hight commissioner in Cyprus. He has now been appointed the director of the Nehru Centre, London.

Sandhya Mulchandani has worked in the print media for several years and is the author of The Indian Man: His True Colours, a book that looks at the modern urban Indian male, warts and all. She is presently working on a five volume series, translating hitherto unpublished Sanskrit Kama Shastra manuscripts into English, as well as on Kamasutra for Women.

Contents

Introduction9
1.THE VEDAS23
2.THE MAHABHARATA - VYASA31
3.THE BRAHMANAS43
4.THE UPANISHADS51
5.THE RAMAYANA - VALMIKI57
6.ARTHA SHASTRA - KAUTILYA64
7.GATHA-SAPTASHATI - HALA68
8.NALINIKA JATAKA73
9.THE PURANAS75
10.POEM OF LOVE AND WAR: TAMIL SANGAM LITERATURE 90
11.KUMARASAMBHAVA, RTUSAMHARA AND SRNGARATILAKA - KALIDASA101
12.SETUBANDHA - PRAVARASENA109
13.THE PANCHATANTRA - VISHNU SHARMA111
14.SHATAKATRAYAM - BHARTIHARI114
15.DASAKUMARACHARITA - DANDIN121
16.SANATKUMARA CHARITAM - HARIBHADRA126
17.THE SAUNDARYA LAHIRI - ADI SHANKARA129
18.VAJJALAGGAM - JAYAVALLABHA132
19.KADAMBHARI - BANABHATTA136
20.AMARUSATAKA - AMARU139
21.THE FOREST OF THIEVES AND THE MAGIC GARDEN - UDAYAPRABHASURI143
22.GAUDAVAHO - VAKPATIRAJA147
23.KUTTANIMATAM - DAMODARAGUPTA151
24.VASAVADUTTA - SUBANDHU157
25.POEMS OF VIDYA AND SHILABHATTARIKA161
26.TANTRA166
27.DHVANYALOKA - ANANDAVARDHANA173
28.VADDARADHANE177
29.KARPURAMANJARI - RAJASHEKHARA 179
30.KATHA SARITASAGARA - SOMADEVA185
31.SAMAYAMATRKA, KALAVILASA AND DESOPADESA - KSHEMENDRA 190
32.GAHUN: CHANDO AIN GANGRAJ - GAHUNI195
33.YOGAVISHISTA198
34.KUMARAPALA PADIBODHA - HEMACHANDRA201
35.SUBHASITARATNAKOSA - VIDYAKARA 204
36.CAURAPANCASIKA - BILHANA208
37.GITAGOVINDA - JAYADEVA214
38.YASHODHARA CHARITE - JANNA219
39.SUKA SAPTATI 228
40.RATIRAHASYA - KOKKOKA239
41.NAISADHIYACARITTA - SRIHARSA242
42.VELI KRISHNA RUKMANI - PRITHVI RAJ RATHER245
43.VERSES OF VEMANA248
44.ANANGA RANGA - KALYANAMALLA253
45.RITIKAL POETRY257
46.POEMS OF GOVINDADASA 273
47.SATSAI - BIHARI275
48.MANUCHARITRAMU - ALLASANI PEDDANA279
49.VAISHIKATANTRAM284
50.UNNICHIRUTEVICHARITAM287
51.RAMAYANA - KRITTIVASA290
52.KADAMBARI - BHALAN293
53.SAHAJIYA POETRY297
54.GAUDIYA VAISHNAVISM POEM299
55.RATIMANJARI - JAYADEVA 304
56.MADHAVANALA KAMAKANDALACHARITA306
57.WHEN GOD IS A CUSTOMER: TELUGU COURTESAN POEMS310
58.GHANANJAGHANA - DHANANJYA BHANJA 319
59.VIDYA SUNDARA - BHARATCHANDRA RAY 321
60.FOLK MYTHOLOGY327
61.RADHIKA SANTWANAM - MUDDUPALANI332
Glossary335
Acknowledgements 341

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