Sex and Salvation - A Study of Konark's Erotic Sculpture (An Old and Rare Book)
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Sex and Salvation - A Study of Konark's Erotic Sculpture (An Old and Rare Book)

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Item Code: NAU131
Author: Kanwar Lal
Publisher: Kayenkay Agencies, Delhi
Language: English
Edition: 1971
Pages: 84 (36 B/W Illustrations)
Cover: PAPERBACK
Other Details: 10.50 X 8.50 inch
Weight 300 gm
Preface

The Sun Temple of Konark, popularly known as the Black Pagoda, stands on the sea-shore on the route across the Indian Ocean and through the Bay of Bengal, to and from the East Indies. That is why the world has known of it for quite a long time, has known of it ever since adventu- ring sailors—Dutch, Portuguese, French or English—saw it, and beheld, on the walls of this exceptionally impressive structure, strangely intriguing figures—postures of love and lust! They carried back home exciting tales about this temple, and so its name and fame—or notoriety—spread far and wide. Time and vastly improved means of travel have greatly added to these and its lure today accounts for countless visitors to the country.

Though this temple carries a great deal of other fine carvings, obviously the clue to the attraction of Konark lies, for the most part, in its erotic sculpture. In this field, this one single monument will hold forth against any other holy edifice, or even a group of temples, carrying similar ‘sculpture.

Divergent views are held by critics on this matter of erotic sculpture. Whereas some people believe that all such work is wicked, and a tribute to the powers of darkness, others believe that it is a joyous portrayal of a great and high philosophy. Was it plain obscenity or a complex ritual? A graphic delineation of a new path to paradise? Or, no more than pandering to the passions in an effort to popularize some creed or fill the temple’s coffers and the king’s treasury? All this is worth examining, and is examined in this book—with special reference to the philosophy that promises salvation through sex, a philosophy that advocated use of the body, which was once regarded as a hindrance to the liberation of the soul, as an aid, as a means, to the same end.

Let there be no mistake, however, that this means of seeking and gaining salvation, this philosophy of Bhoga as Yoga, is no easy path. And the reader must be warned against letting it get mixed up with the prevail- ing trend in sexual mores, a trend which defies all old taboos and claimed absolute freedom in respect of this most vital of human activities. In this new Creed—if there was one—which the erotic sculpture on the temples, whether at Konark or elsewhere, is associated with, salvation of the soul still continued to be the end. Only, instead of detesting or even ignoring the physical and the material, the body and the senses, this Cult took note of these, accepted them positively and made use of them to attain the same goal which the earlier seeker was aiming at. Thus, this seemingly licentious sexual indulgence was not actually that. In what appears to be a sort of madness, there was a ri gidly prescribed method which had to be meticulously followed. Measure and restraint were the very essence of the sanctioned code of conduct. Let those who, knowing naught of all this, try to practise what is preached here, be therefore careful. Indeed, it is to help correct gross misconceptions about this philosophy and its graphic display, which not only the Western mind but also many an Eastern, and even The Indian mind, suffers from, that this monograph dealing exclusively with the erotic sculptures of Konark is being published.

The illustrations will give some idea of what a visitor to the place will see. Apparently, there is all manner of sexual perversion portrayed on the temple walls and that makes it really shocking ! To carve any sculpture relating to sensual delights on religious edifices, is objectionable enough. If such sculpture offers the entire range and gamut of the sex-play, and every conceivable sexual deviation, surely it is either wicked as wicked can be, the Devil’s own handiwork ; or, else, is something truly worth studying and understanding! After all, it is quite possible that hidden in these sculptures there may be a new wisdom, and a golden light that could swiftly and surely lead us to Salvation—even if, seemingly, through Sex !

**Contents and Sample Pages**






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