The erotic and the auspicious
The erotic and the auspicious are not just characterising words – they are singular themes running through the understandings of sexuality and faith across southern Asia. Eroticity has been explored over centuries as not just self-centered experiences of pleasure but also as complex modes of explaining, often very scientifically, the concept of sense that surrounds sexual nature. That all experiences of bodily senses and emotions – hunger, taste, ablution, smell and much more – need to be aesthetically and curiously explored is what drives the multiple explorations of eroticity and auspiciousness since civilisation began in the region.
We take you to one such instance – the Khajuraho temple complex, where sexuality is explored both as a relation between self and other as well as one with the self. What is found in the kamasutra, which is not just a manual on sex but an exposition on the society of the time – it is heavily gendered and yet very empowering – can be seen in the form of sculptures at these temples. While it is arguable as to whether deity or commoner is depiced in these sculptures, it is definitely most interesting to see how the everyday-ness of life is interspersed with erotic art, almost producing the sense that eroticity itself is very everyday.