Think of the erotic literature from 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 Rig 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 extentToday, the philosophical acceptance of desire and the erotic sentiment has been asphyxiated by a hypocritical morality that has much for 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. 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 past 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 Brahmins, 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 this 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. Kalidasa and Jayadev stand out as exemplars of this genre. It was basically the evangelical fervor of the Victorian era that imposed severe structures 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 India 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.
|Book:||Love And Lust: An Anthology Of Erotic Literature From Ancient And Medieval India|
|Author:||Pavan K. Varma|
|Number of Pages:||344|
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