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Shiva-Parvati Sculptures of Badami
Written: September 01, 1999
Romance of the gods and goddesses has the the subject of many erotic arts and literature in India. Poet Kalidasa graphically describes the erotic acts of Lord Shiva and Parvati in "Kumarasambhava". Similarly, poet Jayadeva deals with eroticism between Krishna and Radha in "Gita-Govinda". In the southern region of Vindhya mountains love lore of Krishna is not in vogue, and we see that the southern poets have confined themselves to erotic acts of Shiva-Parvati. Battleswara in his works "Bhikshatana Charitra" has glorified their love acts. Lakanna Dandesha in his writings, "Shivatatva Chitamani" gives a vivid description of the couple's sexual acts. As they were not pleased with erotic acts of human beings, and hence they mated like fishes, crocodiles, birds like peacock, owl, parrot, vulture, swan, heron; mammals like mouse, wolf, camel, monkey, cat, elephant, lion, and elephants. However, the poet has presumed that the readers are well versed with their mating acts and has refrained from giving a detailed description.
Badami is a small sleepy town in Bijapur district of Karnataka. In ancient times it was known as "Vatapi" and was the capital of Chalukya dynasty. They got excavated five cave temples in the sixth century. Third cave is dedicated to Lord Shiva and was excavated in 578 A.D. The capitals of the pillars that support outer hall have bracket sculptures of Shiva and Parvati in different erotic (mithuna) positions. On the basis of the literature available, the sculptors have produced master art work which vibrate with sensitiveness, warmth and emotions. Their creative urges blooms from the tradition and had religious sanctions. However, they restricted themselves in depicting gods and goddesses in graceful and amorous forms only. They never adventures to depicting them in the act of copulation or in perverted postures.
The sculptors have depicted the human body forms of Shiva-Parvathi in most fascinating angle; profiles, three quarter profiles, side and back views. Parvathi's feminine grace is best expressed when she is engaged in the erotic acts with Shiva. For sheer beauty of form, delicacy of workmanship, perfection of finish they are superb. They have skillfully manipulated the space and matter so as to depict the couple as lovely figures. Uma is depicted as having rounded legs, attractive thighs, thin waist, fully developed and rounded breasts, and shapely arms.
The sentiments (rasa) expressed by amorous couple is the soul of sculpture. The artist builds up various rasas to create seeet experience on onlookers. Out of nine rasas most commonly used are laughter (hasya), pity (karuna), calm (shanta), wonder (adbhuta), amorous (sringara). The factors that inflames mithuna are: moonlight, cool breeze, perfumed flowers, arrival of spring, and animals in coition. The presence of lover in close vicinity, perspiration and glances are the other factors which induce the couple in erotic activities.
Shiva-Parvati are shown in different moods. Their togetherness indicate keen interest in sambhoga (copulation). The proximity of the beloved one; exchange of smiles; pleasant conversation; expressing great feelings of the heart; bodily suggesting each other desires; the arms, legs resting on the different parts of the partner, are all indicative of they are deeply interested in erotic activities.
The sculptors have not refrained in depicting all activities that lead to orgasm in the panels meant for the mortals. Men and women indulging in drinking bouts, couples sharing liquor are depicted. An intoxicated couple relaxing on cot indulge into physical stimulation. This leads to sexual desires in both of them. The sculptor has taken the liberty of depicting their act of copulation. There are number of other panels which exhibit a variety of erotic activities.
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