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Worship of Women

by K.L.Kamat

Written: May 29 1999

The Indians see most of things in the female form. The earth, the country, rivers are in female forms. There are more words in the feminine than any other genders. "Shakti" representing the woman hood is the driving force behind all human activities. Thus she is the symbol of fertility, birth and death. In all these activities, she is closely associated with Lord Shiva. It is implied that Shakti in association of Shiva is burdened with running the entire universe. Even Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are her subjects and as per her wishes carry out their respective functions of creation, sustenance and destruction.

K.L. Kamat/Kamat's Potpourri
<em>Nagna Kabandha</em> Alampur sculpture, Andhra Pradesh
Nagna Kabandha Alampur sculpture, Andhra Pradesh

The basic concepts of the Indian religions were borrowed from the Upanishads, which emphasized on austerities and penance tapasya in life. Over a long period of time, such hard and rigid disciplined norms made people lose interest in life itself. In order to rejuvenate faith in worldly affairs, Tantra Cult or Tantricism was propounded in the third century A.D. The masses were encouraged to disregard extremely rigid fundamentalism and advised to follow five principles (Panchamakaras or symbol) to attain salvation moksha in this life. They were asked to eat fish (matsya), flesh (mansa), food staffs (mudra); drink liquors (madya), engage in coitus (maithuna) and be happy! It was emphasized that foods are for welfare of the body, wines are for stimulating the senses and coitus is for immense pleasure which surpasses any worldly gratifications. Thus, by satisfying all human desires one can attain moksha. As this new philosophy of life proposed the best of worlds that is, love and eroticism (yoga and bhoga), the masses who revolted against orthodoxy in religion, went in for good things in life. 

A section of the society interpreted that Tantric Cult is a license to indulge in immoral activities. In the name of goddess they sacrificed fowls, goats, buffalos, and feasted on their flesh. On special occasion they even sacrificed human beings to attain supernatural powers. In the company of men the women also indulged in liquor-drinking bouts. The original concept of yogic union in coitus (philosophical rather than physical) was forgotten. Instead "bhoga" was termed as "yoga", and all evil became acceptable. It was emphasized that man and woman in coitus should forget everything including themselves! Thus "Shakti" became personified in flesh and blood. Honestly, they believed that this is the only way to attain moksha! At time they also went in for performing the "black magic" (abhichara) for this purpose. Once in a while they went in for mass orgasm. An equal number of men and women met at a secret place and performed what is known as "Chakra puja". The male and the female companions were selected by lots and they indulged in sexual activities all through the night. The participants were prohibited from revealing what happened at the function. These kind of undesirable activities brought a bad name to the cult and became unacceptable to majority of god-fearing people.

Very elaborate description of this cult could be found in tantric texts. They employ the magical spells (mantras) and diagrams (tantras) to please the goddess. Awakening the latent Shakti (Kundalini Yoga) in human being is an important aspect of the cult. Six wheels (chakras) are identified in the human body, commencing from the anus and extending all the way to skull. Shakti is supposed to be located at the bottom, who like snake (Kundalini) traverses through the entire length of the vertebral column to unite with the Shiva located in side the cranium. It is presumed that a given individual could be activated only through Kundalini. Shri Shankaracharya of Sringeri Math accepted this hypothesis and established Shrichakra math.

The mantras are the integral part of this cult. When these oral mantras are converted into written form they are termed as "mandals". When a complicated mandal is drawn by utilizing different geometrical symbols such as circles, triangles, squares, hexagons, decagons, they are known as "yantras" or "chakras". A chakra drawns to dedication of a god or goddess is termed as "shrichakra." It may be drawn on the floor with vermilion ("kumkuma"), sandalwood paste (srigandha) or white chalk. Very orthodox people get them engraved on copper, brass, silver and gold for permanency. This aspect of the cult has developed to such an extent that it has become a science ("shastra") itself. In old palm-leaf manuscripts, and books, one will find innumerable such diagrams and texts concerned with it.

Complex  Circular Designs
The "Union" Mandala

The tantric cult could not inspire the Indian artists for creation of erotic art as they were extremely secretive in their rituals. However, once in a while, one comes across some rudiments of such art work. At Kolaramma Temple Kolar,  in Karnataka there is an ancient icon of the goddess which has been dumped in the attics and nobody is allowed to have glimpses (darshan) of her! It depicts a youthful lady without any clothes. She is wearing elaborate ornaments on her hair-bun, head, earlobes, neck, shoulders, hands, waist and feet. She  is  shown holding a drinking bowl in her raised right hand. 

In remote Barsur village of Bastar district of Madhya Pradesh, there are some scattered sculptures of a ruined temple which exhibits the influence of this cult of erotic art. In one of them, two commoners are embracing each other holding the drinking bowls in their hands. In another, a male offers a drink to his mate prior to coitus. Even Lord Shiva is holding a drinking bowl while sitting in meditation. Shiva-Shakti union has given rise to "Ardhanareeswara" ( a.k.a Uma-maheswara) concept which resulted in innumerable icons in stone and metal.

K.L. Kamat/Kamat's Potpourri
Man and Woman in a Tantric Ritual
Man and Woman in a Tantric Ritual
Sculpture from Barsur, Madhya Pradesh

After decline and fall of this cult the people converted their temple into that of Lord Shiva. Worship of female deities also continued and this gave the Indian artisans ample opportunities to chisel out beautiful icons of different goddesses. South India is having numberous Marikamba icons but one that is located at Sirsi in  Uttar Kannada district  is richly decorated and attractive. Mahakali's icon could be fearsome or docil. Sharadamma of Sringeri math is considered to be goddess of education. Every year the artisans of West Bengal mount several earthen idols of goddess Durga for Dasara festival and at the end of the festival they are immersed in the river Bhagirathi. In the Horanadu Chikkamagluru district of Karnataka, there is beautiful icon goddess Annapuranashewari. Different types of yantras and shri-chakras could be seen all over the county. 

It is a fact of life that Tantric cult has left a permanent influence on the Indian art and population


Contents from Erotic Arts of India CD-ROM
© K.L.Kamat All Rights Reserved


Erotic Art of India


Erotic Arts of India
A Beauty Prepares for her Lovers ArrivalMithuna -- Eternal loversSculpture from BallegaviRomantic CoupleNot Tonight Dear -- Couple in ConversationThe Swastika PositionErotica from Temple PanelLajja Gowri: Deity of FertilityA Stone Sculpture of Lajja GowriIndian Group Sex
Erotica from Nandi Temple, KhajurahoErotica from Nandi Temple, KhajurahoLajja Gowri Sculpture, AlampuramMan Disturbs Wife  Busy at WorkFresco Painting at SibiThe Man Makes a MoveRomance of Shiva and UmaLajja Gowri as the Deity of FertilityBlack and White UnionA Royal Couple in Romance
Rajasthani Couple Unite in a BalconyOne Man, Many WomenRomancing CoupleErotic PaintingIntoxication and SexErotic PaintingBlack and White ConjugationErotica from a Temple PanelAmorous Couple, AiholeTwo Panels Depicting Erotic Paintings
Some of the Erotic Arts are  in a dilapidated state and need enhancements to study themAn Ascetic Inviting a WomanWoman having a Sexual Contact with her DogVillagers Choice Sexual PositionRemoval of Clothes is OptionalThe Flying Bird PositionWoman Relaxing her Man in BedCouple Engaged in ForeplayWomen in EmbraceIndian Fetish
Erotic Engravings on the Partkal Temple Chariot, GoaTwo Men Coaxing a Woman to Cooperate in Sexual  ActsA Welcome to BedLady Calming-down an Erect ManShiva Arising from a LingaMale Organ as a Symbol of Lord ShivaPhallus as a Symbol of Lord ShivaHalf Man, Half WomanArdha-NarishwaraSmall Talk as Foreplay
The Leg-locked CoupleMan in Heat -- Sculpture from Medieval IndiaGroup Sex 1228 A.D.Group Sex Depicted in a ReliefA Couple in CoitusPreparing for ConjugationWoman Performing FellatioA Woman Lets a Monkey Taste her Body FluidsLady On Top PositionInterwoven Limbs
How to Fit Four on a Single BedHomosexual Men Making MerryThe Seduction of ShivaRomance of Uma and ShivaMan Fondles WifeWoman on Top PositionCopulating Couple -- Wooden SculptureAmorous CoupleMan with Two Lovers, Sibi PaintingErotic Art from Sibi Temple
King and his Queen Performing a Ritual for ProgenyAncient BestialityWoman with Mirror Consults her ManTantric FellatioKissing CoupleFull Body Excitement of Tantric SexGenius Art EroticaAcrobatic Sex PositionAncient Homosexuality?Oral Sex for One
Hidden SexAcrobatic Erotica!Mithuna CoupleVigorous Love MakingMedieval Workplace Harassment!

Love Temples of Khajuraho
Kamasutra Positions
Use of Nails
Erotica in Literature
Female Power Worship
Worship of Phallus
Worship of Women
Genitalia as Art
Bestiality in Art
More Pictures!
Artist Lets his Imagination Go WildDrinking Couple -- Sculpture from a Stupa in SanchiA Romantic CoupleMan punishes wifes paramourMan disturbs wife while she puts on make up<br>Ancient temple sculptureDepiction of BestialityErotica from a Chariot CarvingSelf help is the best help?Worship of Linga
Sculpture of Lajja GowriGirl preparing to meet boyfriendLovers, sculpture from a Khajuraho templeGenitalia WorshipDivine RecreationFriends Engaged in Sexual ActivitiesWorkplace Harassment ?!Two playful ladies bathing togetherMaking love on a comfortable bed, pillow and bed-spread
Man Fondles Two Women on a Swing<br>Mysore Traditional PaintingA man and two women are in the game of love.Not Tonight DearEnjoying each other companyPlayboy Krishna Makes Out in the BushWoman Worshipping an Erect LingaIn Explicit Detail…The Ishwara LingamWoman putting on makeup excites a man
A Warrior Spends Time With MistressNeeds of the body differ from that of the mind!<br>Two aroused Sadhus accosting a courtesanBirth of a Child <br> The Natural Culmination of Sexual ActivitySpanking in Medieval India (?) Divine recreation: Krishna with two Gopikas (female cowherds)Who Said Bigger is Better?!The Phallus: Facts and FallaciesI read and I forgot… I saw and I understoodAmorous Couple, Wooden Sculpture
A Beast Mounts a WomanSculpted Chandela Temples  Depicting EroticaThe Double DeckerCarvings on wooden car (chariot) in PattadakalMan and Woman in Beauty of UnionCouple Entangled in a Love KnotThe Mark of a Man!One Woman Takes on Two MenPlayful Girl Friends
Medieval Sculpture Depicting Group Sex Begging for LoveErotic Paintngs of IndiaDepilated LoversErotica of BallegaviErotic Paintings of IndiaManmatha Shooting Arrow of Love from GajanaariPractice Yoga and Excel at SexIslamic Kamasutra (?)
Couple at ForeplayMonkey KamasutraThe Comfort UnionCouple on their First Night Let Praise be Given to God that He has created WomanWoman Hanging on to her LoverLove, like liquor, intoxicates!Man uses his Phallus to beat the drum! Old Fashioned Sex
The Mutually Reciprocal PositionSex in the Kitchen!The Love Knot A Group Sex Scene Depicted in Ancient SculptureCouple Engaged in a Game of LoveIllustration Based on Kokashastra of KalyanamallaMaking Love on a SwingMithuna LoversMan Cajoles Woman
Mankinds First Erotic Art?Erotic Scluptures of Bhatkal TempleThreesome (?) Depiction

Kamat's Potpourri Research Database Worship of Women

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