|My Visit to India in Dec. 2006
These temples are symbolic representations of Mt. Kailash (in Tibet; a.k.a. Kangrinboqê,
Gang Rinpoche, Kangrinboqê, 岡仁波齊峰, Gāngrénbōqí Fēng & Kailāśā Parvata) – the abode
of Lord Shiva & family for Hindus, highly sacred as the ultimate source of the great Indus,
Brahmaputra and Ganges Rivers — often conflated with mythical Mt. Sumeru / Meru in
East Asian Buddhist / Shamanic mythology (as this world's axial mountain).
|A Few of the Famous "Erotic" Outer-Wall Stone-Carvings of Khajuraho:
|Page Three -- Khajuraho Hindu & Jain Temples
|the amazingly well-preserved thousand-year-old Hindu temples of Khajuraho,
another of India's famous UNESCO-designated World Heritage Sites
Yes, these thousand-year-old religious-pornography artworks, depicting both demi-gods and humans, are amusing.
Related to the famous Kama Sutra, they intended to promote fecundity for the kingdom, I could only suppose. They
were explained to us by our guide as intending to depict and celebrate all the fullness of human life... including those
parts that our contemporary societies disapprove of, or at least demand be kept hidden and private... Just goes to
show how concepts of what is Sacred differ across cultures and change over centuries.
Ganesh, the elephant-headed
son of Shiva and Hindu patron
of good fortune -- dancing!
Still with 'nudity', but in an entirely different mood and for nearly opposite reasons, these temples on the other side of
Khajuraho are ancient ones of the tiny religion known as Jainism, fairly similar to early Buddhism as a rebellion against /
reform of main-stream Hinduism. We learned that the Jain saints emphasized the equal spiritual value of all living beings,
with non-violence and ascetic self-control with non-attachment to material possessions leading to liberation of the soul
from karmic suffering. Their architecture is virtually identical to the Hindu temples there built around the same era, and
the depictions of their divine figures are remarkably similar to those of Hinduism and Buddhism.
Yup, these are Jain carvings, not Buddhist -- you
can tell because the main divine-humans are
naked -- so unattached to material possessions
that they even do without clothing... Not a religious
ideal that would fly in Korea, or even northern India!
All of these amazing temples each took up to a
century to build -- imagine that, 4 or 5 generations
of stone-carvers working on each one! The rulers
approving those architectural plans were certainly
confident of the stable future of their power....