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Khajuraho Temple Sculptures

Why Does Khajuraho Temple Have Sexually Explicit Carvings?

Mandana Misra was a householder spiritual Guru of his time who was a student of mimamsa scholar Kumarila Bhatta.  He would perform all the rituals of the Vedas and followed the methods detailed in the Vedas.  When Adi Shankara went about the country promoting Spiritual way of life, he came across Mandana Misra – whom Kumarila Bhatta had recommended to Adi Shankara to debate on the supremacy of mimamsa or otherwise – and they both engaged in long and detailed debates.  The debates happened near the town of Mandleshwar near Maheshwar in Madhya Pradesh.

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Mandana Misra’s wife Ubhaya Bharati was the referee in the debates.  At the end, Misra lost out to Adi Shankara and accepted that his way was a better way.  His wife, Ubhaya, however refused to give in and said that Shankara had no idea of marital relations and kama (sex).  She wanted to question Shankara on the sexual congress between man and woman, which he couldn’t handle.  Adi Shankara then asked for a recess.  During that time, Shankara used the process of para-kaya pravesa to enter the body of a just dead king – who had two wives.  The wives were very happy to see their king alive, who was now back with a very sharp intellect and robust level of love making.  Although the queens wanted to destroy Shankara’s real body, which his disciples were guarding, Shankara came back to his body in time.  He then proceeded to complete the debate on man-woman relations with Mandana Misra’s wife.  She finally accepted too that Adi Shankara’s ways gave him access to all that is to be known to humans.  Mandana Misra took sanyasa and became Shankara’s disciple and came to be known as Suresvaracarya.

Sex in Indian way of life was regarded as one part of the whole human experience.  And just like everything else, even sex was explored to its ultimate.  Not as an obsession or a fetish, but as an experience.  There was no value judgment and no one was known as a sinner.  Just to understand what the complete experience of being human really meant.  It is that culture that Khajuraho type of temples came up.

Khajuraho Erotica
Khajuraho Erotica
khajuraho erotica
Khajuraho Erotica
Khajuraho Erotica
Khajuraho Erotica
Khajuraho Erotica
Khajuraho Erotica
Khajuraho Erotica
Khajuraho Erotica


The trouble with sex has never been the act or the ways of doing things.  The issue has been the level of attachment and grounding in one’s body, which in itself is a temporary possession.  Every human being is a far more complex mechanism than even the best doctors would have us believe.

Those who have studied the Near Death Experiences will tell you that even when all senses are dead, the human being still functions, records and remembers the events – if s/he is still in some sense of awareness (read Scientific work on NDE and its implications on reincarnation)!

In that sense, where the body in any case has to be shed by the being of a human, being attached to something temporary has its own ramifications from overall state that one wants to attain post death.  Sex is based in the body and increases one’s attachment to it – often at the expense of everything else.

It is this understanding that has been the major issue when it came to sex.  Other than that, the actions were never judged.  So sex was researched and understood in Kamasutra and other ways as a subject that needed to be delved into.  Even more so, sexual energy, which many also equate to life energy – as life emerges off of it – is used as a tool for moving to higher consciousness.  The process is not via unbridled and careless sex, but via a series of tough regimen of yogic practices.  It is precise, complex and exacting on one who wants to go through it.  It is certainly not “whatever we do is fine and fun” variety that the modern certificate-bearing “Tantric sex yogis” would have us believe!

Sex in Tantric Ways

In Tantric traditions, sex was not an instrument of desire, but a method when all desire had ceased!  Even when one was in the state of sexual congress with a woman, it was not dictated or “informed” by a bodily desire.  It arose bereft of it.  Osho has discussed this process and the related complexity that goes with it.  Quite different from how the certificate-bearing “Yogis and Yoginis” of the West would have you believe!!

The greatest training that is involved and the most difficult problem that arises is that Tantra allows a man to make love to a woman only when the man has lost all sexual attraction towards the woman. There is no sexual attraction at all. That is the whole process. The woman becomes almost a mother to you or a sister to you a goddess. She has to be worshipped. In Tantra ritual the woman has to be worshipped like a goddess. And tor months together one has to practise that worship.

The woman sits naked in front of you on a throne and you worship and you bow down and you pray to her and you create the idea in the deepest core of consciousness that she is just a representative of all womanhood, motherhood. She is a goddess.

Day by day, slowly, slowly, you lose all sexual interest in her. You become auto-hypnotised with your own idea. The day you lose all sexual interest in her body and you can look through and though her and her body is no longer a thrill, her body is not even seen at all, she becomes luminous, she is just a presence only then does the Master allow you to make love to her. Now love will have a totally different quality. There is no sex involved in it, no attraction involved in it, no physicality involved in it. It is absolutely spiritual — a meeting of two souls.

But it is a long process. Many rituals, many prayers, many YANTRAS, many meditations are needed.

What covers Khajuraho’s walls?

Even though the temple is famous for the erotic sculptures, such work would account for only 10% of what really is seen there.  The sculptures cover every aspect of human life.

In fact when one moves inside the temple, there is suddenly absolutely no view of any sexual acts but figurines in deep contemplative states.


Khajuraho contemplative
Khajuraho contemplative sculptures inside the temple

This leads one to finally a rather ascetic and bare walls with a singular Shiva Linga in the sanctum sanctorum.  A symbol of complete universal consciousness.

Shiva Linga Khajuraho
Shiva Linga at Khajuraho

The evolution of one’s consciousness is unmistakable.  The life of awareness – and the story of a yogi being led away from grounding in the body and temporary to the infinite existence via the path of contemplative awareness and Kriya yoga.






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