Everyday thousands of children are being sexually abused. You can stop the abuse of at least one child by simply praying. You can possibly stop the abuse of thousands of children by forwarding the link in First Time Visitor? by email, Twitter or Facebook to every Christian you know. Save a child or lots of children!!!! Do Something, please!

3:15 PM prayer in brief:
Pray for God to stop 1 child from being molested today.
Pray for God to stop 1 child molestation happening now.
Pray for God to rescue 1 child from sexual slavery.
Pray for God to save 1 girl from genital circumcision.
Pray for God to stop 1 girl from becoming a child-bride.
If you have the faith pray for 100 children rather than one.
Give Thanks. There is more to this prayer here

Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour

Saturday, 10 October 2015

India's Ancient Sex Temples

Could these be at the root of India's child sex abuse epidemic?

It is not often that I quote from the 'Travel' section of a new publication, but this is very eye-opening. From BBC/travel.

In previous posts on India's profligate problem with child rape, I have quoted the 16th century traveler Jan Huygen van Linschoten in his writing that it was difficult to find a girl in India above the age of 7 who was still a virgin. I have often wondered how far back this child-rape problem could be traced.

While the temples described below don't, at first glance, show pedophilia, it may well be among the many pornographic carvings. Certainly, bestiality is a fairly common theme, so one can assume that if animals were considered quite suitable for sex, public sex, then certainly little girls were 'on the table' as it were.

I am not an expert on the history of pornography, but these are the earliest depictions of sex that I am aware of. Wikipedia says that depictions of a sexual nature go back to prehistoric times, but that modern pornography was invented in Victorian times, although Victorian archaeologists discovered sexually graphic images when they uncovered Pompeii which was buried in 79 AD.

One of India's ancient temples of sex
Of the original 85 temples, just more than 20 remain (Charukesi Ramadurai)
This extremely conservative country was once home to the world’s first sex treatise and the erotic art on display is perhaps more shocking now than when it was created.

By Charukesi Ramadurai

In December 2013, India’s LGBT community suffered a severe setback as the country’s Supreme Court ruled homosexuality to be a criminal offence. More recently, in August 2015, the Indian government imposed a ban, lifted conditionally a few days later, on more than 800 websites deemed pornographic, in an ostensible bid to curb child pornography and sexual violence.

But India was not always like this. Sexual norms were far more liberal before the 13th Century.

India has been a particularly conservative country for the last few hundred years, influenced by the puritanism of several groups, including Islamic dynasties, British overlords and the country’s own Brahmin priestly caste. But India was not always like this. Sexual norms were far more liberal before the 13th Century, giving equal importance to the secular and the spiritual. Sex was taught as a subject in formal education, and Kamasutra, the world’s first sex treatise, was written in ancient India between the 4th Century BCE and the 2nd Century.

Sculptures of a sexual nature
(Credit: Charukesi Ramadurai)
In fact, if you look closely, reminders of these more liberal times can be seen across the country. They’re literally carved in stone in the form of erotic motifs on the lower walls of the 13th Century Sun Temple at Konark in the east Indian state of Orissa. Nudity is prominent in the paintings and sculptures of heavenly maidens at Maharashtra’s Buddhist rock-cut monastic caves, Ajanta (2nd Century BCE) and Ellora (5th to 10th Centuries).

India's most graphic example of erotic temple art

However, the best-preserved and most graphic example of erotic temple art can be found in the small town of Khajuraho in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Its elegantly carved Hindu temples were declared a Unesco World Heritage site in 1986. Built by the Chandela dynasty between 950 and 1050, only 22 of the 85 original temples remain.

When I entered the 6sqkm site late one winter afternoon, the sandstone glowed a burnished gold. Local women carried fresh flowers and incense sticks for their prayers, while visitors perambulated the outer corridors, gawking at the profuse and intricate sculptures that covered every inch of the walls. There were images of gods and goddesses, warriors and musicians, animals and birds. It could have been a scene from any temple in India.

But on closer inspection, many of these carvings were of an intensely erotic nature, featuring men, women and animals. There were depictions of threesomes and orgies, homosexuality and bestiality. Although I knew what to expect, I was still taken aback by shapely maidens and virile men contorting their bodies in impossible sexual positions, right next to sculptures of divine beings smiling blissfully at the devout. Although a few stones were chipped and several limbs broken, the carvings were incredibly pristine, considering that the temples are more than 1,000 years old.

A woman offers prayers at the temple (Credit: Charukesi Ramadurai) 
There are various theories about the existence of such graphic erotic motifs. One of the more exotic ones propounds that since Chandela kings were followers of Tantric principles, which dictate the balance between the male and female forces, they promoted their faith in the temples they created.
Some believe the depiction of sexual activities was considered a good omen.

Other theories have to do with the role of temples themselves in those times: they were considered places of learning as well as worship – especially of the finer arts, including the art of lovemaking. In addition, some believe that the depiction of sexual activities in temples was considered a good omen because it represented new beginnings and new life.

Carvings cover every inch of
the outer walls (Charukesi Ramadurai)
That apart, Hinduism has traditionally considered sex an essential part of life, which could be why the carvings are casually interspersed between others that portray activities as varied as prayer and war. The fact that they are set in plain view and not tucked away in an obscure corner seems to suggest that their creators meant for them to be seen by all.

Isolation helped these graphic motifs survive 

Bizarrely, there’s no reason why these ornate temples were built at Khajuraho, since there’s no clear record of whether there was even a kingdom in this location. The survival of these graphic motifs can likely be attributed to their isolation for hundreds of years in the region’s once-thick forest, only rediscovered by Englishman Captain TS Burt in 1838. In fact, Burt himself had to be persuaded by his Indian attendants to make the journey; he didn’t believe anything of interest would be found at the remote spot. These charmed temples have also managed to evade the wrath of India’s moral police, who in recent years banned or destroyed a range of cultural artifacts, ranging from Salman Rushdie’s books to MF Hussain’s paintings.

A visitor stops to admire the carvings (Credit: Charukesi Ramadurai)
But what I found even more interesting than the explicit carvings and the history behind them was the fact that entire families were quietly engrossed in the guide’s speech as he analysed the spicier carvings high on the walls of the magnificent Kandariya Mahadeva temple. No eyebrows were raised, no embarrassed looks were exchanged, no giggles escaped young lips. Perhaps the art is unobjectionable when crouched within a religious context – but I came away believing that Khajuraho holds within its walls a larger lesson on tolerance for India.

I can't help but think that the roots of India's child-rape problem are seen right here in these 'temples', but it would take someone far more versed in Indian culture and history than I to confirm that.