July 27, 2021

Why the Kama-sutra is also a mystical text

India recognized very early on that man is a being of desire, that he only lives by and for desire. She also pictured gods desiring and being desired. The word for it in Sanskrit, like, offers a wide range of tones.

At its narrowest, it is the impulse that seeks its temporary satisfaction through the senses – taste, smell, hearing, but above all sight and touch -, through the sensual imagination and, more particularly, sexuality. . It is also this satisfaction itself, hence the pleasure, the enjoyment, the orgasm; it is common sense in the Kama-sutra, where it is above all a question of pleasing, and therefore of giving and receiving pleasure.

At the largest, like designates the inextricable interweaving of the quest and what fulfills it, of lack and plenitude, of expectation and rapture, of burning and appeasement. It is therefore part of the mystical vocabulary.

Theology of sexuality

The oldest India developed a true metaphysics of desire. If, for Christianity, “At the origin is the Logos” (the Word), according to the magnificent preamble of the Gospel of John, for India, “At the origin is Desire” : “Originally, darkness was hidden by darkness.” This universe was only an indistinct wave. Then, by the power of Ardor, the One was born. (…) Desire was its original development, [Désir] which was the first seed of Consciousness. “ (Rig-Veda X, 129, 1-4)

It is therefore to desire as a principal force that this initial fact is related: that there is a cosmos, something rather than nothing. Two major consequences can be linked to this for later Indian thought. First of all, the possibility of founding a true theology of sexuality: Shiva and his shakti (his wife), Krishna and Radha make love because they love each other, but also and above all to maintain the existence of the cosmos. They are the desirable ones par excellence, because it is the force of the desire in them which makes them divine. The great mystical traditions of India, as well as the tantric sects, always come back to this.

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And if the sculpture of the temples tirelessly repeats positions recommended by the Kama-sutra (unless it is the Kama-sutra which is inspired by figurative art), as in Khajuraho, Bhuvaneshvar or Konarak, it is It is good that the sexual unions of gods and goddesses, heroes, nymphs and all beings that haunt the sky give off an ever-renewed capacity for creation, otherwise the cosmos would return to nothingness.

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