Mithuna or mythuna are the sculptures that are found in almost all the temples built by the brahmi chalukyas, predominantly in the cave temples of Badami(capital city). Also seen in temples at pattadakal, especially temples virupaksha and mallikarjuna built by lokamadevi and trilokyama devi and in some temples at Iholi. In south India, these sculptures were brought in only during Vijayanagar Kingdom, but are seen in many temples of the north much earlier to that period.
A friendly couple image brought in basically to add beauty to the structures. Also it conveys the harmony of living and to create a good understanding between man and woman.
In temples of the north such as Khajuraho, some of them are seen in postures of love. The eyes are beautifully presented. Posture and body language expressed intimacy and love in the way in which they are holding each other. It is absolute love and cannot be seen as eroticism.
Thousands of theories by western scholars revolve around these sculptures, which we unfortunately have to depend on. It is a wrongly understood that they are sex temples and are forms of ancient sex education. It is also a misconception that Vatysayana was written based on these sculptures. Basic idea of these sculptures is totally lost and framed information on the internet is to be blamed.
A tiger, though beautiful, is not admired but feared, whereas a woman carrying a pot in the forest is admired. The mental structure of anyone is responsible for such a distinction. This admiration is named sexual which is bascically nothing more than the functioning of panchendriyas - looks, smell, sound, taste and touch. The output of these senses are temporary and are uncollectible memories. But if one can channelize the panchendriya towards god and temple, the ecstasy is perpetual and permanent.
The western explanations are to be ignored as India was not of vanara aacharam or free sex region. Mithuna couples are shown to bring in the intimacy of how to love each other and respect each other, not just physically but mentally.
The Chalukyan temples gave much prominence to these temples. It is important to notice that, though the sculptures might be found intimate, the eyes of the couple are always looking at each other. The mithuna couple portray the sense and passifying each other and the thrust to win over each other which are a part of a love drama between every happy couple.
Uma Sita Moorty is the most lovable couple in all of India. Kalyanasundara Murti Bronze image at Vadagalathur deserves a special mention, which was made in the 9th century during Pallava - Chozha transition period. The way Parvati is reluctant to give her hand to Shiva, is beautiful. The very aspect of it is shown in every painting of Parvati Kalyanam, including ellora and elephanta. The Alingana Chandrashekara temple would present statues where lord Shiva hugs his consort Parvati. In the same way, the 8th century Durga Vishnu temple in Aihole depicts Varaha lifting Booma devi with utmost passion. One would not call these sculptures sexual, but would see the mithuna couple sculptures differently. This proves that the real problem lies in the mindset of the people rather than the sculptures.
The sculptures should be read in the same way a poetry would be read. The intimacy in the poetry is often seen as an aesthetic. The mithuna couple must also be seen as a union of two hearts and misinterpretations should be avoided.
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