Love And Lust In Indian Literature

1634 words - 7 pages

The pursuit of love and pleasure is well documented in Indian literature and theoretical texts, its sensual and powerful nature weaving its way into the history of Indian culture. Kama, as this pursuit is so called, is all encompassing of pleasures of both carnal and more educated stature, such as the pursuit of enjoyment in drama and musical endeavors. In the literature based on the more literal sense of “love between two people” there are two distinct types of this affection: that of the carnal desire that all people possess, no matter their strength of ascetic beliefs, and the sacred love that is felt between husband and wife. The stark contrast and pull between these two types of love is ...view middle of the document...

The man, on the other hand, is not prompted to simply steal these maidens virtues or engage in a sexual conquest, but is rather told that he, “should do everything in his power to effect a union with her” By saying that the man needs to put everything aside and use all of his abilities to gain this union, love is being placed on a pedestal above other desires, including that of a purely carnal nature. Another example of this great strength of love is in the section of the Sakuntala in which the great king woos a simple hermit girl with whom he falls in love. The girl plays the blushing and undecided nature that is expected of her, but instead of becoming angry and forceful with her, the kind pours out his unadulterated emotion. When the girl’s friends bring up the point, “We’ve heard that kings have many loves. Will our beloved friend become a sorrow to her relatives after you’ve spent your time with her?” the king responds both candidly and emotionally with, “I have many wives but my noble line rests on two foundations: the sea-bound earth and this friend of yours!” This exaltation of binding love is unrelated to how the king physically feels about the girl because he is willing to place her above all of his other wives, regardless of kingly precedent. The final piece that reflects this sacred kind of love is the “Cloud Messenger”. In this poem a man is sentenced to exile for a year and yearns to be back with his lover. In his desperation he anthropomorphizes a cloud and speaks to it like a courier, giving it a message to convey back to his beloved. This love even in separation is perhaps the greatest manifestation of sacred love because it has nothing to do with the physical, only the emotional. Even though the man could cheat on his adored and she would never find out, he sends the reassuring message through the cloud that, “For some reason people say that affections diminish in separation, but frustration makes them hungrier for what they want, turning them into a store of love” This dissatisfaction that he feels at the absence of his loved one is not only a sexual reaction, because if so he could simply find another woman to fulfill that desire. The love that this man feels, and the love felt by the others in the poems and sections of the Karma Sutra and other dramas, are all prime examples of the sacred form of love.
Even though this sacred love is powerful, is goes without saying that the lust felt by all humans is strong in its own way and not unrepresented in Indian literature. In the work, “When love Becomes Intense” in the Kama Sutra, people are instructed on how to make marks on their partners with their nails during sexual encounters. These marks are described in graphic and almost pornographic detail, but should not be though of as a work of erotica. The passage gives almost a scientific approach to the heated action of scratching or biting a lover, including details such as where to leave the marks and when they should be...

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