Sunday, June 29, 2008

'Swakīyā Prīti', one’s love for own wife only

Upendra Bhanja: The Great Poet of Orissa
from Dr. Harekrishna Meher by Dr. Harekrishna Meher

Upendra’s poems are mostly dominated by Eros, the first among the nine sentiments of literature. Some narrations of the sensuous erotic dealings are seen in his poems. So his works have suffered a lot in the pens of some modern critics. Great poets like Vyāsa, Kālidāsa, Māgha, Śrīharsha of Sanskrit, and Ādikabi Sāraļā Dās, Dānakrushna Dās, Kabisūrya Baļadeba Rath and others of Oriya literature have unhesitatingly delineated the contextual erotic dalliance in their poems. In Oriya literature, all such erotic depictions, though indicative of so-called obscenity and lack of some refined taste, are due to the influence of Sanskrit literature. Such descriptions may be poetic lapses; but are not detrimental to the poetic genius. Several instances of eroticism can be found in modern literatures also.

In all his epical compositions, Upendra has not only shown the ornate style, but also distinctly portrayed the emotions, feelings and sentiments of mankind. So his writings are not simply crammed with poetic imaginations. His poetic pen has also recorded the reality of life, psychological analysis and various facets of worldly experiences. Several data of socio-cultural, historical, geographical, religious and like conditions of his age are also diffused in his works. Both imagination and truth are mingled charmingly.

Love in Upendra’s pen is seen very sensuous, alluring and romantic. He has preached 'Swakīyā Prīti', one’s love for own wife only or for an unmarried loving maiden, the would-be wife. He has never supported or depicted 'Parakīyā Prīti', one’s love for the wives of others. Such attitude strengthens the social discipline by preserving the ethical value of mankind, especially in Indian culture.

An illustration of the heart-touching love is cited here from his work. As the context goes on, in ‘Prema-Sudhānidhi’ kāvya (Chapter-XIV), the young lover and the beloved maiden both pine for each other during their separation. The prince passionately writes a love-letter to his sweetheart princess, consoling their hearts, bearing the pangs of separation and preserving their lively love... ( Compiled in the English Book “UPENDRA BHANJA”Published by : Kalinga Bharati, Dagarpara, Cuttack, Orissa, 1990.)

Dr. Harekrishna Meher
Address: Dr. Harekrishna Meher, Reader & Head, Department of Sanskrit, Govt. Autonomous College, BHAWANIPATNA-766001, Orissa (India). * Phone : +91-6670-231591 * Mobile: +91-94373-62962 *** Email : * * * * URL :

The genesis started from the sexual intercourse of the Creator and a cow

Sunday, October 15, 2006 (Sculpture of the goddess LAJJA GOURI) SEXUALITY AND SPIRITUALISM IN INDIAN LITERATURE (1) Sarojini Sahoo
Location: Orissa, India View my complete profile

Generally in Greco-Semitic family, God is described in masculine terms.but in the Indic family, we find God is considered as both masculine and feminine form. In Taoism, Yin and Yang and in Hinduism Prakriti and Purusha are considered feminine and masculine .The concept of Ardhanariswar form of Lord Shiva in Hinduism is also considered as the major factor of gender equality and for this in ancient India we find evidence of homosexuality, bisexuality, androgyny, multiple sex partners and open representation of sexual pleasures in artworks like the Konark, Khajuraho temples, being accepted within prevalent social frameworks.

In Samkhya Philosophy, the concept of Prakriti and Purusha was later accepted in buddhism and Bhagwat gita. We may define the Prakruti as ‘female’ or negative charge and purusha as ‘male’ positive charge. This Prakriti is all pervasive but complex primal substance, which is transformed into multifarious nature. The primal entity is not perceived in its original form, for then it is in a state of equilibrium, and as such remains non-modified. This eternal and infinite principle is insentient and consists of three interdependent and interchangeable elements called the gunas. These are sattva, rajas, and tamas. These gunas are not the qualities but the constituent parts of Prakriti. They give complexity to Mula (original) Prakriti. But Purusha is inactive and passive, but sentient and also infinite and eternal.

Under the inscrutable influence of Purusha; the equilibrium in Prakriti is disturbed and the whole universe of unlimited permutations and combinations comes into existence. The first modification of Prakriti - primordial nature - is called as Mahat or Cosmic Intelligence. It further involutes into two forces, 1) Akasha, the primal matter, and 2) Prana, the primal energy. Akasha forms the material basis, and Prana the energy basis of creation. From the interaction between Akasha and Prana are formed five subtle elements, crudely translated as Ether, Fire, Air, Water, and Earth. In various proportions, these are the constituents of all the material existence in the universe. As can be seen, even Mahat or Intelligence is matter consisting of three gunas, and five elements.In Physics also we find an atom is made up of proton and electron..Proton is a positive charged particle and electron is negatively charged particle .The attraction between Proton and Electron made the existence of an atom possible.

Later, this concept laid to the Shiva and Shakti dual theory of creation. Adi Shankaracharya, the founder of non-dualistic philosophy (Advaita – ‘not two’) in Hindu thought says in his ‘Saundaryalaairi’ –“ Shivah Shaktayaa yukto yadi bhavati shaktah prabhavitum na che devum devona khalu kushalah spanditam api” i.e. It is only when Shiva is united with Shakti that He acquires the capability of becoming the Lord of the Universe. In the absence of Shakti, He is not even able to stir.

In Vrihadaranyakopanishad, it is stated that the genesis started from the sexual intercourse of the Creator and a cow. the cow was running from the Creator with a fear to being raped and ‘she’ was transforming ‘herself’ in different forms and but the Creator was finding out ‘her’ and every time from the sexual intercourse (or we may describe it as a ‘rape’) the genesis started. I don’t find any reason why we the Indian people get so much worried about Wendy Doniger. I do admit that the western thinkers portray Hinduism inappropriately through Greco-Semitic concepts and categories. I often find my western Philosophers examine Bhagwat Gita as a negative terms of Arjuna killing his relatives because of his Hindu outlook. But as Hindus, we are also very much sensitive regarding sexuality, especially when it is quoted with our religion and spiritualism. But we have to admit that sexuality is often described in our myths, Puranas and in our religious text, above all in our literatures from medieval age to this post modern age. In this serial essay, I will try to justify the role of sexuality from different angle and also try to compared it with the European/American concept of sexuality. (To be continued) posted by Sarojini Sahoo at 8:58 AM

Born in 1956, Dr Sarojini Sahoo has an MA and PhD degrees in Oriya Literature, and a Bachelor of Law, from Utkal University. She now teaches at a Degree college in Belpahar, Jharsuguda, of Orissa... She has published seven anthologies of short stories and five novels.