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Balance of eroticism, spirituality needed in India, says author Sudhir Kakar

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Sudhir Kakar credit: www.zetaestaticos.com
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New Delhi: Psychoanalyst-turned-writer Sudhir Kakar’s latest book, ‘The Devil Take Love’, is a heady mix of sexuality, ancient India and poetry.

credit: www.amazon.com
credit: www.amazon.com

The deeply erotic book comes against the backdrop of a heated debate in the country on porn ban and writers’ freedom of expression. The novel traces the life of the 7th century legendary Sanskrit poet Bhartrihari and his tussle between sexual self-discovery and intellect.

“The relevance of Bhartrihari is that he represents the perennial Indian struggle between flesh and spirit. It has been a struggle for India in the last 1,100 years. A balance of eroticism and spirituality is needed in India,” Kakar told  in an interview in Bhutan on the sidelines of a literary festival and later on the phone from Delhi.

The book unravels the liberal facet of ancient India where a temple was devoted to Kamadeva (king of desire) and a festival was observed for him.

“Bhartrihari’ s poetry is a struggle for the balance of eroticism and asceticism,” explains Kakar who has more than 20 titles to his credit. The book has at least three pages devoted to lovemaking.

Kakar also disputes attempts to glorify the spiritual past of ancient India. “It is a false notion that ancient India was purely spiritual as it is being projected now. It is good for Indians to learn that there have been two sides to ancient India,” said the author.

Defining passion as the driving force behind any creation, Kakar illustrates how Kama (lust) can’t be defied. “The sixth century Brihatsamhita says that from the greatest God to the smallest worm, everything is ruled by desire. Even Lord Shiva had to take four faces to have a look at a woman,” said Kakar who translated ‘The Kamasutra’ with Wendy Doniger .

The protagonist Bhartrihari, as a young man, travels from the provincial town of Jalandhar to the magnificent city of Ujjayini. His poetic prowess is recognised; he becomes the court poet in the kingdom of Avanti.

Though he climbed the ladder of success and fame in a short span of time, the poet is torn between sexual passion and erotic disenchantment, as the appeal of the senses tussles with the call of the spirit. As Bhartrihari’s poems are classified under shringara, vairagya and niti (love, renunciation and moral conduct), it is applicable for modern Indian society too, Kakar added.

‘The Devil Take Love’ eloquently narrates life in cosmopolitan Ujjayini while exploring the challenges in a poet’s mind. Bhartrihari is perceived to be the most modern among Sanskrit poets.

Kakar, however, describes his work as fiction and Bhartrihari as a ghost. “I would describe him as a historical ghost and a novelist’s delight. As there was a lack of information on the historical person behind the poet, I used my imagination to grasp the emotional truth of the poet,” said Kakar.

The author says that the intriguing title, ‘The Devil Take Love’, came from one of Bhartrihari’s verses when he was disillusioned with life and fell from grace. Kakar did his master’s degree in business economics from Germany and doctorate in economics from Vienna, before training in psychoanalysis at the Sigmund Freud Institute in Frankfurt.

Asked why he picked Bhartrihari’s life as a topic, he said: “My dad was a civil servant and I remember he recited a verse of Bhartrihari once when he came back from office disenchanted. He told me that Bhartrihari is the only poet with a modern sensibility. Fifty years must have passed, however, it stuck to me and I started reading his works,” said Kakar.

Kakar’s critically acclaimed oeuvres include ‘The Ascetic Of Desire; Ecstasy; The Crimson Throne; Intimate Relations; Exploring Indian Sexuality; Tales Of Love, Sex And Danger; among others.

(By Preetha Nair, IANS)

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Swami Vivekananda’s Quotes That Will Inspire You To The Fullest

Swami Vivekananda used to stress upon the universal brotherhood and self-awakening. He wanted the youth to get going and hence his inspirational thoughts were a motivation to many people for self-improvement especially for the youth of the country.

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Swami Vivekananda used to stress upon the universal brotherhood and self-awakening. Wikimedia Commons
Swami Vivekananda used to stress upon the universal brotherhood and self-awakening. Wikimedia Commons
  • Swami Vivekananda was behind the introduction of the Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world
  • Swami Vivekananda followed and carried on the philosophy of Ramakrishna Paramhansa
  • Swami Vivekananda’s mother had a great impact on him

Swami Vivekananda was a Hindu monk, a great orator, passionate patriot and one of the most celebrated spiritual leaders of India. He was the man behind the introduction of the Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world. In colonial India, Swami Vivekananda immensely contributed to the concept of nationalism.

Swami Vivekananda followed and carried on the philosophy of his guru, Ramakrishna Paramhansa forward with his teachings and worked towards the upliftment of the society and revival of Hindu spiritualism. He wanted to showcase Hindu religion on the world stage. Later, he found the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission.

Also Read: India’s First Woman Lawyer: 10 Lesser Known Facts About Cornelia Sorabji

Swami Vivekananda was born on January 12, 1863, into an affluent Bengali family in Calcutta. His father was a successful attorney with considerable influence in society. Swami Vivekananda’s mother had a great impact on him. During his lifetime, he spoke a lot about spirituality and life motivation. Swami Vivekananda quotes became very popular among countrymen and he was seen as a spiritual idol for many.

Swami Vivekananda was born on January 12, 1863, into an affluent Bengali family in Calcutta. Wikimedia Commons
Swami Vivekananda was born on January 12, 1863, into an affluent Bengali family in Calcutta. Wikimedia Commons

Here, we have compiled few of the Swami Vivekananda’s inspirational thoughts that would fill you with much insight and spiritualism.

  1. “When I Asked God for Strength He Gave Me Difficult Situations to Face When I Asked God for Brain & Brawn He Gave Me Puzzles in Life to Solve When I Asked God for Happiness He Showed Me Some Unhappy People When I Asked God for Wealth He Showed Me How to Work Hard When I Asked God for Favors He Showed Me Opportunities to Work Hard When I Asked God for Peace He Showed Me How to Help Others God Gave Me Nothing I Wanted He Gave Me Everything I Needed.”

2. “This is the gist of all worship: to be pure and to do well to others. He who sees Shiva in the poor, in the weak, and in the diseased, really worships Shiva. And if he sees Shiva only in the image, his worship is but preliminary. He who has served and helped one poor man seeing Shiva in him, without thinking of his caste or creed or race or anything, with him Shiva is more pleased than with the man who sees Him only in temples.”

Also Read: 11 Must-Know Facts About Asima Chatterjee

3. “All power is within you; you can do anything and everything. Believe in that, do not believe that you are weak; do not believe that you are half-crazy lunatics, as most of us do nowadays. You can do anything and everything, without even the guidance of anyone. Stand up and express the divinity within you.”

Swami Vivekananda followed and carried on the philosophy of his guru, Ramakrishna Paramhansa. Wikimedia Commons
Swami Vivekananda followed and carried on the philosophy of his guru, Ramakrishna Paramhansa. Wikimedia Commons

4. After every happiness comes misery; they may be far apart or near. The more advanced the soul the more quickly does one follow the other. What we want is neither happiness nor misery. Both make us forget our true nature; both are chains-one iron, one gold; behind both is the Atman, who knows neither happiness nor misery. These are states, and states must ever change; but the nature of the Atman is bliss, peace, unchanging. We have not to get it, we have it; only wash away the dross and see it. Let people say whatever they like, stick to your own convictions, and rest assured, the world will be at your feet. They say, “Have faith in this fellow or that fellow”, but I say, “Have faith in yourself first”, that’s the way. Have faith in yourself-all power is in you-be conscious and bring it out. Say, “I can do everything.”

5. “Advance like a hero. Do not be thwarted by anything. How many days will this body last, with its happiness and misery? When you have the human body, then rouse the Atman within and say-I have reached the state of fearlessness!…and then as long as the body endures, speak unto others this message of fearlessness: ‘Thao art That’, ‘Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached’.”

Also Read: 10 Must-Know Facts About Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

6. “Remember the words of Christ: “Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you.” These words are literally true, not figures or fiction. They were the outflow of the heart’s blood of one of the greatest sons of God who have ever come to this world of ours; words which came as the fruit of realisation, from a man who had felt and realised God himself; who had spoken with God, lived with God, a hundred times more intensely than you or I see this building.”

7. “Be not afraid of anything. You will do marvellous work. It is fear that is the great cause of misery in the world. It is fear that is the greatest of all superstitions. It is fear that is the cause of all our woes, and it is fearlessness that brings heaven even in a moment. Therefore, “Arise, awake and stop not until the goal is reached.”

8. “For a warrior, nothing is higher than a war against evil. The warrior confronted with such a war should be pleased, Arjuna, for it comes as an open gate to heaven. But if you do not participate in this battle against evil, you will incur sin, violating your dharma and your honour.”

January 12, swami Vivekananda's birthday, is celebrated as the National Youth Day in India. Wikimedia Commons
January 12, swami Vivekananda’s birthday, is celebrated as the National Youth Day in India. Wikimedia Commons

9. “Do not believe a thing because you have read about it in a book. Do not believe a thing because another man has said it was true. Do not believe in words because they are hallowed by tradition. Find out the truth for yourself. Reason it out. That is realization.”

10. “We are responsible for what we are, and whatever we wish ourselves to be, we have the power to make ourselves. If what we are now has been the result of our own past actions, it certainly follows that whatever we wish to be in the future can be produced by our present actions; so we have to know how to act. “

Also Read: 15 Amazing Facts About The Revolutionary Bhagat Singh

Swami Vivekananda used to stress upon the universal brotherhood and self-awakening. He wanted the youth to get going and hence his inspirational thoughts were a motivation to many people for self-improvement especially for the youth of the country. For his love for youth, January 12, his birthday, is celebrated as the National Youth Day in India. Swami Vivekananda’s motivational quotes are still followed at many of the country’s educational institutes.