I used to go to Khajuraho…


“Tantra believes unless you have gone through all sexual experiences to the point when sex does not matter to you at all… you are capable of entering into the inner sanctum of the temple,” states Osho.

Osho in Buddha Hall

It happened that Mahatma Gandhi wanted the temples of Khajuraho… which are some of the most beautiful creations of man – there is nothing comparable on the whole earth. The temples of Puri and Konarak, which are similar, have not achieved the perfection of Khajuraho. There must have been at least one hundred temples, very big temples, and you cannot find even a single inch which has not been carved, which has not been made beautiful. Naked men and women in different postures of love… naturally Gandhi was very much annoyed, and he wanted at first to demolish these temples.

Seventy temples had already been demolished by the Mohammedans, because Mohammedans have a fanatical attitude that God cannot be represented in any statue, picture or anything.

It is perfectly okay if it is your idea, but to interfere with somebody else’s idea becomes idiotic. Somebody wants his god to be expressed in a statue – who are you? But every religion thinks it is responsible for the whole of humanity and it intends to impose its idea on every human being. So when the Mohammedans came, they could not believe it; they destroyed seventy temples of tremendous value.

But thirty of these temples were hidden in thick forest, so they were saved. Now what Mohammedans had done, Gandhi wanted to do – for a different reason, but what he wanted to do was the same, to demolish them. He was afraid that, “These temples will show the whole world that we are not very moral people, that we are not puritans.”

What kind of temples are these, in which each temple has thousands of couples carved in stone? Full-sized men and women, so beautiful that once you have seen a Khajuraho temple woman, a statue, no woman will look beautiful to you! Every woman will look just a faded memory of something real. Those stones are so real…

I used to go to Khajuraho – it was very close to my university, just a hundred miles, so whenever I had time I would drive there. The guide finally became a sannyasin – because he was himself ashamed to show them to people; but I told him, “You don’t understand. You need not be ashamed. These pictures, these statues, this sculpture is not obscene. There is not a single hint of obscenity, although they are absolutely naked in loving embrace, making love. But there is not a single hint of obscenity unless your mind is full of obscenity.”

One European prime minister was going to come to see Khajuraho, and one of my friends was the education minister of the state in which Khajuraho is. And the prime minister of India informed the education minister, “I am busy and I cannot come; otherwise I would have come with the guest to show him Khajuraho. So it is your responsibility, because you are the most educated minister in your state, to take him to Khajuraho.”

He was my friend; he phoned me and he said, “I am very much ashamed that Khajuraho is such an embarrassing place. And when outsiders come who have seen only churches in the name of religion, they cannot believe that this is a temple, a holy place. And I, myself, feel guilty, so I cannot explain and I don’t know what to explain.”

I said, “I will come.” I went there with the guest and the education minister – and he was just shrinking in himself, because you cannot conceive of any possible loving posture that is not carved… in such beauty, such tremendous beauty that it is almost as if the stones have become alive. It seems the woman is just going to come out of the wall in which the statue is carved. So alive…

The education minister remained outside and I took the guest in. He was amazed with the beauty, that bodies can be made so beautifully in stone, can give such life to the stone, such warmth. He had never thought that such a thing exists anywhere in the world. And I explained to him, “These are on the outer side of the temple, and you should note one point – that inside the temple there is no sculpture, no statues; just absolute silence.”

He said, “This is a revelation! This is strange; statues should be inside the temple. Why are they outside and inside there is nothing, just silence?”

I said to him, “These temples were made by the greatest psychologists that have appeared on the earth, some three thousand years ago.” They were called tantrikas; their whole approach was called tantra. The very word ‘tantra’ means expanding consciousness. They had made these beautiful temples all around the country.

Mohammedans have destroyed them; it was just fortunate that these were in a thick forest, hidden. And only meditators used to go there; there was no village surrounding the temples. By fortunate coincidence they were saved.

I told him, “The secret is, tantra believes unless you have gone through all sexual experiences to the point when sex does not matter to you at all… that is transcendence of your energy. And that is the point when you are capable of entering into the inner sanctum of the temple. You are ready for the nothingness of Gautam Buddha; you are ready for pure silence.”

So meditators used to meditate for months on those statues. And it is a great strategy, because looking at all those statues, a moment comes… something in your unconscious disappears. Not just looking – once it was months of training, sometimes years of training. But they were not allowed inside the temple until they became uninterested in these sexual scriptures. When their master saw that somebody had become completely uninterested – even sitting before the most beautiful woman he was sitting with closed eyes – then he was allowed to enter into the temple.

Now, those sexual thoughts are the major thoughts in your mind. Every three minutes the ordinary man thinks at least once of sex, and every five minutes every woman thinks at least one time about sex. These are the very subtle mistakes which God made when he created the world; that’s why I say there is no God, to relieve him of all this responsibility. This is a disparity which is dangerous!

When we came out, the prime minister was very much impressed. But the education minister had waited outside. Although he had not gone in, he was still feeling embarrassed. And just to hide his embarrassment he told the guest, “Don’t take much note of it. It was a small current of thinkers who created these temples, and we are ashamed – they are so obscene.”

The guest said, “Obscene? Then I will have to go again and see, because I did not find anything obscene.” Those naked statues look so innocent, so childlike… and they are not there to provoke your sexuality.

Obscenity is a very subtle phenomenon, very difficult to make a distinction whether something is obscene or not. But this should be the criterion – I think this is the only criterion: obscenity is when it provokes sexuality in you. And if it does not provoke sexuality but just a sense of tremendous splendor and beauty, it is not obscene. But it will depend on individuals. The same statue may look to someone obscene, and to someone else a beautiful piece of art.

I told the education minister, “Your mind is full of obscenity. This guest from the outside is far more clear. He did not raise a single question about the obscenity of the temple.”

But Mahatma Gandhi’s mind was full of sex his whole life. When India became free, he thought that now was the chance: either dismantle them, destroy them, or at least do what he had been insisting from the 1930’s: if you don’t want to destroy them, cover them up with huge mud hills – the temples are very high. So they will remain there, and once in a while if you want to show them to some special guest from the outside you can remove the mud, clean the place, and then put the mud back again.

It was Rabindranath who opposed Mahatma Gandhi’s proposal, saying, “It is sheer stupidity. I have seen those temples; they have inspired me to great heights. Under their inspiration I have written such beautiful poems. And they are the greatest heritage of one of the most significant schools of psychologists, who have penetrated so deeply into human psychology and life energy that they found a way, a device to transform it to make men free of sexuality.” Because Rabindranath resisted, Gandhi could not cover them with mud.

Osho, Sat Chit Anand, Ch 1, Q 1 (excerpt)

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