And those temples I take as an example, because their sculpture will look pornographic to the Western mind; to Mahatma Gandhi it also looked pornographic.
India owes so much to Rabindranath Tagore. He was the man who prevented Mahatma Gandhi and other politicians who were ready to cover the temples, to hide them from people’s eyes. Rabindranath Tagore said, “This is absolutely stupid. They are not pornographic, they are utterly beautiful.”
There is a very delicate line between pornography and beauty. A naked woman is not necessarily pornographic; a naked man is not necessarily pornographic. A beautiful man, a beautiful woman, naked, can be examples of beauty, of health, of proportion. They are the most glorious products of nature. If a deer can be naked and beautiful – and nobody thinks the deer is pornographic – then why should it be that a naked man or woman cannot be just seen as beautiful?
There were ladies in the times of Victoria in England, who covered the legs of the chairs with cloth because legs should not be left naked – chairs’ legs! But because they are called legs, it was thought uncivilized, uncultured, to leave them naked. There was a movement in Victoria’s time that the people who take their dogs for a walk should cover them with cloth. They should not be naked…as if nakedness itself is pornographic. It is the pornographic mind.
I have been to Khajuraho hundreds of times, and I have not seen a single sculpture as pornographic. A naked picture or a naked statue becomes pornography if it provokes your sexuality. That’s the only criterion: if it provokes your sexuality, if it is an incentive to your sexual instinct. But that is not the case with Khajuraho. In fact the temples were made for just the opposite purpose.
They were made to meditate on man and woman making love. And the stones have come alive. The people who have made them must have been the greatest artists the world has known. They were made to meditate upon, they were objects for meditation.
It is a temple, and meditators were sitting around just looking at the sculptures, and watching within themselves whether there was any sexual desire arising. This was the criterion: when they found there was no sexual desire arising, it was a certificate for them to enter the temples. All these sculptures are outside the temple, on the walls outside; inside there are no nudist statues.
But this was necessary for people to meditate, and then they were clear that there was no desire; on the contrary those statues had made their ordinary desire for sex subside. Then they were capable of entering into the temple; otherwise they should not enter the temple. That would be a profanity – having such a desire inside and entering the temple. It would be making the temple dirty – you would be insulting the temple.