December 12, 2013
Religious Expression of Nudity and Sexuality
The concept of sexuality in religion has always been discussed in private or public. It has some taboo clinched with it which made it secretive and also lucrative. The story of Adam and Eve, who took the fruits from the tree of knowledge, told us how they used fig leaves to cover their genitals. Nudity, other than being a form of art to some people, is also an exclusively common practice in worship for God. Different religions evolved in different time of the history but they have some common features irrespective of geographical features; almost all the religions address nudity as an explicit expression of sexuality which is not for public demonstration. The more we move to east side of the globe, especially to the South-Asian cultures, we will find a social system where people are conservative about their lifestyle, clothing and arts. Nudity, specifically female nudity is a part of the worship process in these regions, which are considered as one of the very successful means to gain eternal youth. Religion and Goddess are divine as per the people in the society are taught by their religious leader. So the contradiction arises about their bipolar attitude, adherence to nude Goddess but dissonance towards unexpected nudity in day to day life. There must be an explanation which clarify and justify the use of nudity and sexuality in religion. The motives and practices of different religion will be discussed in the following paragraphs.
The Indian culture, specially the Indian based Hinduism, will be discussed here widely with examples of the influence of nudity in religious practice of people. The article is going to cover different historical background for different nude rituals in religions along with pictures. The representations of femininity, nudity, purity, sexuality etc. will be discussed in the article from both religious and social point of view. The Central argument, that the article has, is the unavoidable relationship of religion with sexuality as it is also a natural process in human life created by God. Both atheist and non-atheist people resonate at the same point where sexuality is a raw physiological factor in all human. This leads them toward establishing social and national boundaries and different “ism” based on their expectation from this concept, or the extent they can afford sexuality in their religion. Print media, sculptures, promotion of religion etc. all are subject to this sexuality.
People in Hindu religion worships as good as 33 crore Goddess which seemed they take their Goddess very crucially in their daily lives and expectations. Durga, Sarwashwati, Lakshmi, Kali, Parwati etc. are the names of the Goddess they worship almost every day as they take care of their major driving forces of lives like education (Saraswati), wealth (Lakhsmi), savior from danger (Durga), power (Kali) and sexuality (Parwati). They place these holy Goddesses in temples and try to get their blessings through rituals and gifts to them in a form of food, flowers and gold. Like followers of other religions, they also attend their prayers with ablutions and dress them properly in a manner that sense of spirituality prevails in the temple. Women cover them with Saree and veil to make sure that they don’t show explicit body language in a place of serenity and purity. Being all covered with clothes and garlands, they worship nude Goddesses for their abundant feminine features and take them as an epitome of sexuality.
(Image of Kali in semi-Padmason, a position for yoga and Shiva’s dead body) As Kali is the Goddess of power in the Hindu religion, people worship her bold naked nature as a form of “Adi Shakti” (Fundamental power) or “Para Prakriti” (Beyond Nature). Her anger is shown as she stands on the body of Shiva (Hindu God) as he passed way. Here nudity is not displayed to show sexuality but was rather used to represent the feminine strength which...
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