Friday, January 22, 2010

Quote from Herbert Guenther

In keeping with the actual main theme of this blog (I separated blogs at one point in order to keep this one "pure", but as usual, things have gotten untidy. I picked up a book, which I had read before, and just opened randomly to the page that contained the following:

The Vaishnava conception comes closest to the Western distinction between “sacred love” and “profane love” in the image of Krishna and Radha and the gopis. The great strength of the Krishna cult has been its truly all-embracing eroticism and the exploitation of all possible minutiae of physical passion. Indian scholasticism was at pains to see in the frank eroticism an allegory of the relationship of humanity to God, but it did not condemn the sensuality involved.

Footnote. Contrast with this attitude the modern Western Krishna cult which under the influence of Victorianized Hinduism adopts an extremely negative and puritanical outlook and which is utterly devoid of the warm and humanistic feeling that permeated the original version.
(Herbert Guenther, “Male-Female Polarity in Oriental Thought” in A Spiritual Approach to Male-Female Relations, (ed. Scott Miners), Theosophical Publishing House, 1984. p. 180)

Guenther was one of the leading 20th century scholars of Buddhist and Hindu tantra.