On Saturday night, August 29, a dozen members of the Bajrang Dal entered a bookstore near Rajpath Club in Ahmedabad, picked up a copy of the ancient Sanskrit text, Kama Sutra, took it outside and set it on fire. Videos of the incident were shared multiple times on social media. Next time, they warned, they would burn the store, if it continued to sell filthy books that hurt Hindu sentiments.
Filth, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder. Where the Bajrang Dal sees filth, the thoughtful believing Hindu sees the ‘wonder that was India’, including its rich, exuberant kama tradition. Kama means desire and pleasure. The Rig Veda states that kama was the ‘first born’. The cosmos was created from the seed of kama in the mind of the One. Kama is a ‘life force’, a cosmic energy that animates the cell and holds it in place. It is the source of all action, of creation, and of procreation. Hence, it was elevated to a purushartha, one of the four goals of a flourishing human life, along with a delightful god named after it.
( this article was first published in the Times of India)