Ancient Eastern societies along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers featured many shrines and temples dedicated to varied deities. The fifth-century BC historian Herodotus’s description and a few other proof from the Hellenistic Period suggests that ancient societies encouraged the practice of sacred sexual rites not only in Babylonia and Cyprus, but all over the East. As per Herodotus, the rites performed at these temples included sexual activity, or what scholars afterward called sacred sexual rites.
The foulest Babylonian convention is that which compels every woman of Babylon to take a seat within the temple of Aphrodite and have sex with some stranger a minimum of once in her life. Many ladies who are rich and proud and contempt to mingle with the remainder, drive to the temple in covered carriages drawn by teams, and stand there with an excellent followers of attendants. But most sit down in the sacred plot of Aphrodite, with crowns of cord on their heads; passages marked by line, by which the lads pass and make their choice. Once a lady has taken her place there, she doesn’t head home before some visitor has cast money into her lap, and had intercourse together with her outside the temple. When he casts the cash, he must say, “I invite you in the name of Mylitta”.
It doesn’t matter what sum the cash is, she will never refuse it, for that might be a sin, the cash being by this act made sacred. So she follows the first man who casts it without rejection. After their intercourse, having discharged her holy duty to the goddess, she goes away to her home. So then the ladies that are fair and tall are soon liberal to depart, but the unfair have long to attend because they can’t fulfill the law; for a few of them remain for 3 to 4 years. There’s a practice like this in some parts of Cyprus also.
Sumer is that the first known civilization within the historical region of southern Mesopotamia. Through the 20th century, scholars generally believed that a sort of sacred marriage rite (hieros gamos) was staged between the kings in the ancient area of Sumer and therefore the high priestesses of Inanna, the Sumerian goddess of lovemaking, fertility, and war. The king would couple with the priestess to symbolize the union of Dumuzid with Inanna. Dumuzid, is an ancient Mesopotamian god related to shepherds, who was also the first consort of the goddess Inanna.
As per the noted Assyriologist Samuel Noah Kramer, the kings would further establish their legitimacy by participating during a ritual sexual act within the temple of the fertility goddess Inanna per annum on the 10th day of the New Year festival Akitu. Akitu was a spring festival in ancient Mesopotamia.
Though, no certain proof has survived to prove that sexual activity was included, in spite of the many popular descriptions of the habit. it’s possible that these unions never occurred but were embellishments to the image of the king. Some modern historians argue in the same direction, though their attitude has been disputed.
The obscure Vaishnava-Sahajiya sect, which arose in Bengal in the 16th century, was another emotional attempt at reconciling the spirit and therefore the body. Disregarding social opinion, its adherents, using the natural (sahaja, “born with”) character of the senses and stressing the sexual symbolism of Bengal Vaishnavism, reinterpreted the Radha-Krishna legend and wanted for the perpetual experience of divine joy. Supported this understanding of the legend, members of the Vaishnava-Sahajiya religious group held that, after hard training, the belief of affection are often experienced, because Krishna’s nature is love and therefore the giving of affection and since man is indistinguishable with Krishna. Women, as the personification spiritual guide like Radha, conducting the worshipers in their look for realization. After reaching this state, a lover remains in eternal bliss and may give out with guru and be completely indifferent to the planet , “steadfast amidst the dance of maya.”
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