Rati, the Hindu goddess of carnal desire, on a composite horse
“When we think of desire, we often think of Kama. But he is nothing without Rati. In fact, Rati insisted that Kama have a form since she believed that a formless husband is pointless,” states Arundhuti Dasgupta, as she refers to the clarity of thought that the Hindu goddess of carnal desire is said to have had. This weekend, the author, mythologist and co-founder of Talking Myths Project, an online archive of traditional tales from the Indian subcontinent, will present a talk titled Rati, Psyche And The Anatomy Of Desire at a Lower Parel library.
Ahalya as depicted in Hindu mythology
Dasgupta will retell Hindu, Greek and Roman myths to explore the multiple faces of desire, lust and longing. “In mythology, women also had a point of view; it’s important to bring this forth. I will also look at how our understanding of desire has changed, using examples from present-day media like films and TV,” shares Dasgupta, citing an instance of Ahalya.
Radhika Apte in and as Ahalya in Sujoy Ghosh’s short film
In Hindu mythology, she is supposed to be married to Gautam Maharishi, an old sage, and desires Indra. “She is also punished for it. In Sujoy Ghosh’s short film, Ahalya is shown as a bold woman. That is the modern-day rendition, and our understanding of desire. In mythology, we are not told whether Ahalya is bold. For her, sexual desire was as natural as breathing.
The idea is not to pass judgment, but merely examine the shift in perspectives,” opines Dasgupta. Other myths at the talk include Agni and Swaha, Cupid and Psyche, and Shiva and Shakti. The talk is open to all over 16 years of age.
On: April 22, 5.30 pm to 6.30 pm
At: Trilogy By The Eternal Library, SB Marg, Lower Parel.