Stories of love and longing from ancient Sanskrit literature, lesser known among modern readers have been rendered into English by retired diplomat and Haksar, acclaimed for his translation of the Kama Sutra.
In “The Seduction of Shiva: Tales of Life And Love” Haksar has compiled an eclectic stories of erotic love from ancient Sanskrit texts which academics have estimated to have been spread over a period of 1500 years, nearly a millennium from the present times. “All great literature deals with the theme of the relation between the sexes and I have tried to bring together a collection of stories covering as big a period as possible,” Haksar said during the book release here recently.
The first story in the anthology talks about how the god Shiva is seduced by Mohini, the female form assumed by Vishnu. In another tale, Urvashi curses the Pandava prince Arjuna when he rejects her advances. The protagonist in another story pursues pleasure first as a man and then as a woman.
“The stories in the ‘Seduction of Shiva’ have been taken over a over 1500 years let me drew material from not only from what is called secular writing but also literature traditionally regarded as scriptural like tales from the Puranas,” says Haksar.
The story of Bodhisattva, before he became the Buddha is also narrated in the tome. “The tale of Prince Sudhana from the eighth century Divyavadana is also a love story, the only one in my knowledge which features the future Buddha as a lover,” the author says.
Most jataka accounts of his deeds in former births dwell on the cultivation of virtues like compassion, truth patience and self control as prerequisites for eventual enlightenment points out Haksar.