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The Kama Sutra
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ON THE ACQUISITION OF DHARMA, ARTHA AND KAMA.
Man, the period of whose life is one hundred years, should practise Dharma, Artha, and Kama at different times and in such a manner that they may harmonize together and not clash in any way. He should acquire learning in his childhood, in his youth and middle age he should attend to Artha and Kama, and in his old age he should perform Dharma, and thus seek to gain Moksha, i.e., release from further transmigration. Or, on account of the uncertainty of life, he may practise them at times when they are enjoined to be practised. But one thing is to be noted, he should lead the life of a religious student until he finishes his education.
Dharma is obedience to the command of the Shastra or Holy Writ of the Hindoos to do certain things, such as the performance of sacrifices, which are not generally done because they do not belong to this world, and produce no visible effect; and not to do other things, such as eating meat, which is often done because it belongs to this world, and has visible effects.
Dharma should be learnt from the Shruti (Holy Writ), and from those conversant with it.
Artha is the acquisition of arts, land, gold, cattle, wealth, equipages and friends. It is, further, the protection of what is acquired, and the increase of what is protected.
Artha should be learnt from the king's officers, and from merchants who may be versed in the ways of commerce.
Kama is the enjoyment of appropriate objects by the five senses of hearing, feeling, seeing, tasting, and smelling, assisted by the mind together with the soul. The ingredient in this is a peculiar contact between the organ of sense and its object, and the consciousness of pleasure which arises from that contact is called Kama.
Kama is to be learnt from the Kama Sutra (aphorisms on love) and from the practice of citizens.
When all the three, viz., Dharma, Artha, and Kama come together, the former is better than the one which follows it, i.e., Dharma is better than Artha, and Artha is better than Kama. But Artha should be always first practised by the king, for the livelihood of men is to be obtained from it only. Again, Kama being the occupation of public women, they should prefer it to the other two, and these are exceptions to the general rule.
Some learned men say that as Dharma is connected with things not belonging to this world, it is appropriately treated of in a book; and so also is Artha, because it is practised only by the application of proper means, and a knowledge of those means can only be obtained by study and from books. But Kama being a thing which is practised even by the brute creation, and which is to be found everywhere, does not want any work on the subject.
This is not so. Sexual intercourse being a thing dependent on man and woman requires the application of proper means by them, and those means are to be learnt from the Kama Shastra. The non-application of proper means, which we see in the brute creation, is caused by their being unrestrained, and by the females among them only being fit for sexual intercourse at certain seasons and no more, and by their intercourse not being preceded by thought of any kind.
The Lokayatikas say:—Religious ordinances should not be observed, for they bear a future fruit, and at the same time it is also doubtful whether they will bear any fruit at all. What foolish person will give away that which is in his own hands into the hands of another? Moreover, it is better to have a pigeon to-day than a peacock to-morrow; and a copper coin which we have the certainty of obtaining, is better than a gold coin, the possession of which is doubtful.
It is not so. 1st. Holy Writ, which ordains the practice of Dharma, does not admit of a doubt.
2nd. Sacrifices such as those made for the destruction of enemies, or for the fall of rain, are seen to bear fruit.
3rd. The sun, moon, stars, planets and other heavenly bodies appear to work intentionally for the good of the world.
4th. The existence of this world is effected by the observance of the rules respecting the four classes of men and their four stages of life.
5th. We see that seed is thrown into the ground with the hope of future crops.
Vatsyayana is therefore of opinion that the ordinances of religion must be obeyed.
Those who believe that destiny is the prime mover of all things say:—We should not exert ourselves to acquire wealth, for sometimes it is not acquired although we strive to get it, while at other times it comes to us of itself without any exertion on our part. Everything is therefore in the power of destiny, who is the lord of gain and loss, of success and defeat, of pleasure and pain. Thus we see the Bali was raised to the throne of Indra by destiny, and was also put down by the same power, and it is destiny only that can re-instate him.
It is not right to say so. As the acquisition of every object pre-supposes at all events some exertion on the part of man, the application of proper means may be said to be the cause of gaining all our ends, and this application of proper means being thus necessary (even where a thing is destined to happen), it follows that a person who does nothing will enjoy no happiness.
Those who are inclined to think that Artha is the chief object to be obtained argue thus. Pleasures should not be sought for, because they are obstacles to the practice of Dharma and Artha, which are both superior to them, and are also disliked by meritorious persons. Pleasures also bring a man into distress, and into contact with low persons; they cause him to commit unrighteous deeds, and produce impurity in him; they make him regardless of the future, and encourage carelessness and levity. And lastly, they cause him to be disbelieved by all, received by none, and despised by everybody, including himself. It is notorious, moreover, that many men who have given themselves up to pleasure alone, have been ruined along with their families and relations. Thus, King Dandakya, of the Bhoja dynasty, carried off a Brahman's daughter with evil intent, and was eventually ruined and lost his kingdom. Indra, too, having violated the chastity of Ahalya, was made to suffer for it. In a like manner the mighty Kichaka, who tried to seduce Draupadi, and Ravana, who attempted to gain over Sita, were punished for their crimes. These and many others fell by reason of their pleasures.
This objection cannot be sustained, for pleasures, being as necessary for the existence and well being of the body as food, are consequently equally required. They are, moreover, the results of Dharma and Artha. Pleasures are, therefore, to be followed with moderation and caution. No one refrains from cooking food because there are beggars to ask for it, or from sowing seed because there are deer to destroy the corn when it is grown up.
Thus a man practising Dharma, Artha and Kama enjoys happiness both in this world and in the world to come. The good perform those actions in which there is no fear as to what is to result from them in the next world, and in which there is no danger to their welfare. Any action which conduces to the practice of Dharma, Artha and Kama together, or of any two, or even one of them, should be performed, but an action which conduces to the practice of one of them at the expense of the remaining two should not be performed.CHAPTER 2
ON THE ARTS AND SCIENCES TO BE STUDIED.
Man should study the Kama Sutra and the arts and sciences subordinate thereto, in addition to the study of the arts and sciences contained in Dharma and Artha. Even young maids should study this Kama Sutra along with its arts and sciences before marriage, and after it they should continue to do so with the consent of their husbands.
Here some learned men object, and say that females, not being allowed to study any science, should not study the Kama Sutra.
But Vatsyayana is of opinion that this objection does not hold good, for women already know the practice of Kama Sutra, and that practice is derived from the Kama Shastra, or the science of Kama itself. Moreover, it is not only in this but in many other cases that though the practice of a science is known to all, only a few persons are acquainted with the rules and laws on which the science is based. Thus the Yadnikas or sacrificers, though ignorant of grammar, make use of appropriate words when addressing the different Deities, and do not know how these words are framed. Again, persons do the duties required of them on auspicious days, which are fixed by astrology, though they are not acquainted with the science of astrology. In a like manner riders of horses and elephants train these animals without knowing the science of training animals, but from practice only. And similarly the people of the most distant provinces obey the laws of the kingdom from practice, and because there is a king over them, and without further reason. And from experience we find that some women, such as daughters of princes and their ministers, and public women, are actually versed in the Kama Shastra.
A female, therefore, should learn the Kama Shastra, or at least a part of it, by studying its practice from some confidential friend. She should study alone in private the sixty-four practices that form a part of the Kama Shastra. Her teacher should be one of the following persons, viz., the daughter of a nurse brought up with her and already married, or a female friend who can be trusted in everything, or the sister of her mother (i.e., her aunt), or an old female servant, or a female beggar who may have formerly lived in the family, or her own sister, who can always be trusted.
The following are the arts to be studied, together with the Kama Sutra:—
2. Playing on musical instruments.
4. Union of dancing, singing, and playing instrumental music.
5. Writing and drawing.
7. Arraying and adorning an idol with rice and flowers.
8. Spreading and arraying beds or couches of flowers, or flowers upon the ground.
9. Colouring the teeth, garments, hair, nails, and bodies, i.e., staining, dyeing, colouring and painting the same.
10. Fixing stained glass into a floor.
11. The art of making beds, and spreading out carpets and cushions for reclining.
12. Playing on musical glasses filled with water.
13. Storing and accumulating water in aqueducts, cisterns and reservoirs.
14. Picture making, trimming and decorating.
15. Stringing of rosaries, necklaces, garlands and wreaths.
16. Binding of turbans and chaplets, and making crests and top-knots of flowers.
17. Scenic representations. Stage playing.
18. Art of making ear ornaments.
19. Art of preparing perfumes and odours.
20. Proper disposition of jewels and decorations, and adornment in dress.
21. Magic or sorcery.
22. Quickness of hand or manual skill.
23. Culinary art, i.e., cooking and cookery.
24. Making lemonades, sherbets, acidulated drinks, and spirituous extracts with proper flavour and colour.
25. Tailor's work and sewing.
26. Making parrots, flowers, tufts, tassels, bunches, bosses, knobs, &c., out of yarn or thread.
27. Solution of riddles, enigmas, covert speeches, verbal puzzles and enigmatical questions.
28. A game, which consisted in repeating verses, and as one person finished, another person had to commence at once, repeating another verse, beginning with the same letter with which the last speaker's verse ended, whoever failed to repeat was considered to have lost, and to be subject to pay a forfeit or stake of some kind.
29. The art of mimicry or imitation.
30. Reading, including chanting and intoning.
31. Study of sentences difficult to pronounce. It is played as a game chiefly by women and children, and consists of a difficult sentence being given, and when repeated quickly, the words are often transposed or badly pronounced.
32. Practice with sword, single stick, quarter staff, and bow and arrow.
33. Drawing inferences, reasoning or inferring.
34. Carpentry, or the work of a carpenter.
35. Architecture, or the art of building.
36. Knowledge about gold and silver coins, and jewels and gems.
37. Chemistry and mineralogy.
38. Colouring jewels, gems and beads.
39. Knowledge of mines and quarries.
40. Gardening; knowledge of treating the diseases of trees and plants, of nourishing them, and determining their ages.
41. Art of cock fighting, quail fighting and ram fighting.
42. Art of teaching parrots and starlings to speak.
43. Art of applying perfumed ointments to the body, and of dressing the hair with unguents and perfumes and braiding it.
44. The art of understanding writing in cypher, and the writing of words in a peculiar way.
45. The art of speaking by changing the forms of words. It is of various kinds. Some speak by changing the beginning and end of words, others by adding unnecessary letters between every syllable of a word, and so on.
46. Knowledge of language and of the vernacular dialects.
47. Art of making flower carriages.
48. Art of framing mystical diagrams, of addressing spells and charms, and binding armlets.
49. Mental exercises, such as completing stanzas or verses on receiving a part of them; or supplying one, two or three lines when the remaining lines are given indiscriminately from different verses, so as to make the whole an entire verse with regard to its meaning; or arranging the words of a verse written irregularly by separating the vowels from the consonants, or leaving them out altogether; or putting into verse or prose sentences represented by signs or symbols. There are many other such exercises.
50. Composing poems.
51. Knowledge of dictionaries and vocabularies.
52. Knowledge of ways of changing and disguising the appearance of persons.
53. Knowledge of the art of changing the appearance of things, such as making cotton to appear as silk, coarse and common things to appear as fine and good.
54. Various ways of gambling.
55. Art of obtaining possession of the property of others by means of muntras or incantations.
56. Skill in youthful sports.
57. Knowledge of the rules of society, and of how to pay respects and compliments to others.
58. Knowledge of the art of war, of arms, of armies, &c.
59. Knowledge of gymnastics.
60. Art of knowing the character of a man from his features.
61. Knowledge of scanning or constructing verses.
62. Arithmetical recreations.
63. Making artificial flowers.
64. Making figures and images in clay.
A public woman, endowed with a good disposition, beauty and other winning qualities, and also versed in the above arts, obtains the name of a Ganika, or public woman of high quality, and receives a seat of honour in an assemblage of men. She is, moreover, always respected by the king, and praised by learned men, and her favour being sought for by all, she becomes an object of universal regard. The daughter of a king too, as well as the daughter of a minister, being learned in the above arts, can make their husbands favourable to them, even though these may have thousands of other wives besides themselves. And in the same manner, if a wife becomes separated from her husband, and falls into distress, she can support herself easily, even in a foreign country, by means of her knowledge of these arts. Even the bare knowledge of them gives attractiveness to a woman, though the practice of them may be only possible or otherwise according to the circumstances of each case. A man who is versed in these arts, who is loquacious and acquainted with the arts of gallantry, gains very soon the hearts of women, even though he is only acquainted with them for a short time.
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