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The Kama sutra - 01 On The Arts And Sciences To Be Studied

Identifier

018689

Type of spiritual experience

Background

Much emphasis is placed in the early part of the kama sutra on the need for everyone to be educated in the art of living.  The aim is in part to make oneself interesting to others through what one can do, not sexually, but simply in the areas which make life more pleasant.  But the overall aim is also to make one’s own life more pleasant, by filling it with enjoyable pursuits.

The arts and the sciences are treated equally, but the arts get far more emphasis.  Thus the subjects suggested include :

  • Arts - singing; playing on musical instruments; dancing; writing and drawing; flower arranging and the use of flowers; spreading and arranging beds or couches of flowers, or flowers upon the ground; fixing stained glass into a floor; the art of making beds, and spreading out carpets and cushions for reclining; painting and picture making, trimming and decorating; stringing of necklaces, garlands and wreaths; theatre, scenic representations, and stage playing; cooking; making lemonades, sherbets, acidulated drinks, and ‘spirituous extracts with proper flavour and colour’; games; carpentry; architecture and the art of building and design; Gardening; knowledge of treating the diseases of trees and plants, of nourishing them, and determining their ages;pottery;  the art of symbolism and poetry; use of language and knowledge of how to express oneself.  And finally the ‘art of framing mystical diagrams, of addressing spells and charms, and binding armlets’.
  • Sports - There is some inclusion of sports, but not competitive sports – gymnastics is mentioned and ‘youthful sports’.
  • Sciences – Mathematics and in addition, for both men and women logic is taught – ‘Drawing inferences, reasoning or inferring’.
  • Manners – knowledge of the rules of the society in which one lives, how to be respectful of others.

A description of the experience

The Kama sutra - 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………..

A 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 woman of high quality, and receives a seat of honour in an assemblage of men.

She is, moreover, always respected … and praised by learned men, and her favour being sought for by all, she becomes an object of universal regard.

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.

The source of the experience

The Kama Sutra of Vatsayana

Concepts and Symbols used in the text or image

Activities

Observation contributed by: John Bryant