BY HUNTER SMITH
In the distant past, an Indian scholar named Mallanaga Vatsyayana wrote a collection of texts called the Kama Shastra. This collection included a text about human sexual behavior known as the Kama Sutra.
Now I know we have all heard of this book and have wondered what it contains. We have gotten so curious that we have gone into a public library or bookstore to look for this book. Most bookstores carry picture books showing the various positions that are described in the original Kama Sutra.
What you may not know is that these picture books are only covering one of seven sections of the original.
This text takes a look into all aspects of sexual behavior: ways to behave with and around women, not just the different sexual positions. Sure, much of this information is kind of dated and specific to the culture in India, but I think the vast majority of it still applies today.
The Kama Sutra is commonly split into seven parts: the Introduction, Sexual Intercourse, the Acquisition of a Wife; the Wife; the Wives of Others; Courtesans and Prostitutes; and Seduction.
Each of these parts can be further broken down. Each article following this will cover one of the seven sections of the Kama Sutra. First, let’s start with the Introduction.
In the first chapter of the Introduction, we are treated to a dialogue between a master and his student who are discussing the three necessities for ‘Happiness on Earth.’ These three requirements are Virtue, Riches, and Pleasure.
The Kama Sutra says you need a balance of the three in order to achieve “Happiness on Earth.” I feel that even today, Virtue should be something we should all try to attain, especially in an age where, overall, you see less sincerity in day-to-day interactions. Everyone is trying to get something from someone else. Men throw parties and expect women to give them sexual favors in exchange for the alcohol and the invite to the party. Worse yet, men encourage women to get so drunk that they don’t have any control over their own actions.
The second necessity for Happiness, Riches, everyone seems to desire because with money you can buy any material possession you could want or need. Having Riches can pay for school, for food, Xbox live subscription, TV connection, Internet, cell phone, etc. ‘Riches’ (a.k.a. money) seem to make the world go round. This has pushed Virtue to the back burner to attain more Riches, people looking out for themselves.
The last requirement, Pleasure, is something that I would whole-heartedly agree with as a requirement for Happiness. Who wouldn’t? Pleasure is good regardless of the form, from chocolate to sex. It all sounds good to me, and pleasure is something I wouldn’t mind striving for. In this chapter the student says, “The ancient sages have said that as Virtue is concerned with things not of this world, its principles can be adequately treated and defined in a book. The same is true of Riches… But Pleasure, which is part of nature itself does not need to be studied.”
That last part, I think many people would agree with in general, but if you think about it, there is a lot of study about pleasure that have resulted in various practices, whether helpful to people or a way to make money. Some very known interest areas come to mind are Massage Therapy, Pornography, and Psychology.
The Master says to his student, “That is not altogether true. Sexual relationships are dependent on a man and a woman, and to develop such a relationship requires the application of certain methods outlined in the Kama Shastras.”
I have had my fair share of sexual encounters and I am still learning new techniques that others have discovered and used. So, I find that the master is correct in saying that Pleasure should be studied for the improvement of your own sexual encounters whether with a new partner or a continuing partner.
The introduction also talks of the Duties of a Citizen and Women with Whom Intercourse is either Permitted or Forbidden. I will cover them briefly since most of it is dated and culture specific.
The Duties of a Citizen talk of where he should choose to live, how he should take care of himself, what he should do with himself, and what social activities he should attend. He should choose to live some where in close proximity to others (don’t be a hermit). He should take care of himself by bathing every day (that’s why we have bathrooms). He should pursue his interests in “teaching his parrots and birds to talk” (very much outdated, lets just make sure your roommate picks up after him or herself), “prepare his fighting cocks/partridges/rams for combat” (you can scratch the birds, just prepare for that hot date), and devote some of his time to “dramatic spectacles” (watch the drama unfold down the hall).
Women with Whom Intercourse are either Permitted or Forbidden covers many rules on relationships between different level castes. Very much out-dated in an age where everyone is considered an equal and you can date or marry whomever you wish.
It also outlines many reasons that a man may violate the sanctity of a marriage by engaging with a married woman. Some of these reasons are the women is willing and many others have enjoyed her before, if such a women has left her legal husband and is living as the wife of another, she might be able to prevent her husband from harming you, and this woman may be able to find you a rich and beautiful wife (to name but a few). I do not promote them and consider them very much immoral.
It also outlines why a man may not have intercourse with a women under any circumstances. These women include a leper, a lunatic, a women expelled from her caste, a woman who cannot keep a secret, a woman who publicly expresses her desire for a man, a woman who is a close relative, and the list goes on. Some of these reasons I agree with, I would not want to have sex with a close relative and I’m pretty sure that relationship would be looked down upon, even in today’s society. Many of these are very much outdated and something we hold as preferences in the woman we look for, rather than as social rules.
That is it for Section one, the Introduction, of the Kama Sutra. Keep an eye out in a few weeks for Section two, Sexual Intercourse written by yours truly.