Kama Sutra: The Art of Love.
I recently posted a comment on my profile page to the effect of “Whoopee! I’m a Kama Sutra Guru!” having just noticed that I’d been promoted to that rank by xhamster as a reward for the comments I had left on the site. Now you may have gathered that I was being a little ironic and, to be honest, there have been more significant milestones in my life than having xhamster solemnly bestow this title on me. I’ll probably be a bit more excited when they elevate me to the rank of porn star. There’s a secret part of me that’s always wanted to be a porn star! Of course there’s a sting in the tail. One of my best friends has been in agony for weeks since discovering they’d been granted the title of Pimp! Why doesn’t xhamster get rid of that horrible rank? I mean nobody minds being a porn star or something but who wants the word PIMP emblazoned across the top of their profile?
Be that as it may several people gravely congratulated me on my new promotion presumably with their tongues as firmly wedged in their cheeks as mine was about the whole business. Nevertheless it was quite nice being called a Kama Sutra Guru and, in a spirit of minor celebration I posted a gallery of Indian erotic works and assorted references to the Kama Sutra. While compiling this gallery however it occurred to me just how little most people know about the Kama Sutra and exactly what it is. So, in my new found role as guru to it, I felt it incumbent on myself to write this brief blog by way of explanation.
Most people seem to think the Kama Sutra is a sort of instruction manual for sex; a kind of “How to” home manual for bonking. Well it goes a bit deeper than that I’m afraid. Actual instructions for coital positions only take up a relatively small portion of the work. The much larger body of it consists of the whole subject of sexual and sensual relationships.
The Kama Sutra is in fact probably the oldest complete text devoted to the arts of love in existence. It’s an ancient Hindu text in Sanskrit written by the Hindu philosopher Vatsyayana sometime between the 4th Century BC and the 2nd Century AD. This six hundred year period might seem a bit vague but then nobody really knows when Vatsyayana actually lived or much about him at all for that matter. Many historians actually think that the text is simply a compendium of various works that Vatsyayana merely compiled together in a single body.
It’s a sacred text too. It is considered to be the oldest in a body of works known collectively as the Kama Shastra, which means Discipline of Kama, originally said to have been transmitted via Hindu philosophers by Nandi the sacred bull. Nandi was the God Shiva’s doorkeeper and he was inspired to proclaim these sacred utterances after overhearing Shiva bonking with his missus Parvati one evening. Now if you think that is silly I put it to you that it’s no sillier than claiming the direct authorship of God for the Bible. In any case then the Kama Sutra can claim divine providence in the Vedic tradition so my elevation to Kama Sutra Guru probably comes perilously close to blasphemy!
The name Kama Sutra derives from the word Kama which means sexual and sensual pleasure and the word Sutra which is difficult to translate but literally means the thread that holds something together. Thus you could describe the work as the rule or thread of sex and sensuality. Kama is one of the three main goals or purposes in Hindu life; the others being Dharma, virtuous living, and Artha meaning material prosperity. Some philosophers also add Moksha meaning liberation. Kama is not just about sex but also about f****y, love and anything in the nature of sensual pleasure.
As a result the actual sexual descriptions only make up a small part of the text. The work is written in a mixture of prose and anustubh poetry and is organised into 1250 verses spread over 36 chapters. The first 5 chapters are a sort of general overview of the three goals of life with a few asides into one’s personal conduct and a few reflections on the value and benefit of intermediaries in one’s sexual relationships which might be useful reading for the next time one of you lads wants to pick up a girl at your local nightclub. (“After consulting his ancient Sanskrit text my mate over there wants to know if he can buy you a drink love!”)
The next ten chapters are probably the most famous for they are the actual manual for lovemaking and include all sorts of useful tips including advanced advice on slapping, gouging with fingernails, kissing, oral sex and a discussion on moaning, by which I mean sexual moaning and not the sort men have to put up with when neglecting their household duties for the football match. There are also detailed descriptions of assorted coital positions. All told the Kama Sutra lists some 64 positions for sex so, contrary to popular belief, there is no position 69 in the Kama Sutra!
Then there are 5 chapters on the art of acquiring a wife, 2 more on the rights and conduct of the wife or chief wife in the case of polygamy, 6 chapters on other people’s wives and how to deal with the opposite sex generally, a whole 6 chapters devoted to courtesans and finally a couple of chapters on how to seek divine or occult assistance when having trouble getting the old pecker up. In short the whole text is a pretty comprehensive discussion about sex and sexual relationships.
This openness about sex was perfectly normal in Hindu tradition and it compares favourably with the deep distrust and vilification of sexual relationships imposed upon the western world by two thousand years of Christian teaching by a self emasculated priesthood that taught that any sexuality other than that within a sacred union of marriage solely for the purposes of procreation was a dreadful sin. The western world has had 2000 years of indoctrination to come to the extraordinary point where it believes that sexual pleasure is something dirty and to feel guilty about. I don’t know about you but I find that almost incredible and not a little tragic.
I ask you to contrast this western attitude with the pictures I’ve posted in my gallery which show perfectly graphic images from ancient Indian art of sexual copulation and associated practices. In just the couple of days since posting the gallery I’ve had more than one person remark that such practices as oral sex and anal intercourse seem to have been invented some time ago. They sound surprised! Well they would do! These things were suppressed for millennia in the Christian tradition. Did you know that in my own country anal sex was i*****l right up to the 1960s even between a man and his wife! As the deadening hand of Christian suppression of sexuality lessens we are only rediscovering those sexual pleasures that were perfectly acceptable within other cultures.
Take a look at some of the carvings on the temples I’ve included in the gallery. You can take my word for it that there’s damn little to be found on this site that isn’t graphically depicted on those sacred temples; straight sex, homosexuality, oral sex, anal sex, group sex, masturbation, orgies, you name it! In fact I even had to be selective in choosing the images. Some of the practices depicted there would not have made it past the xhamster censorship! Now can you imagine your local church or cathedral decorated from top to bottom with reliefs depicting one huge and inventive orgy? No? I didn’t think so.
Sadly our western sexual inhibition has been exported around the world like a cancer and our misplaced morality imposed upon cultures that had never known its stultifying suppression before. When British Imperialism came to the Indian sub continent it was truly shocked by the uninhibited sexual “immorality” of the natives and lost no time in setting about repressing it. As a result of this India is now just as heavily repressed sexually in many ways as we are now and those temple reliefs have gone from being instructive celebrations of sexual pleasure and are now merely curiosities for tittering tourists. I find that very sad.
The gallery therefore is my own tribute to the sexuality of the culture of the Kama Sutra and Indian tradition and perhaps my little plea to all of us to rediscover what some cultures have never forgotten over the last two thousand years.... that sexuality, in all its fascinating ramifications, is a gift of nature which we reject to the detriment of our humanity.