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hat if the secret to a successful and fulfilled life resides in an ancient Sanskrit text known as the Kama Sutra? The Kama Sutra is known by the public at large as an ancient Indian sex manual. The utterance of the word Kama Sutra conjures imagery of erotic frescoes of beautiful naked people embracing positions exotic enough to make any yoga instructor jealous with envy.

A sage by the name of Vatsyayana is widely accepted as the author of the Kama Sutra, but very little is known about him. It is said that he wrote the text through divine inspiration after much meditation, and maybe some practices too. Kama Sutra means a treatise on sexual pleasure. Unlike the Christian view that the sole purpose of sex is procreation, in the 4th-century Hindu world that gave birth to the Kama Sutra, the cultivation of sexual pleasure independent of procreation was considered one of life’s highest calling, a sort of religious quest.

The art of seduction and the pursuit of sexual pleasure as expressed in the Kama Sutra forms an integral part of Sanskrit literature. Hindu sages and artists found the subject so enticing that it led them to immortalize the various teaching and practices of the Kama Sutra in writing and also in stone in various temples around the country.

Black Pagoda – Temple of Surya at Konarak – Source: Wikipedia Commons

The Kama Sutra – Not just a sexual manual but a religious quest

In the beginning, the Lord of Beings created men and women and in the form of commandments laid down rules for regulating their existence congruent to the principles of Dharma, Artha, and Kama.  In the Hindu tradition, human beings should pursue, during their life, three main goals that are necessary for a fulfilling and happy life.

Dharma is an individual’s duty fulfilled by observance of custom or law. Dharma includes religious duties, moral rights, and duties, as well as behaviors that enable social order, proper conduct, and those that are virtuous. Dharma is that which all existing beings must accept and respect to sustain harmony and order in the world.

Artha in Sanskrit means “wealth” or “Prosperity”. Artha incorporates wealth, career, activity to make a living, financial security, and economic prosperity. It is important to note that the pursuit of material advantage should be done in accordance with the principles of Dharma because the immoderate pursuit of material advantage would lead to undesirable and ruinous excesses.

Kama in Sanskrit means “love,” “desire”, and “pleasure” and the aesthetic enjoyment of life with or without sexual connotations. The pursuit of Kama as “love” should not violate the principles of Dharma (moral responsibility) and Artha (material prosperity.)

In the Hindu tradition, Man should practice Dharma, Artha, and Kama at different times of their life and in such a manner that they harmonize together and do not clash in any way. He should acquire learning and education in his childhood. In his youth and middle age, he should attend to Artha, and Kama. One must long for carnal pleasures during youth and middle age because during this period one is physically and mentally fit to enjoy intimacy with the opposite sex. In his old age, one should devote himself to the service of religion and strive to achieve salvation.

The Art of Living according to the Kama Sutra

Black Pagoda – Temple of Surya at Konarak – Source: Wikipedia Commons

The Kama Sutra lists desire, sexuality, and emotional fulfillment as one of the proper goals of life. Its various chapters discuss methods of courtship, finding a partner, flirting, maintaining proper power in married life, training in the art of being socially engaging, and as we all know some guidance and ideas about sexual positions. Some of the recommendations seem to be quite outdated for the modern era and some practices are morally offensive, but there are some interesting ideas that are worth listing and paying attention to.

The following are the men who generally obtain success with women:

  • Men well versed in the science of love.
  • Men who are good storytellers.
  • Men who do things that they like.
  • Men who have a good knowledge of the world.
  • Men who are free from disease, who are good-looking with a perfect body.
  • Men who are celebrated for being strong and brave.
  • Men whose dress and manner of living are magnificent.
  • Men who are free from anger.
  • Men with a liking for social gatherings.
  • Men good at sports and not addicted to drinking.
  • Men who possess independent means and are free from envy.
  • Men who have been married lately.

The following are the women who generally obtain success with men:

  • Women who possess intelligence, good disposition, and good manners.
  • Women with beauty and amiability.
  • Women who are of consistent behavior.
  • Women who have knowledge of the proper times and places for doing things.
  • Women who consider well the future before doing anything.
  • Women who are anxious to acquire and obtain experience and knowledge.
  • Women who speak without meanness, malignity, anger, loud laughter, avarice, dullness, or stupidity.
  • Women who have a liking for social gatherings and for the arts.
  • Women who have knowledge of the Kama Sutra, take delight in sexual unions resulting from love and who is skilled in all the arts connected with it.

The Kama Sutra is more than what you think it is, it is a useful manual for the art of living a happy life.  When you are young pursue your professional ambition, make a life for yourself, become a person of independent means, practice some sports, treat your body as a temple, nurture it and attend to it every day because if you are fit, healthy and a beauty of nature you will attract a mate to practice with you those tricky Kama Sutra positions.  When you are less young and when you reach an age when your body doesn’t allow you to practice those Kama Sutra positions anymore seek spiritual fulfillment and salvation. That is all there is to it.

Wishing you a life full of Dharma, Artha, and Kama.

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