A commentary on Kamasutra
VED from VICTORIA INSTITUTIONS
Neither pornography nor erotic literature!
There is an offhand tendency to connect the word ‘Kamasutra’ with pornography and erotic literature.
However, as of now, if anyone were to read Kamasutra for getting erotic pleasure, it might end up as a very futile endeavour.
Kamsutra is not erotic literature. Instead, it is a deep study on the subject matter of man-woman sensual relationship, in a feudal language social system.
This book deals with the various and varied aspects connecting to this item.
After going through the book more than one time, in a very cursory manner, there are certain impressions that have arrived in my mind.
I am going to place these impressions here. Please note that these are just Impressions and not a very deep study of this book. For I have not done a complete reading of the book.
The efforts of the erstwhile English East India Company
When the English East India Company was administering certain locations inside South Asia, the English officials of the Company did get an impression that there was a deep Sanskrit antiquity lying hidden somewhere inside the social system.
It was this Impression that made them search for long-forgotten or slowly-vanishing Sanskrit books.
The erroneous notions
From the beginning of the English rule in some locations in South Asia , the English company officials had to bear the legacy of various erroneous notions possessed by various maritime trade companies of yore.
The first mistake was that South Asia was a place of Hindus (Hindoos). Even now the very word ‘Hindus’ is a very debatable one in what it means and tries to convey.
If the word ‘Hindu’ is meant to convey the name of a religion, there is a big issue.
The antique religion connected to the Vedic literature, Vedic culture and Vedic spirituality, and the other spirituality connected to the Puranas and epic stories such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata is actually the Brahmin religion. Here again the issue is that this Brahmin spiritual antiquity is not connected to one religion. It is connected to two different spiritual systems.
One is the Vedic religion and the other is a religion connected to The Puranas and other epics. The Gods are different. And maybe the Spiritual systems are also different.
The Vedic systems date back to the hoary past. In fact, between these two religious or spiritual systems, there might be a separation of a few thousand years.
Even though it is the Brahmins who maintained the antique spiritual systems connected to the two religious or spiritual antiquities, over the centuries, one can’t say for sure as to how deeply they are connected to the Vedic culture or people.
For the Vedic people or culture dates to more than 5000 to 7,000 years back.
It may be understood that a person living now will have connection to around 20 lakh (2000000) or more people living some 20 to 22 generations back. That is, a person alive now will be connected to around 20 lakh people or so living some 400 years back.
If this be so, then imagine the billions of human bloodline link connections, a person alive now will have to persons alive some 5000 to 7000 years back!
The other populations
Even though the various writings and books created during the English role in South Asia, do mention the peoples of this subcontinent as Hindus, the fact is that the Brahmin temples were inaccessible to the vast majority of peoples here. The vast majority of the peoples did not have the right or opportunity or social circumstance to read or listen to the Brahmin spiritual scriptures and other books. Nor were they allowed to do or take part in any kind of Brahmin spiritual rituals.
They were not allowed to use Brahman or Sanskrit personal names.
But then, many of the other lower-placed populations and peoples did have their own spiritual systems. Some of these spiritual systems were of a shamanistic kind.
However it is true that many of these populations did have a very vibrant aspiration to be connected to the antique Brahmin heritage.
It was the arrival of the English rule in some parts of South Asia that gave a huge trust and pathway to the lower-positioned peoples to enter into the ‘Hindu’ word definition.
When they changed their traditional personal names, which they possibly felt self-deprecatory, to that of Brahmin and Hindu spiritual personages, they literally converted into Hinduism without any antique legacy to support their new religious and spiritual address.
The word India
The next issue is with the word ‘India’. This word seems to have crept into the translation of kamasutra in two or three places.
The word ‘India’ has become a very confusing one as of now.
This is due to the fact that after the English-rule departed from British-India, a new nation with the name India sprung up in around the same location.
Officials of the English East India Company who set up mutually disconnected trading centres around South Asia were under the impression that they were in India from where pepper and other such exotic items were coming over to England and to Continental Europe.
‘India’ was the name used by the ancient maritime traders to denote the location in the far-east from where these things were coming.
For instance, in Malabar which is in the South-Western areas of the subcontinent, the English East India Company had to consolidate around 20 small kingdoms to create a District under the Madras Presidency.
The kingdoms of Malabar which were amalgamated with British-India and made into the Malabar district
1. Kolattunad (Kolattiri) 2. Randattara (Achanmar under Hon. E. I Comy)
3. Tellicherry and Darmapatam (Hon. E. I Comy) 4. Iruvalinad (Nambiar)
5. Kurangoth (Nayar) 6. Kottayam (Raja)
7. Kadattunad (Raja) 8. Payurmalla (Nayars)
9. Pynad (Zamorin) 10. Kurumbranad (Raja)
11. Tamarasseri (Kottayam Raja) 12. Polanad (Zamorin)
13. N. Parappanad (Raja) 14. Pulavayi (Nayars)
15. S. Parappanad (Raja) 16. Ramnad (Zamorin)
17. Cheranad (Zamorin) 18. Ernad (Zamorin)
19. Walluvanad (Vellatiri Raja) 20. Walluvanad (Zamorin)
21. Nadunganad (Zamorin) 22. Kavalapara (Nayar)
23. Vadamalapuram (Raja) 24. Temmalapuram (Raja)
25. Naduvattam (Zamorin) 26. Bettatnad (Raja)
27. Kutnad (Zamorin) 28. Chavakkad & Chetwai (Zamorin)
29. Cannanore (Raja) 30. Wynad (Kottayam Raja)
31. Cochin (Hon. E. I Comy) 32. Tangacherry and Anjengo (Hon. E. I Comy)
Even though the country they created was known as British-India, they generally used the word ‘India’ for that country.
The anguish of the Brahmin folks
The English East India Company was consolidating together a lot of different nations or countries, different populations, different peoples, different ethnic groups and even very many mutually-antagonistic different castes into one single nation.
The English Company administration had the erroneous view that all the populations or peoples inside the locations where they ruled were Hindus, if they were not Christians or Muslims. Maybe they had some doubts about Sikhs, Buddhist and Jain being Hindus.
This gave an impetus to all the lower-positioned peoples and ethnic groups to slowly acquire the Hindu social address. The Brahmins were totally sidelined and dislodged in many locations where the English rule prevailed.
However in most of the independent native kingdoms, who all maintained a strong relationship with the English rule, maintained their traditional spiritual systems intact.
For instance, in British Malabar and in other places of Madras Presidency, the lower-placed castes and ethnic populations slowly started using personal names seen in very ancient Vedic texts and in the later-day puranas / epics.
It is true that the Bramanical households in the various locations inside British India did try desperately to bring to a halt, the gradual erosion and encroachment of their traditional spiritual possessions and territories.
Maybe the English administration couldn't understand the pain, perspective and arguments of the Brahmin households.
However it may be admitted that the English administration did not allow the encroachment of Brahmin temples and other places of worship by the other communities and ethnic populations.
It was only after the formation of the new nation of India that the gradual dislodgment, displacement and replacement of Brahmins by the other populations started gaining pace and power, as far as the traditional Bramanical spiritual possessions were concerned.
This takeover of Brahminical possessions by the rulers as well as by other communities could be the first instance of such a drastic takeover, in the total history of these spiritual items.
Such a thing might not have happened even in the Muslim ruled locations inside South Asia
However, I think the Brahmins took these catastrophic and cataclysmic upheavals in their stride.
In the newly emerging political system of democracy, ideologies and belief systems which could unite people under political leaders became necessary.
The book contents
Now coming back to the contents of Kamasutra, it may very precisely be understood that this book is not pornographic or erotic writing.
It might not be Vatsyayana’s original thoughts or writings. For, he seems to have admitted that he is in the footsteps of many other thinkers and writers of the genre, who had lived many years / centuries before him.
This book contains a lot of items connected to so many things a person might be interested in, personally, socially and also from a family perspective.
How to secure a good family life, how to be a virtuous woman, how to be a good wife, how to be a good husband and such are of the items discussed in this book
There are also detailed instructions on how to make use of opportunities for sexual gratification, how to plan for endeavours, how to make use of other people to secure one’s purpose etc.
There are ideas for improving one’s health, sexual performance, making one’s body beautiful and attractive, use of Mantras and black magic to seduce a person and such.
Since I have not made a very detailed reading of this book, I can't go into the details much.
The invisible framework
However, there is one item I want to bring into focus here. It is about something which might be missed by or might be invisible to a native-English reader of this book.
Before commencing on that, let me say something about the verbal beauty of the writing in this book.
The original writing I understand is in Sanskrit. I understand that Sanskrit is a very powerful feudal language. It is my belief that feudal languages do possess very beautiful words and verbal usages. In these types of languages, there are eerie heights and expanses in the words, their meanings understandings, depictions and imagination.
Maybe it is possible that planar languages like English cannot have this attribute.
There is this quote from Sir W. Ouseley’s, “Oriental Collections,” (1797) says:-
”A considerable difficulty is found in setting to music the Hindu ragas as, as our system does not supply notes or signs sufficiently expressive of the almost imperceptible elevations and depressions of the voice in these melodies, of which the time is broken and irregular, and the modulations frequent and very wild. Many of the Hindu melodies possess the plaintive simplicity of the Scotch and Irish, and others a wild originality pleasing beyond description.”
Here again Sir W. Ouseley’s made the erroneous mention of ‘Hindu raga’. Actually he was speaking about the certain types of music found in certain locations in South Asia.
But then what he has mentioned about the quality of the music can be descriptive of what can be the tone and timbre of feudal language words and usages, when they can be set to verse and tune.
I cannot make a descriptive writing here about feudal languages. Interested persons can follow this writing.
However there is this much I can mention here. Feudal languages can design society in a ladder-like formation. Depending on how powerfully the social strings are maintained, a sort of tight enslaved discipline or a state of total disarray can ensue in the social system. It depends.
When a native English individual is reading this book in English, what he or she may miss is this:
The original book was written in a very powerful feudal language.
All social relationships, aspirations, cravings, inhibitions, restrictions and all other parameters reflected in this book are all encoded in that particular feudal language. What the English reader experiences is only a very narrow translated-into-English version of what has been depicted.
However Sanskrit was possibly not the spoken-language of the peoples of those days. Maybe it was not the popular language of the northern parts of South-Asia for a few thousand years back. Whether it was ever the spoken language of the people in any part of Asia is a debatable question.
Actually, inside Kamasutra, this point is very clearly hinted at. See this Quote:
A citizen discoursing, not entirely in the Sanscrit language, nor wholly in the dialects of the country, on various topics in society, obtains great respect. END of QUOTE from Kamasutra.
Here the word ‘dialect’ is suspect. Maybe it actually meant ‘the local vernaculars in the original Sanskrit book.
The situation might be like the state of English in current-day India.
All higher education is done in English, but the common man speaks in the native vernacular.
Vedic culture antiquity
It is not known what happened to the Vedic period people who lived at least a few 1000 or more years back in some location in Central Asia, West Asia, East Asia or South Asia.
One Indian jingoist person in an argument told me that English was formed from Sanskrit language. It was quite a funny proposition. But if it were true, then possibly the English people are the descendants of the original people of the Vedic period.
But that again is not possible. For there is a great difference between Sanskrit and English. Just because there are a few Sanskrit words found in English, it does not mean anything. Sanskrit is a feudal language, while English is a planner language.
Because Sanskrit is a feudal language, during the Vedic period there would definitely be a number of lower sections in the society about whom nothing is seen mentioned much. The lower sections must have spoken some other language.
As to the peoples of India and South Asia, it is very much possible that none of them are from the Vedic antiquity. If the people/s of India have Vedic antiquity, then it is equally possible that all the people/s everywhere in the world also have the same amount of Vedic antiquity.
Then the question is why the people of India desperately seek a Sanskrit and Vedic connection.
The answer to this question is that a huge majority of the peoples of South Asia have been thrown into physical and mental disarray and dishevelment over the centuries by the feudal languages of the location.
The original languages of northern parts of South Asia were Maghadhi, Ardha- Maghadhi, Pali, Prakrith etc., I think. There are others also. I do not know whether these languages were feudal. However, it is possible that they were.
The ancient language of the southern parts of the subcontinent was Tamil. This is a very powerful feudal language.
And later on with the coming of English rule in South Asia in recent centuries, many of the local small-time languages of South Asia were filled with Sanskrit words and usages, and made into huge languages.
I have heard it said that Hindi had been created by inserting Sanskrit words into around 18 or 19 small languages and combining them all into one language.
When individuals, from this tragic antiquity, relocate to some native-English nation, either they themselves or their descendants, experience an explosive level of personality enhancement. They cannot understand what has changed. The most easy explanation they can find is that they are getting better food. However that is not the real explanation.
What they are experiencing is something beyond the experience of a of an ordinary coolie man in India, who is suddenly being allowed to address an IAS or IPS officer by first name and to address them with a Thoo or Nee word in a terrific mood of intimacy.
If the English-nation domiciled Indian is relocated back to India, the reverse mental experience can slowly set in.
The core of the hidden coding is that in the South-Asian social systems, individuals were and are arranged from the top Aap / Ungal / Saab / Thangal (highest You) level to the Thoo / Nee / Inchi (lowest You) level. This social coding does create extremely complicated social and individual thinking processes, about which the so-called modern mental sciences Psychology as well as Psychiatry are practically in the dark.
For more on, please read this writing.
The distorting inferiority and the escape route
Now let me move back to the native vernaculars of South-Asia.
The majority peoples of India do suffer from various kinds of inferiority which they try to overcome with money power as well as by suppressing others, in a very sly manner using verbal codes. But then, they still miss the platform of a powerful heritage and antiquity. This defect can be erased by slowly edging into the Brahmin heritage address.
Filling their native languages with Sanskrit words and usages is one major step in this direction. Converting their spiritual antiquity to encompass both the ancient religions which now are defined as Hinduism is another step. Adopting Sanskrit personal names for themselves and for their children also helps.
Reading and learning traditional stories from the Brahmanical heritage and antiquity literally converts their mind into a pseudo-Brahman heritage personality.
The next step would be to convert or connect their traditional deities and spiritual systems into that of the Vedic and Puranic forms of Hinduism.
Learning Sanskrit, Sanskrit mantras, reading Vedic literature and Puranic texts and stories brings in a powerful conversion on the individual.
Many languages of South-Asia have literally absorbed an immensity of Sanskrit words during the last few centuries.
The Malayalam aspirations
For instance look at the case of Malayalam. There had been one small language known as Malayalam in the Malabar area. This language had very little Sanskrit or Tamil words inside it.
At the same time in those days in the Travancore area, the local language was Tamil.
The Malayalam of Malabar area was slowly taken over to the Travancore area, possibly by some middle-level or top-level caste persons of Malabar. Into this language, a lot of Sanskrit and Tamil words were entered into from Travancore. The original Malayalam words were slowly erased out. However the original grammar of Malabar Malayalam was retained. Thus was formed the new language of Malayalam, which now claims classical status.
Literally any Sanskrit word can be used in Malayalam now. Currently the peoples of Kerala do have a feeling that they are all direct descendants of the Vedic period people.
During the last 50 to 70 years, almost all the traditional personal names have been erased out and almost everybody who believes himself or herself to be a Hindu has a Sanskrit Vedic or Puranic personal name.
Most of the peoples of Malabar do not understand their traditional language anymore.
See these words of Tobias Zacharias found inside the English Malayalam dictionary, he had created and published in 1907.
QUOTE: Many Malayalees of the present day are suffering from a disease which may be rightly called a ‘morbid fondness of Sanskrit’, or ‘Sanskrit mania’.
In recent times this has increased to such an extent that wholesale importation of not only Sanskrit words and phrases, but also of Sanskrit particles, prefixes and inflexions have, with some, become the rule of the day. ————
Scarcity of prose literature in the Malayalam languages, and an abundance of poetical works, wherein Sanskrit had an abnormally free scope, ......................have very considerably contributed to this propensity. END of QUOTE
The enduring terrible social framework
How do I connect it all this information with Kamasutra?
Sanskrit was not the peoples’ language in any location in South Asia during the time when Kamasutra was written by Vatsyyana. As per the contentions of this English translation version of Kamasutra, Vatsyayana must have lived between 1st century BC and 6th century AD. Not earlier. Not later.
The higher classes in the society studied Sanskrit and maintained it to show and maintain a class difference from the common folk. The common folks were not allowed to study it. For there was no way they could position themselves in the higher-word levels of Sanskrit. So practically they had no use or incentive in studying Sanskrit.
Vedic literature and possibly even the puranic literature might have been from the hoary past even during the time when Kamasutra was written.
The higher classes and also the so called learned-folks read and studied the Vedic literature and the Puranic stories and other texts to display a feeling that they are in possession of some celestial level ecclesiastical stuff.
However the practical truth was that that they did not know who the Vedic people were, how they wrote the texts, what the machinery that was used was, and what the software that work behind the mantras were or was.
However they could successfully protrude a claim that they were from the Vedic culture ancestry.
The foolhardiness of this is equal to that of a South-Asian person studying Classical Mechanics created by Sir Isaac Newton, and thus claiming himself to be an Englishman or Englishwoman.
The persons who read and made use of works like Kamasutra can be equated to the IAS and IPS officials of current-day India. They are the super royalty of India. Their monthly income is around 20 to 40 times of an average common man’s monthly income. They have a huge number of subordinate officials under them. All of them earn astronomical amounts as pay, perks and pension, and also in the form of bribes.
The common man including the common women cannot even address them as an equal in the local feudal languages.
The officialdom, which include the drab academicians also, continuously inform the common citizens that they are all in a terrible state of physical and mental dishevelment because everything in India was stolen by the erstwhile English rulers.
When reading Kamasutra, this is the social framework that has to be pictured inside the mind.