Kama Shastra in Education….. !?
By Maxwell Pereira

There has been a debate for some time on the need for sex education for students in their academic curricula. Recently I read in the papers regarding a website and literature being produced by philantrophists in Kolkata to educate people on the facts of life related to sex and sexual mores. Recent times have also seen the print media bolder than before in sex reporting and coverage, making one sit up and take note of the evolving Indian society!

But going back in history, one finds that education on the art of sex, was never out of their minds for our ancestors, always a serious matter!. And in India, the immortal and master treatise on sex - the Kama Sutra, showed the way to the world, putting to shame later works on the subject.

Though sage Vatsyayana is credited with writing the Kama Sutra around the time in history when Patna was known as Pataliputra, I believe the actual credit should go to another - sage Bhabhravpanchal, who had compiled a humongously voluminous treatise on the subject, devoured by the tides of time and not available now. Later scholars are supposed to have divided it into different volumes, while maharshi Vatsyayan actually produced an abridged version of Bhabhravpanchal's Kama Sutra.

Many ancient sages together composed the 'Kama Shastra' based on the Vedas. While maharshi Nandikeshwar is credited as the originator of chapterising the Kama Shastra, other great sages like Dattakacharya, Charayana, Suvarn-nama Ghotakmukh, Gonardiya, Gonikaputra and Kuchumar also contributed to its evolution and refinement. It is sage Vatsayan then who gave the finishing touches to the Kama Shastra to make it into the venerated treatise Kama Sutra, for posterity.

There is dispute over the actual identity of Vatsyayana. While it is accepted by and lage that the commentator Vatsyayan of Nyaya Darshan and Vatsyayan the exponent of Kamasutra are one and the same, there are those who assert that Vatsyayan was actually the third name of Vishnugupta, the other two names being Chanakya and Kautilya! He is also identified as Mallanaga by Yashodhar - the commentator of Kamasutra, claiming that Vatsyayan was merely the title attached to the real identity of Mallanaga.

The treatise is spun around the story of the eternal being - The Almighty, in the form of the supreme soul bestowing His endless bounty on all creatures alike without discrimination. Humans though, enjoy an edge and a privileged position because of the intellect endowed on them in addition - making him capable of thinking and acting in pursunce of the thought process.

In the Indian mythological ethos, the Supreme soul as the father of all creatures, wishes well - irrespective of the quality of the creature; and hence takes incarnations time and again as animal, bird, aquatic being - or human being, to ward off calamities and crises that face humanity. In each such incarnation He teaches valuable lessons through His own qualities… and often through the sage and ascetic as His messenger with means to carry out His works for the benefit of all.

Like all creatures, humans too have been conferred with rights and certain duties, to enable them a successful existence. A suport system with objects of comforts are provided. Four objects being - Dharma (religion), Arth (luxuries), Kama (carnal pleasures) and Moksha (salvation). Most people do not crave nor strive for all four, indulging on the first three - which in their fickleness of mind they consider more important. Here, maharishi Vatsayana pampers the human to regard these very three as the basic reason for existence, since each with all resources at his command strives only to achieve either of these objects. The shastras or disciplines, he explains, help a person to achieve the object he deserves.

However, without a competent guide, the human often fails to achieve his object, despite enthusiasm, determination, faith and capacity. While Kama or carnal pleasure is one of the main objects of existence, without a well-laid discourse and discipline, none is able to achieve pleasure. Kama Shastra steps in here, with certain norms and disciplined actions necessary to achieve carnal pleasure.

Though pro-creation is the objective of a marital union, it is the carnal pleasures attached to the act of creation that makes the exercise worthwhile. The urge for carnal pleasure soon over-riding all other considerations - making it a fundamental and basic reason for marriage. A man and a woman agree to tie hte nuptial knot also to get societal sanction to have carnal pleasure. Marriage simply reflects the social nod for their union. Lack of basic knowledge of those entering the state of matrimony results in disharmony and inability to achieve the basic goal. It is here that Kama Shastra is expected to help. Evidence indicates Kama or Carnal union of male and female forces was never taken for granted. The Vedas, Puranas and other literature describe profusely about the authenticity, necessity and relevance of Kama Shastra.

In the then prevalent Gurukula system of education in ancient India, adherence to celibacy was a must for its inmates. And Kama Shastra was taught to the celibate disciples during their stay at the Gurukul. This study, to be taken up only after successful education in Vedas, Vedangas and other scriptures. The disciples could enter married life only with thorough knowledge of Kamasutra. By the time the disciples left the Gurukul, they were experts in the Vedas and clever in social conduct. And married life for them would be free from problems and conflicts.

900 words: 23.11.2004: Copy Right © Maxwell Pereira: 3725 Sec-23, Gurgaon-122002. You can interact with the author at http:// www.maxwellperira.com and maxpk@vsnl.com


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