According to the Hindu belief system, every human being should practise the Dharma, Artha, and Kama in different stages of his life which means that at every age groups there are specific Dharma, Artha, and the Kama that a human being should be practising. These three components should not contradict each other moreover they should be complementing each other if one was to achieve harmony in life.
Dharma is usually learned from the gurus (learned men) and religious scriptures. In ancient Vedic civilization, it is believed that in ones Brahmacharya (youth) stage he/she should lead a religious life and practice Dharma under the guidance of a guru. In one’s Grihastha (householder) stage he/she should dedicate themselves to accumulating Artha (material wealth), marriage, having children, and the act of socializing. The art of accumulating Artha can be learned from merchants and court officials.
The pleasure which arises from the contact between our five organs of senses and consciousness of pleasure is called the Kama. These five organs of senses must be under the control of the mind and soul. This can be learned from the “Kama Shastras” (aphorisms of love) or the said learned men or gurus who are well versed with the subject.
Arts and Sciences :
In the ancient Vedic period young girls should study the Kamasutra (part of Dharma) before marriage, and after the marriage, of course with the consent of their spouse. But then again as in every society, there are those narrow-minded people who oppose this idea (although it’s part of Dharma) just like today there are people who oppose the idea of sex education to teenagers. Vatsayana was not in the group of those people, he believed that young women already knew the Kamasutra because that practised is derived from Kama Shastra, the science of the Kama itself. Vatsayana believed that although the practice of the science is known to all, not everyone understood the rules and law it is based upon. For example, people perform religious ceremonies on certain auspicious days based on astrology even though they knew nothing about astrology.
As a general practice a woman “should” learn in private the sixty-four practises that form a part of the Kama Shastra from close friends or families. According to Vatsayana these “close friends or families” could be; the daughter of her nanny brought up with her and already married, a female friend who can be trusted with everything, an aunt, an old female servant, a female beggar who has previously lived with the family, or her sister who can always be trusted. Trust and confidentiality are an essential condition for learning Kamasutra.
The arts that complement the study of Kamasutra are; Singing, playing musical instruments, dancing, tattooing, adorning an idol with rice and flowers, colouring the teeth, garments (clothing fashion), hair, nails and body, fixing stained glass to the floor, the art of making beds, spreading out carpets and cushions for reclining, storing and accumulating water, art of cooking, art of sewing, solving riddles, covert speeches, verbal puzzles and enigmatical questions, the art of mimicry or imitation, reading, chanting and intoning, practice with weaponry (sword, single stick, quarterstaff, bow and arrow), architecture (the art of building), knowledge of gold and silver coins, jewels and gems, art of cockfighting, quail fighting, ram fighting, art of teaching parrots and starlings to speak, art of framing mystical diagrams (addressing spells and charms).
A woman who understands her Dharma, is beautiful, attractive, and with a good shape of the body also versed with the above arts obtains the title of Ganika (courtesan of high quality) and she is honoured by men, respected by the king, and praised by learned men. She becomes the icon for other women who dream to be like her. The daughter of a king (practicing good Dharma) or other high-status men after learning the art of Kamasutra can make her husband more attracted to her even if he has other wives. A woman who has lost her husband can easily support herself if she is well versed in these arts. A man who is well versed in these arts can easily attract a woman in a short period.
According to the Purusartha (Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha) after acquiring the knowledge of Dharma, a man should embark on the life of a householder. He should concentrate his energies on becoming prosperous either by inheritance, investments or conquests. He should move to or build his house in a good and safe neighbourhood whether its in the city or village. The house should be located near a good source of water, surrounded by a garden, and it should have a minimum of two rooms (outer and inner). Females should always occupy the inner room while the outer room should have a bed with a soft mattress and covered with clean white cloth (bedsheet). The bed should be low in the middle part with a canopy on top. It should have two pillows, one at the top (headrest) and the other at the bottom (footrest). Flower petals should be spread on the bed and the whole room should smell nice and pleasing with some kind of aromatic therapy oil burning in the four corners of the room.
The room should also have a couch and a stool with fragrance ointments for the night, flowerpots containing collyrium and other fragrance substances, such as the bark of the common citron tree for perfuming the mouth. Just next to the couch on the ground, a spitting pot should be placed. There should also be a box containing ornaments and on the wall, there should be an ivory peg with a lute hanging from the peg. Drawing board and a pot containing perfumes should also be available along with some books and some garlands of yellow flowers. Not far from the couch there should be a round seat, a toy cart, and a board for playing dice games. Outside the outer room, there should be birdcages and there should be a swing. The garden should have a raised part for sitting and it should be surrounded by flowers.
After waking up in the morning and performed his necessary duties (Dharma) one should aways wash his teeth and apply a small amount of ointment and perfume to his body. Wear some ornaments and apply collyrium on his eyelids and bellow his eyes. He should also colour his lips with alactaka (its a kind of natural colour derived from lac) and see himself in the mirror. Before going and doing his daily work he should eat some betel leaves to freshen up his breath. A man should bathe daily and routinely apply oil to his body and once in every three days, he should apply some lathering substance to his body (as there was no soap at that time). A man should also shave his head and facial hair once in four days and shave hairs from other parts of his body once in five to ten days. It is vital to maintain his hygienes.
A man should have his meals three times a day without fail, once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and once at night. In the morning preferably after breakfast parrots and other birds should be taught to speak followed with the fighting of cocks, quails, and rams. At this time he should devote a limited amount of time socializing with different types of people such as Pithamardas (a person without wealth), Vitas (a rich man), and Vidushakas (a man with a good sense of humour). After this, a man should take a short afternoon nap. After a short nap, he should put on his clothes and ornament and talk to his friends or colleagues.
In the evening there should be some singing and after that, he and his friends should wait in his room for the arrival of the woman who is attracted to him. When she arrives he and his friends should greet her warmly and entertain her with a conversation that is agreeable to her. Thus ends his duties for the day.
On some special occasions or holy days, the citizens should gather in the temple. In the temple, the singers should compete with each other and be awarded on their merits. In these gathering, citizens should help each other in good or in bad times. Hospitality should be shown to strangers who come and join this assembly. In the afternoon the men should go for horse riding in the company of a public woman (escorts) followed by their servants.
When men of equal social standing, age, and interest sit together in the company of a public woman (escorts, courtesan, or Veshya was an important element in Hindu society, her education, intellect, and beauty were often far superior to these men own wives) they play various mind games or complete puzzles. They also test each others intellectuality in the field of arts and literature. The beautiful public woman who has the power to read other’s mind and has the same interest as other men are respected in such gatherings. Later, the host should offer alcoholic drinks made from flowers, fruits, and barks of various trees to the public woman and they all drink together.
A person capable of discussions in Sanskrit and other dialects on various topics is greatly respected in society. A wise person should not behave such a way that is frowned by the public, he should not be careless and have bad intentions towards other people.
Enjoying Others Wives :
The Kama is practised by men of the four classes, taking a virgin woman of his caste as a wife in a lawful marriage becomes a means of acquiring lawful progeny and good fame. The practice of the Kama with a woman of higher castes who was previously enjoyed by others (even if they are from the same cast) is prohibited. The practice of the Kama with Nayikas (women of a lower caste, women excommunicated from their caste, public women, and women twice married) is permitted. The practice of the Kama with such women is permitted for pleasure only. Nayika could be enjoyed without sin and any woman who could be enjoyed for the sole purpose of progeny or pleasure is a Nayika.
A Nayika could also be neither enjoyed for pleasure or progeny but for accomplishing some special task at hand.
A woman who has been previously enjoyed by many others, a twice-married woman, a woman who have powerful, rich, and influential husbands can be seduced for one’s gains. A woman whose husband has violated the chastity of another person wive can be enjoyed the same. It is also mentioned that a woman who has been enjoyed by five men is fit and proper to be enjoyed.
For these and other reasons, the wives of other men may be enjoyed, but it must be understood that it is only allowed for special reasons and not only for lusty desires.
Women That Are Not To Be Enjoyed :
These are the types of women that are not to be enjoyed; A leper, lunatic, woman turned out of caste, woman who reveals secrets, woman who publicly expresses desires for sexual intercourse, woman who is extremely white, woman who is extremely black, bad-smelling woman, woman who leads the life of ascetic, lastly the wife of a relation, friend, king, and of a learned Brahmin.