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THE KAMA SUTRA OF VATSYAYANA Part-7
On the Acquisition of Dharma, Artha and Kama
Man, the period of whose life is one hundred years, should
practice Dharma, Artha, and Kama at different times and in
such a manner that they may harmonize together and not
clash in any way. He should acquire learning in his childhood,
in his youth and middle age he should attend to Artha
and Kama, and in his old age he should perform Dharma, and
thus seek to gain Moksha, i.e., release from further transmigration.
Or, on account of the uncertainty of life, he may
practice them at times when they are enjoined to be practiced.
But one thing is to be noted, he should lead the life
of a religious student until he finishes his education.
Dharma is obedience to the command of the Shastra or
Holy Writ of the Hindoos to do certain things, such as the
performance of sacrifices, which are not generally done, because
they do not belong to this world, and produce no visible
effect; and not to do other things, such as eating meat, which
is often done because it belongs to this world, and has visible
Dharma should be learnt from the Shruti (Holy Writ) ,
and from those conversant with it.
Artha is the acquisition of arts, land, gold, cattle, wealth,
equipages, and friends. It is, further, the protection of what
is acquired, and the increase of what is protected.
Artha should be learnt from the king's officers, and from
merchants who may be versed in the ways of commerce.
Kama is the enjoyment of appropriate objects by the five
senses of hearing, feeling, seeing, tasting, and smelling, assisted
by the mind together with the soul. The ingredient in this is
a peculiar contact between the organ of sense and its object,
and the consciousness of pleasure which arises from that contact
is called Kama.
Kama is to be learnt from the Kama Sutra (aphorisms
on love) and from the practice of citizens.
When all the three, viz., Dharma, Artha, and Kama come
together, the former is better than the one which follows it,
i.e., Dharma is better than Artha, and Artha is better than
Kama. But Artha should always be practiced by the king,
for the livelihood of men is to be obtained from it only.
Again, Kama being the occupation of public women, they
should prefer it to the other two, and these are exceptions to
the general rule.
Some learned men say that as Dhacma is connected with
things not belonging to this world, it is appropriately treated
of in a book; and so also is Artha, because it is practiced only
by the application of proper means, and a knowledge of
those means can only be obtained by study and from books.
But Kama being a thing which is practiced even by the brute
creation, and which is to be found everywhere, does not want
any work on the subject.
This is not so. Sexual intercourse being a thing dependent
on man and woman requires the application of proper means
by them, and those means are to be learnt from the Kama
Shastra. The non-application of proper means, which we
see in the brute creation, is caused by their being unrestrained,
and by the females among them only being fit for sexual
intercourse at certain seasons and no more, and by their intercourse
not being preceded by thought of any kind.
The Lokayatikas* say:óReligious ordinances should not
be observed, for they bear a future fruit, and at the same time
it is also doubtful whether they will bear any fruit at all.
What foolish person will give away that which is in his own
hands into the hands of another? Moreover, it is better to
have a pigeon today than a peacock tomorrow; and a copper
coin which we have the certainty of obtaining, is better than
a gold coin, the possession of which is doubtful.
It is not so. I St. Holy Writ, which ordains the practice
of Dharma, does not admit of a doubt.
2nd. Sacrifices such as those made for the destruction of
enemies, or for the fall of rain, are seen to bear fruit.
3rd. The sun, moon, stars, planets and other heavenly
bodies appear to work intentionally for the good of the
4th. The existence of this world is effected by the observance
of the rules respecting the four classes* of men and their
four stages of life.
5 th. We see that seed is thrown into the ground with the
hope of future crops.
Vatsyayana is therefore of opinion that the ordinances of
religion must be obeyed.
Those who believe that destiny is the prime mover of all
things say:óWe should not exert ourselves to acquire wealth,
for sometimes it is not acquired although we strive to get it,
while at other times it comes to us of itself without any exertion
on our part. Everything is therefore in the power of
destiny, who is the lord of gain and loss, of success and defeat,
of pleasure and pain. Thus we see that Balif was
raised to the throne of Indra by destiny, and was also put
down by the same power, and it is destiny only that can
It is not right to say so. As the acquisition of every object
presupposes at all events some exertion on the part of man,
the application of proper means may be said to be the cause
of gaining all our ends, and this application of proper means
being thus necessary (even where a thing is destined to happen)
, it follows that a person who does nothing will enjoy
Those who are inclined to think that Artha is the chief
object to be obtained argue thus. Pleasures should not be
sought for, because they are obstacles to the practice of
Dharma and Artha, which are both superior to them, and
are also disliked by meritorious persons. Pleasures also bring
a man into distress, and into contact with low persons; they
cause him to commit unrighteous deeds, and produce impurity
in him; they make him regardless of the future, and
encourage carelessness and levity. And lastly, they cause him
to be disbelieved by all, received by none, and despised by
everybody, including himself. It is notorious, moreover,
that many men who have given themselves up to pleasure
alone, have been ruined along with their families and relations.
Thus, King Dandakya,* of the Bhoja dynasty, carried
off a Brahman's daughter with evil intent, and was
eventually ruined and lost his kingdom. Indra, too, having
violated the chastity of AhalyaA was made to suffer for it.
In a like manner the mighty Kichaka,% who tried to seduce
Draupadi. and Havana,^ who attempted to gain over Sita,
were punished for their crimes. These and many others fell
by reason of their pleasures.
This objection cannot be sustained, for pleasures, being as
necessary for the existence and well being of the body as
food, are consequently equally required. They are, moreover,
the results of Dhatma and Artha. Pleasures are
therefore, to be followed with moderation and caution. No
one refrains from cooking food because there are beggars to
ask for it, or from sowing seed because there are deer to
destroy the corn when it is grown up.
Thus a man practicing Dharma, Artha, and Kama enjoys
happiness both in this world and in the world to come. The
good perform those actions in which there is no fear as to
what is to result from them in the next world, and in which
there is no danger to their welfare. Any action which conduces
to the practice of Dharma, Artha, and Kama together,
or of any two, or even one of them, should be performed,
but an action which conduces to the practice of one of them
at the expense of the remaining two should not be performed.
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