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spikejones
06-05-10, 05:11
so I just finished chapter 2 of "The Complete Kama Sutra" which deals with the "three aims in life", which basically speaking are: wealth (artha), virtue (dharma), and love (kama). While I agree with some of the philosphies put forth in the text, I have to partially disagree with the following parts:

Legend:
bold text: Vatsyayana's translation of an older sanskrit writing. The Kama Sutra is a compilation of older sanskrit works.
italic text: Vatsyayana's own commentary/teachings on the verses
Roman Text: modern Hindi commentary by Devadatta Shastri (well.. the last segment is supposed to not be in italics, but the forum made the quote as all italic

14. The relative importance and value of things must be taken into account. Money is more important than love, social success more important than success in love, and virtue is more important than success and fortune.

The ordinary virtues are nonviolence, honesty, chastity, avoiding anger and envy, striving to love all living beings equally. Vatsyayana is in favor of the social hierarchy which is why he insists on the importance of equal feelings toward all beings.

15. Money is the basis of royal power. Life's journey is based on it. It is the means of realizing the three aims in life, even in the case of prostitutes.

Money is the basis of material life, which is why it is more important for a king than virtue or pleasure. For prostitutes, money and pleasure are closely connected. It is a kings duty to accumulate money, inasmuch as it is an instrument of power. For a prostitute, money is essential. She exchanges her body for money. She is an object of desire for the lustful Brahman as well as for the sensual citizen, but she is indifferent to love and ethics. Later on, when she gives up her trade, she lives as she wishes with the money she put aside.

According to Kautilya, author of the Artha Shastra, without money there is no virtue, without money, there can be no power. Uncontrolled eroticism leads to failure.


Now, I may be missing something here - but basically the thesis of the chapter was that no single aim in life was to be more prejudicial than another (in my own words, a balance must be maintained). However in this segment it is almost like he is teaching that money (artha) is more important than the others. I'm personally of the mindset that all forms of materialism can be done without and one may still have a spiritual fulfillment simply by striving for dharma and kama. This kinda brings me back to a thread I created a while back in looking at different members mindsets on relationships versus materialism. If anyone doesnt recall that one, you can find it by looking at my
statistics link on my profile. At any rate, I was surprised that for a text which is over 2000 years old... they are saying essentially in this passage - or at the very least my own interpretation of it - that money is the key to all things.

what are your thoughts on that?

Alpharaider47
06-05-10, 05:30
That's very interesting. I suppose they do say that money is the root of all evil, or perhaps it's more accurate to say greed. But I guess it makes sense because money usually equals power and influence, and I guess that could allow access to the other two.
I guess some things never change lol

Drone
06-05-10, 05:42
Money is more important than love

I actually stopped reading after this line .....

EscondeR
06-05-10, 05:43
Well... if the things are the way they are, that doesn't necessarily mean they are normal (what they must be) :) But unfortunately we still must stick to what society dictates most often... even if we completely disagree.

As someone said: Those, who think about money not, need a lot of them ;)

Still my personal POV is - if your aim is money for money or power only and you are able to step on anyone on your road to that aim, you won't be happy finally no matter what.

Andyroo
06-05-10, 05:45
I actually stopped reading after this line .....

Lol, me too.

Quasimodo
06-05-10, 05:49
And here I was thinking you bought that book for your girlfriend! Lawl...

I didn't know there was actually a good bit of non-sexual content in Kama Sutra. What does virtue mean in the context of the Kama Sutra, though? It's seems obvious, but I ask because the word can mean different things translated from philosophical texts.

voltz
06-05-10, 07:47
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interstellardave
06-05-10, 10:45
It sounds like the wrong way to approach life but what it probably means is that, without money, your state of existence will be very lowly--and you may, indeed, cease to exist. With money you can live in a state that makes achieving other things, like love, far easier.

Think about our own lives... we can all go without love for periods of time (its not fun but we can do it, and most of us have done it). How long can we go without money, though? If I missed one paycheck right now I'd be in such a state of worry and panic that not much else would be of comfort, I can tell you!

Cochrane
06-05-10, 10:58
The question is probably "how much?". Money cannot buy happiness, but lack of it can certainly cause unhappiness. The idea of being happy despite being poor is one that is quite deeply ingrained in our society, dating back even to greek times, but the fact remains that being a virtuous beggar is a fate few of us would actually choose given the choice.

If we mean money as in being excessively rich, then I would certainly say that this is not more important than Love and Virtue. But being able to not have to worry about making ends meet should not be discounted.

Dennis's Mom
06-05-10, 12:40
I think, like all ancient writings, you have to take context into account. To whom was it written? What is the culture of those people?

We are so far removed in our understanding of "life" from most ancient peoples,that without proper context we tend to get into trouble interpreting their works. It's what makes the "fortune cookie" method of reading the Bible so useless.

Mikky
06-05-10, 12:43
Isn't kama sutra something to do with sex? :confused:

Cochrane
06-05-10, 12:54
Isn't kama sutra something to do with sex? :confused:

A common misconception. The text is really about how to lead a good and proper life in all regards, including but not limited to love. That part, however, is the one that os best known in the western world for obvious reasons.

Mikky
06-05-10, 12:56
A common misconception. The text is really about how to lead a good and proper life in all regards, including but not limited to love. That part, however, is the one that os best known in the western world for obvious reasons.

Oh, right. :o Thanx for the info. ;)

Encore
06-05-10, 13:03
I think, like all ancient writings, you have to take context into account. To whom was it written? What is the culture of those people?

We are so far removed in our understanding of "life" from most ancient peoples,that without proper context we tend to get into trouble interpreting their works. It's what makes the "fortune cookie" method of reading the Bible so useless.

Exactly.

We can make for an interesting discussion trying to interpret this and give our opinions, but ultimately, it is simply too distant from our own understanding of concepts such as "wealth" and "virtue". They have changed a lot over the centuries.

But I'd like to say one thing: regarding our concept of wealth, we shouldn't forget that all of us (on this forum) have it more or less. When compared to the poor regions of the world, those of us who live in the rich countries and can afford using the internet daily, we're all rich. So we don't really know exactly how much of an impact would being poor have on our lives. Don't take a moral standing on poverty without having experienced it.

Of course I'm not saying I don't agree with the idea that love and virtue are more important than money... I'm just saying, maybe it's easier for me to say this. :/

Capt. Murphy
06-05-10, 13:45
I was beginning to wonder if the Love < Money < Virtue thing was going to be like a Rock Paper Scissors deal. :cln:

I'm reading a book that (where I'm currently reading) is talking about 3 sinful things in life. The Lust of the Flesh, the Lust of the Eye, and the Pride of Life. It was already mentioned about "money being the root of all evil," but it's actually the LOVE OF MONEY being the root. The desire to gain temporal things in life is a selfish deed. I'm not saying people that are rich (which can be a relative term) are evil. Just people that are greedy. And if you're greedy you certainly can't be (very) virtuous. And this is why I thought of the Rock Paper Scissors idea. It's if you were virtuous you would automatically or naturally reap love (either from your peers or a significant other (i.e. a mate)). But that isn't always so. Anyway, back to desiring temporal things which money can usually buy. I don't think we should go after things like that. Just let them be a benefit. For success shouldn't be measured by how much we own or can buy... What about the feeling... the virtue of helping your fellow man when they're in need (or not)?

I will have to admit I'm still not sure what they mean by "money". Is it actually being rich, or just having a means to get by?

This denies another religion's idea that a greater higher power can essentially provide for you -no matter what your state. "Consider the Lilies of the field." :whi:

interstellardave
06-05-10, 14:24
^^^ By money they don't mean "rich" necessarily... just the act of procuring money for necessities. They talk about prostitutes, and prostitutes aren't often rich.

Alpharaider47
06-05-10, 14:44
I think, like all ancient writings, you have to take context into account. To whom was it written? What is the culture of those people?

We are so far removed in our understanding of "life" from most ancient peoples,that without proper context we tend to get into trouble interpreting their works. It's what makes the "fortune cookie" method of reading the Bible so useless.

Excellent point. We can look at and attempt to interpret this, but we're doing so from our culture's perspective, which is probably quite different. Like Encore said, values and definitions for things change over time as well.

xXhayleyroxXx
06-05-10, 15:02
Money isnt the most important thing at all. I would rate love, aspirations and virtue higher.

spikejones
06-05-10, 21:05
And here I was thinking you bought that book for your girlfriend! Lawl...

I didn't know there was actually a good bit of non-sexual content in Kama Sutra. What does virtue mean in the context of the Kama Sutra, though? It's seems obvious, but I ask because the word can mean different things translated from philosophical texts.
virtue (dharma) so far is touched only lightly upon in the text of the Kama Sutra. There are three distinct ancient Hindu texts dealing with the three aims in life, the Artha Shastra (dealing with politics, economy, and prosperity) the Dharma Shastra (dealing with civic virtues and ethics, or as is defined in the Kama Sutra - rules of conduct) and the Kama Shastra (dealing with sexuality).

The word dharma itself has such a wide scope however, and according to the symbolic etymologies, the root of the word dharma means "way of the world"

furthermore, virtue is of two sorts - inclination towards certain actions, and away from others.

--

as per why I went and bought the Kama Sutra, part of it is what you assumed - although I've kinda been interested in finding out what it was all about for a while now ever since I watched American Pie. Yeah so far theres a lot of non erotic text - I've not even gotten into that bit yet. "The Modern Kama Sutra" on the other hand does deal with the erotic aspect moreso than anything else, but the text which I'm currently reading is the first unabridged modern translation of the classic Indian text.
It sounds like the wrong way to approach life but what it probably means is that, without money, your state of existence will be very lowly--and you may, indeed, cease to exist. With money you can live in a state that makes achieving other things, like love, far easier.

Think about our own lives... we can all go without love for periods of time (its not fun but we can do it, and most of us have done it). How long can we go without money, though? If I missed one paycheck right now I'd be in such a state of worry and panic that not much else would be of comfort, I can tell you!
Granted that yes money can buy a modicum of happiness in life, which even as stated in the Kama Sutra, is necessary in order to appreciate the non material happiness.. I would not go so far as to say that it is more important than love. Perhaps from the way that society behaves (in general), it really is more important than love. However, I personally feel that it is the wrong attitude to have in life.
I think, like all ancient writings, you have to take context into account. To whom was it written? What is the culture of those people?

We are so far removed in our understanding of "life" from most ancient peoples,that without proper context we tend to get into trouble interpreting their works. It's what makes the "fortune cookie" method of reading the Bible so useless.
The text was written during a period of time that the Indian culture was thriving prosperously. I could write more of it but I'd have to go back and find where it was at in order to summarize that bit. To whom was it written? Well the original readers of the Kama Sutra were infact the Indian people, though its popularity has spread across the globe throughout time. It has been called "the science of pleasure" and is a treatise on eroticisim, written at a time when marriages occurred as early as the age of 16. I am not entirely sure as to whether premarital relations were acceptable back then or not though I assume they may have been. Why a treatise on eroticism was felt necessary is that - unlike birds who mate once a year by instinct and do not continue the relation ... we humans for the most part will form a monogamous relationship with a single partner, and in order to nurture said relationship in a way that both partners will stay loyal to one another, one must understand the science of pleasure.

Yeah, total turnabout there from the original question posed in the thread :p