Ananga-Ranga, one of the hindu love texts, provide meaningful help to learn Indian sexual norms and beliefs. A lesser work of erotic text, the book was written by Kalyana Malla a thousand years after Vatsyayana’s work, the Kama Sutra.
The book offers up a wealth of tips on solving problems that range from body odor, to seducing the opposite sex. One of the chapters provides an extensive coverage on the changes in the natural state of men and women that must be observed and taken into consideration. Any man, or woman, who fall into any of these states is considered under the power of her bodily desires and bound by her carnal needs.
The first state is the state of Dhyasa. This condition sees the individual at a loss to do anything. There is but one burning desire and that is to see the beloved, to see a particular man. The second state is when the mind of the individual begins to suffer as well. Meaning, one is unable to think of anything. She finds her mind always wandering, always going back to thoughts of the beloved. She feels that she is near to losing her mind.
The third stage describes the individual trying to woo and win a man in question. The fourth stage is when the individual loses sleep over thoughts of the beloved. The fifth is when the individual looks haggard, with her body emaciated. She cannot think, eat or sleep because thoughts of the beloved consume her. The sixth stage that indicates a person is already suffering from unsatisfied carnal or sexual needs is that she feels herself growing shameless, forgetting all sense of decorum and decency. The seventh stage is when the individual no longer cares for her riches and lets these things go. The eighth state is when the mental intoxication of the individual borders on madness. The ninth state is when tainting fits come on and the last state, when the body’s needs are at its utmost and greatest, the individual finds herself at death’s door.
Produced by sexual passion, examples of these states may also be found in Indian history, particularly in the case of King Puruva. He was such a devout man that Indra, the Lord of the Lower Heaven feared that Puruva may even succeed in dethroning him in the end. Thus, the god sent down from Svarga-his own heaven-Urvashi. Urvashi is the most lovely of all Indra’s nymphs and Puruva fell in love with her as soon as he laid eyes on her.
Day and night he thought of nothing but her, and when he possessed her, both passed the time in carnal enjoyment. When the god took Urvashi back, no sooner had she departed than Puruva fell into a deep depression. He started to lose his control. His mind began to wander, he was no longer capable of focusing on anything, on his wealth or worship until he found himself languishing, already at the door of death.
The states follow a logical order and many still find them true up to today. For most, the similarities are worth taking note of. It means that no matter how many how years pass, humans rarely change. To learn Indian sexual norms such as these from Hindu love manuals is one of the reasons why people still read old texts books on the erotic.
But another one could be, a more visceral reason could be, that these books mirror us, these books remind us, that -despite prevailing conservative sexual norms-they can stay true to the spirit of pleasure, and freedom and sex even when we no longer can.