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The Kama Sutra of Vatsayayana
Formatted at sacred-texts.com, July 2003.
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OF THE EMBRACE
THIS part of the Kama Shastra, which treats of sexual union, is also called 'Sixty-four' (Chatushshashti). Some old authors say that it is called so, because it contains sixty-four chapters. Others are of opinion that the author of this part being a person named Panchala, and the person who recited the part of the Rig Veda called Dashatapa, which contains sixty-four verses, being also called Panchala, the name 'sixty-four' has been given to the part of the work in honour of the Rig Vedas. The followers of Babhravya say on the other hand that this part contains eight subjects, viz. the embrace, kissing, scratching with the nails or fingers, biting, lying down, making various sounds, playing the part of a man, and the Auparishtaka, or mouth congress. Each of these subjects being of eight kinds, and eight multiplied by eight being sixty-four, this part is therefore named 'sixty-four'. But Vatsyayana affirms that as this part contains also the following subjects, viz. striking, crying, the acts of a man during congress, the various kinds of congress, and other subjects, the name 'sixty-four' is given to it only accidentally. As, for instance, we say this tree is 'Saptaparna', or seven-leaved, this offering of rice is 'Panchavarna', or five-coloured, but the tree has not seven leaves, neither has the rice five colours.
However the part sixty-four is now treated of, and the embrace, being the first subject, will now be considered.
Now the embrace which indicates the mutual love of a man and woman who have come together is of four kinds:
The action in each case is denoted by the meaning of the word which stands for it.
When a man under some pretext or other goes in front or alongside of a woman and touches her body with his own, it is called the 'touching embrace'.
When a woman in a lonely place bends down, as if to pick up something, and pierces, as it were, a man sitting or standing, with her breasts, and the man in return takes hold of them, it is called a 'piercing embrace'.
The above two kinds of embrace take place only between persons who do not, as yet, speak freely with each other.
When two lovers are walking slowly together, either in the dark, or in a place of public resort, or in a lonely place, and rub their bodies against each other, it is called a 'rubbing embrace'.
When on the above occasion one of them presses the other's body forcibly against a wall or pillar, it is called a 'pressing embrace'.
These two last embraces are peculiar to those who know the intentions of each other.
At the time of the meeting the four following kinds of embrace are used:
Jataveshtitaka, or the twining of a creeper.
Vrikshadhirudhaka, or climbing a tree.
Tila-Tandulaka, or the mixture of sesamum seed with rice.
Kshiraniraka, or milk and water embrace.
When a woman, clinging to a man as a creeper twines round a tree, bends his head down to hers with the desire of kissing him and slightly makes the sound of sut sut, embraces him, and looks lovingly towards him, it is called an embrace like the 'twining of a creeper'.
When a woman, having placed one of her feet on the foot of her lover, and the other on one of his thighs, passes one of her arms round his back, and the other on his shoulders, makes slightly the sounds of singing and cooing, and wishes, as it were, to climb up him in order to have a kiss, it is called an embrace like the 'climbing of a tree'.
These two kinds of embrace take place when the lover is standing.
When lovers lie on a bed, and embrace each other so closely that the arms and thighs of the one are encircled by the arms and thighs of the other, and are, as it were, rubbing up against them, this is called an embrace like 'the mixture of sesamum seed with rice'.
When a man and a woman are very much in love with each other, and, not thinking of any pain or hurt, embrace each other as if they were entering into each other's bodies either while the woman is sitting on the lap of the man, or in front of him, or on a bed, then it is called an embrace like a 'mixture of milk and water'.
These two kinds of embrace take place at the time of sexual union.
Babhravya has thus related to us the above eight kinds of embraces.
Suvarnanabha moreover gives us four ways of embracing simple members of the body, which are:
The embrace of the thighs.
The embrace of the jaghana, i.e. the part of the body from the navel downwards to the thighs.
The embrace of the breasts.
The embrace of the forehead.
When one of two lovers presses forcibly one or both of the thighs of the other between his or her own, it is called the 'embrace of thighs'.
When a man presses the jaghana or middle part of the woman's body against his own, and mounts upon her to practise, either scratching with the nail or finger, or biting, or striking, or kissing, the hair of the woman being loose and flowing, it is called the 'embrace of the jaghana'.
When a man places his breast between the breasts of a of Vatsyayana woman and presses her with it, it is called the 'embrace of the breasts'.
When either of the lovers touches the mouth, the eyes and the forehead of the other with his or her own, it is called the 'embrace of the forehead'.
Some say that even shampooing is a kind of embrace, because there is a touching of bodies in it. But Vatsyayana thinks that shampooing is performed at a different time, and for a different purpose, and it is also of a different character, it cannot be said to be included in the embrace.
There are also some verses on the subject as follows:
'The whole subject of embracing is of such a nature that men who ask questions about it, or who hear about it, or who talk about it, acquire thereby a desire for enjoyment. Even those embraces that are not mentioned in the Kama Shastra should be practised at the time of sexual enjoyment, if they are in any way conducive to the increase of love or passion. The rules of the Shastra apply so long as the passion of man is middling, but when the wheel of love is once set in motion, there is then no Shastra and no order.'