Friday, January 1

We once had 4 legs and 2 faces

I'm reading Plato's Symposium kids. It's all about love but will talk about that later.

This was a funny description by Aristophanes who is at a dinner party with Socrates and he describes how primeval man was round with four hands and feet, two faces, and could roll forward on four legs like a barrel. That would be so funny to see eh?

Alas, they got uppity and challenged the gods. So Zeus cut them down in the middle and Apollo fixed us up by fixing the cut, fixed the belly. And then because the two separate halves couldn't  live together, they started dying off. So Zeus made man and woman separate.

But deep inside you, lives the seeds of that primeval man. So when you meet your soul mate, you cannot explain what you want from her/him but just want to be one.

It's obviously not medically right or evolutionarily correct but a nice explanation by the ancient Greeks eg?



Ananga Ranga of Kalyanam Malla

So I've been re-reading the Ananga Ranga son. It's not a book that's frequently mentioned in the annals of this genre of literature. You may have heard about the Kama Sutra which was written early in the first millennium. And that's quite famous. In a variety of ways. But basically son its classification gone mad. And bangs on about positions. No doubt you need to know about them. Just the missionary position is boring. But then some like it. And fine so be it.

But there's much more to physical love than just the act of coitus son.

A good physical relationship goes a very long way son. It brings you close together. The Sicilians call the moment of orgasm as the 'little death'. The tantriks like to go to meet God via sexual practises (I've got a very very interesting book on this including Hindu and Buddhist tantric practises).

But you have to work at it son. The key key key thing to remember is that in bed, it's not your pleasure which is important. It's your partners pleasure which is paramount. And you only enjoy when the partner enjoys as well. Never make it just about yourself.

The above mentioned table is an example. But I disagree that the way to keep a women happy is just restricted by age. Every girl whatever age likes attention and politeness. Flattery as well. Well not obsequious flattery. That's not real and girls are smart. They will look through it. But compliment them. Buy small things. Tiny things. The cost isn't important son. In fact the cost is a detractor. If it's low cost then you have spent your time thinking through the present. Any idiot can buy an expensive present son. And stay away from girls who just like expensive girls. They aren't the girls with whom you can establish a long deep meaningful relationship with.

Going back to the physical side. The whole body is a playground son. Remember that a butterfly kiss can be more erotic than a French kiss. A gentle kiss over the naked shoulder can be better than sex. A discreet thumb rub inside the palm can make her anticipate much more than any levels of 'wanna fuck baby?' THe whole body is to be explored. Slowly and gently. And yes sometimes hard and fast. But learn her eyes. Her breathing. The sssshhhhtttt sound through her clenched teeth when she comes is great. The eyes which open hugely after she's come full of love and bottomless depths and that lassitude in the body is a joy that few men achieve.

Do grab the book if you can. Not a big book. One additional benefit is that it comes with the symposium of Plato where Socrates and his friends talk about what's love.



Book review the Ananga Ranga of Kalyan Malla and the symposium of Plato

Quite an extraordinary book. Translated in 1873 by that indophile Richard Burton, it gives a fascinating insight into how the 15th/16th century Hindu viewed marriage and physical love. What makes this book even more fascinating is that it's conjoined with the symposium of Plato. I've never read the latter although I have read the Ananga Ranga many moons back.

The symposium of Plato is a record of an evening in Athens where Socrates and a group of friends, after dinner are lying about on the couches and each is expected to speak about love. And you get the most amazing and exquisite declarations of love. Ranging from the love of God to love of woman to love of a man. Fascinating.

And then Ananga Ranga. It's a book for men. And I love it's lists. Lists of how you should use nails on a woman. Lists of where you can't make love. Lists of how to stroke hair. Lists of how vaginas are. Lists of how skin is. Lists of spells. Lists of potions. Lists of penises. Lists of personality types. Lists of lists. It goes on and on.

Before you think that this is a licentious charter it isn't. It's meant for a man who wants to be with one woman but allows him to know of techniques and knowledge which can ensure the man has 32 women in one. So if you want to be a good lover, definitely read it. And for heavens sake, don't try out any of the potions. They will kill you.

The notes by Richard Burton are fascinating as well. Gives an indication of what people in the 1890's used to think of India. It's a bit shocking to read now but yes.

Fascinating book.

Did Saladin destroy the Fatimid Libraries?

last year, I came across a fascinating paper. The paper said that there is a belief in the middle east that Saladin destroyed the Fatimid Dynastic libraries. Saladin is a famous character and he is best known for how he tweaked Richard's nose.

But his story is fascinating, not least because of the reactions. Cairenes who are educated and know a bit about their history hate him. Why? because he took the wealth of Cairo and took it off to Damascus...but this was worse...when he conquered Cairo, he apparently destroyed the Fatimid Libraries.

I didnt know that there was a library in the first place! You always associate Egypt with the Library of Alexandria, not something in Cairo!

check out this link. The numbers look a bit OTT but suffice to say that there were 40 rooms full of books, manuscripts, documents, papers and the like. FOURTY rooms full of amazing stuff.

As it so happens, the paper, Did alā al-Dīn Destroy the Fatimids' Books? An Historiographical Enquiry by FOZIA BORA published in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society July 2014, pp 1 - 19, takes us through a fascinating story about how the collection wasnt actually destroyed but sold on. Let me quote a little bit from the paper which made me really wince and cry.

Abu Sh  ̄ ama’s informant describes the collections that fell into S  ̄ .alah ̄. al-D ̄ın’s
34 and then reconstructs related events as follows:
1. Qad ̄. ̄ı al-Fad ̄.il, a lover of books, was allowed to survey the collections and take ‘a great quantity’ of them.
2. S.alah ̄. al-D ̄ın cut off the bindings from many of the rest that were in a good condition, to sell or re-use the leather, and threw the unbound contents into a lake.
3. Other volumes were sold to the public,35 over a period of ten years.
4. When news of the books in the lake became common knowledge, ‘people’ recovered
those, too, because ‘[books] are revered items’.
5. Much of the corpus that was initially discarded was thereby preserved, and this is how
‘that which we have [today] was attained’.

Bloody Kurd, the second point made me furious - how he ripped off the bindings! just to sell the sodding leather, but it gladdened my heart to read about how the Cairenes felt that the books are revered items. do not think that this has stopped, look at this story from recent times. So sodding painful to see. May their groins be infested with camel lice and may their arms be too short to scratch.

that said, dont forget the Lavon affair, when the Israeli's bombed the libraries in Cairo.

All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!