Friday, January 1

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.

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