The three aims of life

In the beginning of Ararat, Louise Gluck’s 1990 poetry collection, there is a quote by Plato:

“…human nature was originally one and we were a whole and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called love.”

I’ve also been rereading The Complete Kama Sutra, which began as research for my courtesans story, to answer the question ‘what did they do exactly?’. In the introduction, the translator, Alain Danielou (also a French historian, intellectual, musicologist and Indologist) writes:

Eroticism is firstly a search for pleasure, and the goal of the techniques of love is to attain… infinite delight. The refinements of love and the pleasures that include music and other arts are only possible in a prosperous civilization, which is why the Kama Shastra, the Art of Love, is linked to the Artha Shastra, the Rules of Prosperity and the Art of Making Money.

And if love doesn’t last? I’m thinking aloud… wondering how often a woman without husband or children can feel confident of her place in the world. Perhaps if she’s fortunate and determined.

According to the Vedas the three aims of life are Virtue (dharma), Wealth (artha) and Love (kama). These were meant for men, but let’s include women.

So I’m going to think about pursuing virtue and wealth. And perhaps love – not infinite delight, not at the moment (I’m in the library) – but the other side of love: the thing which is always shifting and changing colour.

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