In this TED talk, Dr. Seema Anand explores how narratives on arts of seduction have been lost and in the evolution of their vocabulary, the implications have changed. Working with the range of what ‘story’ can mean to an individual Seema facilitates the learning processes of ‘telling’, ‘listening’, ‘acknowledging’ and ‘rejecting’ the narratives that make up our lives and our social interactions to enhance communication, build links and open dialogue.
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If we begin with the construct that we are a collection of stories, we are the stories that we tell, the stories that we believe, and equally the stories that we choose to ignore. And so I’m going to revisit some of these old forgotten lost stories today.
Story of Creation according to Hindu beliefs
Let’s start at the beginning. Let’s start with the story of creation. You know, creation is not a simple process and let no one ever tell you other ways.
According to Hindu belief, it is not even a one-man job. You need three people for it. You need one to create; one to preserve and want to destroy. But Brahma is the great Father, the Creator. When Brahma created the world from his mind, he decided in his arrogance that he was also going to be master of life and death.
And for this world that he was going to create, he was going to populate it with beings that were both man and woman in one body, beings that could self-fertilize.
So the plan was – he was going to get these beings to create a child from within themselves without any outside help, feed and look after this child for six years at which point the child would become self sufficient and the parent being would automatically die off. So in Brahma’s world, there was going to be no mess, no overcrowding.
But when he actually created these beings from his mind, he discovered that they were all men. The creator hadn’t quite worked out how to manifest a woman. Shiva came to the rescue. Shiva is one of the Trinity; he’s the destroyer. And Shiva is married to Mother Earth.
Shiva came in and he reached into Brahma’s mind and he pulled out a woman. Brahma’s mind-born daughter. And then he explained to Brahma about men and about women and about the ecstasy of coming together.
Unfortunately Brahma wasn’t listening because he had taken one look at his beautiful mind-born daughter and decided he wanted her. And Shiva had had to sit back and watch the great father lusting after his own daughter, chasing his daughter all over the cosmos because he wanted to possess her.
And he realized what kind of sin he had brought into the world. So to try to mitigate the sin, Shiva castrated himself. He merged with his own wife and he went back to Brahma. And he said “Okay. Look plan A, this is how you create a being that’s both man and woman in one body. Let’s go back to this plan.”
But by now Brahma had known the ecstasy of coming together. So he pried apart Shiva from his wife and he said “From now on men and women will be born a separate entities, they will live a separate entities and they will know the joy of union.”
And then Brahma created a race of men, and a race of women. He paired them up together and he said “Go and populate my world”.
Unfortunately nothing happened, because no one knew what to do. So Shiva once again came to the rescue and he said to the men and women, he said “Go and tickle each other and the rest will follow”.
They did and 7 billion people later, the rest is history.
At this point, Shiva and his wife, Parvati (Mother Earth) went on to write a manual each – the first of its kind. The manual each on the Arts of Seduction.
Now I should interrupt myself here and just say I don’t like the word seduction. It’s going to take on all manner of implications they don’t really belong to it but I haven’t been able to find the [more juice], it is an English. Somebody used the word but I’m going to try and explain the concept to you.
According to Tantra, according to high philosophy, sexual energy is the highest form of energy in the world, and to be able to harness it is to generate the ultimate power. And so the art of seduction was about building up, optimizing and harnessing the power of the mind, the body, and the spirit in order to generate the ultimate power.
Okay. So this is a very very loud subject and I’m going to give you about half-a-drop work. But in the Kama Sutra, it says that men and women need to learn 64 skills to become adept at the Arts of Seduction.
Some things make sense. Okay, you know singing, dancing, perfuming of the body, gymnastics. Some things really don’t. I mean what does a skill in mineralogy have to do with the art of seduction? Or a skill in quail fighting, cock fighting, ram fighting and up this one the best – what does a skill in making handicrafts out of thread have to do with the art of seduction? It’s listed in the 64 arts.
Well, okay, 64 was not the number of ways that you could seduce somebody. 64 was the totality of your life. If you take your life and you divide it into four stages, each stage then gets divided into four branches of knowledge that you must acquire during each state. So that gives you 16 branches of knowledge. And then you divide each branch of knowledge further into four to cover all its aspects and you get the number 64.
So a complete knowledge of the art of seduction was equated with complete mastery over your entire life. Yeah – about optimizing and harnessing the power of the mind, the body and the spirit. And I’ll let you into quick secret.
According to ancient wisdom, this complete knowledge of the art of seduction and the ability to practice it, this was known as the elixir of youth. You know, when Cleopatra decided to seduce Julius Caesar. And she didn’t just want him for one night; she wanted him for keeps and she wanted him to the exclusion of every other woman. This is Caesar – the Emperor of the largest known empire of the time. He’s rich, he’s spoiled. He can have anybody he wants, he can do anything he wants and she wants him or to herself forever.
Do you know what was skill of seduction that she chose to use, aside from the obvious? She decided that he was going to – well, she was going to be completely happy for every single minute that he spent with her. So he would associate her with just his happiest moments in his life.
She decided that he was going to laugh with her more than he had ever laughed with any other woman. And we know from history that a lot.