The Kama Sutra Hindu 64 Arts – Modern Day UK equivalents?

I was fortunate to find a book that was pretty life changing for me many years ago. This is not the picture book version, but the ‘Penguin Popular Classic’ which is entirely a text based version!

I didn’t get all that far through the book the first time around, as I was distracted by the pages referring to a the ’64 Arts’ which apparently should be studied in conjunction with the rest of the book (the traditional Hindu Arts).

Although these original arts are a bit different to the culture I was growing up in, I figured that the an equivalent I could work out, would probably be good to try and develop for myself over the subsequent years.

So the original arts (with what I see as many of their modern equivalents where appropriate) are as follows (I can’t do all of these yet, but they were a base for me to look out from and head towards):

  1. Singing
  2. Playing musical instruments
  3. Dancing – Salsa, ballroom, pole
  4. Performance combining the above
  5. Writing and drawing
  6. Tattooing
  7. Adorning an idol with rice and flowers – Floristry and flower arranging ?
  8. Spreading and arranging of bed of flowers, or flowers upon the ground
  9. Colouring the teeth, clothing, hair, nails and bodies – body painting and hair styling
  10. Fixed stained glass into the floor – mosaics
  11. The art of making beds – hotel housekeeping
  12. Playing musical glasses partially filled with water
  13. Storing and accumulating water, aqueducts, etc. – household plumbing
  14. Picture making – modern day photography
  15. Stringing of necklaces and garlands –
  16. Binding of turbans and chaplets –
  17. Scenic representation /stage play – Amateur Dramatics?
  18. Art of making ear ornaments –
  19. Preparing perfumes –
  20. Proper disposition of jewels and decorations in dress – fashion accessories
  21. Magic or sorcery – stage magic and slight of hand
  22. Quickness and dexterity in manual skill – computer typing speed.
  23. Culinary art – cooking and baking
  24. Making lemonades, acidulated drinks – smoothies, cocktails and fruit drinks
  25. Tailors work and sewing – same today (including curtain making)
  26. Making parrots and other decorative items out of yarn or thread – cross stitching
  27. Solutions of riddles and verbal puzzles – same today (+ debating contests)
  28. Connected stories game – Modern day politics or sales
  29. Mimicry or imitation – acting and imitation
  30. Reading, including chanting and intoning – public speaking / corporate training
  31. Tongue twisters
  32. Sword, quarterstaff, bow and arrow – martial arts
  33. Drawing inferences, reasoning and inferring – psychotherapy and counselling
  34. Carpentry – carpentry and furniture building (both flat pack and from scratch)
  35. Architecture or the art of building – build your own home and/or house extension
  36. Knowledge about gold silver and gems – same
  37. Chemistry and mineralogy – same
  38. Colouring jewels, gems and beads
  39. Knowledge of mines and quarries
  40. Gardening – gardening and tree surgery
  41. Cockfighting, quail fighting and ram fighting – boxing or martial art tournaments
  42. Teaching parrots or starlings to speak – dog and horse whispering
  43. Applying perfumes to the body
  44. Writing of cipher – code writing and code breaking / computer programming
  45. Modifying speech in abstract ways
  46. Knowledge of languages – speaking foreign languages
  47. Making flower carriages
  48. Spells and charms – Spells and witchcraft
  49. Memory and mental exercises – brain challenges and IQ tests
  50. Composing poems
  51. Knowledge of dictionaries and vocabularies – well read and well spoken
  52. Knowledge of disguising people
  53. The ability to change cheaper items to appear as of a higher value (ie cotton to silk, etc.)
  54. Gambling – gambling and stock market share dealing
  55. Art of mantras or incarnations to gaining possession of others’ property – positive thinking and witchcraft
  56. Skill in youthful sports – sports and athletics
  57. Knowledge of the rules of society, and paying respects and compliments to others – well mannered, respectful to all, and ability to give genuine compliments
  58. Knowledge of the art of war, armies, etc – military service (paid, part time, or voluntary)
  59. Knowledge of gymnastics – modern day gymnastics
  60. Knowing someone’s character by their features – personology, face reading and body language
  61. Knowledge of scanning and constructing verses – speed reading and writing
  62. Arithmetical recreations – maths challenges / chess
  63. Making artificial flowers
  64. Making figures and images in clay – pottery and sculpture

Particularly where I couldn’t work out a modern UK equivalent, I also felt there was a few modern day skills not included in the above list, but useful in the UK Society I lived and grew up:

  1. Sailing and navigating on water
  2. Ship building
  3. Plastering a wall
  4. Painting and Decorating
  5. Household rewiring
  6. Massage therapies
  7. Hypnotherapy & Hypnosis
  8. Meditation
  9. Anatomy and physiology
  10. Website design and development
  11. IT software skills (ie Windows, Linux, Mac)
  12. IT hardware skills (repairing / rebuilding your computer hardware)
  13. Sales skills
  14. Presentation skills / after dinner speeches
  15. Voluntary work with children
  16. Movie making / directing
  17. Advanced driver training
  18. Skills in piloting a plane  (ie private pilots licence, or gliding certificate)
  19. Sustainable living / renewable energies
  20. Growing your own fruit and veg
  21. Survival skills (remote living)
  22. Surfing
  23. Rock Climbing / Urban Free Running
  24. Car mechanics and repair
  25. Swimming
  26. Scuba diving
  27. High Board Diving

Your thoughts?

One Reply to “The Kama Sutra Hindu 64 Arts – Modern Day UK equivalents?”

  1. Interesting! All of the listed arts – or their equivalents – are so recognisable across cultures both ancient and modern and yet in our current society many of them aren’t seen as having any intrinsic value. The state education system places greater emphasis on some to the exclusion of others which is a great shame, especially as beyond childhood it seems that learning new skills and the desire to do so is considered a bit weird. Some of this I think is due to the expectation of a reward for learning things (a sticker, a grade, a job, a promotion…): why continue to learn when the only advantage you will gain is the knowledge itself?

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