The art of seduction | Seema Anand | TEDxEaling

Translator: Jessika Malo
Reviewer: Peter van de Ven If we begin with a 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 am going to revisit some of these old,
forgotten, lost stories, today. 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 otherwise. 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 one to destroy. But Brahma – 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
the 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 would 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 is 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 was not listening because he had taken one look
at his beautiful mind-born daughter, and decided he wanted her. And Shiva had had to sit there and watch the great father
lusting after his own daughter, chasing his daughter all over the cosmos
because he wanted to possess her. He realized what kind of sin
he had brought into the world. And so, to try to mitigate this sin,
Shiva castrated himself. He merged with his own wife,
and he went back to Brahma, and he said, “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. And so, he prised apart Shiva
from his wife, and he said, “From now on, men and women
will be born as separate entities, they will live as 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 said,
“Go and populate my world.” Unfortunately, nothing happened
because no one knew what to do. And so, Shiva once again,
came to the rescue. He said to the men and women, he said, “Go and tickle each other,
and the rest will follow.” (Laughter) 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 – a 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 kind of taken on
all manner of implications that don’t really belong to it, but I haven’t been able
to find the mot juste, you know, at least in English. So, I am going to use the word, but I am 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 arts 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. Ok, so this is a very large subject, and I am going to give you
about a half a drop worth, but in the Kamasutra it says that men and women need to learn 64 skills to become adept at the arts of seduction. Some things make sense, ok, 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 arts of seduction? Or a skill in quail fighting? (Laughter) Cock fighting? Ram fighting? I love this one the best: what does a skill in making
handicrafts out of thread have to do with the arts of seduction? It’s listed in the 64 arts. Ok, 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 stage. 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 arts of seduction was equated with complete mastery
of your entire life. Yeah, about optimizing and harnessing the power of the mind,
the body and the spirit. And, I’ll let you in to a quick secret:
according to ancient wisdom, this complete knowledge
of the arts 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, 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 all to herself forever. Do you know what was the tool
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 it worked. This brings me to the other story,
which I find is going out, literally, and that is that, you know, the skills of the arts of seduction
were not just meant as a skill for women. It was equally important for the men. And that is a story
that’s becoming completely obsolete. Because, every time I do this talk, and I say, “Well, for a woman
to be truly seductive, she had to be intelligent, amusing,
beautiful, fragrant, sexy, subtle, discreet, porcelain-skinned,
good at singing, good at dancing, good at playing musical instruments,
well-spoken, well-behaved, well-read, nails painted, toes polished,
lips reddened, legs waxed… And what did a man have to be? And every time, the answer is: rich.
He just has to be rich. If he’s rich, he doesn’t
have to do anything else. Not so. And then you hear those hideous websites, which tell a woman: be completely perfect. And if the man is doing
something you don’t like: don’t complain, smile and pretend. Or if he is boring you to tears: don’t complain, smile and pretend. No, no, no. If we say that the arts of seduction were about building up,
optimizing and harnessing the energy of the mind,
the body and the soul to generate the ultimate power, it was equally important
for a man to participate fully. Not just that the man
supposed to participate fully and know all about
the skills of seduction; he also had to be able
to understand the nuances, the expertise, the finesse
with which he was being seduced, in order to maximize his sexual energies. Yes? You know, there were lots of books written about the role of the men. There’s a prelude to one of these books – I absolutely love the story
and I am going to share it with you. So, there was a king sitting in his court,
surrounded by all his ministers, and this woman rushes into the court,
and she is stark naked, and there’s complete mayhem in the court. A woman. Naked.
In broad daylight. In the presence of the King. Ahhhh! So, people rush forward
to try and clothe her, and she stops them and she says: “No. I have decided
that I will no longer, ever, wear a stitch of clothing
till my wish is fulfilled.” So, the king – you know, it’s a matter of pride,
he can make things happen – he says, “Go ahead,
tell me what is it that you want.” And she says, “Well,
I am completely fed up because in all my life,
there’s never been a man who has taken the trouble
to try and satisfy me in bed. Not one. Not ever. And I have decided that till I’m satisfied completely,
I will not get dressed.” (Laughter) Now, the King, he’s given his word,
he looks at his ministers expectantly, the minsters look at the king expectantly, they have a little hurried discussion, and they discover to their complete dismay that there is not one man in that room
who could say with any conviction that he’s going to be able
to satisfy a woman completely. Now, ladies and gentlemen,
imagine the level of panic. What if this form of rebellion took? What if all their wives
took to the streets naked, demanding sexual satisfaction? Don’t worry, the story has a happy ending. The King put out a reward. A man came forward out of nowhere,
he took this woman by the hand, he took her away, and the next morning
she came back to the king’s court, completely dressed from head to foot. A picture of demureness. And she confirmed that she
had been completely satisfied. The king immediately commissioned
this man to write a book, putting down all his knowledge, so that it would be available
to every single person in his kingdom, and never would a woman
have to walk the streets naked again. (Laughter) I absolutely love this story,
but I have to say, I am in awe of the kind of width
of experience, the detail, the research that went into these books. Specifically, on the role of men. Do you know, there’s even an old book that talks about the shifting
of a woman’s erogenous zones according to the movement of the moon? The idea being that a woman’s sexuality is liquid, so it is affected
by the phases of the moon. And again, it is a huge subject, so I’m just going to give you
a couple of examples, you know, broad strokes. So, they said that on the 14th day of the waxing
and the waning moon, for instance, the most sensitive part of a woman
is her head and her hair, and the best way
to get her sexual energy up is to massage the scalp gently, and the 13th day, it’s the eyes,
so the eye-lids should be kissed – apparently the right eye
is more sensitive during the waxing moon, and the left eyelid
during the waning moon. On the 7th day – I am not going to give you all the details
because I don’t have that much time – but on the 7th day, it is the navel
that is the most sensitive, and ideally it should be tapped
with an open palm. On the 4th day, it is the knees,
his knees should press against her knees. The 5th day is the lazy man’s day, a man doesn’t have to do very much
on the 5th day. The woman is pretty much
self-sufficient on the fifth day – (Laughter) of both the waning and the waxing moon. And just for your
little bit of information, today is the 7th, no, today is
the 6th day of the phase of the moon, and apparently today
is the bottom, the buttocks, which should be gently tapped (Laughter) gently tapped with a fist. And then of course, it goes further
into the permutations and combinations. It is an incredible piece of work,
but as I said, there is so much information,
and it gets lost because of the word seduction
having been a victim of evolution. So, I don’t have very much more time,
so I am going to actually finish with a little tiny example
of my favorite part, one of my favorite parts
of the arts of seduction, and that is about
the perfuming of the body. Now, the perfuming of the body was supposed to be
a subtly shifting phenomena, so you add a certain dye
to get a base scent, and you apply different perfumes
to the rest of your – every part of the body. The hair, had to be perfumed with khuss. Khuss – for those of you
who are not of a South Asian background – is the smell of fresh rain
as it falls in scorching hot soil. It is the ultimate
aphrodisiac in the world. So, hair with khuss,
neck with jasmine, arms with mint. There is a reason
for every part of the body, ok. The belly button, with a very heavy musk,
to draw somebody in. The curve of the waist,
with a very subtle extract of roses, so you have to press your face into it. And the back – this is my favorite – the back had to be dotted,
not dropped over, dotted with little dabs of sandalwood, so you’ve created a trail,
for someone to follow. Because at the end of it, you have to be like a banquette
of tastes, of textures, of smells. Ladies and gentlemen, in closing, can I just suggest that this is a story
that you should try at home. (Laughter) (Applause)

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