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The Kama Sutra
Kama Sutra
(/ˈkɑːmə ˈsuːtrə/; Sanskrit: कामसूत्र,  pronunciation (help·info), Kāmasūtra) is an ancient Indian Hindu[1][2] text written by Vātsyāyana.[3] It is widely considered to be the standard work on human sexual behaviour in Sanskrit literature. A portion of the work consists of practical advice on sexual intercourse.[4] It is largely in prose, with many inserted anustubh poetry verses. "Kāma" which is one of the four goals of Hindu
life, means desire including sexual desire, the latter being the subject of the textbook, and "sūtra" literally means a thread or line that holds things together, and more metaphorically refers to an aphorism (or line, rule, formula), or a collection of such aphorisms in the form of a manual. Contrary to western popular perception, the Kama Sutra
Kama Sutra
is not exclusively a sex manual; it presents itself as a guide to a virtuous and gracious living that discusses the nature of love, family life, and other aspects pertaining to pleasure-oriented faculties of human life.[5][6] The Kama
Sutra, in parts of the world, is presumed or depicted as a synonym for creative sexual positions; in reality, only 20% of the Kama Sutra
Kama Sutra
is about sexual positions. The majority of the book, notes Jacob Levy,[7][who?] is about the philosophy and theory of love, what triggers desire, what sustains it, and how and when it is good or bad.[8] The Kama Sutra
Kama Sutra
is the oldest and most notable of a group of texts known generically as Kama Shastra (Sanskrit: Kāma
Śāstra).[9] Historians believe the Kama Sutra
Kama Sutra
to have been composed between 400 BCE and 200 CE.[10] John Keay
John Keay
says that the Kama Sutra
Kama Sutra
is a compendium that was collected into its present form in the 2nd century CE.[11]


1 Content 2 Pleasure and spirituality 3 Translations 4 In popular culture 5 See also 6 References 7 Bibliography 8 External links


Artistic depiction of a sex position. Although Kama Sutra
Kama Sutra
did not originally have illustrative images, part 2 of the work describes different sex positions.

In the preface of the Kama
Sutra, Vatsyayana cites the work of previous authors based on which he compiled his own Kama
Sutra. He states that the seven parts of his work were an abridgment of longer works by Dattaka (first part), Suvarnanabha (second part), Ghotakamukha (third part), Gonardiya (fourth part), Gonikaputra (fifth part), Charayana (sixth part), and Kuchumara (seventh part). Vatsyayana's Kama Sutra
Kama Sutra
has 1250 verses, distributed over 36 chapters, which are further organised into seven parts.[12] According to both the Burton and Doniger[13] translations, the contents of the book are structured into the following seven parts:

1. General remarks Five chapters on contents of the book, three aims and priorities of life, the acquisition of knowledge, conduct of the well-bred townsman, reflections on intermediaries who assist the lover in his enterprises. 2. Amorous advances/sexual union Ten chapters on stimulation of desire, types of embraces, caressing and kisses, marking with nails, biting and marking with teeth, on copulation (positions), slapping by hand and corresponding moaning, virile behaviour in women, superior coition and oral sex, preludes and conclusions to the game of love. It describes 64 types of sexual acts. 3. Acquiring a wife Five chapters on forms of marriage, relaxing the girl, obtaining the girl, managing alone, union by marriage. 4. Duties and privileges of the wife Two chapters on conduct of the only wife and conduct of the chief wife and other wives. 5. Other men's wives Six chapters on behaviour of woman and man, how to get acquainted, examination of sentiments, the task of go-between, the king's pleasures, behaviour in the women's quarters. 6. About courtesans Six chapters on advice of the assistants on the choice of lovers, looking for a steady lover, ways of making money, renewing friendship with a former lover, occasional profits, profits and losses. 7. Occult practices Two chapters on improving physical attractions, arousing a weakened sexual power.

Pleasure and spirituality

A sexual pose from Mukteswar Temple in Bhubaneswar, Odisha

A Sexual Encounter

Poolside Lovemaking

Some Indian philosophies follow the "four main goals of life",[14][15] known as the purusharthas, in order of importance:[16]

Kama: Desire Artha: (Material) prosperity Dharma: Virtuous living Moksha: Liberation.

Dharma, Artha
and Kama
are aims of everyday life, while Moksha
is release from the cycle of death and rebirth. The Kama Sutra
Kama Sutra
(Burton translation) says:

is better than Artha, and Artha
is better than Kama. But Artha should always be first practised by the king for the livelihood of men is to be obtained from it only. Again, Kama
being the occupation of public women, they should prefer it to the other two, and these are exceptions to the general rule.

Kama Sutra
Kama Sutra

Of the first three, virtue is the highest goal, a secure life the second, and pleasure the least important. When motives conflict, the higher ideal is to be followed. Thus, in making money, virtue must not be compromised, but earning a living should take precedence over pleasure; however, there are exceptions. In childhood, Vātsyāyana says, a person should learn how to make a living; youth is the time for pleasure, and as years pass, one should concentrate on living virtuously and hope to escape the cycle of rebirth.[18] The Kama Sutra
Kama Sutra
acknowledges that the senses can be dangerous: 'Just as a horse in full gallop, blinded by the energy of his own speed, pays no attention to any post or hole or ditch on the path, so two lovers, blinded by passion, in the friction of sexual battle, are caught up in their fierce energy and pay no attention to danger' (2.7.33). Also, the Buddha preached a Kama
Sutra, which is located in the Atthakavagga
(sutra number 1). This Kama
Sutra, however, is of a very different nature, as it warns against the dangers that come with the search for pleasures of the senses. Many in the Western world
Western world
wrongly consider the Kama Sutra
Kama Sutra
to be a manual for tantric sex.[citation needed] While sexual practices do exist within the very wide tradition of Hindu
Tantra, the Kama
Sutra is not a Tantric text, and does not touch upon any of the sexual rites associated with some forms of Tantric practice. Translations

The most widely known English translation of the Kama Sutra
Kama Sutra
was privately printed in 1883. It is usually attributed to renowned orientalist and author Sir Richard Francis Burton, but the chief work was done by the Indian archaeologist Bhagwan Lal Indraji, under the guidance of Burton's friend, the Indian civil servant Forster Fitzgerald Arbuthnot, and with the assistance of a student, Shivaram Parshuram Bhide.[19] Burton acted as publisher, while also furnishing the edition with footnotes whose tone ranges from the jocular to the scholarly. Burton says the following in its introduction:

It may be interesting to some persons to learn how it came about that Vatsyayana was first brought to light and translated into the English language. It happened thus. While translating with the pundits the 'Anunga Runga, or the stage of love', reference was frequently found to be made to one Vatsya. The sage Vatsya was of this opinion, or of that opinion. The sage Vatsya said this, and so on. Naturally questions were asked who the sage was, and the pundits replied that Vatsya was the author of the standard work on love in Sanscrit[sic] literature, that no Sanscrit library was complete without his work, and that it was most difficult now to obtain in its entire state. The copy of the manuscript obtained in Bombay was defective, and so the pundits wrote to Benares, Calcutta and Jaipur
for copies of the manuscript from Sanscrit libraries in those places. Copies having been obtained, they were then compared with each other, and with the aid of a Commentary called 'Jayamanglia' a revised copy of the entire manuscript was prepared, and from this copy the English translation was made. The following is the certificate of the chief pundit:

"The accompanying manuscript is corrected by me after comparing four different copies of the work. I had the assistance of a Commentary called 'Jayamangla' for correcting the portion in the first five parts, but found great difficulty in correcting the remaining portion, because, with the exception of one copy thereof which was tolerably correct, all the other copies I had were far too incorrect. However, I took that portion as correct in which the majority of the copies agreed with each other."

In the introduction to her own translation, Wendy Doniger, professor of the history of religions at the University of Chicago, writes that Burton "managed to get a rough approximation of the text published in English in 1883, nasty bits and all". The philologist and Sanskritist Professor Chlodwig Werba, of the Institute of Indology at the University of Vienna, regards the 1883 translation as being second only in accuracy to the academic German-Latin text published by Richard Schmidt in 1897.[20] A noteworthy translation by Indra Sinha
Indra Sinha
was published in 1980. In the early 1990s, its chapter on sexual positions began circulating on the internet as an independent text and today is often assumed to be the whole of the Kama
Sutra.[21] Alain Daniélou
Alain Daniélou
contributed a noteworthy translation called The Complete Kama Sutra
Kama Sutra
in 1994.[22] This translation, originally into French, and thence into English, featured the original text attributed to Vatsyayana, along with a medieval and a modern commentary. Unlike the 1883 version, Daniélou's new translation preserves the numbered verse divisions of the original, and does not incorporate notes in the text. He includes English translations of two important commentaries:

The Jayamangala commentary, written in Sanskrit by Yashodhara during the Middle Ages, as page footnotes. A modern commentary in Hindi
by Devadatta Shastri, as endnotes.

Daniélou[23] translated all Sanskrit words into English (but uses the word "brahmin"). He leaves references to the sexual organs as in the original: persistent usage of the words "lingam" and "yoni" to refer to them in older translations of the Kama Sutra
Kama Sutra
is not the usage in the original Sanskrit; he argues that "to a modern Hindu, 'lingam' and 'yoni' mean specifically the sexual organs of the god Shiva
and his wife, and using those words to refer to humans' sexual organs would seem irreligious." The view that lingam means only "sexual organs" is disputed by academics such as S. N. Balagangadhara.[24] An English translation by Wendy Doniger
Wendy Doniger
and Sudhir Kakar, an Indian psychoanalyst and senior fellow at the Center for Study of World Religions at Harvard University, was published by Oxford University Press in 2002. Doniger contributed the Sanskrit expertise while Kakar provided a psychoanalytic interpretation of the text.[25] In popular culture

Sutra: A Tale of Love Tales of the Kama
Sutra: The Perfumed Garden Tales of the Kama Sutra
Kama Sutra
2: Monsoon Kamasutra 3D

See also

History of sex in India Kamashastra Khajuraho Group of Monuments Philaenis Lazzat Un Nisa List of Indian inventions and discoveries Song of Songs The Jewel in The Lotus The Perfumed Garden Mlecchita vikalpa


^ Doniger, Wendy (2003). Kamasutra – Oxford World's Classics. Oxford University Press. p. i. ISBN 978-0-19-283982-4. The Kamasutra is the oldest extant Hindu
textbook of erotic love. It was composed in Sanskrit, the literary language of ancient India, probably in North India and probably sometime in the third century  ^ Coltrane, Scott (1998). Gender and families. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-8039-9036-4.  ^ A.N.D Haksar, Malika Favre. Kama
Sutra: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition). Penguin Publishing Group. ISBN 9781101651070.  ^ Common misconceptions about Kama
Sutra. "The Kama Sutra
Kama Sutra
is neither exclusively a sex manual nor, as also commonly used art, a sacred or religious work. It is certainly not a tantric text. In opening with a discussion of the three aims of ancient Hindu
life – dharma, artha and kama – Vatsyayana's purpose is to set kama, or enjoyment of the senses, in context. Thus dharma or virtuous living is the highest aim, artha, the amassing of wealth is next, and kama is the least of three." — Indra
Sinha. ^ Carroll, Janell (2009). Sexuality Now: Embracing Diversity. Cengage Learning. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-495-60274-3.  ^ Devi, Chandi (2008). From Om to Orgasm: The Tantra
Primer for Living in Bliss. AuthorHouse. p. 288. ISBN 978-1-4343-4960-6.  ^ Jacob Levy (2010), Kama
sense marketing, iUniverse, ISBN 978-1440195563, see Introduction ^ Alain Daniélou, The Complete Kama
Sutra: The First Unabridged Modern Translation of the Classic Indian Text, ISBN 978-0892815258. ^ For Kama Sutra
Kama Sutra
as the most notable of the kāma śhāstra literature see: Flood (1996), p. 65. ^ Sengupta, J. (2006). Refractions of Desire, Feminist Perspectives in the Novels of Toni Morrison, Michèle Roberts, and Anita Desai. Atlantic Publishers & Distributors. p. 21. ISBN 9788126906291. Retrieved 7 December 2014.  ^ John Keay
John Keay
(2010). India: A History: from the Earliest Civilisations to the Boom of the Twenty-first Century. Grove Press. pp. 81–103.  ^ book, see index pages by Wendy Doniger, also translation[permanent dead link] by Burton ^ Date checked: 29 March 2007 Burton and Doniger ^ For the Dharma
Śāstras as discussing the "four main goals of life" (dharma, artha, kāma, and moksha) see: Hopkins, p. 78. ^ For dharma, artha, and kama as "brahmanic householder values" see: Flood (1996), p. 17. ^ For definition of the term पुरुष-अर्थ (puruṣa-artha) as "any of the four principal objects of human life, i.e. धर्म (dharma), अर्थ (artha), काम (kāma), and मोक्ष (mokṣa)" see: Apte, p. 626, middle column, compound #1. ^ Quotation from the translation by Richard Burton taken from [1]. Text accessed 3 April 2007. ^ Book I, Chapter ii, Lines 2-4 Vatsyayana Kamasutram Electronic Sanskrit edition: Titus Texts, University of Frankfurt bālye vidyāgrahaṇādīn arthān, kāmaṃ ca yauvane, sthāvire dharmaṃ mokṣaṃ ca ^ McConnachie (2007), pp. 123–125. ^ McConnachie (2007), p. 233. ^ Sinha, p. 33. ^ The Complete Kama Sutra
Kama Sutra
Archived 6 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine. by Alain Daniélou. ^ Stated in the translation's preface ^ Balagangadhara, S. N. (2007). Antonio De Nicholas, Krishnan Ramaswamy, Aditi Banerjee, eds. Invading the Sacred. Rupa & Co. pp. 431–433. ISBN 978-81-291-1182-1. CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link) ^ McConnachie (2007), p. 232.


Apte, Vaman Shivram (1965). The Practical Sanskrit Dictionary (fourth revised & enlarged ed.). Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. ISBN 81-208-0567-4.  Avari, Burjor (2007). India: The Ancient Past. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-35616-9.  Daniélou, Alain (1993). The Complete Kama
Sutra: The First Unabridged Modern Translation of the Classic Indian Text. Inner Traditions. ISBN 0-89281-525-6.  Doniger, Wendy; Sudhir Kakar (2002). Kamasutra. Oxford World's Classics. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-283982-9.  Flood, Gavin (1996). An Introduction to Hinduism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-43878-0.  Flood, Gavin, ed. (2003). The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-4051-3251-5.  Hopkins, Thomas J. (1971). The Hindu
Religious Tradition. Cambridge: Dickenson Publishing Company, Inc.  Keay, John (2000). India: A History. New York: Grove Press. ISBN 0-8021-3797-0.  McConnachie, James (2007). The Book of Love: In Search of the Kamasutra. London: Atlantic Books. ISBN 978-1-84354-373-2.  Sinha, Indra
(1999). The Cybergypsies. New York: Viking. ISBN 0-600-34158-5. 

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Original and translations

Sir Richard Burton's English translation on Indohistory.com The Kama Sutra
Kama Sutra
public domain audiobook at LibriVox The Kama Sutra
Kama Sutra
in the original Sanskrit provided by the TITUS project

Kama Sutra
Kama Sutra
at Project Gutenberg

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WorldCat Identities VIAF: 316308498 LCCN: no2002060157 GND: 4259983-0 SUDOC: 074462466 BNF: