The _KAMA SUTRA_ (Sanskrit : कामसूत्र pronunciation
(help ·info ), Kāmasūtra) is an ancient Indian
Vātsyāyana . 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 . 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_ 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.
Kama Sutra_, in parts of the world, is presumed or depicted as a
synonym for creative sexual positions; in reality, only 20% of Kama
Sutra is about sexual positions. The majority of the book, notes Jacob
Levy, is about the philosophy and theory of love, what triggers
desire, what sustains it, how and when it is good or bad.
Kama Sutra_ is the oldest and most notable of a group of texts
known generically as _
Kama Shastra _ (Sanskrit:
Historians attribute Kamasutra to be composed between 400 BCE and 200
John Keay says that the _
Kama Sutra_ is a compendium that was
collected into its present form in the 2nd century CE.
* 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_ did
not originally have illustrative images, part 2 of the work describes
different sex positions.
In the preface of _
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 _
has 1250 verses, distributed in 36 chapters, which are further
organised into seven parts. According to both the Burton and Doniger
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
A Sexual Encounter_ _ Poolside Lovemaking_
Some Indian philosophies follow the "four main goals of life",
known as the _purusharthas _:
Dharma : Virtuous living.
Artha : (Material) prosperity.
Kama : Desire
Moksha : Liberation.
Kama are aims of everyday life, while
release from the cycle of death and rebirth. The _
Kama Sutra_ (Burton
Dharma 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_ 1.2.14
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, but there are exceptions.
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
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
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 wrongly consider the _
Kama Sutra_ to be a
manual for _tantric sex ._ While sexual practices do exist within the
very wide tradition of
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.
The most widely known English translation of the _
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. 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__
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
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
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.
A noteworthy translation by
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 _
Alain Daniélou contributed a noteworthy translation called _The
Kama Sutra_ in 1994. This translation, originally into
French, and thence into English, featured the original text attributed
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 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 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 .
An English translation by
Wendy Doniger and
Sudhir Kakar , an Indian
psychoanalyst and senior fellow at Center for Study of World Religions
Harvard University , was published by
Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press in
2002. Doniger contributed the Sanskrit expertise while Kakar provided
a psychoanalytic interpretation of the text.
IN POPULAR CULTURE
Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love _
* _Tales of the
The Perfumed Garden _
* _Tales of the
Kama Sutra 2: Monsoon _
Kamasutra 3D _
* _Kamasutra Nights _
History of sex in India
Khajuraho Group of Monuments
Lazzat Un Nisa _
List of Indian inventions and discoveries
Song of Songs
* _The Jewel in The Lotus _
The Perfumed Garden _
* ^ Doniger, Wendy (2003). _Kamasutra – Oxford World's Classics_.
Oxford University Press
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 .
* ^ Common misconceptions about _
Kama Sutra_. "The _
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_ 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 (2010). _India: A History: from the Earliest
Civilisations to the Boom of the Twenty-first Century_. Grove Press.
* ^ book, see index pages by
Wendy Doniger , also translation by
* ^ 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,
* ^ Quotation from the translation by Richard Burton taken from .
Text accessed 3 April 2007.
* ^ Book I, Chapter ii, Lines 2-4 _
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_ 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
* ^ 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
Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press . ISBN 0-19-283982-9 .
* Flood, Gavin (1996). _An Introduction to Hinduism_. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press
Cambridge University Press . ISBN 0-521-43878-0 .
* Flood, Gavin, ed. (2003). _The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism_.
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
Atlantic Books . ISBN 978-1-84354-373-2 .
Indra (1999). _The Cybergypsies_. New York: Viking. ISBN
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