“Ancient Hindus believed that if a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing well ”
The Kama Sutra is an ancient Indian Sanskrit text on sexuality, eroticism and emotional fulfillment in life.
Attributed to Sage Vatsyayana, the Kama Sutra is neither exclusively nor predominantly a sex manual on sex positions.
It was written as a guide to the “Art-of-Living” well, the nature of love, finding a life partner, maintaining one’s love life, and other aspects pertaining to pleasure-oriented faculties of human life.
Kamasutra is the oldest surviving Hindu text on erotic love. It is a text with terse aphoristic verses that have survived into the modern era with different expositions and commentaries.
The text acknowledges the Hindu concept of Purusharthas, and lists legitimate worldly desires, sexuality, and emotional fulfillment as one of the proper goals of life.
Its chapters discuss methods for courtship, training in the arts to be socially engaging, finding a partner, flirting, maintaining power in a married life, when and how to commit adultery, sexual positions, and other topics.
The majority of the book is about the philosophy and theory of love, what triggers desire, what sustains it, and how and when it is good or bad.
Vatsyayana states that he wrote the text after prolonged meditation. In the preface, Vatsyayana acknowledges that he is distilling many ancient texts, though the texts he referred to have not survived.
He cites the work of others whom he calls teachers and scholars. The texts by Auddalaki, Babhravya, Dattaka, Suvarnanabha, Ghotakamukha, Gonardiya, Gonikaputra, Charayana, and Kuchumara.
Vatsyayana’s Kamasutra is mentioned and some verses too quoted in the ‘Brihatsamhita’ of Varahamihira.
Kama-related arts & sculptures are common in Hindu temples in India. These scenes include courtships, amorous couples in scenes of intimacy, sexual positions etc.
These sculptures are found in the 6th- to 14th-century temples in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh.
‘Kama’ is one of the four main goals of life ( Purushartha ) in Hinduism. Kama means fulfillment of good worldly desires and fulfillment of legitimate sensual pleasures. ‘Sutra’ literally means a thread that holds things together.
It is a common perception in the West that ‘Kamasutra’ is a sex manual. But Kamasutra acually is 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.
Kamasutra is one of the most notable Indian texts from a group of texts in this genre known as Kamashastra.
Traditionally, the first transmission of Kama Shastra is attributed to the sacred bull Nandi of Shiva.
Nandi was Shiva’s doorkeeper. He overheared the lovemaking of Lord Shiva and his wife Parvati, and later recorded his utterances for the benefit of mankind.
The Kamasutra: By Vatsyayana – Illustrated Kindle Edition : Click here to read
Some believe that the Kama Sutra is a compendium that was collected into its current form in the 2nd century CE. Sir Richard Burton was the first one who gave the world an English translation of the Kama Sutra
In the literature of all countries around the world there will be found certain number of works on art of love. Everywhere the subject is dealt with differently.
Kamasutra of Sage Vatsyayan originally written in Sanskrit language is globally recognized as the standard work on love, and is called the `Vatsyayana Kama Sutra’, or ‘Aphorisms on Love, by Vatsyayana’.
Besides the treatise of Vatsyayana the following ancient works on the same subject are procurable in India:
Vatsyayana gives the names of ten authors on the subject, all of whose works he had consulted, but none of which are existent today.
The author of the `Five Arrows’ was one Jyotirisha. He is called the chief ornament of poets, the treasure of the sixty-four arts, and the best teacher of the rules of music.
He says that he composed the work after reflecting on the ‘aphorisms of love’ as revealed by the gods, and after studying the opinions of Gonikaputra, Muladeva, Babhravya, Ramtideva, Nundikeshwara and Kshemandra.
Anyhow, none of the works of these experts appear to be in existence now. Jyotirish’s work contains nearly six hundred verses, and is divided into five chapters.
After a perusal of the Hindu work, and of the English books above mentioned, the reader will understand the subject from a materialistic, realistic and practical point of view.
If all science is founded more or less on a stratum of facts, there can be no harm in making known to mankind generally certain matters intimately connected with their private, domestic, and social life.
Complete ignorance of them has unfortunately wrecked many a man and many a woman, while a little knowledge of a subject generally ignored by the masses would have enabled numbers of people to have understood many things which they thought were not worthy of their mental space.
Kamasutra is one of the many Indian texts on Kama Shastra. It is a widely translated work in Indian and non-Indian languages.
The Kamasutra has influenced the Indian arts as exemplified by the pervasive presence of Kama-related sculptures in ancient & medieval Hindu temples. Of these, the Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh is a UNESCO world heritage site.
Among the surviving temples in north India, one in Rajasthan sculpts all the major chapters and sexual positions to illustrate the Kamasutra.
Kamasutra became one of the most pirated books in English language soon after it was translated into English & published in 1883 by Sir Richard Burton.
The defining object of the Indian Kamasastra literature, is the harmonious sensory experience from a good relationship between the self and the world.
Sage Vatsyayana predominantly discusses Kama along with its relationship with Dharma and Artha of the four good goals of human life ( Purusharthas).
Vatsyayana makes a passing mention of the fourth aim of life Moksha ( liberation / Salvation ) in some of the verses in his Kamasutra.