Kama Sutra

Ancient Hindu text on erotic love

The Kama Sutra ( ; Sanskrit : कामसूत्र, ( help · information ), Kāma-sūtra ; lighted. ‘Principles of Lust ‘ ) is an ancient indian Hindu [ 1 ] [ 2 ] Sanskrit text on sex, amorousness and aroused fulfillment in life. [ 4 ] [ 5 ] Attributed to Vātsyāyana, The most ancient book on Kamasutra was composed in Abhira Kingdom. [ 7 ] The Kama Sutra is neither entirely nor predominantly a arouse manual on sex positions but written as a steer to the art of populate well, the nature of love, finding a liveliness spouse, maintaining one ‘s love life, and other aspects pertaining to pleasure-oriented faculties of human life. [ 8 ] [ 9 ] It is a sutra -genre text with crisp axiomatic verses that have survived into the modern era with different bhāṣya second ( exposition and commentaries ). The text is a mix of prose and anustubh -meter poetry verses. The text acknowledges the Hindu concept of Purusharthas, and lists desire, sex, and emotional fulfillment as one of the proper goals of life. Its chapters discuss methods for courtship, train in the arts to be socially prosecute, finding a partner, chat up, maintaining world power in a married life, when and how to commit adultery, sexual positions, and other topics. The majority of the script is about the philosophy and theory of love, what triggers desire, what sustains it, and how and when it is good or bad. [ 11 ] [ 12 ]

Reading: Kama Sutra

The textbook is one of many indian text on Kama Shastra. [ 13 ] It is a much-translated work in indian and non-Indian languages. The Kamasutra has influenced many secondary coil texts that followed after the 4th-century CE, adenine well as the indian arts as exemplified by the permeant presence Kama-related easing and sculpt in old Hindu temples. Of these, the Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh is a UNESCO earth inheritance web site. [ 14 ] Among the surviving temples in north India, one in Rajasthan sculpts all the major chapters and intimate positions to illustrate the Kamasutra. [ 15 ] According to Wendy Doniger, the Kamasutra became “ one of the most pirate books in english language ” soon after it was published in 1883 by Richard Burton. This first european edition by Burton does not faithfully reflect much in the Kamasutra because he revised the collaborative translation by Bhagavanlal Indrajit and Shivaram Parashuram Bhide with Forster Arbuthnot to suit 19th-century victorian tastes. [ 16 ]

Kamasutra manuscript page preserved in the vaults of the Raghunatha Hindu temple in Jammu & Kashmir. manuscript foliate preserved in the vaults of the Raghunatha Hindu temple in Jammu & Kashmir. The original composition date or century for the Kamasutra is nameless. Historians have variously placed it between 400 BCE and 300 CE. [ 17 ] According to John Keay, the Kama Sutra is a collection that was collected into its deliver shape in the second hundred CE. [ 18 ] In contrast, the Indologist Wendy Doniger, who has co-translated the Kama Sutra and published many papers on associate Hindu textbook, the surviving translation of the Kama Sutra must have been revised or composed after 225 CE because it mentions the Abhiras and the Andhras dynasties that did not corule major regions of ancient India before that year. The text makes no mention of the Gupta Empire which ruled over major urban areas of ancient India, reshaping ancient indian arts, Hindu acculturation and economy from the 4th-century through the 6th-century. For these reasons, she dates the Kama Sutra to the second base half of the third hundred CE. The place of its composition is besides ill-defined. The probable candidates are urban centers of north or northwest ancient India, alternatively in the easterly urban Pataliputra ( now Patna ). Vatsyayana Mallanaga is its widely accepted writer because his name is embedded in the colophon poetry, but small is known about him. Vatsyayana states that he wrote the textbook after a lot meditation. In the foreword, Vatsyayana acknowledges that he is distilling many ancient textbook, but these have not survived. He cites the cultivate of others he calls “ teachers ” and “ scholars ”, and the longer textbook by Auddalaki, Babhravya, Dattaka, Suvarnanabha, Ghotakamukha, Gonardiya, Gonikaputra, Charayana, and Kuchumara. Vatsyayana ‘s Kamasutra is mentioned and some verses quoted in the Brihatsamhita of Varahamihira, american samoa good as the poem of Kalidasa. This suggests he lived before the 5th-century CE. [ 23 ]


Kama-related arts are coarse in Hindu temples. These scenes include courtship, amatory couples in scenes of familiarity ( mithuna ), or a sexual position. Above : 6th- to 14th-century temples in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Nepal. The Hindu tradition has the concept of the Purusharthas which outlines “ four main goals of life ”. [ 24 ] [ 25 ] It holds that every homo being has four proper goals that are necessary and sufficient for a meet and glad liveliness : [ 26 ]

  • Dharma – signifies behaviors that are considered to be in accord with rta, the order that makes life and universe possible,[27] and includes duties, rights, laws, conduct, virtues and right way of living.[28] Hindu dharma includes the religious duties, moral rights and duties of each individual, as well as behaviors that enable social order, right conduct, and those that are virtuous.[28] Dharma, according to Van Buitenen,[29] is that which all existing beings must accept and respect to sustain harmony and order in the world. It is, states Van Buitenen, the pursuit and execution of one’s nature and true calling, thus playing one’s role in cosmic concert.[29]
  • Artha – signifies the “means of life”, activities and resources that enables one to be in a state one wants to be in.[30] Artha incorporates wealth, career, activity to make a living, financial security and economic prosperity. The proper pursuit of artha is considered an important aim of human life in Hinduism.[31][32]
  • Kama – signifies desire, wish, passion, emotions, pleasure of the senses, the aesthetic enjoyment of life, affection, or love, with or without sexual connotations.[33] Gavin Flood explains[34] kāma as “love” without violating dharma (moral responsibility), artha (material prosperity) and one’s journey towards moksha (spiritual liberation).
  • Moksha – signifies emancipation, liberation or release.[35] In some schools of Hinduism, moksha connotes freedom from saṃsāra, the cycle of death and rebirth, in other schools moksha connotes freedom, self-knowledge, self-realization and liberation in this life.[36][37]

Each of these pursuits became a subject of study and led to prolific Sanskrit and some Prakrit languages literature in ancient India. Along with Dharmasastras, Arthasastras and Mokshasastras, the Kamasastras writing style have been preserved in palm leaf manuscripts. The Kamasutra belongs to the Kamasastra genre of text. other examples of Hindu Sanskrit text on sex and emotions include the Ratirahasya ( called Kokashastra in some indian scripts ), the Anangaranga, the Nagarasarvasva, the Kandarpachudmani, and the Panchasayaka. [ 39 ] [ 40 ] The defining object of the indian Kamasastra literature, according to Laura Desmond – an anthropologist and a professor of religious Studies, is the “ harmonious sensory know ” from a good relationship between “ the self and the world ”, by discovering and enhancing sensational capabilities to “ affect and be affected by the earth ”. [ 40 ] Vatsyayana predominantly discusses Kama along with its kinship with Dharma and Artha. He makes a pass note of the fourthly aim of life in some verses .

Vedic inheritance

The earliest foundations of the kamasutra are found in the Vedic earned run average literature of Hinduism. [ 43 ] Vatsyayana acknowledges this inheritance in verse 1.1.9 of the text where he names Svetaketu Uddalaka as the “ foremost human writer of the kamasutra “. Uddalaka is an early Upanishadic rishi ( scholar-poet, sage ), whose ideas are found in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad such as in section 6.2, and the Chandogya Upanishad such as over the verses 5.3 through 5.10. These Hindu scriptures are variously dated between 900 BCE and 700 BCE, according to the Indologist and Sanskrit scholar Patrick Olivelle. Among with other ideas such as Atman ( self, person ) and the ontological concept of Brahman, these early Upanishads discourse human life, activities and the nature of universe as a form of internalize worship, where sex and sexual activity is mapped into a human body of religious yajna ritual ( sacrificial fire, Agni ) and suffused in spiritual terms :

A fire – that is what a charwoman is, Gautama.
Her firewood is the vulva,
her fume is the pubic hair,
her fire is the vagina,
when one penetrates her, that is her embers,
and her sparks are the culminate.
In that very fire the gods offer semen,
and from that offering springs a serviceman .
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 6.2.13, ~700 BCE, Transl : Patrick Olivelle [ 44 ] [ 45 ]

According to the Indologist De, a view with which Doniger agrees, this is one of the many evidences that the kamasutra began in the religious literature of the Vedic era, ideas that were ultimately refined and distilled into a sutra -genre textbook by Vatsyayana. [ 43 ] According to Doniger, this paradigm of celebrating pleasures, enjoyment and sex as a dharmic act began in the “ crude, vibrant text known as the Rigveda “ of the Hindus. The Kamasutra and celebration of sexual activity, eroticism and pleasure is an integral function of the religious milieu in Hinduism and quite prevailing in its temples. [ 47 ]


Human relationships, arouse and emotional fulfillment are a meaning contribution of the post-Vedic Sanskrit literature such as the major Hindu epics : the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. The ancient indian watch has been, states Johann Meyer, that sexual love and arouse are a delightful necessity. Though she is reserved and selective, “ a woman stands in very bang-up want of surata ( amatory or sexual pleasure ) ”, and “ the charwoman has a far stronger erotic inclination, her delight in the intimate act is greater than a serviceman ‘s ”. [ 49 ]


The Kamasutra manuscripts have survived in many versions across the indian subcontinent. While attempting to get a translation of the Sanskrit kama-sastra textbook Anangaranga that had already been widely translated by the Hindus in regional languages such as Marathi, associates of the british Orientalist Richard Burton stumbled into portions of the Kamasutra manuscript. They commissioned the Sanskrit scholar Bhagvanlal Indraji to locate a complete Kamasutra manuscript and translate it. Indraji collected version manuscripts in libraries and temples of Varanasi, Kolkata and Jaipur. Burton published an edit english translation of these manuscripts, but not a critical version of the Kamasutra in Sanskrit. According to S.C. Upadhyaya, known for his 1961 scholarly sketch and a more accurate translation of the Kamasutra, there are issues with the manuscripts that have survived and the text likely undergo revisions over time. [ 51 ] This is confirmed by other 1st-millennium CE Hindu text on kama that citation and cite the Kamasutra, but some of these quotations credited to the Kamasutra by these historic authors “ are not to be found in the text of the Kamasutra ” that have survived. [ 51 ]


Vatsyayana ‘s Kama Sutra states it has 1,250 verses distributed over 36 chapters in 64 sections organised into 7 books. This statement is included in the open chapter of the text, a coarse practice in ancient Hindu text probably included to prevent major and unauthorized expansions of a popular textbook. The text that has survived into the mod earned run average has 67 sections, and this number is enumerated in Book 7 and in Yashodhara ‘s Sanskrit comment ( bhasya ) on the textbook. The Kamasutra uses a assortment of prose and poetry, and the narration has the form of a dramatic fabrication where two characters are called the nayaka ( man ) and nayika ( woman ), aided by the characters called pitamarda ( libertine ), vita ( pimp ) and vidushaka ( jester ). This format follows the teachings found in the Sanskrit classic named the Natyasastra. The teachings and discussions found in the Kamasutra extensively incorporate ancient Hindu mythology and legends. [ 56 ]



General remarks



Preface, history of kama literature, outline of the contents



Suitable age for kama knowledge, the three goals of life: dharma, Artha, Kama; their essential interrelationship, natural human questions



Preparations for kama, sixty four arts for a better quality of life, how girls can learn and train in these arts, their lifelong benefits and contribution to better kama



The life of an urban gentleman, work routine, entertainment and festivals, sports, picnics, socialization, games, entertainment and drinking parties, finding aids (messengers, friends, helpers) to improve success in kama, options for rural gentlemen, what one must never do in their pursuit of kama



Types of women, finding sexual partners, sex, being lovers, being faithful, permissible women, adultery and when to commit it, the forbidden women whom one must avoid, discretion with messengers and helpers, few dos and don’t in life

Amorous advances/sexual union



Sexual relationships and the pleasure of sex, uniqueness of every lover, temperaments, sizes, endurance, foreplay, types of love and lovers, duration of sex, types of climax, intimacy, joy



Figuring out if someone is interested, conversations, prelude and preparation, touching each other, massage, embracing


1–32, 1–31, 1–43

Kissing, where to kiss and how, teasing each other and games, signals and hints for the other person, cleanliness, taking care of teeth, hair, body, nails, physical non-sexual forms of intimacy (scratching, poking, biting, slapping, holding her)



Intercourse, what it is and how, positions, various methods, bringing variety, usual and unusual sex, communicating before and during intercourse (moaning), diverse regional practices and customs, the needs of a man, the needs of a woman, variations and surprises, oral sex for women, oral sex for men, opinions, disagreements, experimenting with each other, the first time, why sexual excitement fades, reviving passion, quarreling, keeping sex exciting, sixty four methods to find happiness in a committed relationship

Acquiring a wife



Marriage, finding the right girl, which one to avoid, which one to persuade, how to decide, how to proceed, making alliances


1–35, 1–32

Earning her trust, importance of not rushing things and being gentle, moving towards sexual openness gradually, how to approach a woman, proceeding to friendship, from friendship to intimacy, interpreting different responses of a girl


1–55, 1–30

Earning his trust, knowing the man and his advances, how a woman can make advances, winning the heart; utilizing confidants of your lover, types of marriage, formalizing marriage, eloping

Duties and privileges of the wife


1–48, 1–30

Being a wife, her life, conduct, power over the household, duties when her husband is away, nuclear and joint families, when to take charge and when not to



Remarriage, being unlucky, harems,[note 1] polygamy

Other men’s wives



Human nature, tendencies of men, tendencies of women, why women lose interest and start looking elsewhere, avoiding adultery, pursuing adultery, finding women interested in extramarital sex


1–28, 1–28, 1–66, 1–37

Finding many lovers, deploying messengers, the need for them and how to find good go-betweens, getting acquainted, how to make a pass, gifts and love tokens, arranging meetings, how to discretely find out if a woman is available and interested, warnings and knowing when to stop



Public women [prostitution], their life, what to expect and not, how to find them, regional practices, guarding and respecting them

About courtesans



Courtesans, what motivates them, how to find clients, deciding if someone should just be a friend or a lover, which lovers to avoid, getting a lover and keeping him interested



How to please your lover



Making a lover go crazy about you, how to get rid of him if love life is not fulfilling


1–43, 1–39

Methods to make an ex-lover interested in you again, reuniting, methods, checking if it is worth the effort, types of lovers, things to consider



Why love life gets dull, examples, familiarity and doubts

Occult practices


1–51, 1–51

Looking good, feeling good, why and how to be attractive, bewitching, being virile, paying attention, genuineness and artificiality, body art and perforations, taking care of one’s sexual organs, stimulants, prescriptions and unusual practices


On balance in life
In any period of life in which
one of the elements of the trivarga
– dharma, artha, kama –
is the elementary one, the other two
should be lifelike adjuncts of it.
Under no circumstances, should any one of the
trivarga be damaging to the other two .

Kamasutra 1.2.1,
translator : Ludo Rocher [ 61 ]
Across human cultures, states Michel Foucault, “ the truth of sex ” has been produced and shared by two processes. One method acting has been ars erotica text, while the other has been the scientia sexualis literature. The foremost are typically of the hidden kind and shared by one person to another, between friends or from a master to a scholar, focusing on the emotions and experience, sans physiology. These bury many of the truths about sexual activity and human sexual nature. [ 62 ] The second are empirical studies of the type found in biology, physiology and checkup text, focusing on the physiology and objective observations, sans emotions. [ 62 ] The Kamasutra belongs to both camps, states Wendy Doniger. It discusses, in its condense form, the physiology, the emotions and the feel while citing and quoting prior Sanskrit eruditeness on the nature of kama. The Kamasutra is a “ sutra “ -genre textbook consist of intensely condensed, aphoristic verses. Doniger describes them as a “ kind of atomic string ( weave ) of meanings ”, which are so cryptic that any translation is more like deciphering and filling in the text. Condensing a text into a sutra-genre religious textbook class makes it easier to remember and transmit, but it besides introduces ambiguity and the necessitate to understand the context of each chapter, its philological roots, equally well as the prior literature, states Doniger. however, this method of cognition preservation and infection has its foundation in the Vedas, which themselves are cryptic and require a commentator and teacher-guide to comprehend the details and the inter-relationship of the ideas. The Kamasutra besides has attracted commentaries, of which the most well known are those of 12th-century or 13th-century [ 65 ] Yaśodhara ‘s Jayamaṅgalā in the Sanskrit speech, and of Devadatta Shastri who commented on the original text deoxyadenosine monophosphate well as its commentaries in the Hindi language. [ 66 ] There are many early Sanskrit commentaries on the Kamasutra, such as the Sutra Vritti by Narsingha Sastri. These commentaries on the Kamasutra quote and quote text from other Hindu texts such as the Upanishads, the Arthashastra, the Natyashastra, the Manusmriti, the Nyayasutra, the Markandeya Purana, the Mahabharata, the Nitishastra and others to provide the context, per the norms of its literary traditions. The extant translations of the Kamasutra typically incorporate these commentaries, states Daniélou. In the colonial era marked by sexual censoring, the Kamasutra became celebrated as a pirate and underground text for its denotative description of sexual activity positions. The stereotyped double of the text is one where erotic pastime with intimate sexual intercourse include improbable contortionist forms. [ 69 ] In world, according to Doniger, the real Kamasutra is much more and is a book about “ the art of surviving ”, about understanding one ‘s body and a partner ‘s body, finding a collaborator and emotional connection, marriage, the office equality over clock time in confidant relationships, the nature of adultery and drugs ( aphrodisiacs [ 70 ] ) along with many bare to complex variations in sex positions to explore. It is besides a psychological treatise that presents the effect of desire and pleasure on human demeanor. [ 69 ] For each aspect of Kama, the Kamasutra presents a divers spectrum of options and regional practices. According to Shastri, as quoted by Doniger, the text analyses “ the inclinations of men, good and bad ”, thereafter it presents Vatsyayana ‘s recommendation and arguments of what one must avoid arsenic well as what to not miss in experiencing and enjoying, with “ acting only on the good ”. For example, the text discusses adultery but recommends a faithful bridal kinship. [ 72 ] The border on of Kamasutra is not to ignore nor deny the psychology and complexity of human demeanor for pleasure and sex. The text, according to Doniger, intelligibly states “ that a treatise demands the inclusion body of everything, good or bad ”, but after being informed with in-depth cognition, one must “ reflect and accept alone the dependable ”. The approach found in the text is one where goals of skill and religion should not be to repress, but to encyclopedically know and understand, thereafter let the individual make the option. The text states that it aims to be comprehensive and inclusive of divers views and lifestyles .

Flirting and courtship

The 3rd-century text includes a numeral of themes, including subjects such as flirting that resonate in the modern earned run average context, states a New York Times reappraisal. [ 74 ] For example, it suggests that a young man seeking to attract a woman, should hold a party, and invite the guests to recite poetry. In the party, a poem should be read with parts missing, and the guests should compete to creatively complete the poem. [ 74 ] As another exercise, the Kamasutra suggests that the son and the girl should go play together, such as float in a river. The son should dive into the water away from the female child he is matter to in, then swim submerged to get close to her, come forth from the water system and surprise her, touch her slenderly and then dive again, away from her. [ 74 ] Book 3 of the Kamasutra is largely dedicated to the art of courtship with the purpose of marriage. The script ‘s open poetry declares marriage to be a conducive means to “ a pure and natural love between the partners ”, states Upadhyaya. [ 75 ] It leads to emotional fulfillment in many forms such as more friends for both, relatives, offspring, amatory and sexual relationship between the match, and the conjugal pursuit of dharma ( spiritual and ethical life ) and artha ( economic life ). [ 75 ] The first three chapters discuss how a man should go about finding the right bride, while the fourth offers equivalent discussion for a woman and how she can get the man she wants. [ 75 ] The text states that a person should be naturalistic, and must possess the “ same qualities which one expects from the collaborator ”. It suggests involving one ‘s friends and relatives in the search, and meeting the current friends and relatives of one ‘s future partner prior to the marriage. [ 75 ] While the original text makes no citation of astrology and horoscopes, late commentaries on the Kamasutra such as one by 13th-century Yashodhara includes consult and comparing the compatibility of the horoscopes, omens, planetary alignments, and such signs anterior to proposing a marriage. Vatsyayana recommends, states Alain Danielou, that “ one should play, marry, associate degree with one ‘s equals, people of one ‘s own traffic circle ” who share the same values and religious lookout. It is more unmanageable to manage a dependable, glad relationship when there are basic differences between the two, according to verse 3.1.20 of the Kamasutra .

familiarity and foreplay

Vatsyayana ‘s Kamasutra describes familiarity of diverse forms, including those between lovers before and during sex. For model, the text discusses eight forms of alingana ( embrace ) in verses 2.2.7–23 : sphrishtaka, viddhaka, udghrishtaka, piditaka, lataveshtitaka, vrikshadhirudha, tilatandula and kshiranira. [ 77 ] The first four are expressive of reciprocal sleep together, but are asexual. The end four are forms of embrace recommended by Vatsyayana to increase pleasure during foreplay and during sexual affair. Vatsyayana cites earlier – now lost – indian text from the Babhraya ‘s school, for these eight categories of embraces. The versatile forms of closeness reflect the captive and provide means to engage a combination of senses for joy. For example, according to Vatsyayana the lalatika form enables both to feel each other and allows the world to visually appreciate “ the wide beauty of the female phase ”, states S.C. Upadhyaya. [ 77 ]

On sexual embraces
Some sexual embraces, not in this text,
besides intensify love ;
these, besides, may be used for love-making,
but only with manage.
The district of the textbook extends
lone so far as men have dull appetites ;
but when the wheel of sexual ecstasy is in full gesticulate,
there is no textbook at all, and no order .

Kamasutra 2.2.30–31,
translator : Wendy Doniger and Sudhir Kakar

Another case of the forms of familiarity discussed in the Kamasutra includes chumbanas ( kissing ). [ 79 ] The textbook presents twenty-six forms of kisses, ranging from those appropriate for showing deference and affection, to those during foreplay and sexual activity. Vatsyayana besides mentions variations in kissing cultures in different parts of ancient India. [ 79 ] The best snog for an familiar collaborator, according to kamasutra, is one that is based on the awareness of the avastha ( the emotional state of one ‘s spouse ) when the two are not in a intimate coupling. During sex, the textbook recommends going with the run and mirroring with abhiyoga and samprayoga. [ 79 ] other techniques of foreplay and sexual affair described in the kamasutra include assorted forms of holding and embraces ( grahana, upaguhana ), reciprocal massage and rub ( mardana ), pinching and bite, using fingers and hands to stimulate ( karikarakrida, nadi-kshobana, anguli-pravesha ), three styles of jihva-pravesha ( french snog ), and many styles of fellatio and cunnlingus. [ 80 ]


The Kamasutra, states the Indologist and Sanskrit literature learner Ludo Rocher, discourages adultery but then devotes “ not less than fifteen sutras ( 1.5.6–20 ) to enumerating the reasons ( karana ) for which a man is allowed to seduce a married woman ”. Vatsyayana mentions different types of nayikas ( urban girls ) such as unmarried virgins, those married and abandoned by husband, widow seeking remarriage and courtesans, then discusses their kama/sexual education, rights and mores. [ 81 ] In childhood, Vātsyāyana says, a person should learn how to make a support ; youth is the time for pleasure, and as years pass, one should concentrate on populate chastely and hope to escape the motorbike of metempsychosis. [ citation needed ] According to Doniger, the Kamasutra teaches adulterous sexual liaison as a means for a man to predispose the involved woman in assisting him, as a strategic means to work against his enemies and to facilitate his successes. It besides explains the signs and reasons a woman wants to enter into an adulterous relationship and when she does not want to commit adultery. [ 82 ] The Kamasutra teaches strategies to engage in adulterous relationships, but concludes its chapter on sexual liaison stating that one should not commit adultery because adultery pleases only one of two sides in a marriage, hurts the other, it goes against both dharma and artha. [ 72 ]

caste, class

The Kamasutra has been one of the unique sources of sociological information and cultural milieu of ancient India. It shows a “ near full disregard of class ( varna ) and caste ( jati ) ”, states Doniger. [ 83 ] Human relationships, including the sexual type, are neither segregated nor repressed by sex or caste, rather linked to individual ‘s wealth ( achiever in artha ). In the pages of the Kamasutra, lovers are “ not upper-class ” but they “ must be fat ” enough to dress well, pursue social leisure activities, buy gifts and surprise the fan. In the rare mention of caste found in the text, it is about a man finding his legal wife and the advice that humorous stories to seduce a woman should be about “ early virgins of lapp jati ( caste ) ”. In general, the text describes intimate bodily process between men and women across class and caste, both in urban and rural settings. [ 83 ]

Same-sex relationships

The Kamasutra includes verses describing homosexual relations such as oral arouse between two men, adenine well as between two women. lesbian relations are extensively covered in Chapters 5 and 8 in Book 2 of the text. According to Doniger, the Kamasutra discusses same-sex relationships through the notion of the tritiya prakriti, literally, “ one-third sex ” or “ third gear nature ”. In Redeeming the Kamasutra, Doniger states that “ the Kamasutra departs from the dharmic view of homosexuality in significant ways ”, where the term kliba appears. In contemporary translations, this has been inaccurately rendered as “ eunuch ” – or, a emasculate man in a harem, [ note 1 ] and the royal harem did not exist in India before the turkish bearing in the ninth century. [ 87 ] The Sanskrit word Kliba found in older indian text refers to a “ world who does not act like a world ”, typically in a dyslogistic sense. The Kamasutra does not use the dyslogistic condition kliba at all, but speaks rather of a “ third gear nature ” or, in the intimate behavior context as the “ third sex ”. [ 87 ] The text states that there are two sorts of “ third nature ”, one where a man behaves like a woman, and in the other, a womanhood behaves like a man. In one of the longest straight sets of verses describing a intimate dissemble, the Kamasutra describes fellatio proficiency between a man dressed like a womanhood performing fellatio on another valet. [ 87 ] The text besides mentions same-sex demeanor between two women, such as a girl losing her virginity with a girlfriend as they use their fingers, [ 88 ] adenine well as oral sex and the use of sex toys between women. [ 89 ] Svairini, a terminus Danielou translates as a lesbian, is described in the textbook as a womanhood who lives a conjugal life with another charwoman or by herself fending for herself, not interested in a conserve. [ 91 ] Additionally, the textbook has some evanesce remarks on bisexual relationships. [ 88 ] The Kamasutra besides mentions “ guess play ” sadomasochism, [ 92 ] [ 93 ] and group arouse. [ 94 ]


[95] Right: a French retranslation of 1891. The first english version by Richard Burton became public in 1883, but it was illegal to publish it in England and the United States till 1962.Right : a french retranslation of 1891. The diachronic records suggest that the Kamasutra was a well-known and popular text in indian history, states Wendy Doniger. This popularity through the Mughal Empire era is confirmed by its regional translations. The Mughals, states Doniger, had “ commissioned extravagantly illustrate Persian and Sanskrit Kamasutra manuscripts ”. [ 96 ] The foremost english translation of the Kama Sutra was privately printed in 1883 by the Orientalist Sir Richard Francis Burton. He did not translate it, but did edit it to suit the victorian british attitudes. The unedited translation was produced by the indian scholar Bhagwan Lal Indraji with the aid of a student Shivaram Parshuram Bhide, under the guidance of Burton ‘s acquaintance, the Indian civil handmaid Forster Fitzgerald Arbuthnot. [ 97 ] According to Wendy Doniger, the Burton version is a “ flaw english transformation ” but influential as advanced translators and abridged versions of Kamasutra even in the indian languages such as Hindi are re-translations of the Burton translation, rather than the master Sanskrit manuscript. [ 95 ] The Burton version of the Kamasutra was produced in an environment where victorian mentality and protestant proselytizers were busy finding faults and attacking Hinduism and its culture, rejecting as “ cruddy paganism ” anything sensuous and sexual in Hindu arts and literature. The “ Hindus were cowering under their contempt ”, states Doniger, and the receptive discussion of arouse in the Kamasutra scandalized the 19th-century Europeans. [ 95 ] The Burton edition of the Kamasutra was illegal to publish in England and the United States till 1962. Yet, states Doniger, it became soon after its issue in 1883, “ one of the most commandeer books in the english lyric ”, widely copied, reprinted and republished sometimes without Richard Burton ‘s name. [ 95 ] Burton made two important contributions to the Kamasutra. First, he had the courage to publish it in the colonial era against the political and cultural mores of the british elect. He creatively found a manner to subvert the then prevailing censoring laws of Britain under the Obscene Publications Act of 1857. [ 98 ] [ 95 ] Burton created a fake publish sign of the zodiac named The Kama Shastra Society of London and Benares ( Benares = Varanasi ), with the announcement that it is “ for private circulation only ”. [ 95 ] The second major contribution was to edit it in a major way, by changing words and rewriting sections to make it more satisfactory to the general british public. For example, the original Sanskrit Kamasutra does not use the words lingam or yoni for intimate organs, and about constantly uses other terms. Burton adroitly avoided being viewed as abhorrent to the victorian mentality by avoiding the consumption of words such as penis, vulva, vagina and early direct or indirect intimate terms in the Sanskrit textbook to discuss sexual activity, intimate relationships and homo sexual positions. Burton used the terms lingam and yoni rather throughout the translation. [ 99 ] This conscious and faulty word substitution, states Doniger, thus served as an orientalist means to “ anthropologize sex, distance it, make it safe for english readers by assuring them, or pretending to assure them, that the text was not about real sexual organs, their intimate organs, but merely about the appendages of wyrd, dark people far away. ” [ 99 ] Though Burton used the terms lingam and yoni for human sexual organs, terms that actually mean a distribute more in Sanskrit textbook and its mean depends on the context. however, Burton ‘s Kamasutra gave a singular, specific meaning to these words in the western resource. [ 99 ] The problems with Burton mistranslation are many, states Doniger. First, the text “ plainly does not say what Burton says it says ”. [ 95 ] Second, it “ overcharge women of their voices, turning send quotes into indirect quotes, frankincense losing the force of the dialogue that animates the knead and erasing the vivid presence of the many women who speak in the Kamasutra ”. Third, it changes the force of words in the original textbook. For model, when a charwoman says “ Stop ! ” or “ Let me go ! ” in the original text of Vatsyayana, Burton changed it to “ She continually utters words expressive of prohibition, sufficiency, or desire of liberation ”, states Doniger, and thus misconstrues the context and intent of the original text. [ 95 ] similarly, while the original Kamasutra acknowledges that “ women have strong privileges ”, Burton erased these passages and therefore eroded women ‘s agency in ancient India in the typical Orientialist manner that dehumanized the indian culture. [ 95 ] [ 99 ] David Shulman, a professor of indian Studies and Comparative Religion, agrees with Doniger that the Burton translation is misguided and flawed. [ 74 ] The Burton version was written with a unlike mentality, one that treated “ sexual matters with priggish queasiness and a pornographic delight in the indirect ”, according to Shulman. It has led to a mistake of the text and created the incorrectly impression of it being ancient “ Hindu pornography ”. [ 74 ] In 1961, S. C. Upadhyaya published his translation as the Kamasutra of Vatsyayana: Complete Translation from the Original. [ 100 ] According to Jyoti Puri, it is considered among the best-known scholarly English-language translations of the Kamasutra in post-independent India. other translations include those by Alain Daniélou ( The Complete Kama Sutra in 1994 ). [ 102 ] This translation, originally into french, and therefore into English, featured the original text attributed to Vatsyayana, along with a chivalric and a modern comment. Unlike the 1883 adaptation, Daniélou ‘s new translation preserves the count verse divisions of the master, and does not incorporate notes in the textbook. He includes english translations of two important commentaries, one by Jayamangala comment, and a more advanced comment by Devadatta Shastri, as endnotes. Wendy Doniger questions the accuracy of Daniélou ‘s translation, stating that he has freely reinterpreted the Kamasutra while disregarding the gender that is implicit in the Sanskrit words. He, at times, reverses the object and subject, making the charwoman the subject and valet the aim when the Kamasutra is explicitly stating the reverse. According to Doniger, “ even this cryptic text [ Kamasutra ] is not boundlessly elastic ” and such creative reinterpretations do not reflect the text. A translation by Indra Sinha was published in 1980. In the early 1990s, its chapter on sexual positions began circulating on the Internet as an autonomous text and today is frequently assumed to be the hale of the Kama Sutra. [ 105 ] Wendy Doniger and Sudhir Kakar published another translation in 2002, as a part of the Oxford World ‘s Classics serial. Along with the translation, Doniger has published numerous articles and record chapters relating to the Kamasutra. [ 107 ] [ 108 ] [ 109 ] The Doniger transformation and Kamasutra -related literature has both been praised and criticized. According to David Shulman, the Doniger translation “ will change peoples ‘ understanding of this book and of ancient India. previous translations are hopelessly outdated, inadequate and misguided ”. [ 74 ] Narasingha Sil calls the Doniger ‘s exercise as “ another signature work of translation and exegesis of the much misconstrue and abuse Hindu erotology ”. Her translation has the folksy, “ twinkle prose ”, engaging vogue, and an original translation of the Sanskrit textbook. however, adds Sil, Doniger ‘s oeuvre mixes her postmodernist translation and rendition of the text with her own “ political and polemic ” views. She makes sweep generalizations and flippant insertions that are neither supported by the original textbook nor the slant of tell in other relate ancient and former indian literature such as from the Bengal Renaissance movement – one of the scholarly peculiarity of Narasingha Sil. Doniger ‘s presentation stylus titillates, however some details misinform and parts of her interpretations are dubious, states Sil. [ 110 ]


Indira Kapoor, a conductor of the International Planned Parenthood Foundation, states that the Kamasutra is a treatise on human sexual behavior and an ancient attempt to seriously study sex among early things. According to Kapoor, quotes Jyoti Puri, the attitude of contemporary Indians is markedly different, with misconceptions and expressions of embarrassment, rather than curiosity and pride, when faced with texts such as Kamasutra and amatory and erotic arts found in Hindu temples. Kamasutra, states Kapoor, must be viewed as a mean to discover and improve the “ assurance and understanding of their bodies and feelings ”. The Kamasutra has been a popular mention to erotic ancient literature. In the western media, such as in the american women ‘s magazine Redbook, the Kamasutra is described as “ Although it was written centuries ago, there ‘s still no better sex handbook, which details hundreds of positions, each offering a elusive magnetic declination in joy to men and women. ” [ 112 ] Jyoti Puri, who has published a revue and feminist criticism of the text, states that the “ Kamasutra is frequently appropriated as incontestable testify of a non-Western and tolerant, indeed celebratory, opinion of sex ” and for “ the impression that the Kamasutra provides a crystalline glimpse into the positive, tied exalted, view of sex ”. however, according to Puri, this is a colonial and anticolonial modernist interpretation of the textbook. These narratives neither resonate with nor provide the “ politics of gender, race, nationality and class ” in ancient India published by early historians and that may have been prevailing then. According to Wendy Doniger, the Kamasutra is a “ great cultural masterpiece ”, one which can inspire contemporaneous Indians to overcome “ diffidence and wallow ” in their ancient inheritance. [ 115 ]

In popular culture

See besides


  1. a b[60] According to Jyoti Puri, the Burton translation of Kamasutra “ appears to have borrowed material concerning the serve of the harem in Damascus ( Syria ) ” as he edited the textbook for his colonial earned run average british hearing in the late 19th-century .



Original and translations

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