Kama Sutra is an ancient Hindu Sanskrit text on sexuality, eroticism, and emotional satisfaction in life. Attributed to Vātsyāyana, the Kama Sutra is neither exclusively nor predominantly a sexual manual on sexual positions but is written as a guide to the art of living well, the nature of love, finding a life partner, maintaining love life, and other related aspects. to the pleasure-oriented faculties of human life. It is a sutra genre text with short aphoristic verses that have survived to the modern era with different bhāṣyas (expositions and commentaries). The text is a mixture of poetry verses in prose and anustubh-metro. The text recognizes the Hindu concept of Purusharthas and lists desire, sexuality, and emotional satisfaction as one of the proper goals of life. Its chapters discuss methods of dating, training in the arts to be socially attractive, finding a mate, flirting, maintaining power in a married life, when and how to commit adultery, sexual positions, and other topics. Most of the book deals with the philosophy and theory of love, what triggers desire, what sustains it, and how and when it is good or bad.
The text is one of many Indian texts on Kama Shastra. It is a highly translated work in Indian and non-Indian languages. The Kamasutra has influenced many secondary texts that followed after the 4th century AD, as well as Indian arts, exemplified by the widespread presence of Kama-related reliefs and sculptures in ancient Hindu temples. Of these, Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh is a UNESCO world heritage site. Among the surviving temples in northern India, one in Rajasthan sculpts all the main chapters and sexual positions to illustrate the Kamasutra. According to Wendy Doniger, the Kamasutra became "one of the most pirated books in the English language" shortly after Richard Burton published it in 1883. This first European edition of Burton does not accurately reflect much on the Kamasutra because he revised the collaborative translation of Bhagavanlal Indrajit and Shivaram Parashuram Bhide with Forster Arbuthnot to suit 19th-century Victorian tastes.
The text is one of many Indian texts on Kama Shastra. It is a much-translated work in Indian and non-Indian languages. The Kamasutra has influenced many secondary texts that followed after the 4th-century CE, as well as the Indian arts as exemplified by the pervasive presence Kama-related reliefs and sculpture in old 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. According to Wendy Doniger, the Kamasutra became "one of the most pirated 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.
The earliest foundations of the kamasutra are found in the Vedic era literature of Hinduism. Vatsyayana acknowledges this heritage in verse 1.1.9 of the text where he names Svetaketu Uddalaka as the "first human author 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, soul) and the ontological concept of Brahman, these early Upanishads discuss human life, activities and the nature of existence as a form of internalized worship, where sexuality and sex is mapped into a form of religious yajna ritual (sacrificial fire, Agni) and suffused in spiritual terms:
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 text by Vatsyayana. According to Doniger, this paradigm of celebrating pleasures, enjoyment and sexuality as a dharmic act began in the "earthy, vibrant text known as the Rigveda" of the Hindus. The Kamasutra and celebration of sex, eroticism and pleasure is an integral part of the religious milieu in Hinduism and quite prevalent in its temples.
According to S.C. Upadhyaya, known for his 1961 scholarly study and a more accurate translation of the Kamasutra, there are issues with the manuscripts that have survived and the text likely underwent revisions over time. This is confirmed by other 1st-millennium CE Hindu texts on kama that mention 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.
In the colonial era marked by sexual censorship, the Kamasutra became famous as a pirated and underground text for its explicit description of sex positions. The stereotypical image of the text is one where erotic pursuit with sexual intercourse include improbable contortionist forms. In reality, according to Doniger, the real Kamasutra is much more and is a book about "the art of living", about understanding one's body and a partner's body, finding a partner and emotional connection, marriage, the power equation over time in intimate relationships, the nature of adultery and drugs (aphrodisiacs) along with many simple to complex variations in sex positions to explore. It is also a psychological treatise that presents the effect of desire and pleasure on human behavior.
For each aspect of Kama, the Kamasutra presents a diverse 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 as 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 spousal relationship. The approach of Kamasutra is not to ignore nor deny the psychology and complexity of human behavior for pleasure and sex. The text, according to Doniger, clearly states "that a treatise demands the inclusion of everything, good or bad", but after being informed with in-depth knowledge, one must "reflect and accept only the good". The approach found in the text is one where goals of science and religion should not be to repress, but to encyclopedically know and understand, thereafter let the individual make the choice. The text states that it aims to be comprehensive and inclusive of diverse views and lifestyles.
The 3rd-century text includes a number of themes, including subjects such as flirting that resonate in the modern era context, states a New York Times review. 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. As another example, the Kamasutra suggests that the boy and the girl should go play together, such as swim in a river. The boy should dive into the water away from the girl he is interested in, then swim underwater to get close to her, emerge from the water and surprise her, touch her slightly and then dive again, away from her.
Book 3 of the Kamasutra is largely dedicated to the art of courtship with the aim of marriage. The book's opening verse declares marriage to be a conducive means to "a pure and natural love between the partners", states Upadhyaya. It leads to emotional fulfillment in many forms such as more friends for both, relatives, progeny, amorous and sexual relationship between the couple, and the conjugal pursuit of dharma (spiritual and ethical life) and artha (economic life). 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. The text states that a person should be realistic, and must possess the "same qualities which one expects from the partner". 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. While the original text makes no mention of astrology and horoscopes, later commentaries on the Kamasutra such as one by 13th-century Yashodhara includes consulting and comparing the compatibility of the horoscopes, omens, planetary alignments, and such signs prior to proposing a marriage. Vatsyayana recommends, states Alain Danielou, that "one should play, marry, associate with one's equals, people of one's own circle" who share the same values and religious outlook. It is more difficult to manage a good, happy relationship when there are basic differences between the two, according to verse 3.1.20 of the Kamasutra.
Some sexual embraces, not in this text,also intensify passion;these, too, may be used for love-making,but only with care.The territory of the text extendsonly so far as men have dull appetites;but when the wheel of sexual ecstasy is in full motion,there is no textbook at all, and no order.
Another example of the forms of intimacy discussed in the Kamasutra includes chumbanas (kissing). The text presents twenty-six forms of kisses, ranging from those appropriate for showing respect and affection, to those during foreplay and sex. Vatsyayana also mentions variations in kissing cultures in different parts of ancient India. The best kiss for an intimate partner, according to kamasutra, is one that is based on the awareness of the avastha (the emotional state of one's partner) when the two are not in a sexual union. During sex, the text recommends going with the flow and mirroring with abhiyoga and samprayoga. 2b1af7f3a8