Introducing The Book :
Kamasutra is a remarkable document, giving us insights into the Indian social and political ethos some 2000 years ago. It’s considered as the worlds oldest treatise on Sex. The writings, paintings, and sculptures (Khajuraho Group of Monuments) in Kamasutra is an important source of information in understanding one of the worlds oldest living civilization.
It’s amazing to know that the study of human sexual behaviour was done around the 4th century AD. What’s even more amazing about Kamasutra is that the observations made by the author Vatsyayana withstood the test of time and are even valid today.
The Kamasutra name is derived from the name of the Hindu God of Love, Kamadeva. The writings in the book contain about one thousand two hundred and fifty ‘Shlokas and Verses‘ and it’s divided into seven parts comprising thirty-six chapters. These writings date back to the first century of the Christian era.
Kama (meaning love/sex) and religion are like the two sides of the same coin. It has also been depicted in the great Hindu epics. Even the Rig Veda (one of the four-book of knowledge in Hinduism) written about 4500 BC talks about the romance between an Apsara (celestial dancer) Urvashi and King Pururavas. Arjuna in the Mahabharata resists the lusting Apsara. The eighth avatar (reincarnation) of Lord Vishnu that is Lord Krishna is a perfect example of a divine lover. His sexual frolicking with the village maidens known as Gopis has been expressed in paintings and dances. Many temples walls are adorned with this art form. One must understand that in Indian ethos a very fine line divides sex and religion.
Codifying the goals of human life in Vedic times is called Puruṣārtha. Divided under four headings – Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. The first three is known as Trivarga and how it’s practised in life determines the attainment of Moksha which means the liberation of the soul (Atma) from the cycle of rebirth.
Dharma (righteousness) is the most important of the three Puruṣārtha, it’s the right conduct of worldly life in accordance (or in tuned) with nature. Artha is the process (or act of) accumulating worldly comforts or pleasures which includes the stage of grihastha ashram (raising a family) during which wealth and property are also accumulated.
The book, Kamasutra is about the third Puruṣārtha that is the Kama or sexual pleasures that is important to the evolution of mankind. It’s written that sexual intercourse shouldn’t only be to procreate but it should also be practised to derive maximum pleasure and enjoyed in moderation.
Mallinga Vatsyayana, a high caste Brahmin priest, compiled the book of Kamasutra from the works of the three Gurus that is Bhabhravya, Gotamukha, and Gonikputra.
The first part of the writings deals on the basics such as the location, possession, and sensual decoration of the house (or a room) of citizens. It’s well defined that the house needs to have a couch for love-making, a low table for board games, bee-wax candles (the real ones) and aromatherapy perfumes to enhance the mood. It’s believed that a properly prepared environment can enhance the whole experience of lovemaking.
The second part of the writings deals with various sexual techniques such as petting, kissing, biting, and lovemaking. This part of the book also takes into account the needs of the woman, it advises the way to prepare a woman for sexual climax. It’s mentioned that if a woman fails to reach the climax then the man should use his finger on her Yoni (vagina).
The third part of the writings deals with the art of seduction, such as the techniques to seduce a maiden and the fourth part of the writings deals with marriage issues and family life. There’s also a long list of instructions on how a woman can excel in the role of a wife.
The fifth section deals with techniques in seducing other men’s wives cautioning of dire consequences also explained. The sixth section of the writings is especially for the courtesans, just until the last century courtesans play an important part in the social life of the upper-class citizens.
These texts have remained confined in just a handful of Sanskrit manuscripts for years, it was first brought to light and translated into English for the western hemisphere by Sir Richard Burton in 1889. In other culture, it’s difficult to treat this sensual study without making it look pornographic. But in Kamasutra, this study is presented in a simple matter of fact way.
As Venus in Greek culture is the representation of the beauty of a woman, in Hinduism it’s the Padmini or Lotus woman that represents the perfect feminine beauty.