The kama Sutra is the world’s earliest book on the satisfaction of sensuous living. There is nobody single author for the text. It was initially compiled in the 3rd century by the Indian sage Vatsyayana, who lived in northern India. Vatsyayana claimed to be a celibate monk, which his work in compiling all of the sexual understanding of ages past was for him a type of meditation and contemplation of the deity. Composed in a rather complicated type of Sanskrit, the Kama Sutra is the only enduring textual account of that period of ancient Indian history.
In academic circles it has actually been commonly consulted by scholars attempting to comprehend the society and social mores of that duration. The title of the text, Kama Sutra, literally implies “a writing on satisfaction.” Far more intricate than a mere listing of contortionist sexual positions, the Kama Sutra offers a detailed manual of living for the great life. Although the main character of the Kama Sutra is the citizenly man-about-town, the text was written to be read by and offer comprehensive advice for both males and females.
The fundamental tenet of the Kama Sutra is that in order for marriages to be pleased, both male and lady ought to be skilled in the arts of enjoyment, both carnal and cerebral. The subjects checked out include Society and Social Concepts, On Sexual Union, About the Acquisition of a Spouse, About an Other half, About the Spouses of Other Male, About Courtesans, and On the Way of Attracting Others to Yourself.
The book contains detailed recommendations on what a man need to do to win over a woman, what a woman needs to do to win over a man, the states of a female’s mind, the function of a go-between, and the reasons ladies may reject the advances of men.
In regards to picking a mate, the Kama Sutra encourages on whether to consider fellow trainees or childhood friends. It provides charts that classify male and female physical types and their compatibility with their enthusiast’s body. Varieties of welcoming, kissing, scratching, biting, oral sex, and sexual intercourse are elaborated. The text also integrates guideline on extramarital relationships, consisting of with “the other halves of other guys,” and dedicates lots of pages to the techniques of seduction and approaches of extortion practiced by the courtesan.
Finally, in case all of that knowledge should fail in winning the love that one seeks, the final chapter of the Kama Sutra contains recipes for tonics, powders, and foods that have the power to help attract others to oneself. Some people refer to the Kama Sutra as a marriage manual, but it is a far cry from the monogamous and dutiful tomes that Westerners produced as part of the proliferation of advice manuals in the Victorian era.
One of the central figures of the Kama Sutra is the courtesan, who must also master and practice a variety of arts in learning how to please and coerce her man. What is especially unique about the Kama Sutra is that it maintains a special focus on creating pleasure for the woman. A man who fails to provide and bring about those pleasures is subject to a woman’s recourse, that is, to seek pleasure elsewhere where she may find it.
As the ‘original’ study of sexuality, the Kama Sutra became the fountainhead of all subsequent compilations, including the 15th century Ananga-Ranga which is a revised version and builds upon Vatsyayana’s basic tenets. Yet because of the complex and rather inaccessible style of Sanskrit in which it was written, the Kama Sutra for many centuries fell into obscurity. Scholars of Sanskrit and ancient India did not much consult it. It was not until the late 19th century that the Kama Sutra again began to resume its former prominence in the textual traditions of India.
That resurgence came about after the 1870s when Sir Richard Burton, the noted linguist and Arabic translator, was working with his collaborators, both Indian and British, on producing a translation of the Ananga-Ranga. In pursuing the many references to Vatsyayana with the text, Burton led the Pundits back to the Kama Sutra and an English translation was produced. Burton’s persistence in publishing the Kama Sutra in the West, and the interest the text generated in both India and abroad, has led to a proliferation of translations and versions of the original masterpiece.