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Kamasutra of Vatsyayana

Kamasutra of Vatsyayana
$48.00$60.00  [ 20% off ]
Item Code: IDH474
Author: Radhavallabh Tripathi
Publisher: Pratibha Prakashan
Language: (Sanskrit Text, English Translation and Notes)
Edition: 2005
ISBN: 817702101X
Pages: 427
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 9.7" X 7.2
weight of book 964 gms

From the Jacket

Kamasutra of Vatsyayana is the first available work in Indian tradition on sex and love and social issues related to these. It is a scientific work of encyclopedic nature. There is no other work in Sanskrit presenting such comprehensive documentation on sexual behaviour, life-styles, sports and festivals as prevailing in different regions of this vast peninsula in ancient times. An edition of the complete text of Kamasutra with an authentic English translation has been in need for the past two centuries. The present edition has been prepared by Prof. Radhavallabh Tripathi, a reputed scholars of Sahityasastra and Natyasastra, to meet this long standing requirement.

The present volume is divided in three parts. The first part presents a complete study of Kamasutra. In this erudite and extensive introduction, Prof. Tripathi has traced the origin of the tradition of Kamasutra on Vedas and Upanisads, and has presented an analysis of the contents of Kamasutra alongwith the holistic approach and world view of Vatsyayana, as well as his scientific perspective. In the second part, the text ha been edited on the basis of various printed editions. Readings at a number of places have been corrected and readings accepted by Yasodhara and other commentators have been noted. The third part comprises detailed notes on the text. References from Arthasastra, Smrtis and other texts have been given here for comparison. An index of proper names, technical terms and topics from the text of Kamasutra has been added with equivalents in English.


Kamasutra (KS) is a work of encyclopedic nature, devoted to Kamasastra i.e., Erotica and love. It is the first available work on Kamasastra in Indian tradition and still remains the most exhaustive and scientific work in Sanskrit on this subject.


1. Vatsyayana : the author of Kamasutra

KS is known to have been authored by Vatsyayana (V). Who was V? No historically valid record on him is available. Some old Kosas (lexicons) in Sanskrit like Vaijayanti, Trikandasesa and Namamalika take Vatsyayana to be identical with Kautalya or Canakya – the author of Arthasastra. Hemacandra's Abhidhanacintamani and Yadavaprakasa's Vaijayanti say that Vatsyayana, Mallanaga, Kautilya (correctly spelt as Kautalya), Dramila, Paksilasvami etc. are the names of one and the same person. Another name associated with the authorship of KS is that of Kamandaka, the famous author of a work Kamandakiya on ethics. This Kamandaka is said to be the disciple of Kautalya or Canakya.

Subandhu, in his well-known prose-romance Vasavadatta (L.H.Gray: 1962:156) refers to Mallanaga as the author of Kamasutra. Yasodhara (Y), the author of Jayamangala (JM), the most authentic commentary available in Sanskrit on this work, also says at the very outset of his commentary that the real name of the author of Kamasutra is Mallanaga, and on KS 1.2.19, he again says that Vatsyayana is just the family name of the author of this text and the name given to him through Samskara (ritual for naming) is Mallanaga.

Vatsyayana is just a family name Mallanaga, the author of KS was a Vatsyayana like several celebrated authors. There have been several Vatsyayanas in ancient Indian tradition of Acaryas or Rsis. Paksila Svami, the author of Nyayasutrabhasya was also a Vatsyayana. Banabhatta, who is well-known as the author of two prose – romances was born in Vatyayana family. The author of KS became famous as Vatsyayana so much so that some other Vatsyayanas by misunderstanding were held to be identical with him.

Date of Vatsyayana

The language, style and the structure of Vatsyayana's Kamasutra as a Sastric discourse reveal its proximity to Kautalya's Arthasastra. V. explicitly Cites Arthasastra (KS, 1.2.10) and is indebted to it by borrowing terms and concepts. We can conclude that both these works stand close to each other in respect of their period of composition. M. Krishnamachariar therefore places Vatsyayana the author of Kamasutra in 4th or 3rd century BC. Shama Shastri says that Vatsyayana flourished between 137 AD to 209 AD, while Bhandarkar places him around 100 AD, and Keith before 4th century AD. A.K. Warder (IKL: vol. I:1989: para 25) suggests that Kamasutra was probably produced in 3rd century AD. Doniger and Kakar (2003) almost agree with Warder by assuming that KS must have been composed after 225 AD. V has referred to Satavahana dynasty and has also mentioned the king Satakarni of this dynasty by name. According to Puranas Kuntala Satakarni was 13th Andhra king in Satavahana dynasty. He was son of Mrgendra Svatikarna and he ruled in Kali era 2487-2481 (615-607 BC). The Satavahanas flourished till second century BC.

Vatsyayana's KS came to be held as a standard work on Kamasastra by 4th-5th century AD and it had made all earlier works obsolete by this time. Study of this work was supposed to be a sine qua none for courtesans, man of taste or connoisseurs, as is evident from references to KS by several authors coming after these centuries. We have already referred to Subandhu, who rose in 6th century AD or before it. Bhavabhuti, a well-known poet and dramatist belonging to 7th-8th centuries gives copious references from KS in his Malatimadhavam. Damodara in his Kuttanimatam (stanza 77) cites the names of Vatsyayana and Dattaka as two authors in the field of Kamasastra. Even poet Kalidasa appears to have been familiar with the text of Vatsyayana and he indirectly hints upon it at a number of places in his Kumarasambhava. In fact, the VIII canto of Kumarasambhava illustrates some of the instructions and theories of V in a very picturesque and subtle way.

Thus V's text came to become a widely read and universally accepted work during the beginning of Christian era and a considerable time might have elapsed after its composition to make it popular all over the country. We can therefore assign V the period of 3rd to 2nd century BC.


2. Tradition of Kamasastra before Vatsyayana

According to A.K. Warder (IKL: vol. I:1989: para 24) Kamasastra 'appears to have developed first under the auspices of materialistic or naturalistic (the Lokayata) school of philosophers, who maintained that pleasure was the highest object of human life and denounced the pretensions of religion'. This suggestion does not hold ground. There is ample material on sex or erotica and the areas related to these in Rgveda, Atharvaveda and some of the Upanisads, and this is not related to Lokayata school. On the other hand, at the very outset in his KS, V has made it clear that Kama is not the highest objects of human life it is one of the three objects and is subordinate to Dharma, and even Artha in some respects (see KS I. 2.14-15).

Sex is a celebration of life and it is an activity signifying continuity of creation. Atharvaveda, which is described as the source of the concept of Rasa in the tradition of Natyasastra or poetics and aesthetics, has several hymns dealing with Kama. These hymns pertain mainly to charming a beloved. The 25th hymn in the Ill Book of Atharvaveda expresses the longing of a man to command the love of his beloved. The man says there-

"Let the upthruster thrust thee up, do not abide in thine own
lair, the arrow of love, that is terrible, therewith I pierce thee in the heart".


The arrow of Kama is described here as feathered with longing, tipped with love, necked with resolve, piercing straight into the heart. V neither refers to Kama as a god, nor does he describe his arrow, but the metaphor in this description of Kama's arrow unfolds the basic concept of his text, as longing and resolve form the very core of erotic love. The Tradition of Kamasastra therefore is as old as the Vedas and the Upanisads in India, and the Vedic seers frankly talked about the themes of sex and did not view it as a taboo, rather an essential and pious activity. Atharvaveda has many hymns on charming a beloved. It seems that the early authors on Kamasastra must have borrowed some concepts and classifications from Atharvaveda. In one of the hymns of Atharvaveda, the lover asks the woman to embrace him as a creeper completely entwines the tree (A. V.8.1, XVIII, 1..15.16) This description exactly tallies with the definitions of Latavestitakam Twining vine and Tilatandulakam (sesame and rice embrace) – the types of embraces as defined by V. There are subtle references to other activities besides embrace, as well as gestures and expressions during sexual arousal (A., VI.9, VI. 139). The poet of Atharvaveda very imaginatively reverses the simile of a creeper entwining the tree, and describes the embrace as a Sami creeper climbing over an Asvattha tree (A., VI. 11.1). In fact, this is a special type of embrace described by V in KS (ii.2.2.14) called Vrksadhirudhakam (climbing the three), there are many passages in Atharvaveda dealing with prescriptions for recovery of virility, they also hint the energy of a bull and a horse (A.,IV.4.2), which provides a basis to V for classification of man. The seer of the hymn in A. prays gods to make the male sexual organ straight like an arrow (A., IV.4.6.7), and to provide the man with the vigour of the house, the mule, the goat and the ram (IV. 4.8). Man's sexual organ is described as a placer of semen in the embryo (Garbhasya Retodhah) and the process of sexual intercourse is suggested by the simile of an arrow moving straight in waters (A.V. 25.1). In fact, a number of hymns in this Veda describe the process of procreation, The man is the possessor of semen, he discharges his semen in the vomb of a woman to make an embryo (A, VI.11). The famous Suryasukta, not only describes the ceremony of marriage, it also depicts the meeting of the bride with her newly wed husband. The passages here describe their sexual union and hint upon the coital positions also (A., XIV. 2.14, 37-40). There are not only references to herbs or plants which enhance sexual potency, in one of the hymns of Atharvaveda, the seer hints upon a herb which makes a man impotent (VI. 138.1) The connection of such passages with V's treatment of virility, impotency and aphrodisiacs in book VII of KS cannot be denied. Further, there are hymns on search for a husband (II.36) or marriage in Atharvaveda, traces of which emerge in books III and IV of KS. Book VII of KS is especially based on some of the hymns of Atharvaveda. Y rightly suggests here that the details of various prescriptions described I this book can be known from Atharvaveda. The seers of Atharvaveda (VI. 139) have used the word Subhankarani or Subhankarana (the herbs which make a man or woman lucky in love), which form the core concept of this book of KS.

There are references to sexual union and awareness of sex in other Vedic Samhitas also. Yajurveda metaphorically describes coital process by saying that vagina is mortar and male organ is pestle, their union leads to progeny (yonirulukhalam sisnam musalam mithunamevaitat prajananam kriyate). In Rgveda there is a reference to Romasa, the daughter of Brhaspati, who invites her husband Bhavavyaya for cohabitation evincing awareness for female body and sex (R. I. 126.7). The hymns on dialogue between Agastya and Lopamudra, as well as between Yama and Yami (R.I.179; X.10) are full of references to erotic pleasure and sexual union.

Kama has been viewed as a fundamental principle of life and creation by the seers of Upanisads. Brhadaranyaka Upanisad describes Kama as the primordial desire related to creation and multiplication of human race-.

"In the begining everywhere there was Atman or self only. He was in the shape of a person…He was afraid. Because whosoever is alone becomes afraid. Then he thought – since there is nothing else other than me, of what I am afraid?' Then his fear ceased….verily, it is from a second that fear arises. But then he has no delight, because whosoever is along has no delight. He then desired a second. He expanded himself to become a couple of a woman and a man in embrace,. He caused this self to split into two parts. Thus arose husband and wife. Therefore as Yajnavalkya used to say-This body is one half of the one self, like one of the two halves of a split pea. Therefore this space is filled by a wife. He became united with her. From that human beings were produced." (Br. Upa. I.4.1-3).

Vatsyayana on the tradition of Kamasastra

V has traced the history of Kamasastra and has cited the names of its exponents. The account given by him is partially mythical and partially historical from modern point of view. The tradition starts with Prajapati, after creating this world and human beings, composed a Sastra on the three ends of life (Dharma, Artha and Kama) with a view to regulate human life. Manu and Brhaspati took the first two respectively i.e., Dharma and Artha and Kama was taken up by Nandi, the servant of Mahadeva Siva. Nandi presented an independent discourse on Kamasutra in one thousand chapters. The same was abridged by Svetaketu in 500 chapters, and was further made concise in Babhravya Pancala in 150 chapter. The Kamasastra as elaborated by these Acaryas had seven sections, named as Sadharana (general) Samprayogika (sex) Kanyasamprayuktaka (union with virgins) Bharyadhikarika (On duties of a wife) Paraarika (On extra-marital relationships with married women) Vaisika (On Courtesans) Oupanisadika (secret devices).

Subsequently, independent treatises were composed by seven authors on each of these seven topics. These seven works must have been in vogue before v created his magnum opus. Dattaka separated the sixth section for an independent treatment at the request of the courtesans of the city of Pataliputra. As a sequel to it, Carayana spoke on the General topics independently. Suvarnanabha composed Samprayogika (experimental) Ghotakamukha composed Kanyasamprayuktaka (approaches to virgins) Gonardiya composed Bharyadhikarika (On duties of wife); Gonikaputra composed Paradarika (On extra-marital relationships with married women) and Kucumara composed Oupanisadika (secrets). Because of this compartmentalization of the Sastra into various disciplines, its holistic view was lost. Vatsyayana therefore presented a compendium of this Sastra in a small book (KS, I.1. 4-14).

Amongst authors who followed Vatsyayana, Kokkota refers to two schools of ancient Indian Erotics-i.e., of Nandikasvara and Gonikaputra. He also draws the line of difference between the two in respect of Anangatithi (right days for sexual intercourse). The former schools adjusts the first 15 days of full moon as right days for sexual intercourse. Jyotirisa says that he has seen the text of Nandin (Upadhyaya S.C. 1961: Preface, p.50).

No work of the authors cited by V in the field of Kamasastra has till this date survived. Vatsyayana frequently refers to their views. The works by these authors must have been available to him, as he cites many of them verbatim. No historical data on these authors except Dattaka is available to us. Of the authorities or Acaryas cited by V in this description of the tradition of Kamasastra, Svetaketu is otherwise known as a seer or Rsi in the Upanisads. V calls him Ouddalaki or the son of Uddalaka. In Upanisads also, Svetaketu is described as the son of Uddalaka Rsi. It is interesting to note that in Brhadaranyaka Upanisad (VI.4.4), this Uddalaka is referred as one of the authorities of procreation ceremony. This ceremony in fact is a ritualisation and glorification of Kamasastra, where sexual activity is treated at par with a ritual performance. This section (VI.4) of Brhadaranyaka Upanisad in fact describes the method of performing intercourse with a woman for procreation and this performance is identified with a ritual or Yajna Semen (Retah) is termed here as the rasa of man. Svetaketu Ouddalaki was a revolutionary in many respects. Not only he has his own epistemological and ontological concepts on philosophical issues, he was responsible for visualisisng a new social order. Yasodhara in his JM has given a brief account of a story related to him, and this story is narrated in detail in the Mahabharata (1.113.9-20). Accordingly, Ouddalaki was outraged to see his mother being taken away forcibly by a Rsi for having sex with her. His father, however, pacified him by telling that this is Dharma, like unfenced cows women can be taken away by men this way. Svetaketu could not tolerate this, and said that he is going to proclaim a new order as Dharma setting a moral boundary for men and women and debarring men's right to take a married women forcibly. Yasodhara, the author of commentary Jayamangala on KS also refers to Svetaketu as the first lawgiver who produced a work on Kamasastra before Vatsyayana.

Yasodhara has also furnished some details about the life of Dattaka. Accordingly, Dattaka was the son of a Brahmin of Mathura, and was born in Pataliputra. He lost his mother immediately after his birth, and was handed over to some woman by his father in his infancy. Therefore he came to be known as dattaka (adopted son). He got into the company of dancing women, and became adept in their devices and ways of life. Y also refers to a legend about Dattaka- that he became a woman due to some curse, and therefore came to be very intimate with the courtesans. He was requested by the courtesans to compose a work for their education and guidance. Dattakasutram was the name of his work. Two aphorisms from Dattakasutram have been quoted by Syamilaka and Isvaradatta in their plays under Caturbhani.

Dattaka's work alongside Vatsyayana's magnum opus remained a favourite text with those interested in the study of Kamasastra, as Damodara, in his Kuttanimata (verse 77th and 122), twice refers to it alongside Vatsyayana, Vitaputra and Rajaputra. We shall refer to Damodara in discussion on other authors in the field.

Madhavavarman - II, a king of Ganga dynasty wrote a Vrtti on Datakasutras. He was the fifth ancestor of king Durvinita and lived around 380 AD. A fragment of his Vrtti has survived. Besides these authors, Vatsyayana refers to the views of Babhravya, Ghotakamukha, Gonardiya, Gonikaputra, Carayana, refers to the views of Bharavya, Ghotakamukha, Gonardiya, Gonikaputra, Carayana, Ouddalaki and Suvarnanabha very often in his text. He also cites the school of Babharavya or the followers of Babhravya. It seems that the texts of these Acaryas were available to V. But as time passed, these texts by his predecessors were made obsolete by his own work – Kamasutra. The texts of Babhravya and Dattaka were certainly available to Y. as he quotes stanzas from these authors (on KS V. 4.64, VI.3.20).

Gonardiya and Gonikaputra have been referred in the Mahabhasya of Patanjali (I.IV.51). Kancinatha, a later author on Kamasastra also quotes from Gonikaputra, so that the work of Gonikaputra might have existed during his times. Jyotirisa, another author in Karnasastra also knew of Gonikaputra.


3. Kamasutra as a Sastra

Kamasutra of Vatsyayana is known as a sastra in our tradition. A sastra is a scientific work supposed to serve two-fold purpose – samsana (narration) and sasana (regulation). A sastra presents an analytical and descriptive account of the practices, models and standards related to a particular theme. This is samsana. A text becomes sastra by samsana (samsanacchastram). Alongside the analysis of the real practices, a sastra should also establish norms, evolve the set of rules and regulations. This is sasana. A text becomes sastra by sasana (sasanacchastram). KS perfectly answers this definition of sastra- it is descriptive as well as prescriptive.

Kamasutra of Vatsyayana perfectly serves both the purports of a Sastra, i.e., Samsana and Sasana. There is no other work in ancient Indian tradition presenting such comprehensive documentation on sexual behaviour, life-styles, sports and festivals as prevailing in different regions of this vast peninsula. The purpose of Kamasutra is to suggest devices and practices which keep the life of the lovers always kindled by the light of love. V guides men and women into sensuous pleasures to save them from excesses and going astray. Love seekes expression in multifarious ways. The lovers gifted with imagination find their own ways to maintain novelty in the course of love. But a Sastra like Kamasutra can help those who are not gifted with this sort of imagination. Variety and novelty are always desirable for enhancement of love and passion. Vatsyayana says that variety is required even at the height of the passion, and the mutual passion should be enhanced by variety (KS II. 4.25).

V emerges as a scientist of first order in the galaxy of great Indian seers or Rsis Motichandra makes a right assessment of his work when he says- "The entire range of the topics on love has been laid bare with a cold scientific thoroughness unparalleled in Sanskrit literature" (Upadhyaya S.C.:1961:IV).


4. Scope of Kamasutra

Kamasutra is a scientific text (Sastra) on Kama. Human life has three levels-material, psychological and spiritual. Artha, Kama and Dharma – these are the three ends of life which lead it to perfection at these three levels respectively. Kama is related to the second level- the psychological. A Sastra related to it speaks about the psychic needs of humanbeings and their fulfillment. This fulfillment depends on the makings of an individual and his or her relations with society. Kamasastra therefore deals with human relationships at psychological and social levels.

A.K. Warder (IKL: vol. I: 1989: para 24) describes Kamasastra as 'the science of pleasure'. The term pleasure covers a limited aspect of Kama and its Sastra. Kama in fact is the desire to make life beautiful and to attain its fulfillment through regaining love. KS is not simply a text elaborating upon the pleasures of life, it also lays down the norms for the life of a Nagaraka or an ideal citizen, it establishes the codes for the conduct of house-wives, co-wives, ladies of seraglio and courtesans. In the same way Doniger and Kakar (2003) have termed KS as a 'Hindu text book of erotic love'. As KS is a scientific work, composed with a secular outlook, it is not proper to describe it in terms of Hindu or non-Hindu. Also, KS is not just a text book on erotic love, it covers many more areas of human life.

M. Krishnamachariar (1989: p.889) describes KS as 'a valuable treatise on sociology and eugenics. As we have seen KS covers some area of an sociology, but it is simply misleading to call it a work of eugenics. Vatsyayana certainly has no concern for the ideology and methodology preached on the name of the so called eugenics, which is relatively a very modern branch of study. Eugenics is devoted to the study of heredity, effects of human genes on progeny. The word eugenics (coming from Greek eugenes or wellborn) was coined in 1883 by Francis Galton, an Englishman and cousin of Charles Darwin, who applied Darwinian science to develop theories about heredity and good or noble birth. (I. Kevles 1985, p. x). Eugenics initially evolved by combining evolutionary theory and a theory of human heredity to focus political concerns about population policy and control, the Encyclopedia of Bioethics defines Eugenics as – "a science that investigates methods to ameliorate the genetic composition of the human race, a program to foster such betterment; a social movement; and in its perverted form, a pseudo-scientific retreat for bigots and racists" (V, Ludmerer 1978, p. 457). Ever since its inception, eugenics has been controversial and its nomenclature as science has been questionable, it degenerated into lowest forms of racism and came to be misused in Nazi Germany and America. By 1935 "eugenics had become hopelessly perverted' pseudoscientific façade for advocates of race and class prejudice, defenders of vested interests of church and state, Fascists, Hitlerites, and reactionaries generally" (I, Kevles 1985, p. 164). And its soon came to an end as a healthy movement for scientific study.

The outlook adopted by the promoters of this so-called eugenics simply does not fall within the purview of Vatsyayana's work, the law givers like Manu and Yajnavalkya do show some concern for purity of Varna, but they are concerned with social order and sanctity of individual life, and they also do not advocate racial purity, as has been proclaimed on the name of so-called eugenics.

As for Vatsyayana, he is simply averse to any idea of racial purity, neither does he maintain that sexual union of superior class of male and female will lead to a superior progeny. It is thus wrong to see any connection between Kamasutra and eugenics.

Kamasutra as a scientific work on Kama presents a comprehensive view of life. They cycle of human life is not complete without the realisation of all the three ends-Dharma, Artha and Kama. Kamasutra therefore deals with human life and its fulfillment through the realisation of Kama. Vatsyayana in fact stands for freedom, variety and choice in life. His text thus reflects the true spirit of India-which is the spirit of freedom.


5. Structure and methodology of Kamasutra

Like Kautalya's Arthasastra, KS is divided into adhikaranas (books), adhyayas (chapters) and prakaranas (topics). The whole text is composed in the style of sutra (aphorism) and bhasya (commentary). Like Kautalya, Vatsyayana extensively cites traditional verses which must of have been handed over to him through generations. The whole text is divided into seven adhikaranas or books. The first adhikarana has five chapters and five topics, the second ten chapters and seventeen topics, the third five chapters and nine topics, the fourth two chapters and eight topics, the fifth six chapters and ten topics, the sixth six chapters and eight topics, the fifth six chapters and ten topics, the sixth six chapters and twelve topics and the last and seventh book has two chapters and six topics. According to V's own calculation in KS i.1.15-22, the seven books of the whole compendium have 36 chapters and sixty four topics dealt in 1250 aphorisms. The number sixty four in case of topics however does not tally if we sum up the numbers of topics in each book which V himself has specified. It is in fact sixty-seven. This has strange coincidence with NS' of Bharatamuni, where the number of hand-postures is specified as sixty four, but when calculated from the text itself they come out to be sixty seven! V himself has not specified the topics in his text, but Y has identified these and reaches the number 64 by omitting one topics from Book V (A man having relations with many women) and two of Book VI (Reasons for taking a lover and types of courtesans).

The number of aphorisms also presents a problem. According to Vatsyayana himself, the number should come to 1250. however no printed edition of KS exactly comprises 1250 aphorisms. In DDS's edn. They are 1492, while in Goswami's edn., the number goes to 1683. in fact the editors and translators of KS have blundered by reading the verses quoted by V as his own aphorisms, whereas V clearly indicates that he is reproducing a verse by the way of a quotation from some earlier author, by his preceding remark – Tadetadahuh (this is what they say). D & K even read a prose portion (I.2.29) as a verse. Also, by copyists error, several aphorisms appear to have been split in two. The editors have not closely examined the aphorisms while marking their numbers. DDS has marked two independent verses after I.2.39 as one aphorism (no. I.2.40).

As a social scientist of first order, Vatsyayana adopts the following methodology for presenting a problem--

(1) Study of current practices/prevailing norms or accepted orders,
(2) Study of past practices
(3) Diverse views of experts on the problem – the prima fecie view (purvapaksa) and the views exploring the other aspects of the problem, they also include the arguments that the imagined opponents might raise,
(4) Vatsyayana's view – This includes the view as finally accepted (siddhanta paksa) along with Vatsyayana's rebuttal's on opponent's arguments.
(5) Conclusions, clear instructions or injunctions.
V never imposes his point of view. He attempts an analysis of the problem, gives his perspective and then leaves it up to the men of good conduct to decide the norms.

Ks in fact presents an encyclopedic record of diverse practices regarding sex and ancient India individual and social life. But Vatsyayana forwarns against following all the practices described by him in practical life. A Sastra has a much wider scope than individual life. 'Therefore one should not start practicing whatever is stated in this Sastra'-he says- 'one has to apply his or her own discretion as well as consideration for time and place etc. Because of the privacy and fickleness of human nature, sex has no limits. The purport of Sastra is to regulate sexual behaviour and to stop human beings from excesses' (II.9.41-45). Yasodhara has made a very apt analysis of the structure of KS. He says that this Sastra has two layers of structure –i.e., tantra (technique) and avapa (means). Tantra is the applications part, which deals with the methodology of love and sex. Under avapa are included various means through which the lovers get united.-i.e. marriage, individual efforts and messengers social relationships etc. there is only one boo speaking of tantra or technique, and four books deal with avapa or means. The first book deals with general topics which are necessary for initiating both tantra and avapa, and the last book just covers the topics which could not be dealt under these two. (Y. on I.1.23).

About the Author

Radhavallabh Tripathi is presently working as Professor in the Department of Sanskrit, Dr. Hari Singh Gour University, Sagar M. P. He has been teaching in the university for 35 years and has successfully guided 28 research scholars for Ph. D. He has published 98 books and 150 research papers in Sanskrit, English and Hindi; and has completed a number of research projects.

He has received 20 national and international awards and honours including best research publication awards of 1988-89 of All India Oriental conference, MM P. V. Kane Memorial Goldmedal of 1989 of the Asiatic Society of Bombay; Kamban Samman of Hindi Academy, Calcutta; Kalidasa Awards of U. P. Sanskrit Academy, 1991, National ram Krishna Sanskrit Award of Canada, 1998 and Shankar Puraskar of KK Birla Trust, 2000 and Kalidasa Award of M. P. Sanskriti Parishad, 2000.

He has served as Visiting Professor of Sanskrit at Silpakorn University, Bangkok on deputation from ICCR for three years. Research for Ph. D. has been done and is being carried on his creative writings in Sanskrit in several universities.


1 Vatsyayana : The author of Kamasutra 10-11
2 Tradition of Kamasastra before Vatsyayana 11-14
  Vatsyayana on the tradition of Kama Sastra 14-16
3 Kamasutra as a Sastra 16-17
4 Scope of Kamasutra 17-19
5 Structure and Methodology of Kamasutra 19-21
6 Outline of Kamasutra 21-24
7 Theoretical Framework 14-16
  Purusartha, Holistic approach,  
  topology and geography in Kamasutra, Ethical, moral, hygienic issues, outlook towards woman, Liberal and humanitarian outlook, V on courtesans, Types of courtesans  
8 Kamasutra and other Sastras 34-42
  Kamasutra and Ayurveda, Kamasutra and Arthasastra, Kamasutra and Dharmasastra, Kamasutra and Natyasastra  
9 Vatsyayana and his successors 41-49
  commentators of Vatsyayana, Kokkoka, Jyotirisa Kavisekhara, Padmasi, Jayadeva, Devaraja, Rajanaka Ruyyaka, Sridhara, Kalyanamalla, Virabhadradeva, Other authors  
10 Vatsyayana and his successors on Eroticism 49-17
  Embrace (Alingana), Kiss (Cumbana), Scratches (Nakhacchedya) Bites (Dantacchedya), combinations and Coital postures (Samvesanaprakaras), slapping (Prahanana) and moaning (Sitkara), girp (Grahana), sporting with hair (Kacagraha), Rubbing (Mardana), sporting with hair (Kacagraha), Rubbing (Mardana), Enteing the tongue (Jihavapravetha), Sucking (Cusana), Exciting the nerves (Nadiksobhana), Sport of elephant's trunk (Karikarakrida), Sports from woman's side-Santadita, Types of lovers (Nakanayikabheda), Erogenous Zones and erogenous dates, Sanketa-lover's code language  
11 Vatsyayana in Contemporary Context 68-71
12 Manuscripts and Editions of Kamasutra, The present edition 71-73
  Selected Bibliography-Texts of Kamasutra, Other Sanskrit, Other Works Abbrevations 74-76
  Text with English Translation  
1 Sadharanadhikaranam Book I - General Observations 78-112
2 Samprayogikadhikaranam Book II - On Sex 113-181
3 Kanyasamprayuktakadhikaranam Book II - On Acquiring Virgins 182-217
4 Bhayardhikatikadhikaranam Book IV - About Wives 218-237
5 Paradarikadhikaranam Book V - ON Extra Marital Relations 238-283
6 Vaishikam Book VI - On Courtesans 284-331
7 Oupanishadikadhikaranam Book VII - On Secret Devices 332-349
  Notes 352-393
  Indices 393-427
  (1) Index on Topics 394-396
  (2) Authors and Texts Cited in Kamasutra 397-398
  (3) Historical and Mythological Figures Referred in Kamasutra 399
  (4) Index of Technical Terms in Kamasutra 399-427

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