Sunday, July 19, 2009

Oldest Indian Love Manual


The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana is the most famous of books on the ancient art of desire and love-making. It is the oldest and best known Indian sex manual.

Compiled somewhere between the second and fourth centuries B.C., it was written in Sanskrit by the Indian sage Vatsyayana. The work was based on earlier writings on sexual topics dating back as much as three thousand years.

Written for the wealthy male city-dweller, it was never meant to be a lover's guide for the masses. "Kama" means pleasure or sensual desire. It is the name of the Indian God that represents the sexual nature in man. "Sutra" means short books or aphorisms.

The Hindu "how-to" is divided into seven parts; general remarks, amorous advances, acquiring a wife, duties and privileges of a wife, relations with other men's wives, and a section about courtesans and occult means. The seventh part is an appendix to the main work.

The Kama Sutra details the many kissing techniques, courting practices, ways of treating marriage partners as well as consorts, and the concocting of aphrodisiacs.

The first English edition of the work was privately printed in 1883. Today this earliest surviving example of a written Hindu love-manual still has the power to fascinate with its insight into the ancient sexual mysteries of the Far East and the senual and sexual play of an ancient culture.

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