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q Preface

q Introduction

q Over 40 sexual positions with images and detailed explanations

q Preface

q Observations on the three worldly attainments of Virtue, Wealth, and Love

q On the study of the Sixty-four Arts

q On the Arrangements of a House, and Household Furniture; and about the

Daily Life of a Citizen, his Companions, Amusements, etc.
q About classes of Women fit and unfit for Congress with the Citizen, and of

Friends, and Messengers
q Kinds of Union according to Dimensions, Force of Desire, and Time; and on

the different kinds of Love
q Of the Embrace

q On Kissing

q On Pressing or Marking with the Nails

q On Biting, and the ways of Love to be employed with regard to Women of

different countries
q On the various ways of Lying down, and the different kinds of Congress

q On the various ways of Striking, and of the Sounds appropriate to them

q About females acting the part of Males

q On holding the Lingam in the Mouth

q How to begin and how to end the Congress. Different kinds of Congress, and

Love Quarrels
q Observations on Betrothal and Marriage

q About creating Confidence in the Girl

q Courtship, and the manifestation of the feelings by outward signs and deeds

q On things to be done only by the Man, and the acquisition of the Girl thereby.

Also what is to be done by a Girl to gain over a Man and subject him to her
q On the different Forms of Marriage

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In the literature of all countries there will be found a certain number of works
treating especially of love. Everywhere the subject is dealt with differently, and
from various points of view. In the present publication it is proposed to give a
complete translation of what is considered the standard work on love in Sanscrit
literature, and which is called the `Vatsyayana Kama Sutra', or Aphorisms on
Love, by Vatsyayana. While the introduction will deal with the evidence
concerning the date of the writing, and the commentaries written upon it, the
chapters following the introduction will give a translation of the work itself. It is,
however, advisable to furnish here a brief analysis of works of the same nature,
prepared by authors who lived and wrote years after Vatsyayana had passed
away, but who still considered him as the great authority, and always quoted
him as the chief guide to Hindoo erotic literature.

Besides the treatise of Vatsyayana the following works on the same subject are
procurable in India:

The Ratirahasya, or secrets of love
The Panchasakya, or the five arrows
The Smara Pradipa, or the light of love
The Ratimanjari, or the garland of love
The Rasmanjari, or the sprout of love
The Anunga Runga, or the stage of love; also called Kamaledhiplava, or a boat
in the ocean of love.

The author of the `Secrets of Love' was a poet named Kukkoka. He composed
his work to please one Venudutta, who was perhaps a king. When writing his
own name at the end of each chapter he calls himself `Siddha patiya pandita',
i.e. an ingenious man among learned men. The work was translated into Hindi
years ago, and in this the author's name was written as Koka. And as the same
name crept into all the translations into other languages in India, the book
became generally known, and the subject was popularly called Koka Shastra, or
doctrines of Koka, which is identical with the Kama Shastra, or doctrines of
love, and the words Koka Shastra and Kama Shastra are used indiscriminately.

The work contains nearly eight hundred verses, and is divided into ten
chapters, which are called Pachivedas. Some of the things treated of in this
work are not to be found in the Vatsyayana, such as the four classes of women,
the Padmini, Chitrini, Shankini and Hastini, as also the enumeration of the days
and hours on which the women of the different classes become subject to love,
The author adds that he wrote these things from the opinions of Gonikaputra
and Nandikeshwara, both of whom are mentioned by Vatsyayana, but their
works are not now extant. It is difficult to give any approximate idea as to the
year in which the work was composed. It is only to be presumed that it was
written after that of Vatsyayana, and previous to the other works on this
subject that are still extant. Vatsyayana gives the names of ten authors on the
subject, all of whose works he had consulted, but none of which are extant, and
does not mention this one. This would tend to show that Kukkoka wrote after
Vatsya, otherwise Vatsya would assuredly have mentioned him as an author in
this branch of literature along with the others.

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It may be interesting to some persons to learn how it came about that
Vatsyayana was first brought to light and translated into the English language.
It happened thus. While translating with the pundits the `Anunga Runga, or the
stage of love', reference was frequently found to be made to one Vatsya. The
sage Vatsya was of this opinion, or of that opinion. The sage Vatsya said this,
and so on. Naturally questions were asked who the sage was, and the pundits
replied that Vatsya was the author of the standard work on love in Sanscrit
literature, that no Sanscrit library was complete without his work, and that it
was most difficult now to obtain in its entire state. The copy of the manuscript
obtained in Bombay was defective, and so the pundits wrote to Benares,
Calcutta and Jeypoor for copies of the manuscript from Sanscrit libraries in
those places. Copies having been obtained, they were then compared with each
other, and with the aid of a Commentary called `Jayamangla' a revised copy of
the entire manuscript was prepared, and from this copy the English translation
was made. The following is the certificate of the chief pundit:

`The accompanying manuscript is corrected by me after comparing four
different copies of the work. I had the assistance of a Commentary called
"Jayamangla" for correcting the portion in the first five parts, but found great
difficulty in correcting the remaining portion, because, with the exception of one
copy thereof which was tolerably correct, all the other copies I had were far too
incorrect. However, I took that portion as correct in which the majority of the
copies agreed with each other.'

The `Aphorisms on Love' by Vatsyayana contain about one thousand two
hundred and fifty slokas or verses, and are divided into parts, parts into
chapters, and chapters into paragraphs. The whole consists of seven parts,
thirty-six chapters, and sixty-four paragraphs. Hardly anything is known about
the author. His real name is supposed to be Mallinaga or Mrillana, Vatsyayana
being his family name. At the close of the work this is what he writes about

`After reading and considering the works of Babhravya and other ancient
authors, and thinking over the meaning of the rules given by them, this treatise
was composed, according to the precepts of the Holy Writ, for the benefit of the
world, by Vatsyayana, while leading the life of a religious student at Benares,
and wholly engaged in the contemplation of the Deity. This work is not to be
used merely as an instrument for satisfying our desires. A person acquainted
with the true principles of this science, who preserves his Dharma (virtue or
religious merit), his Artha (worldly wealth) and his Kama (pleasure or sensual
gratification), and who has regard to the customs of the people, is sure to
obtain the mastery over his senses. In short, an intelligent and knowing person
attending to Dharma and Artha and also to Kama, without becoming the slave
of his passions, will obtain success in everything that he may do.'

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Salutation to Dharma, Artha and Kama
In the beginning, the Lord of Beings created men and women, and in the form
of commandments in one hundred thousand chapters laid down rules for
regulating their existence with regard to Dharma,(1) Artha,(2) and Kama.(3)
Some of these commandments, namely those which treated of Dharma, were
separately written by Swayambhu Manu; those that related to Artha were
compiled by Brihaspati; and those that referred to Kama were expounded by
Nandi, the follower of Mahadeva, in one thousand chapters.

Now these `Kama Sutra' (Aphorisms on Love), written by Nandi in one
thousand chapters, were reproduced by Shvetaketu, the son of Uddvalaka, in
an abbreviated form in five hundred chapters, and this work was again similarly
reproduced in an abridged form, in one hundred and fifty chapters, by
Babhravya, an inheritant of the Punchala (South of Delhi) country. These one
hundred and fifty chapters were then put together under seven heads or parts
named severally

Sadharana (general topics)
Samprayogika (embraces, etc.)
Kanya Samprayuktaka (union of males and females)
Bharyadhikarika (on one's own wife)
Paradika (on the wives of other people)
Vaisika (on courtesans)
Aupamishadika (on the arts of seduction, tonic medicines, etc.)

The sixth part of this last work was separately expounded by Dattaka at the
request of the public women of Pataliputra (Patna), and in the same way
Charayana explained the first part of it. The remaining parts, viz. the second,
third, fourth, fifth, and seventh, were each separately expounded by
Suvarnanabha (second part)
Ghotakamukha (third part)
Gonardiya (fourth part)
Gonikaputra (fifth part)
Kuchumara (seventh part), respectively.

Thus the work being written in parts by different authors was almost
unobtainable and, as the parts which were expounded by Dattaka and the
others treated only of the particular branches of the subject to which each part
related, and moreover as the original work of Babhravya was difficult to be
mastered on account of its length, Vatsyayana, therefore, composed his work in
a small volume as an abstract of the whole of the works of the above named

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Observations on the three worldly attainments of Virtue, Wealth, and

Man, the period of whose life is one hundred years, should practise Dharma,
Artha and Kama at different times and in such a manner that they may
harmonize together and not clash in any way. He should acquire learning in his
childhood, in his youth and middle age he should attend to Artha and Kama,
and in his old age he should perform Dharma, and thus seek to gain Moksha,
i.e. release from further transmigration. Or, on account of the uncertainty of
life, he may practise them at times when they are enjoined to be practised. But
one thing is to be noted, he should lead the life of a religious student until he
finishes his education.

Dharma is obedience to the command of the Shastra or Holy Writ of the
Hindoos to do certain things, such as the performance of sacrifices, which are
not generally done, because they do not belong to this world, and produce no
visible effect; and not to do other things, such as eating meat, which is often
done because it belongs to this world, and has visible effects.

Dharma should be learnt from the Shruti (Holy Writ), and from those
conversant with it.

Artha is the acquisition of arts, land, gold, cattle, wealth, equipages and friends.
It is, further, the protection of what is acquired, and the increase of what is

Artha should be learnt from the king's officers, and from merchants who may
be versed in the ways of commerce.

Kama is the enjoyment of appropriate objects by the five senses of hearing,
feeling, seeing, tasting and smelling, assisted by the mind together with the
soul. The ingredient in this is a peculiar contact between the organ of sense and
its object, and the consciousness of pleasure which arises from that contact is
called Kama.

Kama is to be learnt from the Kama Sutra (aphorisms on love) and from the
practice of citizens.

When all the three, viz. Dharma, Artha and Kama, come together, the former is
better than the one which follows it, i.e. Dharma is better than Artha, and Artha
is better than Kama. But Artha should always be first practised by the king for
the livelihood of men is to be obtained from it only. Again, Kama being the
occupation of public women, they should prefer it to the other two, and these
are exceptions to the general rule.

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On the arts and sciences to be studied

Man should study the Kama Sutra and the arts and sciences subordinate
thereto, in addition to the study of the arts and sciences contained in Dharma
and Artha. Even young maids should study this Kama Sutra along with its arts
and sciences before marriage, and after it they should continue to do so with
the consent of their husbands.

Here some learned men object, and say that females, not being allowed to
study any science, should not study the Kama Sutra.

But Vatsyayana is of opinion that this objection does not hold good, for women
already know the practice of Kama Sutra, and that practice is derived from the
Kama Shastra, or the science of Kama itself. Moreover, it is not only in this but
in many other cases that, though the practice of a science is known to all, only
a few persons are acquainted with the rules and laws on which the science is
based. Thus the Yadnikas or sacrificers, though ignorant of grammar, make use
of appropriate words when addressing the different Deities, and do not know
how these words are framed. Again, persons do the duties required of them on
auspicious days, which are fixed by astrology, though they are not acquainted
with the science of astrology. In a like manner riders of horses and elephants
train these animals without knowing the science of training animals, but from
practice only. And similarly the people of the most distant provinces obey the
laws of the kingdom from practice, and because there is a king over them, and
without further reason.1 And from experience we find that some women, such
as daughters of princes and their ministers, and public women, are actually
versed in the Kama Shastra.

A female, therefore, should learn the Kama Shastra, or at least a part of it, by
studying its practice from some confidential friend. She should study alone in
private the sixty-four practices that form a part of the Kama Shastra. Her
teacher should be one of the following persons: the daughter of a nurse brought
up with her and already married,2 or a female friend who can be trusted in
everything, or the sister of her mother (i.e. her aunt), or an old female servant,
or a female beggar who may have formerly lived in the family, or her own sister
who can always be trusted.

The following are the arts to be studied, together with the Kama Sutra:


Playing on musical instruments


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The life of a citizen

Having thus acquired learning, a man, with the wealth that he may have gained
by gift, conquest, purchase, deposit,1 or inheritance from his ancestors, should
become a householder, and pass the life of a citizen.2 He should take a house
in a city, or large village, or in the vicinity of good men, or in a place which is
the resort of many persons. This abode should be situated near some water,
and divided into different compartments for different purposes. It should be
surrounded by a garden, and also contain two rooms, an outer and an inner
one. The inner room should be occupied by the females, while the outer room,
balmy with rich perfumes, should contain a bed, soft, agreeable to the sight,
covered with a clean white cloth, low in the middle part, having garlands and
bunches of flowers3 upon it, and a canopy above it, and two pillows, one at the
top, another at the bottom. There should be also a sort of couch besides, and at
the head of this a sort of stool, on which should be placed the fragrant
ointments for the night, as well as flowers, pots containing collyrium and other
fragrant substances, things used for perfuming the mouth, and the bark of the
common citron tree. Near the couch, on the ground, there should be a pot for
spitting, a box containing ornaments, and also a lute hanging from a peg made
of the tooth of an elephant, a board for drawing, a pot containing perfume,
some books, and some garlands of the yellow amaranth flowers. Not far from
the couch, and on the ground, there should be a round seat, a toy cart, and a
board for playing with dice; outside the outer room there should be cages of
birds,4 and a separate place for spinning, carving and such like diversions. In
the garden there should be a whirling swing and a common swing, as also a
bower of creepers covered with flowers, in which a raised parterre should be
made for sitting.

Now the householder, having got up in the morning and performed his
necessary duties,5 should wash his teeth, apply a limited quantity of ointments
and perfumes to his body, put some ornaments on his person and collyrium on
his eyelids and below his eyes, colour his lips with alacktaka,6 and look at
himself in the glass. Having then eaten betel leaves, with other things that give
fragrance to the mouth, he should perform his usual business. He should bathe
daily, anoint his body with oil every other day, apply a lathering substance7 to
his body every three days, get his head (including face) shaved every four days
and the other parts of his body every five or ten days.8 All these things should
be done without fail, and the sweat of the armpits should also be removed.
Meals should be taken in the forenoon, in the afternoon, and again at night,
according to Charayana. After breakfast, parrots and other birds should be
taught to speak, and the fighting of cocks, quails, and rams should follow. A
limited time should be devoted to diversions with Pithamardas, Vitas, and
Vidushakas,9 and then should be taken the midday sleep.10 After this the
householder, having put on his clothes and ornaments, should, during the
afternoon, converse with his friends. In the evening there should be singing,
and after that the householder, along with his friend, should await in his room,
previously decorated and perfumed, the arrival of the woman that may be
attached to him, or he may send a female messenger for her, or go for her
himself. After her arrival at his house, he and his friend should welcome her,
and entertain her with a loving and agreeable conversation. Thus end the duties
of the day.

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About the kinds of women resorted to by the citizens, and of friends
and messengers

When Kama is practised by men of the four castes according to the rules of the
Holy Writ (i.e. by lawful marriage) with virgins of their own caste, it then
becomes a means of acquiring lawful progeny and good fame, and it is not also
opposed to the customs of the world. On the contrary the practice of Kama with
women of the higher castes, and with those previously enjoyed by others, even
though they be of the same caste, is prohibited. But the practice of Kama with
women of the lower castes, with women excommunicated from their own caste,
with public women, and with women twice married,1 is neither enjoined nor

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