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The Kamasutra

The Original Sanskrit and An English Translation

By Vatsyayana, translated by Lars Martin Fosse • 466 pages • 6 x 9 • 50 Illustrations • Index

The first compete edition of the Kamasutra. It contains a crisp introduction; the original Sanskrit; a new, accurate and readable English translation; fifty full-page illustrations using period clothing, jewelry, and settings; and a thorough index. Composed almost two thousand years ago, it is surprisingly modern in its depiction of human nature and sexual practices.

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“The Kamasutra is one of the most famous books around. Everyone has heard of the famous book, but how many have actually read it? Well, if you are interested in reading the Kamasutra, then this is the translation you should pick!

This book at least claims to be the first complete edition of the Kamasutra, and certainly it does seem to have everything. Each section of the book begins with the words in the original Sanskrit, which is followed up by an English-language translation. The book is easy to understand, with none of the sections coming across as obscure or enigmatic. The book also contains fifty quite excellent full-page, pen-and-ink illustrations. These are done in a realistic manner, with the people or place shown depicted realistically for the period.

I really enjoyed this book. The sexual information was quite interesting; it's what made the book famous. But, I also was fascinated by the advice for wives in polygamous relationships. Personally, I think that just about anyone would be fascinated by this book, which has so much to say about sexuality, and about Indian culture in that era.”
—Alice in Wondland
Amazon.com

 

“One of the first things I noticed about this edition was the inclusion of the original Sanskrit text. The second thing I noticed was that the illustrations matched the clothing and jewelry of the era that the Kamasutra was written. These two details made reading the main text a lot more enjoyable and enriching for me (even though I can't read the original Sanskrit, it makes me feel more "connected" to the original writing from ancient Indian culture, especially since I've always had an interest in ancient civilizations).

With this clear introduction in place, the reader is then invited to peruse the rest of the book, which covers subjects such as sexual intercourse (ten chapters with seventeen sections--lots of juicy/useful details about ways of biting, unusual sex acts, beginning and conclusion of intercourse, etc.), conduct of a wife, courtesans (a very lovely and exotic section, for me!), and advanced methods (this one covers how to achieve luck in love, etc--albeit set in "the ancient world," still very educational and illuminating).

This book is also published by YogaVidya.com, which is "dedicated to publishing quality books about Yoga." I like that the company is completely independent of any commercial, governmental, educational or religious institutions, as I trust that this means the product/book is more like to be presented as what it is "in essence" (i.e., uninfluenced by personal and/or some other kind of moral or political agenda).

I am glad to say this was my experience with this textual edition and presentation of The Kamasutra. I'd recommend it to anyone who was interested in what the original text really is all about. The easy reading and nice accompanying illustrations help ensure this ancient (and practical) guide continues to be available to the masses in its original non-gimmicky state, so that we too can continue to explore the psychology and practice of pleasure through sexual behavior.”
—Ms. Jess
Amazon.com

 

“The Kamasutra enjoys a prominent place in the pantheon of pleasure. Too often bowdlerized or bastardized, it has been difficult for English speakers to comprehend the work in all its complexity. This new translation is at once accessible and comprehensive, and should serve as the definitive English version.”
—Leopold Froehlich
Playboy

Table of Contents

Introduction
Part One: General Matters
One: Summary of the Guide
Two: The Three Aims of Life
Three: Exposition of the Skills
Four: Lifestyle of the Elegant Man
Five: The Lover and His Companions

Part Two: Sexual Intercourse
One: Sexual Unions
Two: Embraces
Three: Ways of Kissing
Four: Forms of Scratching
Five: Biting and Behaviors
Six: Positions and Unusual Acts
Seven: Slapping and Moaning
Eight: Imitation and Techniques
Nine: Oral Sex
Ten: Sex: Beginning, Ending, Types, Quarrels

Part Three: Young Women
One: Choosing a Bride
Two: Winning Her Confidence
Three: Approaches and Gestures
Four: Advances
Five: Stratagems for Weddings

Part Four: The Wife
One: The Only Wife
Two: The Other Wives

Part Five: Other Men’s Wives
One: Seducing Successfully
Two: Intimacy and Advances
Three: Examination of Inclinations
Four: Tasks of the Female Messenger
Five: The Erotic Desire of Rulers
Six: Harems and Wives

Part Six: Courtesans
One: Friends and Lovers
Two: Compliance with the Lover
Three: Money, Indifference and Disposal
Four: Restoring a Broken Relationship
Five: Types of Profit
Six: Profit, Loss, Risk and Types of Available Women

Part Seven: Advanced Methods
One: Luck, Spellbinding and Aphrodisiacs
Two: Passion, Enlargement and Techniques

Contributors
Index

From the Introduction

The Kamasutra is the most famous guide to sensual pleasure ever written—indeed, one of the most notorious books in the history of the world. Its acute insights into human nature are still relevant today.

While previous publishers typically either stole the word “Kamasutra” and slapped it on a book of modern photographs, or neglected to include the original Sanskrit, or reprinted an old, faulty translation (or introduced a new, faulty translation), or included reproductions of miniatures made more than a millennium after the text was composed, YogaVidya.com and I have labored mightily to create a proper edition. It includes the original Sanskrit typeset in Devanagari, a new, accurate and readable English translation, and illustrations using period clothing, jewelry, and settings that actually correspond to what is described in the text.

Excerpt

In his love chamber, his decorated bedroom replete with flowers and filled with the fragrance of perfume and incense, the elegant man, together with his friends and servants, with soothing words should offer the woman—already slightly drunk, bathed, and adorned—another drink.

He sits down on her right side, touching her coiffure, the hem of her garment, or her waistband. He gently embraces her with his left arm to arouse her.

There follows jocular and affectionate conversation about past matters, mentioning briefly things secret and obscene.

There is music, with dance or without dance, and discussions about the arts. Then she is enticed with another drink.

When she starts to feel passionate, the rest of the people are sent away with a gift of flowers, oils, and betel. When they are alone, he should arouse her with the embraces and so forth that have been described. Then he should proceed to loosen her waistband, etc., as described.

About the Author

Lars Martin Fosse holds a master’s and doctorate from the University of Oslo, and also studied at the Universities of Heidelberg, Bonn, and Cologne. He has lectured at Oslo University on Sanskrit, Pali, Hinduism, text analysis, and statistics, and was a visiting fellow at Oxford University. He is one of Europe’s most experienced translators.