A Deeper Penetration of the Kama Sutra

The Kama Sutra is commonly portrayed as the Old Testament of bone-age. It’s name conjures up images of lovers entwined like coital pretzels on palace floors. However, in reality only one seventh of the two thousand year old Kama Sutra features its famous graphic depictions of inventive sexual positions. Leading Sanskrit scholar A.N.D. Haksar aims to set the record straight with Kama Sutra: The Art of Pleasure, which is creating a stir for its intellectual, rather than sensual pleasures.

Discarding flowery terminology, Haksar uses blunt modern language to give new, accessible, often giggle-inducing insights into the mindset of ancient Indian society, with ‘lingam’ and ‘yoni’ simplified to ‘cock’ and ‘vagina.’ There are also extensive instructions on how to ‘make a pass’ at objects of one’s affection.

Lacking any images whatsoever, this translation focuses on the original author’s holistic guide to the art of living. It suggests practices that are not only prudent, enlightened, and erotic, but are also pretty bizarre. Within its pages are the secrets to seducing the wives of 2nd century Indian aristocrats, the correct use of hallucinogens, the various ways you can artistically scratch and bite your lover, and how to use balm made of monkey feces and stinging fruit to ensure the faithfulness of your mistress.

The text represents an ancient worldview where polygamy, harems, and aphrodisiacs colored daily life and spiritual, political, and romantic power were inseparable. The Kama Sutra, as demonstrated in Haksar’s work, is ultimately about the social relations between men and women, which in 200 AD, as today, were always in flux. It offers a glimpse into the dynamic nature of sexuality and gender, and a new perspective on how to fully enjoy one’s life – Peacock, Sun Wheel, and Lotus positions optional.

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