History Of The Kama Sutra
You’ve probably heard of the Kama Sutra and have a vague idea that it’s got to do with having sex in quite unusual ways. Would it surprise you to learn there’s a lot more to it than that? The Kama Sutra is a profound and diverse philosophy which has been hugely influential for thousands of years. While there is no one individual author of the text, the Hindu philosopher Vatsyayana was responsible for compiling all its various fragments in the third century. Curiously, Vatsayayana actually claimed to be celibate, and insisted that the sexual wisdom he imparted in the text was achieved through nothing more than profound, daily meditation. Certain Indian traditions place great value on the ‘Purusharthas,’ which serve as the four main goals of life. They are ‘Dharma,’ living virtuously, ‘Artha,’ becoming wealthy, ‘Moksha,’ which involves breaking free of the reincarnation cycle of birth, death, birth, death,’ and finally, of course, ‘Kama,’ sexual desire. Of those four, Kama is considered the least important, and can only be pursued when doing so doesn’t conflict with either Dharma or Artha. This has to be taken into consideration when looking at the Kama Sutra- sex is great, for sure, but it cannot get in the way of being a good human being.
True History of The Kama Sutra
Growth in popularity of Kama Sutra
The Kama Sutra was first translated into English in 1883, which led to a massive resurgence of its popularity after another, more contemporary version of it called the Ananga Ranga had become more influential in India over the course of the second millennium. Ironically, that update placed much less value on the woman’s role during sex, which goes some way to explaining why in 2016 it’s still the Kama Sutra that captures the world’s imagination, and not so much the Ananga Ranga.
Sharing the pleasure
The Kama Sutra considers it vitally important that men and women get an equal amount of pleasure from sex, and also possess equal levels of intelligence, enough to derive pleasure from the pursuit of knowledge. In this respect, the text seems out of its time; considering in India this is how people were thinking as early as the third century, it’s astonishing that in other parts of the world religious traditions for so long encouraged women to be nothing more than subservient to their husbands, both sexually and intellectually. Indeed, if a man is unable to provide a woman with either of those pleasures, she is encouraged to go off and seek them somewhere else. The Kama Sutra conceives sex as something which woman should play an active and enthusiastic part in, and that’s one of the reasons why it has remained relevant for so many couples well into the 21st century.
Philosophy behind Kama Sutra
The Kama Sutra also delivers a message of body positivity. The sexual positions outlined in the text are so varied that anyone of any shape and size can find something intensely pleasurable that suits their body shape. Ultimately, it’s a philosophy about feeling great and enjoying life, and ensuring that the people you love the most do too. Sex is a key part of it, but far from the be all and end all. Everyone could learn something from the Kama Sutra’s teachings, and it is heartening that they still do, even after all these years.