Kama Sutra

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Kama Sutra , translated by Richard Francis Burton
Based on the 1883 translation. See also the original in Sanskrit: वात्सायन कामसूत्र.

On Sexual Union[edit]


^ These were certainly materialists who seemed to think that a bird in the hand was worth two in the bush.

^ Among the Hindoos the four classes of men are the Brahmans or priestly class, the Kshutrya or warlike class, the Vaishya or agricultural and mercantile class, and the Shoodra or menial class. The four stages of life are, the life of a religious student, the life of a householder, the life of a hermit, and the life of a Sunyasi or devotee.

^ Bali was a demon who had conquered Indra and gained his throne, but was afterwards overcome by Vishnu at the time of his fifth incarnation.

^ Dandakya is said to have abducted from the forest the daughter of a Brahman, named Bhargava, and, being cursed by the Brahman, was buried with his kingdom under a shower of dust. The place was called after his name the Dandaka forest, celebrated in the Bamayana, but now unknown. Ahalya was the wife of the sage Gautama. Indra caused her to believe that he was Gautama, and thus enjoyed her. He was cursed by Gautama and subsequently afflicted with a thousand ulcers on his body.

Kichaka was the brother-in-law of King Virata, with whom the Pandavas had taken refuge for one year. Kichaka was killed by Bhima, who assumed the disguise of Draupadi. For this story the Mahabarata should be referred to.

The story of Ravana is told in the Ramayana, which with the Mahabarata form the two great epic poems of the Hindoos; the latter was written by Vyasa, and the former by Valmiki.

^ The author wishes to prove that a great many things are done by people from practice and custom, without their being acquainted with the reason of things, or the laws on which they are based, and this is perfectly true.

^ The proviso of being married applies to all the teachers.

^ Gift is peculiar to a Brahman, conquest to a Kshatrya, while purchase, deposit, and other means of acquiring wealth belongs to the Vaishya.

^ This term would appear to apply generally to an inhabitant of Hindoostan. it is not meant only for a dweller in a city, like the Latin Urbanus as opposed to Rusticus.

^ Natural garden flowers.

^ Such as quails, partridges, parrots, starlings, etc.

^ The calls of nature are always performed by the Hindoos the first thing in the morning.

^ A colour made from lac.

^ This would act instead of soap, which was not introduced until the rule of the Mahomedans.

^ Ten days are allowed when the hair is taken out with a pair of pincers.

^ These are characters generally introduced in the Hindoo drama; their characteristics will be explained further on.

^ Noonday sleep is only allowed in summer, when the nights are short.

^ These are very common in all parts of India.

^ In the 'Asiatic Miscellany', and in Sir W. Jones's works, will be found a spirited hymn addressed to this goddess, who is adored as the patroness of the fine arts, especially of music and rhetoric, as the inventress of the Sanscrit language, etc. etc. She is the goddess of harmony, eloquence and language, and is somewhat analogous to Minerva. For farther information about her, see Edward Moor's Hindoo Pantheon.

^ The public women, or courtesans (Vesya), of the early Hindoos have often been compared with the Hetera of the Greeks. The subject is dealt with at some length in H. H. Wilson's Select Specimens of the Theatre of the Hindoos, in two volumes, Trubner and Co., 1871. It may be fairly considered that the courtesan was one of the elements, and an important element too, of early Hindoo society, and that her education and intellect were both superior to that of the women of the household. Wilson says, 'By the Vesya or courtesan, however, we are not to understand a female who has disregarded the obligation of law or the precepts of virtue, but a character reared by a state of manners unfriendly to the admission of wedded females into society, and opening it only at the expense of reputation to women who were trained for association with men by personal and mental acquirements to which the matron was a stranger.'.

^ According to this description a Pithamarda would be a sort of professor of all the arts, and as such received as the friend and confidant of the citizen.

^ A seat in the form of the letter T.

^ The Vita is supposed to represent somewhat the character of the Parasite of the Greek comedy. It is possible that he was retained about the person of the wealthy and dissipated as a kind of private instructor, as well as an entertaining companion.

^ Vidushaka is evidently the buffoon and jester. Wilson says of him that he is the humble companion, not the servant, of a prince or man of rank, and it is a curious peculiarity that he is always a Brahman. He bears more affinity to Sancho Panza, perhaps than any other character in western fiction, imitating him in his combination of shrewdness and simplicity, his fondness of good living and his love of ease. In the dramas of intrigue he exhibits some of the talents of Mercury, but with less activity and ingenuity, and occasionally suffers by his interference. According to the technical definition of his attributes he is to excite mirth by being ridiculous in person, age, and attire.

^ This means, it is presumed, that the citizen should be acquainted with several languages. The middle part of this paragraph might apply to the Nihilists and Fenians of the day, or to secret societies. It was perhaps a reference to the Thugs.

^ This term does not apply to a widow, but to a woman who has probably left her husband, and is living with some other person as a married woman, maritalement, as they say in France.

^ Any woman fit to be enjoyed without sin. The object of the enjoyment of women is twofold, viz. pleasure and progeny. Any woman who can be enjoyed without sin for the purpose of accomplishing either the one or the other of these two objects is a Nayika. The fourth kind of Nayika which Vatsya admits further on is neither enjoyed for pleasure or for progeny, but merely for accomplishing some special purpose in hand. The word Nayika is retained as a technical term throughout.

This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.