Kama Shastra

Kamashastra refers to the tradition of works on the Kama: Desire (love, erotic, sensual, and sexual desire in this case). It, therefore, has a practical orientation, similar to that of Arthashastra, the tradition of texts on politics and government. Just as the latter instructs kings and ministers about government,  Kāmashastra aims to instruct the townsman (nāgarika) in the way to attain enjoyment and fulfillment. The entire approach to love and sex in Kāvya poetry is governed by the Kamashastra.  

The oldest available text on this subject is the Kama Sutra ascribed to Vatsyayana who is often erroneously called “Mallanaga Vātsyāyana”. Yashodhara, in his commentary on the Kama Sutra, attributes the origin of erotic science to Mallanaga, the “prophet of the Asuras”, implying that the Kama Sutra originated in prehistoric times. The attribution of the name “Mallanaga” to Vātsyāyana is due to the confusion of his role as editor of the Kama Sutra with the role of the mythical creator of erotic science.  

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