The Kama Sutra (Preface, page 1 of 6)


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In the literature of all countries there will be found a certain number of works treating especially of love. Everywhere the subject is dealt with differently, and from various points of view. In the present publication it is proposed to give a complete translation of what is considered the standard work on love in Sanscrit literature, and which is called the 'Vatsyayana Kama Sutra,' or Aphorisms on Love, by Vatsyayana.

While the introduction will bear with the evidence concerning the date of the writing, and the commentaries written upon it, the chapters following the introduction will give a translation of the work itself. It is, however, advisable to furnish here a brief analysis of works of the same nature, prepared by authors who lived and wrote years after Vatsya had passed away, but who still considered him as a great authority, and always quoted him as the chief guide to Hindoo erotic literature.

Besides the treatise of Vatsyayana the following works on the same subject are procurable in India:

1. The Ratirahasya, or secrets of love.

2. The Panchasakya, or the five arrows.

3. The Smara Pradipa, or the light of love.

4. The Ratimanjari, or the garland of love.

5. The Rasmanjari, or the sprout of love.

6. The Anunga Runga, or the stage of love; also called Kamaledhiplava, or a boat in the ocean of love.

The author of the 'Secrets of Love' (No. 1) was a poet named Kukkoka. He composed his work to please one Venudutta, who was perhaps a king. When writing his own name at the end of each chapter he calls himself "Siddha patiya pandita," _i.e._, an ingenious man among learned men. The work was translated into Hindi years ago, and in this the author's name was written as Koka. And as the same name crept into all the translations into other languages in India, the book became generally known, and the subject was popularly called Koka Shastra, or doctrines of Koka, which is identical with the Kama Shastra, or doctrines of love, and the words Koka Shastra and Kama Shastra are used indiscriminately.

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