The Kama Sutra (Preface, page 2 of 3)


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The author of the 'Five Arrows' (No. 2 in the list) was one Jyotirisha. He is called the chief ornament of poets, the treasure of the sixty-four arts, and the best teacher of the rules of music. He says that he composed the work after reflecting on the aphorisms of love as revealed by the gods, and studying the opinions of Gonikaputra, Muladeva, Babhravya, Ramtideva, Nundikeshwara and Kshemandra. It is impossible to say whether he had perused all the works of these authors, or had only heard about them; anyhow, none of them appear to be in existence now. This work contains nearly six hundred verses, and is divided into five chapters, called Sayakas or Arrows.

The author of the 'Light of Love' (No. 3) was the poet Gunakara, the son of Vechapati. The work contains four hundred verses, and gives only a short account of the doctrines of love, dealing more with other matters.

'The Garland of Love' (No. 4) is the work of the famous poet Jayadeva, who said about himself that he is a writer on all subjects. This treatise is, however, very short, containing only one hundred and twenty-five verses.

The author of the 'Sprout of Love' (No. 5) was a poet called Bhanudatta. It appears from the last verse of the manuscript that he was a resident of the province of Tirhoot, the son of a Brahman named Ganeshwar, who was also a poet. The work, written in Sanscrit, gives the descriptions of different classes of men and women, their classes being made out from their age, description, conduct, etc. It contains three chapters, and its date is not known, and cannot be ascertained.

'The Stage of Love' (No. 6) was composed by the poet Kullianmull, for the amusement of Ladkhan, the son of Ahmed Lodi, the same Ladkhan being in some places spoken of as Ladana Mull, and in others as Ladanaballa. He is supposed to have been a relation or connection of the house of Lodi, which reigned in Hindostan from A.D. 1450-1526. The work would, therefore, have been written in the fifteenth or sixteenth century. It contains ten chapters, and has been translated into English, but only six copies were printed for private circulation. This is supposed to be the latest of the Sanscrit works on the subject, and the ideas in it were evidently taken from previous writings of the same nature.

The contents of these works are in themselves a literary curiosity. There are to be found both in Sanscrit poetry and in the Sanscrit drama a certain amount of poetical sentiment and romance, which have, in every country and in every language, thrown an immortal halo round the subject. But here it is treated in a plain, simple, matter of fact sort of way. Men and women are divided into classes and divisions in the same way that Buffon and other writers on natural history have classified and divided the animal world. As Venus was represented by the Greeks to stand forth as the type of the beauty of woman, so the Hindoos describe the Padmini or Lotus woman as the type of most perfect feminine excellence, as follows: She in whom the following signs and symptoms appear is called a Padmini. Her face is pleasing as the full moon; her body, well clothed with flesh, is soft as the Shiras or mustard flower, her skin is fine, tender and fair as the yellow lotus, never dark coloured. Her eyes are bright and beautiful as the orbs of the fawn, well cut, and with reddish corners. Her bosom is hard, full and high; she has a good neck; her nose is straight and lovely, and three folds or wrinkles cross her middle--about the umbilical region. Her yoni resembles the opening lotus bud, and her love seed (Kama salila) is perfumed like the lily that has newly burst. She walks with swan-like gait, and her voice is low and musical as the note of the Kokila bird, she delights in white raiments, in fine jewels, and in rich dresses. She eats little, sleeps lightly, and being as respectful and religious as she is clever and courteous, she is ever anxious to worship the gods, and to enjoy the conversation of Brahmans. Such, then, is the Padmini or Lotus woman.

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