Minor punctuation errors have been changed without notice. Printer
errors have been changed and are listed at the end.
TRANSLATED FROM THE SANSCRIT.
IN SEVEN PARTS,
_Cosmopoli: MDCCCLXXXIII: for the Kama Shastra Society of
London and Benares, and for private circulation only._
TO THAT SMALL PORTION OF THE BRITISH PUBLIC
WHICH TAKES ENLIGHTENED INTEREST IN
STUDYING THE MANNERS AND CUSTOMS
OF THE OLDEN EAST.
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
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
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.
The work contains nearly eight hundred verses, and is divided into ten
chapters, which are called Pachivedas. Some of the things treated of in
this work are not to be found in the Vatsyayana, such as the four
classes of women, viz., the Padmini, Chitrini, Shankini and Hastini, as
also the enumeration of the days and hours on which the women of the
different classes become subject to love. The author adds that he wrote
these things from the opinions of Gonikaputra and Nandikeshwara, both of
whom are mentioned by Vatsyayana, but their works are not now extant. It
is difficult to give any approximate idea as to the year in which the
work was composed. It is only to be presumed that it was written after
that of Vatsyayana, and previous to the other works on this subject that
are still extant. Vatsyayana gives the names of ten authors on the
subject, all of whose works he had consulted, but none of which are
extant, and does not mention this one. This would tend to show that
Kukkoka wrote after Vatsya, otherwise Vatsya would assuredly have
mentioned him as an author in this branch of literature along with the
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
'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
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.
Detailed descriptions then follow of the Chitrini or Art woman; the
Shankhini or Conch woman, and the Hastini or Elephant woman, their days
of enjoyment, their various seats of passion, the manner in which they