The Kama Sutra and Ananga Ranga (Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading) [NOOK Book]

Overview


Kama Sutra is a compilation of timeless wisdom from the third century AD about the arts of pleasurable living. It contains detailed advice on topics ranging from attraction, courtship, seduction, marriage, and sexual union.  Written twelve hundred years later, the Ananga Ranga is an updated version, drawing extensively upon the cornucopia of sexual positions that the Kama Sutra first proposed.  Their sexual candor, along with vivid descriptions of sexual positions, make the Kama Sutra and the Ananga ...

See more details below
The Kama Sutra and Ananga Ranga (Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading)

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$3.49
BN.com price
(Save 12%)$3.99 List Price

Overview


Kama Sutra is a compilation of timeless wisdom from the third century AD about the arts of pleasurable living. It contains detailed advice on topics ranging from attraction, courtship, seduction, marriage, and sexual union.  Written twelve hundred years later, the Ananga Ranga is an updated version, drawing extensively upon the cornucopia of sexual positions that the Kama Sutra first proposed.  Their sexual candor, along with vivid descriptions of sexual positions, make the Kama Sutra and the Ananga Ranga indispensable guides to couples seeking to enhance their sexual relationship. 

Read More Show Less

Product Details

Introduction

Almost two thousand years old, the Kama Sutra is a compilation of timeless wisdom about the arts of pleasurable living. Written during the third century AD in Sanskrit, the literary language of ancient India, the text known as the Kama Sutra contains detailed inventories and lists of advice on topics ranging from homemaking to lovemaking, covering the arts of attraction, courtship, seduction, marriage, and sexual union. Also written in Sanskrit, but some twelve hundred years later, the Ananga Ranga is an updated version, drawing extensively upon the cornucopia of sexual positions that the Kama Sutra first proposed. Their sexual candor, along with vivid descriptions of sexual positions, make the Kama Sutra and The Ananga Ranga indispensable guides to couples seeking to enhance their sexual relationship.

In 1883, Richard F. Burton produced an edition of the Kama Sutra translated from the ancient Sanskrit to English. The English version was scandalous for its time, and in the first edition, only 250 copies were secretly printed. The Ananga Ranga came out two years later, enveloped in the same veils of secrecy. The 1880s were, after all, the Victorian era, a time of strictly regulated public morals. European publishers could be imprisoned for printing what was considered to be obscene literature. This was also the era of colonialism and empire, and Burton's translations of Eastern classics could be read as a threat to British ideas of racial and cultural superiority. As a result, the Kama Sutra and Ananga Ranga appeared subsequently only in limited private editions, ostensibly for medical professionals and scholarly researchers, along with numerous pirated editions printed in Brussels and Paris. The legal editions were-and in some cases still in fact are-kept under lock and key in public libraries. Only in the 1960s, as part of the rising countercultural interest in Asian religions, were Burton's Kama Sutra and Ananga Ranga made available to a larger reading public in America and Britain, and they quickly became required reading during the sexual revolution, reinvigorating the idea that ancient Hindu culture holds special wisdom for modern peoples. Today, the Western fascination with Eastern spirituality, including traditions of religious wisdom, yoga, diet, and meditation, remains as strong as ever, often serving as an antidote to a frenetic American lifestyle too often filled with stress, disenchantment, and information overload. The wisdom of the Kama Sutra and The Ananga Ranga provide a way for modern readers to bring such insight and sacred spirituality into the most intimate domains of sex and sexual relationships.

These two translations by Richard F. Burton, the British adventurer and linguist, have been pivotal to the widespread global popularization of these texts. Throughout his varied and fascinating career as an explorer and linguist, soldier and swordsman, travel writer and polymath Orientalist, translator and poet, geographer and anthropologist, archaeologist and geologist, and-toward the end of his life-diplomat and consul, Burton spent a great deal of his time searching out and documenting erotic customs and translating erotic literature from societies all over the globe. His various journeys and travels led him to work in and explore places as far-flung as India, Arabia, Africa, and even included a stint in America, where he studied practices of polygamy among the Mormons of Salt Lake City, Utah. Along with his friend John Speke, Richard Burton set out on a famous exploration to find the source of the Nile River. As a result of his linguistic skills-he was fluent in at least twenty-five languages-Burton could pass himself off as a native speaker. His adventures including traveling to Mecca and Medina disguised as a pilgrim, where he witnessed ceremonies at holy sites that were strictly off-limits to non-Muslims.

Throughout his life, Burton kept copious notes on human sexual behavior. These observations would later influence his translations of the Ananga Ranga, the Kama Sutra, and other erotic texts. Burton always considered himself an outsider to English polite society, and his resentment of strict Victorian codes gave both purpose and impetus to his studies. He often wrote the most explicit material in his footnotes in Latin, and elsewhere was very careful in his wording, especially when it came to female sexuality. Conducting this work at a time when translating and publishing ancient erotic literature could have led to his prosecution under the British Obscene Publications Act, Burton sought to challenge the environment of legal censorship of the Victorian age. His goal was to have the study of sexuality undertaken as a serious intellectual pursuit, and not dismissed merely as a social perversion. As co-founder of the Anthropological Society of London, he helped establish an institutional forum for the scientific study of sexuality.

Born in the English seaside resort town of Torquay in 1821, Richard Burton was the eldest of three children born to Captain Joseph Netterville Burton and his wife, Martha. His half-Irish father came from a well-to-do Protestant family, and whose own father served as a Protestant minister in Galway, Ireland. After serving in the British army in Italy, Joseph met Martha Baker at a military ball and they married in 1820. Joseph went on sick leave due to asthma, and the family moved to Europe when Richard was five years old. The family lived in English expatriate communities in France and Italy, and had a comfortable existence thanks to Martha's large inheritance. Richard was a precocious child, learning both Latin and Greek at age four. His education was eclectic, sometimes he studied in small schools for English expatriates or with private tutors employed for him and his brother. At the age of nineteen, Richard entered Oxford University where he often found himself unfamiliar with the codes of etiquette of English high society. After about a year and a half, he dropped out of the university to join the Bombay Infantry. As a member of the British military, Burton spent about six years in the Indian subcontinent, where he had relationships with Indian women and mastered a number of modern Indian languages. He was a prolific writer, publishing books on a wide variety of topics stemming from his explorations and travels. Toward the end of his life as his health declined, Burton pursued translations of literary erotica with great enthusiasm.

Burton first encountered the Ananga Ranga in the early 1870s, in collaboration with his friend F. F. Arbuthnot, a civil service employee and fellow linguist. In 1873, Burton and Arbuthnot arranged with a London printer to publish the Ananga Ranga in English. The text was given the title "Kama-Shastra," or, The Hindoo Art of Love (Ars Amoris Indica). This text was well known through the Indian subcontinent and Arabia, having been translated already into many local languages. Burton and Arbuthnot used only their initials-written backwards-to identify themselves as the translators, and noted in their introduction that the book was intended "for the private use of the translators only, in connection with a work on the Hindoo religion, and on the manners and customs of the Hindoos." Despite these precautions, only four copies of the Kama Shastra were printed. The printer abruptly cancelled the printing after realizing the text was of an erotic nature and questionable legal status. The actions of this printer made Burton realize that he could only achieve his dreams of bringing this literature to the attention of his contemporaries by a different path. It would be more than a decade before publication.

It was through these labors on the Ananga Ranga, however, that Burton came to know about the classic Kama Sutra. The author of the Ananga Ranga, Kalyanamalla, made numerous mentions to an earlier text upon which he had drawn extensively. The Kama Sutra was composed in a more difficult classical Sanskrit, making the text less well known across India despite its once foundational status. Burton and Arbuthnot approached Indian Sanskrit experts, known as pundits, to find a copy of this manuscript for their literary explorations. These personal connections with Indian scholars, who had the requisite language skills to read and interpret Sanskrit, were made Burton successful in his work.

While Burton is almost always given sole credit for his translations from ancient Sanskrit to English, in fact he relied heavily on the help of his collaborators, both Indian and British. Burton's role in both translation projects was to polish up the text produced by Arbuthnot, who himself commissioned the Sanskrit-English translations. In the case of the Kama Sutra, the work of translation was done by Indian pundits Bhagvanlal Indrajit and Shivaram Parashuram Bhide. In preparing their text, Indrajit and Bhide consulted a number of versions of the Kama Sutra kept in different libraries, along with the major commentaries. As recent translators of the Kama Sutra have noted, these commentaries tended to incorporate a male bias that pervades the Burton text, and is not as apparent in the original Sanskrit edition. Burton himself took some liberties with the translation, including the use of Sanskrit terms yoni and lingam for female and male genitals, which appear respectively nowhere or only infrequently in the original Sanskrit text.

In the early 1880s, with these two translations completed, Burton was ready to again tackle the tricky task of having these works published. As part of their determined project to print a number of translations of erotic texts and make them available to readers, Burton and Arbuthnot, along with erotic literary enthusiast Lord Monckton Milnes, formed the Kama Shastra Society of London and Benaras, whose purpose was to publish ancient and medieval erotic literature, ostensibly for "private subscribers only." This so-called society existed in name only, and their place of publishing, Cosmopoli, was a thinly veiled euphemism for London. In addition to the Kama Sutra and the Ananga Ranga, the Kama Shastra Society published translations of the Arabian Nights (a collection of tales about Sindbad, Ali Baba, and Aladdin), The Perfumed Garden (a text on sex by sixteenth-century author Shaykh Umar ibn Muhammed al-Nefzawi), Beharistan ("Abode of Spring," an erotic poem by Persian poet Jâmi), and Gulistan ("Rose Garden," homoerotic stories by thirteenth-century Persian writer Sadi).

The ancient corpus of practical knowledge about pursuing the life of pleasure, the Kama Sutra, was compiled originally in the third century AD by the Indian sage Vatsyayana. During much of his life Vatsyayana was based near the modern city of Patna, Bihar, in an ancient city known as Pataliputra. A celibate monk, Vatsyayana had retired to the banks of the Ganges River in Varanasi to meditate and prepare spiritually for his old age and eventual death. He claims that writing the Kama Sutra was strictly an exercise of mental concentration. Vatsyayana clearly was familiar with many regions of the Indian subcontinent. He sometimes refers to the unique sexual practices of different regions of India, such as the area now known as Maharashtra, in describing different groups of people and their sexual preferences. Almost nothing is known about Vatsyayana outside of the Kama Sutra-our only clues are what he has provided in the text itself.

Vatsyayana did not claim that the Kama Sutra was an original work. His text summarizes the writings of earlier writers on love and sex. The book, essentially a marriage manual, is divided into seven sections. The topics explored include Society and Social Concepts, On Sexual Union, About the Acquisition of a Wife, About a Wife, About the Wives of Other Men, About Courtesans, and On the Means of Attracting Others to Yourself. In the Kama Sutra, pleasure refers to the fruits of wealth and culture, including those pleasures of an erotic variety. Since there are no other surviving firsthand accounts of social and political life of this period, the text offers the unique opportunity to learn about the social and cultural practices of upper-class India during ancient times.

Many readers in modern times have assumed that the Kama Sutra is a book merely about sexual positions and erotic acrobatics. But sexual positions are only a small part of what the Kama Sutra encompasses. The book is framed within the trinity of life aims comprised of religious duty, wealth and status, and the pursuit of pleasure. The book is entitled Kama Sutra because the Sanskrit word "Kama" encompasses the ideas of love, affection, desire, sensuousness, and sexual pleasures. The second word of the title, "Sutra," refers to the genre of the book, which is written in the form of short aphorisms, or rules. Combined, then, the words Kama Sutra could be read as "A Treatise on Pleasure."

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Kama Sutra is that it was written for both men and women. Studying the famous "sixty-four arts," which is a list of the essential knowledge a lover must possess, provides the basic education that needs to be mastered by practitioners of Kama Sutra. Significantly, the Kama Sutra provided a major contribution to sexual knowledge because of its emphasis on female pleasure. According to the Kama Sutra, for a marriage to be successful, happy, and stable, it is the man's responsibility and duty that his wife should derive pleasure from sex. The book contains detailed advice on what a man must do to win over a woman, what a woman must do to win over a man, the states of a woman's mind, the role of a go-between, and the reasons why women might reject the advances of men. In terms of choosing a mate, the Kama Sutra advises on whether to consider fellow students or childhood friends. It provides charts that categorize male and female physical types and their compatibility with their lover's body. Varieties of embracing, kissing, scratching, biting, oral sex, and sexual intercourse are elaborated. The text also incorporates instruction on extramarital relationships, including with "the wives of other men," and devotes many pages to the methods of seduction-and methods of extortion-practiced by the courtesan. Finally, in case all of that knowledge should fail in winning the love that one seeks, the final chapter of the Kama Sutra contains recipes for tonics, powders, and foods that have the power to help attract others to oneself.

The Kama Sutra is not only a book with appeal to modern reading publics in America and Britain. It is a very important text in Indian literature. Since the third century CE, the Kama Sutra has been a key Sanskrit text in the literary history of India, considered the foundational text for works on erotica onwards, including the erotic texts called Kokashastra (Ratirahasya) and the Ananga Ranga (eleventh and fifteenth centuries, respectively), and inspiring renowned commentaries by major critics such as Yashodhara Indrapada in the thirteenth century. It also influenced Persian and Arabic erotic texts through the eighteenth century.

In the twentieth century, commentaries have been written in the modern Indian languages of Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, and Telegu. Burton's edition inspired Indian scholars to publish their own translations of the Kama Sutra, in English and local vernacular languages, sometimes editing out parts concerning the courtesans and references to homosexuality. In the sixties, the legal re-publication of the Kama Sutra prompted Alex Comfort to translate German editions of the Kokashastra (erotic verse poetry by Kokkoka) into English, which along with the line drawings became the basis for his seminal book, The Joy of Sex.

Along with Burton's Kama Sutra, Burton's Ananga Ranga is included in this edition, giving readers two major treatises on love, sex, and desire from India. The Ananga Ranga was the last major work in a whole genre of erotic literature inspired by the Kama Sutra. The name Ananga Ranga has been variously rendered in English as The Hindu Art of Love, Stage of the Bodiless One, The Pleasures of Women, and Theater of the Love God. The purpose of the Ananga Ranga is to promote marital fidelity by teaching married couples to bring variety to their physical pleasures to prevent monotony in monogamy. The author of the treatise, Kalyanamalla (1460-1530), was a Hindu poet who purportedly assembled the text for a Lodi monarch, a member of the powerful dynasty of Muslim rulers known as the Delhi Sultanate. Like that of Vatsyayana, little is known about the life of Kalyanamalla. He was presumably of the Brahmin caste and hailed from Kalinga. He dedicated the book to an official of the Lodi dynasty, which lasted from 1450 to 1526 AD. Kalyanamalla's patron was a nobleman called Ladakhana, son of King Ahmad. The royal patronage of the Ananga Ranga, along with its more accessible Sanskrit style, ensured that the work enjoyed a wide circulation. Translators produced versions of the text in Arabic, Persian, and Urdu, so it became known in many languages across a variety of places.

Like the Kama Sutra, the Ananga Ranga melds together sexuality and spirituality. The Ananga Ranga opens with a salutation to the god of love, followed by a dedication to the author's patron, Ladakhana. The Ananga Ranga is divided into ten chapters, and contains prescriptions for both social and sexual conduct for married couples. It begins with a detailed description of female bodies, and includes "centers of passion," erogenous zones, classifications of body types and the timeliness of their potential sexual pleasures. Classification and compatibility of males and females by their genital size is explored in various combinations and to their degree of passion. Many scholars speculate that Kalyanamalla lived in a more sexist society than earlier writers, noting that Kalyanamalla deviates from other writers by encouraging female stimulation without the use of fingers, a method that other texts heartily endorse.

It is a clichéd understatement to say that Burton's Kama Sutra and Ananga Ranga have had a lasting impact. Burton's Kama Sutra especially has served as the basis of subsequent re-translations of the book into dozens of languages. In terms of their impact on Western culture, Burton's translations contributed significantly to the popular image of a romantically mysterious Orient. His writing creates an image of the sexually libertine, uninhibited Orient in a rather subversive manner, as a counterpoint to the public tensions over sexuality expressed by his co-Victorians. The potential danger of Burton's texts did not lie in merely its relating customs of an erotic nature. The Kama Sutra and Ananga Ranga stood as threats to the presumed superiority of Western civilization, particularly relating to women. Presented by Burton as trans-historical and transcendent texts, the Kama Sutra and Ananga Ranga implied that Eastern women possessed a knowledge and freedom of sex far greater than their Victorian counterparts, who were still decades away from the discovery of the female orgasm. By translating them into English, Burton hoped to propagate this sexual knowledge for the enlightenment of his countrymen.

In the 1960s, publishers in the United States and Britain sought to challenge obscenity laws on the basis of the right to freedom of speech. They daringly published the Kama Sutra and the Ananga Ranga, pointing to the texts' scholarly and cultural merit. This rediscovery of Eastern candor about sex helped pave the way for ideas of sexual liberation. Today, there are no longer any legal obstacles to the publication of erotic literature, and globalization has largely replaced the political climate of colonialism. In today's more open society, many Westerners seek enlightenment and escape from the pressures of an increasingly complex world by turning to the wisdom of texts from ancient Eastern spiritual traditions. By providing a "treatise on pleasure" that Easterners and Westerners have turned to for centuries, the Kama Sutra and Ananga Ranga remain relevant over hundreds of years.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 37 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2012

    Free in public domain.

    No illustrations worth looking at. Text already free online.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 6, 2011

    Good read

    Enciteful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 37 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)