Maharishi Vatsyayana (IND.) In Indian literature, Kamashastra refers to the tradition of works on 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 former instructs kings and ministers about government, Kamashastra aims to instruct the townsman (nāgarika) in the way to attain enjoyment and fulfillment.
The earliest text of the Kama Shastra tradition, said to have contained a vast amount of information, is attributed to Nandi the sacred bull, Shiva’s doorkeeper, who was moved to sacred utterance by overhearing the lovemaking of the god Shiva and his wife Parvati. During the 8th century BC, Shvetaketu, son of Uddalaka, produced a summary of Nandi’s work, but this “summary” was still too vast to be accessible. A scholar called Babhravya, together with a group of his disciples, produced a summary of Shvetaketu’s summary, which nonetheless remained a huge and encyclopaedic tome. Between the 3rd and 1st centuries BC, several authors reproduced different parts of the Babhravya group’s work in various specialist treatises. Among the authors, those whose names are known are Charayana, Ghotakamukha, Gonardiya, Gonikaputra, Suvarnanabha, and Dattaka.
However, 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 Vatsyayana is due to the confusion of his role as editor of the Kama Sutra with the role of the mythical creator of erotic science. Vatsyayana’s birth date is not accurately known, but he must have lived earlier than the 7th century since he is referred to by Subandhu in his poem Vasavadatta. On the other hand Vatsyayana. must have been familiar with the Arthashastra of Kautilya Vatsyayana. refers to and quotes a number of texts on this subject, which unfortunately have been lost.
Following Vatsyayana., a number of authors wrote on Kāmashastra, some writing independent manuals of erotics, while others commented on Vatsyayana.. Later well-known works include KOkkaka’s Ratirashasya (13th century) and Anangaranga of Kalyanamalla (16th century). The most well-known commentator on Vatsyayana is Jayamangala (13th century).
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