SP19 Eroticism and Emotional Fulfillment in the Spiritual Life Paper Attached is the previous paper we finished. The final paper is 10 pages.The professors feedback: “Expand the meat of the argument. Talk more on the current misconceptions about the kama sutra. Speak more in depth on how deep kama sutra is.” Dukes 1
Hinduism and Buddhism SP19
April 7, 2019
Sexuality, Eroticism and Emotional Fulfillment in the Spiritual Life: Kama Sutra
The research topic chosen for this study is the sexuality, eroticism and emotional
fulfillment in the spiritual life in Kama Sutra. In many instances, the Kama Sutra is seen as a sex
manual that primarily focuses on sexual positions. However, this perception is wrong and
subjectively selective. The Kama Sutra is the seminal love text in Indian cultures and religions,
and it has also achieved a legendary level as a masterpiece in Sanskrit literature. Studies have
determined that the book has been passed over from generation to another and several
adjustments have been made to its composition and arrangement of sections.
The working thesis statement for the paper is: While the Kama Sutra is primarily
depicted as a sex manual, a careful examination of the text shows that it is more of a text about
the philosophy of sexuality, the relationship between the sexes, eroticism, and emotional
fulfillment, and desire overall.
So far, some research has been conducted regarding the background, theories, and
contents of the Kama Sutra. It has been established that the Kama is a Sanskrit word that means
love, pleasure, and desire. Research has also been conducted as to the original connotations of
the word without inclining on the sexual position perspectives. It has been determined that the
word is not only used to mean sexual pleasure, as it also applies in such other contexts as good
music, food, perfumes, among others (Doniger 371).
Further research has also been conducted on Indian scriptures and what they have to say
about the Kamasutra, particularly as far as origins and histories are concerned. Important theories
about the Kamasutra have also been identified, and further research will be needed to determine
whether they are valid and reliable for the study. One of the theories that has so far been
examined is one which argues that the sacred bull, Nandi, who was the doorkeeper of God Shiva,
gave the text to humankind after overhearing the god having sex with his wife. This experience
is believed to have inspired the sacred bull to create the collection. There is yet another theory
that has been explored in the current study: it argues that the collection was developed by
Prajapati, an Indian deity who is believed to have created the original text with over 10,000
chapters. Research has also been conducted on Vatsyayana, who is believed to be the man
behind the systematic organization of the text.
Research has also been conducted on the understanding of Kamasutra as one of the goals
of life. One important text that tries to situate the kama among the three core goals of life is that
written by Danielou: The Kama was regarded as one of the three core goals of life. The other
two were dharma, which concerns itself with religion, morality, duty, law, justice, and social
obligations; and artha, which is about money, politics, power, and success (Danielou n.p.). The
original texts translation by Burton also offers some insight on this aspect: “Dharma is better
than Artha, and Artha is better than the Kama. But Artha should always be first practiced by the
king for the livelihood of men is to be obtained from it only. Again, the Kama being the
occupation of public women, they should prefer it to the other two, and these are exceptions to
the general rule.” (Burton 1.2.14).
Another facet of the current research that has already been completed is about
misconceptions and the divergent dimensions about the Kamasutra. First off, it has been noted
that many Western texts and authors present the Kamasutra in a misleading way. For example,
“recent reviews of the Kama Sutra have had misleading titles, such as Position Impossible and
Assume the Position” (Doniger 18), yet another perspective asserts: Despite the “Kama
Sutra”, Indian society is extremely conservative about sex and is ambivalent about sex” (Manjula
et al. 701). Some of the studies that have been examined during the current exploration have
pointed out that pop culture has played a pivotal role in shaping the understanding of what
Kamasutra entails. There are many interpretations and models seeking to define and understand
this concept, including Eurocentric perspectives, Michel Foucaults perspectives, and
The last and perhaps the most important aspects of the research that has already been
conducted is about what the Kamasutra real entails. Again, the study seeks the guidance of
various texts and resources to understand what this primary text is all about: the book is all
about the good things in life: pleasure, love, and desire, and reading it from a philosophical
perspective gives the reader a lot of knowledge that can be applied in countless domains of life
(Burton). Sathyanarayana and Das (88) provide a more incisive definition: Kama Sutra, the
ancient fourth century work compiled by Vatsyayana, is an extensive treatise on the art of
making love, accepting and including without inhibitions, physical and mental pleasures as an
integral part of human existence” (Sathyanarayana, Tandon, and Keya Das 88); and Sonntag and
V?tsy?yana also clarify further on what it really talks about: Kama Sutra discusses the
philosophy of sexuality, relationship between the sexes, eroticism, and emotional fulfillment, and
desire overall. Puri (631) tries as much as possible to define the impact of the Kamasutra on the
society: [Kama Sutra] aims at teaching a person the best method to control and properly guide
the desires, particularly the sexual urge, so that the person may be a useful member of the family,
society and his country and contribute his mite to their welfare by his way of life (Puri 631).
From the discussion covered above, it may seem that almost everything has been
covered. However, this is not close to the reality: there is much more that needs to be done
before the research can be concluded and the final paper written. First, the philosophical
underpinnings of the text are underexplored, and these are quite important because they can help
in the determination of what the exact misconceptions on the Kama are. Second, a more
compelling explanation of why the text is not all about sex is missing, and this means that there
is a need for more research to be conducted under this section.
The success of this research is hinged on various texts, both primarily and secondary,
which serve to quench the thirst for knowledge on precisely what the Kama Sutra is all about.
The most important book here is the Kama Sutra itself, which will be relied upon for various
definitions and contextual content that will be necessary for the successful completion of the
research. For example, the Kama Sutra translation by Burton will provide one of the most
essential definitions as far as the concept of Kama Sutra is concerned: “The Kama is the
enjoyment of appropriate objects by the five senses of hearing, feeling, seeing, tasting and
smelling, assisted by the mind together with the soul. The ingredient in this is a peculiar contact
between the organ of sense and its object, and the consciousness of pleasure which arises from
that contact is called the Kama” (Burton n.p.).
There are many other indispensable texts for this study, including Doniger, Manjula et
al., Mulchandani, Puri, Sathyanarayana, Tandon, and Das, Vanita, Sonntag, and V?tsy?yana.
Burton, Richard. The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana. Modern Library, 1883. http://www.sacredtexts.com/sex/kama/
Danielou, Alain. The Complete Kama Sutra: The First Unabridged Modern Translation of the
Classic Indian Text. Park Street Press, 1994.
Doniger, Wendy. Reading the Kamasutra: It Isnt All about Sex 1. On Hinduism, 2014, pp.
Manjula, M., et al. “Sexual dysfunction in single males: a perspective from India.” Journal of
clinical psychology 59.6 (2003): 701-713.
Mulchandani, Sandhya. Erotic Literature of Ancient India: Kama Sutra, Koka Shastra, Gita
Govindam, Ananga Ranga. Lustre, 2006.
Puri, Jyoti. “Concerning Kamasutra s: Challenging Narratives of History and Sexuality.” Signs:
Journal of Women in Culture and Society 27.3 (2002): 603-639.
Sathyanarayana Rao, T. S., Abhinav Tandon, and Keya Das. “Sexual Myths and
Sonntag, Linda, and V?tsy?yana. The Bedside Kama Sutra: 23 Positions for Pleasure and
Passion. Fair Winds Press (MA), 2001.
Vanita, Ruth. Queering India: Same-sex love and eroticism in Indian culture and society.
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