Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Kama Sutra: More Than You Think!

As part of my April A-Z blog challenge on all things mystical, here's the letter K...

Kama Sutra...or kamasutran... most of us have heard of it, and allow ourselves a tight smile or snicker when we do. The word invokes thoughts of a kinky manual... a sort of encyclopedia of interesting "positions." Right?

Yes and no. Did you know that the Kama Sutra (translated as "Love Text") is actually a sacred volume? Penned in Sanskrit sometime between the first and fourth century AD, its credited Indian author, Vatsayana, was believed not to have "written" the text, but rather had it dictated to him by the doorkeeper of the ancient god Shiva. The doorkeeper was so moved with awe over the sounds of the god and his goddess during the throes of marital union that he was compelled to reveal these secrets for the good of humankind.

In truth, only one section of the text actually deals with the positions for which is it famed. The remainder is dedicated to concepts of virtuosity, enjoyment, liberation, and prosperity (dharma, karma, artha, and moksha respectively), all of which are considered pursuits of individual self improvement that in turn improve relationships. (Including the divine act of male-female love.)

While often confused with Tantric sex, the Kama Sutra in fact involves a very separate Hindu practice and is not part of tantra.

Few texts are remembered in the next decade, let alone remain a household name that is still in print thousands of years later! Yet the Kama Sutra text has been revised numerous times, including a handful since the year 2000.