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The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana, tr. by Richard Burton, [1883], at




Salutation to Dharma, Artha and Kama

IN the beginning, the Lord of Beings created men and women, and in the form of commandments in one hundred thousand chapters laid down rules for regulating their existence with regard to Dharma, 1 Artha, 2 and Kama. 3 Some of these commandments, namely those which treated of Dharma, were separately written by Swayambhu Manu; those that related to Artha were compiled by Brihaspati; and those that referred to Kama were expounded by Nandi, the follower of Mahadeva, in one thousand chapters.

Now these 'Kama Sutra' (Aphorisms on Love), written by Nandi in one thousand chapters, were reproduced by Shvetaketu, the son of Uddvalaka, in an abbreviated form in five hundred chapters, and this work was again similarly reproduced in an abridged form, in one hundred and fifty chapters, by Babhravya, an inheritant of the Punchala (South of Delhi) country. These one hundred and fifty chapters were then put together under seven heads or parts named severally

  • Sadharana (general topics)
  • Samprayogika (embraces, etc.)
  • Kanya Samprayuktaka (union of males and females)
  • Bharyadhikarika (on one's own wife)
  • Paradika (on the wives of other people)
  • Vaisika (on courtesans)
  • Aupamishadika (on the arts of seduction, tonic medicines, etc.)

    The sixth part of this last work was separately expounded by Dattaka at the request of the public women of Pataliputra (Patna), and in the same way Charayana explained the first part of it. The remaining parts, viz. the second, third, fourth, fifth, and seventh, were each separately expounded by

    Suvarnanabha (second part)
    Ghotakamukha (third part)
    Gonardiya (fourth part)
    Gonikaputra (fifth part)
    Kuchumara (seventh part), respectively.

    Thus the work being written in parts by different authors was almost unobtainable and, as the parts which were expounded by Dattaka and the others treated only of the particular branches of the subject to which each part related, and moreover as the original work of Babhravya was difficult to be mastered on account of its length, Vatsyayana, therefore, composed his work in a small volume as an abstract of the whole of the works of the above named authors.



  • Preface
  • Observations on the three worldly attainments of Virtue, Wealth, and Love
  • On the study of the Sixty-four Arts
  • On the Arrangements of a House, and Household Furniture; and about the Daily Life of a Citizen, his Companions, Amusements, etc.
  • About classes of Women fit and unfit for Congress with the Citizen, and of Friends, and Messengers


  • Kinds of Union according to Dimensions, Force of Desire, and Time; and on the different kinds of Love
  • Of the Embrace
  • On Kissing
  • On Pressing or Marking with the Nails
  • On Biting, and the ways of Love to be employed with regard to Women of different countries
  • On the various ways of Lying down, and the different kinds of Congress
  • On the various ways of Striking, and of the Sounds appropriate to them
  • About females acting the part of Males
  • On holding the Lingam in the Mouth
  • How to begin and how to end the Congress. Different kinds of Congress, and Love Quarrels


  • Observations on Betrothal and Marriage
  • About creating Confidence in the Girl
  • Courtship, and the manifestation of the feelings by outward signs and deeds
  • On things to be done only by the Man, and the acquisition of the Girl thereby. Also what is to be done by a Girl to gain over a Man and subject him to her
  • On the different Forms of Marriage


  • On the manner of living of a virtuous Woman, and of her behaviour during the absence of her Husband
  • On the conduct of the eldest Wife towards the other Wives of her Husband, and of the younger Wife towards the elder ones. Also on the conduct of a Virgin Widow remarried; of a Wife disliked by her Husband; of the Women in the King's Harem; and of a Husband who has more than one Wife


  • On the Characteristics of Men and Women, and the reason why Women reject the Addresses of Men. About Men who have Success with Women, and about Women who are easily gained over
  • About making Acquaintance with the Woman, and of the efforts to gain her over
  • Examination of the State of a Woman's mind
  • The Business of a Go-Between
  • On the Love of Persons in authority with the Wives of other People
  • About the Women of the Royal Harem, and of the keeping of one's own Wife


  • Of the Causes of a Courtesan resorting to Men; of the means of Attaching to herself the Man desired, and the kind of Man that it is desirable to be acquainted with
  • Of a Courtesan living with a Man as his Wife
  • Of the Means of getting Money; of the Signs of a Lover who is beginning to be Weary, and of the way to get rid of him
  • About a Reunion with a former Lover
  • Of different kinds of Gain
  • Of Gains and Losses, attendant Gains and Losses, and Doubts; and lastly, the different kinds of Courtesans


  • On Personal Adornment, subjugating the hearts of others, and of tonic medicines
  • Of the means of exciting Desire, and of the ways of enlarging the Lingam. Miscellaneous Experiments and Receipts



    1 Dharma is acquisition of religious merit, and is fully described in Chapter 5, volume III, of Talboys Wheeler's History of India, and in the edicts of Asoka.

    2 Artha is acquisition of wealth and property, etc.

    3 Kama is love, pleasure and sensual gratification. These three words are retained throughout in their original, as technical terms. They may also be defined as virtue, wealth and pleasure, the three things repeatedly spoken of in the Laws of Manu.

    Next: Chapter II. Observations on the Three Worldly Attainments of Virtue, Wealth, and Love