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The Complete Kama Sutra: The First Unabridged Modern Translation of the Classic Indian Text Paperback – Unabridged, December 1, 1993


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The galaxy of pleasures in Alain Daniélou's translation of the Kama Sutra takes you back to an India where sexuality was an integral part of life and an avenue to spiritual bliss. As Devadatta Shastri says in his commentary: "At the moment when the peak of bliss is attained, the internal and external world vanish. The man and woman cease to be separate entities and lose themselves in the beatitudes of being." Daniélou's elegant rendering includes not only the entire sutra, much of which is excluded in other versions, but two essential commentaries as well. More than just a pillow book, the Kama Sutra is a guide to the labyrinth of sexual etiquette, from how to bathe before meeting a lover to how lovers should entertain each other after making love. Admittedly, the text is dated and culture bound in places; it can be chauvinistic, bizarre, and even violent. The commentators are careful to point out, however, that the work is an overview of all sexual practices, some of which are not recommended. Take from this encyclopedia of amour what you will and let it keep you moving down the path of spiritual practice. --Brian Bruya

From Library Journal

Long dismissed as a sort of Sanskrit Joy of Sex , the Kama Sutra , composed by Vatsyayana in the fourth century B.C., explores sexuality as an integral part of human existence. Arguing that happiness and moral duty ( dharma ) depend on elaborate social ritual to satisfy the essential needs of life, the Kama Sutra describes the practices, rituals, and lore of the erotic ( kama ) in human relations, both heterosexual and homosexual. Noted Indiologist Danielou provides a fluent and literal translation of the entire Sanskrit original with interpolated extracts from the 12th-century commentary by Yashodara and the modern Hindi commentary by Devadatta Shastri. This is an important advance over Burton's Victorian abridgment.
- T.L. Cooksey, Armstrong State Coll., Savannah, Ga.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Inner Traditions; Unabridged edition (December 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892815256
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892815258
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,215 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

I bought this book a few years ago and is one of the most intriguing books I have read.
Amazon Customer
And although some women might argue the concepts are antiquated in this age of liberation, I think they still make a hell of a lot of sense!
Gina C.
No illustrations, useless as far as I'm concerned, the illustrations of the Kama Sutra are the best part!
Kat

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

143 of 148 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
I bought this book a few years ago and is one of the most intriguing books I have read. It gives an unique perspective at the life of ancient India (c 100-500AD) on how the people lived and the society flourished. What strikes most is when ancient India was talking about souls and spirits, on how life is vain etc, here is a book that says "being materialistic is not bad". If the society didnt consider that such a book isnt a blasphemy how great it should have been. And the book survived! Apart from the usual sexual poses, Kamasutra, is a history book. It also lists the 64 ancient arts of India, which I was trying to find for more than a decade and I never quiet expected to find in this book. Also the lives of courtesans are an interesting read.
Alan Danileou's translation is straightforward and it also includes commentaries on KS by other authors which helps to know different views. Though it lacks pictures (precisely the reason I bought it - not to get distracted from the original composition) it is a much better translation than Richard Burton's (which also I own). At times Richard gets squeaky in explaining very "intimate" things (its not a complete translation, looks like he left things that are too un-Victorian to translate) but Alan is more straightforward and complete.
Also translated are the chemistry of love potions, how to make money (of course not relevant to modern times) etc. If it contained the original Sanskrit quotations, I would have enjoyed the poetic flow. Anyways it adorns my book case.
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74 of 74 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 28, 1998
Format: Paperback
It was the film "Kama Sutra" that led me to this classic. The idea of someone documenting various forms of making love was intriguing and I started exploring further on the original work. Once I got past a few mindnumbing translations, I discovered this work. I saw my initial curiosity turning into fascination at first, but when I finished the work I had nothing but respect for this work ("Eroticism is firstly a search for pleasure, and the goal of the techniques of love is to attain a paroxysm considered by the Upanishads ( holy texts) as a perception of the divine state, which is infinite delight ").Alan Danielou's seems to have impressive credentials that bring an impeccable authenticity to this work.
There is hardly a subject the author has not dealt with. If the range of subjects dealt with fascinates you (marriage, adultery, prostitution, group sex, sadomasochism, male and female homosexuality, and transvestitism) the scientific approach and the depth of classification in dealing with those subjects might bewilder you. ("There are different types of men and women according to their sizes of the organs, their moment of sexual enjoyment, and the violence of their sexual impulse"). The part dealing with occult practices is a blast. These practices include ointments for the body, marks on the forehead, powders sprinkled over the woman and substances that she be made to ingest, the surprising things she must be shown, as well as the means and remedies for subjugating her. This section also manifest the thoroughness of the research done almost 2000 years back.
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53 of 53 people found the following review helpful By wiredweird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on July 28, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an outstanding new translation of the Indian classic, dating from the fourth century BC. It is widely misunderstood in the west, largely by people who never read it, but also by people who only read Burton's unfortunate Victorian translation. Well over 500 pages, this may seem intimidating - I promise you, it's worth your effort.

This includes Vatsyayana's complete text, not just the extracts that Burton chose. Danielou interleaves it with not one, but two different commentaries, one traditional and one modern. These add insight, not just to the Vatsyayana text itself, but also to how later ages of India view this classic.

The Kama Sutra describes the culture in which it arose. At least for the upper classes, it's a remarkable image. Although male-dominated, women had surprising autonomy. Many services - jewelers, perfumers, and the like - create the objects and gifts of a rich society. Even prostitutes have a more or less respectable place in that world - more like geishas, entertainers with wide repertoires, not just vessels for sexual release.

This book is surprisingly clinical in its outlook. Vatsyayana describes a range of sexual practices. Some, he notes, are not widely considered proper - but all things have their time and place, if that's what the practitioners want. Describing a practice does not imply approval of it; in that vein, he mentions seductions and even capture of a woman by force. Prostitutes, too, have a code of behavior. Although they may develop feelings for a customer, their work is their business and their livelihood. This justifies, even demands behavior that would not be proper for a partner of another kind.

The largest part of the book is more mundane.
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