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.
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