Kamasutra or aphorisms of desire is a collection of 1250 verses which abridge the huge volume of work produced by sage Babhravpanchal. Maharshi Vatsayan was entrusted with the task of condensing the extensive work compiled in a treatise called Kama Shastra by sage Babhravpanchal. The Kamasutra is not an exclusive book on maximising sexual pleasures but this has been recognised as one of the essential elements in the work.
Objectives of Human Life
There are four objectives for the existence of human beings, Dharma (religious discipline), Arth (means of livelihood and creation of luxuries), Kama (desires which include carnal pleasures), and Moksha (ultimate salvation). Most people strive to have the first three in their lives while the fourth is more or less not strived for. So, the first three are the most basic objectives of every human’s life. Rishi Vatsayan emphasises the importance of shastra learning for attainment of these.
Why is Kama Shastra Necessary?
Despite being enthusiastic, full of faith and having the capacity, human being often fail to achieve their desired objective, because they do not have the right guidance. Since carnal desire is one of the main objects of human life, it is important that a well organised discourse which stipulates disciplined actions is adhered to.
A man and woman tying the nuptial knot should be trained in obtaining carnal pleasures, as it is the basic purpose of marriage. This is where the importance of having a Kama shastra or scripture on sex becomes evident. Union of male and female forces was never taken for granted in ancient times. Even the Vedas suggest that there should be training in Kama shastra.
In ancient times, such training was a part of Gurukula education system, but only when all other subjects have been exhausted on the inmates. When the inmates were about to enter married life, after going through rigorous discipline of celibacy, the art of love was introduced to them. Vedas, Vedangas and other scriptures were taught first which made the disciples accomplished in social conduct and personal disciplines. The study of Kama shastra was the last part of their education and was forbidden for them before.
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