The text is one of many Indian texts on Kama Shastra. It is a much-translated work in Indian and non-Indian languages. The Kamasutra has influenced many secondary texts that followed after the 4th-century CE, as well as the Indian arts as exemplified by the pervasive presence Kama-related reliefs and sculpture in old Hindu temples. Of these, the Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among the surviving temples in north India, one in Rajasthan sculpts all the major chapters and sexual positions to illustrate the Kamasutra. According to Wendy Doniger, the Kamasutra became "one of the most pirated books in English language" soon after it was published in 1883 by Richard Burton. This first European edition by Burton does not faithfully reflect much in the Kamasutra because he revised the collaborative translation by Bhagavanlal Indrajit and Shivaram Parashuram Bhide with Forster Arbuthnot to suit 19th-century Victorian tastes.
The earliest foundations of the kamasutra are found in the Vedic era literature of Hinduism. Vatsyayana acknowledges this heritage in verse 1.1.9 of the text where he names Svetaketu Uddalaka as the "first human author of the kamasutra". Uddalaka is an early Upanishadic rishi (scholar-poet, sage), whose ideas are found in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad such as in section 6.2, and the Chandogya Upanishad such as over the verses 5.3 through 5.10. These Hindu scriptures are variously dated between 900 BCE and 700 BCE, according to the Indologist and Sanskrit scholar Patrick Olivelle. Among with other ideas such as Atman (self, soul) and the ontological concept of Brahman, these early Upanishads discuss human life, activities and the nature of existence as a form of internalized worship, where sexuality and sex is mapped into a form of religious yajna ritual (sacrificial fire, Agni) and suffused in spiritual terms:
According to the Indologist De, a view with which Doniger agrees, this is one of the many evidences that the kamasutra began in the religious literature of the Vedic era, ideas that were ultimately refined and distilled into a sutra-genre text by Vatsyayana. According to Doniger, this paradigm of celebrating pleasures, enjoyment and sexuality as a dharmic act began in the "earthy, vibrant text known as the Rigveda" of the Hindus. The Kamasutra and celebration of sex, eroticism and pleasure is an integral part of the religious milieu in Hinduism and quite prevalent in its temples.
In the colonial era marked by sexual censorship, the Kamasutra became famous as a pirated and underground text for its explicit description of sex positions. The stereotypical image of the text is one where erotic pursuit with sexual intercourse include improbable contortionist forms. In reality, according to Doniger, the real Kamasutra is much more and is a book about "the art of living", about understanding one's body and a partner's body, finding a partner and emotional connection, marriage, the power equation over time in intimate relationships, the nature of adultery and drugs (aphrodisiacs) along with many simple to complex variations in sex positions to explore. It is also a psychological treatise that presents the effect of desire and pleasure on human behavior.
Book 3 of the Kamasutra is largely dedicated to the art of courtship with the aim of marriage. The book's opening verse declares marriage to be a conducive means to "a pure and natural love between the partners", states Upadhyaya. It leads to emotional fulfillment in many forms such as more friends for both, relatives, progeny, amorous and sexual relationship between the couple, and the conjugal pursuit of dharma (spiritual and ethical life) and artha (economic life). The first three chapters discuss how a man should go about finding the right bride, while the fourth offers equivalent discussion for a woman and how she can get the man she wants. The text states that a person should be realistic, and must possess the "same qualities which one expects from the partner". It suggests involving one's friends and relatives in the search, and meeting the current friends and relatives of one's future partner prior to the marriage. While the original text makes no mention of astrology and horoscopes, later commentaries on the Kamasutra such as one by 13th-century Yashodhara includes consulting and comparing the compatibility of the horoscopes, omens, planetary alignments, and such signs prior to proposing a marriage. Vatsyayana recommends, states Alain Danielou, that "one should play, marry, associate with one's equals, people of one's own circle" who share the same values and religious outlook. It is more difficult to manage a good, happy relationship when there are basic differences between the two, according to verse 3.1.20 of the Kamasutra.
Some sexual embraces, not in this text,also intensify passion;these, too, may be used for love-making,but only with care.The territory of the text extendsonly so far as men have dull appetites;but when the wheel of sexual ecstasy is in full motion,there is no textbook at all, and no order.
Another example of the forms of intimacy discussed in the Kamasutra includes chumbanas (kissing). The text presents twenty-six forms of kisses, ranging from those appropriate for showing respect and affection, to those during foreplay and sex. Vatsyayana also mentions variations in kissing cultures in different parts of ancient India. The best kiss for an intimate partner, according to kamasutra, is one that is based on the awareness of the avastha (the emotional state of one's partner) when the two are not in a sexual union. During sex, the text recommends going with the flow and mirroring with abhiyoga and samprayoga.
The Burton version of the Kamasutra was produced in an environment where Victorian mindset and Protestant proselytizers were busy finding faults and attacking Hinduism and its culture, rejecting as "filthy paganism" anything sensuous and sexual in Hindu arts and literature. The "Hindus were cowering under their scorn", states Doniger, and the open discussion of sex in the Kamasutra scandalized the 19th-century Europeans. The Burton edition of the Kamasutra was illegal to publish in England and the United States till 1962. Yet, states Doniger, it became soon after its publication in 1883, "one of the most pirated books in the English language", widely copied, reprinted and republished sometimes without Richard Burton's name. 2b1af7f3a8