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Kamasutra Malayalam Translation ((FULL))


Kamasutra Malayalam Translation ((FULL))

The first compete edition of the Kamasutra. It contains a crisp introduction; the original Sanskrit; a new, accurate and readable English translation; fifty full-page illustrations using period clothing, jewelry, and settings; and a thorough index. Composed almost two thousand years ago, it is surprisingly modern in its depiction of human nature and sexual practices.

Kalidasa then describes the union of Shiva and Parvati in a canto so erotic that many later, more prudish scholars refuse to accept it as a genuine part of the poem. This is a quote towards the end of the book (p.164), where a case is made out that The Kamasutra tradition was deliberately downplayed in India. The Kalidasa reference is to Kumarasambhavam. For a scholar who meticulously cites chapter and verse, strangely, Wendy Doniger doesn't tell us which erotic canto she means. But obviously, it is the eighth canto, concerning the union of Shiva and Parvati. A legitimate case has often been advanced, based on literary quality, that cantos 9-17 of Kumarasambhavam weren't written by Kalidasa. But did prudery prevent inclusion of the eighth canto The Nirnaya Sagar and Sahitya Akademi editions had all 17 cantos. Mallinatha Suri's commentary covered eight cantos. If one excludes versions of Kumarasambhavam published as textbooks, who are these prudish scholars The Ralph Griffiths translation also had seven cantos. Does this mean Griffiths was a prude This digression on Kalidasa illustrates the problem with Doniger. Her proposition is true and would have remained true even if she had not massaged and tortured the evidence.

"Indrani resembles Juno, the wife of Jupiter, king of the Roman gods (or Hera, wife of the Greek Zeus), in many ways, including her own enormous sexual appetite and her jealousy about her husband's notorious adulteries" (p.78). Indrani means Shachi or Poulami. Jealousy and wrath are fine. But where is the evidence for Indrani's "enormous sexual appetite" A little care in such instances would have meant that one would have taken the scholarship more seriously. For valid reasons, there is criticism of the 19th century Richard Francis Burton/Forster Fitzgerald Arbuthnot translation of The Kamasutra, which made it popular. Many popular perceptions about The Kamasutra are still based on Burton/Arbuthnot. But consider this. "Thus, when Krishna, the incarnate god in the Bhagavad Gita, wishes to stir the martial instincts of the conscience-stricken human hero Arjuna, he says to him, 'Stop behaving like a kliba!'" (p.114). This is against the background of a discussion of kliba, eunuch. But does 2.3 of the Bhagavad Gita actually use the word kliba No, it doesn't. It uses the word klaibyam. You might say this is minute trivia. Indeed, but if the case is based on scholarship, one had best be careful and that difference does imply a change in nuance in the translation.

Doniger's slim book is on The Kamasutra, as it is, and not as it is often taken to be, a mishmash of sexual positions and diverse types of male and female genitalia. Indeed, out of the seven chapters in The Kamasutra, only one is devoted to such topics. The Doniger book has seven chapters and the first six are excellent. The odd flippancy apart, these chapters are scholarly and researched well, rightly equating kama with sensual pleasure, rather than the narrower sexual pleasure, and juxtaposing kama with the other two objectives of artha and dharma. If one reads this book, or better still, reads the original Sanskrit or a non-Burton English translation (Wendy Doniger/Sudhir Kakar, Indra Sinha, Alain Danielou), one will get away from that equation with sexual positions perpetuated by coffee-table books with photographs from Khajuraho and other places. More than the discussion of Vatsyayana's The Kamasutra (Vatsyayana followed several other authors whose works are now lost), it is this setting of "kamasutra" against the background of dharmashast


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