Author Joanne Reed

The Religious Insights of the Kama Sutra

What if the secret to a successful and fulfilled life resides in an ancient Sanskrit text known as the Kama Sutra? In the 4th century Hindu world that gave birth to the Kama Sutra, the cultivation of sexual pleasure indepedent of procreation was considered one of life’s highest calling, a sort of religious quest. Hindu sages and artists found the subject so enticing that it led them to immortalize the various teaching and practices of the Kama Sutra in writing and also in stone in various temples around the country.

If you find the subject enticing, I invite you to read my article.

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  1. In “The Nichomachean Ethics,” Aristotle said: “We know what eyes are for, what ears are for, what hands are for, what legs and feet are for—but what is Man for?” He then proceeded to tell us in the rest of the “Ethics” what Man is for. In the vast array of Buddhist and Hindu sutras, there are similar intentions. Even in the writings of Judaic and Christian philosophers, there are both ethical and religious components to the quest for meaning.

    Interestingly enough, in the Kama Sutra there is an acknowledgment of the trinity of Body-Mind-Soul, which should be balanced in order to have a meaningful life. To many religious writers, mind-soul development was eagerly sought, while bodily concerns were suppressed due to fears that bodily impulses were “the work of the Devil” (Ravana in Hinduism). Perhaps Vātsyāyana understood that we need all three aspects of humanity in order to be the best people we can be. The Kama Sutra (the Teaching of Desire) was his effort to provide this instruction.

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