The world's oldest and most widely read guide to the pleasures and techniques of sex, the Kama Sutra was compiled in the fourth century A.D. by a Brahmin and religious scholar name Vatsyayana, who worked from texts dating back to the fourth century B.C. Until the present, the only English translation of his Hindu love classic was that of the famous English explorer Sir Richard Burton, published in 1883.
Unlike Burton's version, Alain Daniélou's new translation preserves the numbered verse divisions of the original and includes two essential commentaries: the Fayamangala commentary, written in Sanskrit by Yashodhara during the Middle Ages, and a modern Hindi commentary by Devadatta Shastri. Whereas Burton's Victorian reluctance to translate certain terms obscured our understanding of the philosophy and techniques of the Kama Sutra, Daniélou has preserved the full explicitness of the original, dealing with everything from the art of scratching to relations with the wives of others.
Realistic and pragmatic in its approach, the Kama Sutra deals without ambiguity or hypocrisy with all aspects of sexual life--including marriage, adultery, prostitution, group sex, sadomasochism, male and female homosexuality, and transvestism. The text paints a fascinating portrait of an India whose openness to sexuality gave rise to a highly developed expression of the erotic.
"Daniélou's new and complete translation of the Kama Sutra is one of his masterpieces. It is all enchantment, a world of refined sensation. Our debt to his scholarship and humanity is immeasurable."
– Times Literary Supplement
"Noted Indiologist Danilou provides a fluent and literal translation of the entire Sanskrit original. An important advance over Burton's Victorian abridgment."
– Library Journal
"Dildo was translated as 'medicine.' Lesbian was just 'corrupt woman.' No wonder we couldn't follow any of the instructions in the Kama Sutra. But now, there's a new translation of the oldest sex manual, the first since the Victorians brought it home and hid it under the mattress."
– The Guardian Weekend
"Alain Danielou is the foremost living interpreter of Hinduism. His books are remarkable for their clarity, scholarship, and uninhibited celebration of erotic and mystical ecstasy."
– Interview Magazine
"Danielou'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."
"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. . . . Take from this encyclopedia of amour what you will and let it keep you moving down the path of spiritual practice."