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The Kama Sutra

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 02 February 2012

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Kama Sutra, one of the most celebrated and often misunderstood texts of Indian literature.

Probably composed during the reign of the Gupta dynasty around 1800 years ago, the work is a collection of writings about the art of love and sensual pleasure. Although it is best known today for a single chapter devoted to sexual pleasure, this important Sanksrit collection contains much besides. In particular it teaches the attainment of Kama (pleasure), one of the central goals of Hinduism. The Kama Sutra is a manual to a life of fulfilment, offering advice on such subjects as finding a spouse and how to behave in marriage; it has had a profound influence on Indian culture and thought.

With:

Julius Lipner
Professor of Hinduism and the Comparative Study of Religion at the University of Cambridge

Jessica Frazier
Lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Kent and Research Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies

David Smith
Reader in South Asian Religions at the University of Lancaster.

Producer: Thomas Morris.

  • FURTHER READING

    Richard Burton and F. F. Arbuthnot, edited by Charles Fowkes, ‘The Illustrated Kama Sutra’ (Hamlyn, 1996)

    Richard Burton and F. F. Arbuthnot, ‘The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana’ (George Allen and Unwin Ltd. London, 1963)

    Alain Danielou, ‘The Complete Kama Sutra’ (Park Street Press, Rochester, Vermont, 1994)

    Wendy Doniger and Sudhir Kakar, ‘Kamasutra: A New Translation’ (Oxford University Press, 2002)

    Wendy Doniger, ‘The Hindus: An Alternative History’ (Oxford University Press, 2010)

    V. K. Hampiholi, ‘Kamashastra in Classical Indian Literature’ (Delhi: Ajanta Publications, 1988)

    Sushil Kumar De, ‘Ancient Indian Erotics and Erotic Literature’ (Calcutta: Firma K. L. Mukhopadhyay, 1959)

    Julius Lipner, ‘Hindus: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices’ (Routledge, London & New York, 2010)

    Ludo Rocher, ‘The Kamasutra: Vatsyayana’s Attitude towards Dharma and Dharmasastra’ in The Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 105, No. 3, (1985)

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