Perceived as a byword for sex and appropriated over centuries to sell products and services with sexual implications, the Kama Sutra is shedding its 'closet status' and could soon be mainstream reading, says A.N.D Haksar, whose book on the ancient text in now in paperback.
"I feel that the book, which has been seen only in terms of sex, is receiving the kind of notice which I feel has been deprived in the past," says Haksar, who has translated Vatsyayana's commentary on the art of love and social conduct into English.
While numerous books with the title Kama Sutra have flooded the market over the years, those which have reproduced the authentic text are few and far between, claims Haksar, a former diplomat who has translated several Sanskrit classics. Commissioned by Penguin Books to do a translation for their Classics series, Haksar says he had never previously read the text.
"I had seen picture books of Kama Sutra everywhere, more of illustrated versions with very little or absolutely no text. I got hold of the original text and going through it discovered that it was made up of seven books or chapters and only one out of them related to sex and that had achieved such celebrity or rather notoriety," the author told PTI in an interview.
The time has arrived to bring the book out in its totality, claims Haksar whose translation "Kamasutra: A Guide to the art of Pleasure" was first published to much critical acclaim in the UK in the year 2011.
"Sex is certainly there but so are the guidelines on social life, about courtship, married life, ways of gracious living. Details of lifestyle of an elegant man or lady is also described in detail, advice which holds true even today," says the author.