PLEDGE NOW
The Wisdom Of The Kama Sutra

A new translation of the Kama Sutra. We’ll talk sex, ancient wisdom, and how to live right.

Kama Sutra Statues (Nir Sinay/Flickr)

Kama Sutra Statues (Nir Sinay/Flickr)

Say Kama Sutra and everybody thinks sex.  And there is plenty of that in the ancient text out of India.  Carnal engagement every which way and meticulous advice on exquisite form.  For years after its first translation the West was agog.  What a world.  What a view.

But there is much more to the Kama Sutra, it turns out, than the gymnastics of love.  There is a deep and generous meditation on how to live.  How to compose a life, its parts, the work and pleasures within it.  We could use a little ancient wisdom.

This hour, On Point: love lessons, life lessons, from the Kama Sutra.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Aditya Haksar, author of the new translation, Kama Sutra: A Guide to the Art of Pleasure. You can read an excerpt here.

Wendy Doniger, Sanskrit scholar and expert on Hinduism and mythology. She’s a professor of the history of religions at the University of Chicago, and author of many books and translations. She published her own translation of the Kama Sutra in 2003.

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times “This clear and elegant new translation is the work of A. N. D. Haksar, a former Indian diplomat and a well-known translator of Sanskrit classics. It’s worth attending to, and not merely because Valentine’s Day is nearly here, and your partner might find this sleek new Penguin Classics edition an intellectual aphrodisiac, though it contains no erotic illustrations, except several sublime ones on its cover.”

CNN “Not that the Kama Sutra has suffered much from neglect in recent decades. But since Sir Richard Burton’s 19th century English translation was widely published in 1962, successive interpretations have funneled its meaning until it shrunk into a graphic synonym for sex squeezed into a book the size of a pocket. ”

 

Excerpt: Kama Sutra

Reviving Passion

It is said:

Even at its ending, pleasure

still nurtured with caring acts

and words exchanged in confidence,

causes a supreme delight.

Responding to each other’s feelings

which inspire mutual pleasure –

one moment a show of anger,

in the next a loving gaze –

they play at ring around the roses,

they sing, they dance the Lata way,

their eyes rolling, moist with passion,

they stare at the orb of the moon.

Talking of old times,

the wishes they both had

at their very first meeting

and the sadness and pain

when they were parted,

and after this ardent

embraces and kisses.

With such exchanges

passion increases.

(10-13)

Playlist

“Kaithapoo Visariyumay” by K.J. Yesudas & Madhuri
“Sona Chandi” by Alka Yagnik & Udit Narayan

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
May 6, 2016
President Barack Obama drinks water as he finishes speaking at Flint Northwestern High School in Flint, Mich., Wednesday, May 4, 2016, about the ongoing water crisis.  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

It’s Trump for the GOP. Clinton leads. Sanders hangs in. A Navy Seal killed by ISIS. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

May 6, 2016
Close-up of a Grauer's gorilla. Kahuzi-Biega National Park, one of the last remaining strongholds of the 
Grauer
’
s gorilla, the 
world
’
s largest gorilla subspecies. 
CREDIT: A.J.Plumptre/WCS.

Great gorillas being wiped out by war and poaching. We’ll go to the mountains of Africa. Plus, after the Ivory burn in Kenya- we look at the state of the world’s elephants.

RECENT
SHOWS
May 5, 2016
Rob Reiner with his son, Nick. [Courtesy: Paladin]

Filmmaker, actor Rob Reiner and his son, Nick, get personal in their new film “Being Charlie,” which takes on drug addiction.

 
May 5, 2016
Detroit teachers march outside the district headquarters, Monday, May 2, 2016, in Detroit. Detroit Public Schools transition manager Steven Rhodes says 45,628 of approximately 46,000 students were forced to miss classes Monday as 1,562 teachers called in sick. The mass sick-out has forced the district to close 94 of its 97 schools. Detroit's schools are expected to be out of cash starting July 1. The state earlier gave the district $48.7 million in emergency funding to keep it open through June 30 as the Legislature considers a $720 million restructuring plan. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Fixing Michigan- from Flint’s water crisis to failing schools in Detroit. Are state takeovers the answers or the problem?

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Devoured: We Are What (And How) We Eat
Tuesday, May 3, 2016

From chicken wings to kale smoothies, we look at what we eat, and how challenging it is to eat well in America.

More »
Comment
 
‘Embedded’: How Violent Gangs Are Terrorizing El Salvador
Thursday, Apr 14, 2016

NPR’s Kelly McEvers on her reporting in El Salvador for the podcast Embedded, and how gang killings brought San Salvador’s bus service to a halt.

More »
Comment
 
That Cheap Dress On Facebook? It Isn't Worth It
Monday, Apr 11, 2016

Know those shockingly cheap clothes you see advertised on Facebook? There’s a catch.

More »
Comment