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Comparing this with the dryness of Western literature and its seemingly antiseptic view when it comes to human sexual behaviour, we see an astonishingly liberated and enlightened view in the East towards sexual desire. Lance Dane, who wrote one of the finest commentaries on the Kamasutra by a Westerner, has much to say about this fact. He says in his book on the science of Kama Shastra, We become aware of the comprehensive grasp of the inner man-woman relationship by the genius Vatsyayana, who lived sometime in the midst of the classical renaissance in the post-Christian centuries. The unabashed directness of his confrontation of sexual relations, the subtleties of his perceptions of feeling, mood and emotion, the delicacy of the nuances of love rendered by a mind, freed from all fears, inhibitions and awkwardnesses of the accepting routine society, have rarely been seen in any civilization.
In the near reaches of Arabia, Anatolia and Egypt, the Mother Goddess reappeared as another Isis, Ishrt, and the Naked One. But the image is more abstract than concrete. In the early Empires of the Hittites, Babylonians and the Pharaohs, in the cults presided over by the God-King, the ritual confined the freedom of human beings to express themselves, by worship of sex on the altars of the temple. But, beyond the shrines, the people resorted to secret practices, evolving sub myths for their inexpressible desires, in the spontaneous liberation of their body-souls.
In the two great epics of India, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, which recreate the desire images of what men and women ought to be, we see the spontaneous urges of the people for free love, and the worship of sex symbols, as the sources of fulfilment, transformed into a prescribed ritual as part of the Hindu Dharmic order.
Vatsyayana obviously did not write the Kamasutra himself. Love-making was alive and well in India long before him. But he did amalgamate many different texts into one corpus. Vatsyayana himself clearly states this in the very first chapter of the book: Salutation to Dharma, Artha and Kama. In the beginning, the Lord of Beings created men and women, and in the form of commandments in one hundred thousand chapters laid down rules for regulating their existence with regard to Dharma, Artha, and Kama. Some of these commandments, namely those which treated of Dharma, were separately written by Swayambhu Manu; those that related to Artha were compiled by Brihaspati; and those that referred to Kama were expounded by Nandikeshvara, the follower of Mahadeva, in one thousand chapters. Now these kamasutras, Aphorisms of Love, written by Nandikeshvara in one thousand chapters, were reproduced by Shvetaketu, the son of Uddalaka, in an abbreviated form in five hundred chapters, and this work was again similarly reproduced in an abridged form, in one hundred and fifty chapters, by Babhravya, an inhabitant of the Panchala, south of Indraprashta [Delhi]. These one hundred and fifty chapters were then put together under seven heads: 350c69d7ab