Back of the Book
Hindu poet, Kalyana Malla compiled. The Hindu Art of Love to promote overall physical pleasure in marriage. Adding to the great interest and appeal of this unique love treatise is its superb translation by Sir Richard Burton whose purpose in presenting this book was not to encourage "chambering and wantonness" but to enhance conjugal happiness between husband and wife. His translation is a sincere attempt to save the married couple from the monotony and satiety by varying their pleasures in every conceivable way, and by supplying them with a means of being physically pleasant to each other.
Sexual frankness without a sense of guilt or prurience is the great legacy which the Eastern, and in particular Indian traditions have given us. The Hindu Art of Love (or Ananga Ranga) of Kalyana Malla presents itself as an expression of human culture, and as a pillow book for the modern boudoir. It sets forth the principles of sensual pleasure with poetry, wisdom and humor, celebrating love as an ecstatic expression of life's beauty.
Sir Richard F. Burton(1821-1890), was one of the greatest travel-explorers of history, whose life has been recently chronicled in biography-Captain Sir Richard Burton-and film, Mountains of the Moon. Orientalist, Prolific author and member of the Royal Geographic Society, he was one of the most remarkable and controversial men of his century who railed against 'immodest modesty', the cant, and hypocrisy of his era.
Introduction to the New Edition
Sir Richard Burton started his career with the East India Company in 1842 and during his tenure developed a thorough knowledge of Persian, Afghan, Hindustani and Arabic. A widely traveled and well read person he went on to document his many journeys and adventure. Amongst his most famous journeys are his clandestine visit to Medina and Mecca followed by his search for the source of the Nile. After an adventurous and eventful life he devoted his last years to literature.
He was a translator of extraordinary virtuosity. Amongst his works are translations of the six volumes of Camoes, a volume of Neapolitan Italian tales by Giambattista Basile, II Pentamarona and Latin poems by Catullus. What excited him most was the erotica of the East. He took it upon himself to introduce the west to the sexual wisdom of the ancient Eastern manuals on the art of love. To do this he personally faced prosecution and secretly published the Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana (1853), and the perfumed Gardens of the Sheik Nefzaoui. He also translated and published openly an unexpurgated version of the Arabian Nights (1885-1888) which was so exceptional for its fidelity, masculine vigour, and literary skill that it frightened away all competitors.
The present translation by Sir Richard Burton of Burton of Ananga Ranga(1885) is not for the philanderer but more for those who wish to make a success of their marriage, It was written to promote complete physical enjoyment in married life. This book unlike the Kama Sutra of Vatsayana does not go into the art of making love. Rather it is more concerned with the development of the relations between a husband and wife until each one fully satisfies the other. Thus, it in fact discourages a polygamous relationship in the guise of marriage and removes the causes of unnecessary confusions, which may arise from such a situation.
This book is most relevant in this age of recognized promiscuity when even in India divorce and separation in certain segments of society has become recognized as a necessary evil to maintain social order and decorum. The book rightly points out that the relationship between a man and his wife is much of their own making. It shows how each of the partners may develop a harmonious and happy scenario in their own lives and may cause their relationship to be one of complete satisfaction both physically and mentally, notwithstanding the shortcomings either may have.
One might say that this book is an extension of the Kama Sutra where one may progress from the actual conquest to the actual settlement and enjoyment of one's married life. Marital conjugality is a perennial and common problem faced by all at some stage in their lives. It has been pointed out in this book that it mainly depends upon the behavior of the married couple themselves, for it must be assumed that once one is sexually satisfied, mental satisfaction in not far behind. If this aspect is taken care of, other facets of married life fall into place without too much effort. Probably incompatibility in the bedroom has led to the break-up of more marriages than say infidelity, which is usually the end result in such situations.
This is a book to be read and understood thoroughly and then put into practice. It is one which should be treasured and re-read from time to time. The result would lead to more successful and satisfying marriages.
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