About the Book
Ananta's Kama Samuha appears on page 358 Vol. III. Of New Catalogus Catalogorum. It is a later day work on Kama Shashtra. Its distinguishing features are description of seasons, description of each and every limb of female body. Besides the core topics of erotics, and lastly, the description of detachment from worldly pleasures i.e. 'Vairagya'. These topics have been touched upon by many poets of Sanskrit literature over the centuries. However, it is Ananta who has brought these within the fold of a work on Kama Shashtra.
Poetic description of female body might have got impetus from the decadent society of his times, which was later on picked up by poets of Hindi literature during Riti Kala which was characterized by Nakhshikhvarnan of the Nayika similarly Payakprashnottarashtak and a few other verses in this work which remind us of Amir Khusro (13the cen. A.D.) seem to take their origin from the then taste of the royalty and the elite.
Besides these features it has a large number of verses taken from earlier poets, which could Qualify this work as an anthology but for its focus on erotics.
About the Author
Dr. Amal Shib Pathak was awarded Ph. D. by the University of Lucknow for his work on "Stage and Stagecraft of Sanskrit Plays". He studied under the guidance of Dr. A.C. Banerjea the then Reader in the Department of Sanskrit, Pali & Prakrit of Lucknow University, who later on Became the Vice-Chancellor of Gorakhpur University.
The awareness of sex and the accumulated knowledge on sex over centuries of human existence on earth crystallized in beliefs and rituals among pre-historic people. Thus the fertility of fields under cultivation was linked to fertility of women. They believed that fields needs to be communicated about fertility of women. The accompanying ritual was for women to strip naked in the fields so that the sexual organ of women are exposed to the fields and sexual union in the fields was the natural extension of his ritual. Even to this day news of aborigines, primitive people striping naked in the fields is reported from various corners of the world. In Bengal the course of rain was sought to be influenced by a naked woman placing an utensil under the earth in the field in the dead of night even during 20th century. In the countries of central America it is a practice to select a man and a woman to perform sexual intercourse in the field for better harvest. Various rituals denoting sexual intercourse are performed even in many parts of our country with the same objective.
In the next phase of civilization in India i.e. during the age of Mohenjodaro & Harappa we come across worship of Pashupati who was later on assimilated in the Hindu mythology as Lord Shiva. The worship of Shiva is associated with the symbol of 'Linga' & 'Yoni'. Again phallus worship can be traced to pre-historic times in various parts of the world. However, is was after the sudden eclipse of Harappan civilization and rise of Indus Valley civilization under the Aryans that we come across the beginnings and developments in systematic study of sexology. We find that assimilation of eroticism in the sacrificiai rituals of the Vedic period is very pronounced.
Dr. Pathak had earlier edited a 14th Century Sanskrit manuscript on Natya Shastra viz Natya Lochanam of Trilochanaditya. The present work Kama Samuha of Ananta Kavi is his second endeavor of bringing valueable old, works to light.
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