Dating the Period of Vatsyayana
by Vikas Kamat
According to Richard Burton, the 1883 translator of Kamasutra, it is almost impossible to fix the exact date either of the life of Vatsyayana or of his work. Different experts have provided dates ranging from first century and sixth century A.D.
Vatsyayana mentions that Satakarni Satavahana, a king of Kuntala kingdom (see Satavahanas), killed Malayevati, his wife with an instrument called kartari by striking her in the passion of love, and Vatsyayana quotes this case to warn people of the danger arising from some old customs of striking women when under the influence of passion. This king of Kuntal is believed to have lived and reigned during the first century A.D., and consequently Vatsyayana must have lived after him. On the other hand, Virahamihira, in the eighteenth chapter of his "Brihatsanhita" (treats of the science of love), appears to have borrowed largely from Vatsyayana on the subject. Now Virahamihira is said to have lived during the sixth century A.D., and as Vatsyayana must have written his works previously, therefore not earlier than the first century A.D., and not later than the sixth century A.D., must be considered as the approximate date of his existence.
The art forms inspired by Kamasutra that you see in this section at Kamat's Potpourri are spread from tenth century A.D. to twentieth century.
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