Mansollasa of Somadeva
Notes by K.L. Kamat
First Online: September 11, 2001
Page Last Updated: December 31, 2014
The author establishes that the erotic arts
spread all over India are not just based on the famous Kamasutra of Vatsyayana. Here, he
is commenting on a medieval Sanskrit text Manasollasa.
Although these tantras were written
for the royalty, they were applicable to commoners as well.
Manasollasa (maa-nus-O-llaa-sa, from Sanskrit, Happy State of Mind) is an ancient
treatise written by King Sovadeva III, son of the Chalukyan emperor Vikramaditya.
Manasollasa, also known as Abhilashitartha Chintamani is a Sanskrit
encyclopedia, which is divided into five books (Vimsati), each one further divided into
20 sections. The Kalyana Chalukya king, Somadeva III (1127-1138 A.D.) has taken all the
pains to collect up data information on art, architecture, dance, music, ornaments, food
and drinks, love and lust, and presents them in a logical and methodical way. Gaekwad's
Oriental Series, Bardoda (Gujarat) has published this manuscripts in three parts. Late
G.K. Shrigondekar had to work for thirty six long years, from 1925 to 1961 to edit
The Manasollasa has dedicated a separate section for the erotica (Yosidupabhoga,
enjoyment of women). On the basis of inheritance, physical strength and attitude towards
sex, Somadeva classifies women into six types, namely, Chitrini, Padmini,
Hastini, Sankhini, Mrugi, and Vadava. He says, "
... a virtuous woman is one who is beautiful, youthful, is a musician and a dancer.
However, it is extremely difficult to find a woman who is excellent in every
accomplishment of life. Therefore one has to try to get a woman as best as physically
possible." He further warns about the physical incompatibility of
"Linga" and "Yoni", the male and female organs. He insists that they
should be complimentary each other. However, if linga is slightly larger it could be
adjusted. But an extra large linga should be avoided at all costs as it may rupture
yoni itself. Similarly a woman with too small or very large yoni should not be selected
for bhoga (union) as she fails to satisfy the man.
Kamasutra Retold -- New interpretations of ancient text Kamasutra based on post-medieval Indian sculptures, paintings, and literature. Includes graphical interpretations of many sexual positions.
- A Brief Note on Manasollasa
- Manasollasa of king Somesvara (Ed. Shrigondekar G.S.). Baroda, 1939