Kāma and Kāmaśāstra

Lee Siegel

in Hinduism

ISBN: 9780195399318
Published online January 2011 | | DOI:
Kāma and Kāmaśāstra


The term kāma comes from the verbal root kam, meaning “to love, be in love with, or have sexual intercourse with.” in its earliest usages it designated any “desire, wish, drive, or urge,” it suggested sexual desire in particular. While kāma was invoked in the Vedic hymns as a cosmogonic power holding the universe together, by the Epic period the semantic range had expanded to incorporate both desire and the pleasure derived from fulfilling desire. Kāma was personified in Indian mythology as Kāmadeva, the Love God, and it was established and codified as a puruṣārtha, a “mode of human fulfillment,” in the kāmaśāstras, the Brahminical treatises on erotic love, of which the Kāmasūtra is the most authoritative, influential, and widely known.

Article.  5389 words. 

Subjects: Hinduism

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