It is impossible to fix the exact date either
of the life of Vatsyayana or of his work. It is supposed that he
must have lived between the first and sixth century of the
Christian era, on the following grounds. He mentions that
Satakarni Satavahana, a king of Kuntal, killed Malayevati his wife
with an instrument called kartari by striking her in the passion
of love, and Vatsya quotes this case to warn people of the danger
arising from some old customs of striking women when under the
influence of this passion. Now this king of Kuntal is believed to
have lived and reigned during the first century A.D., and
consequently Vatsya must have lived after him. On the other hand,
Virahamihira, in the eighteenth chapter of his `Brihatsanhita',
treats of the science of love, and 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 Vatsya 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.
On the text of the `Aphorisms on Love', by
Vatsyayana, only two commentaries have been found. One called `Jayamangla'
or `Sutrabashya', and the other `Sutra vritti'. The date of the `Jayamangla'
is fixed between the tenth and thirteenth century A.D., because
while treating of the sixty-four arts an example is taken from the
`Kavyaprakasha' which was written about the tenth century A.D.
Again, the copy of the commentary procured was evidently a
transcript of a manuscript which once had a place in the library
of a Chaulukyan king named Vishaladeva, a fact elicited from the
following sentence at the end of it.
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Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana in English : A complete translation from
the original Sanskrit by S. C. Upadhyaya.