Skip to main content


Kāmaśāstra (Skt., kāma, ‘love’, + śāstra, ‘teaching’). Any of a class of Skt. texts concerned with kāma—love, sexuality, and sensual enjoyment.

Bābhravya is said to have condensed the tradition of Kāmaśāstra into a work of 150 chapters in seven adhikaraṇa (sections), forming the basis of a school of sexology. The adhikaraṇa are: general principles; courtship; sexual union; marriage; how to steal other men's wives; prostitutes; and potions, spells, aphrodisiacs, mantras, and devices.

The most influential Kāmaśāstra texts are the Kāmasūtra of Vātsyāyana (c.450 CE), and the Anan̄ga-ran̄ga (Theatre of the Love God), attributed to Kalyāṇamalla (?1460–1530 CE). Other classic Kāmaśāstra texts include Dāmodaragupta's Kuṭṭanī-mata (Lessons of a Bawd), Kṣemendra's Samaya-māṭrikā (The Harlot's Breviary), Koka's Rati-rahasya (Mysteries of Passion), and Jyotirīśa's Pañcaśāyaka (Five Arrows). Hundreds of popular Kāmaśāstra texts exist, in which the Hindu deities enact the various sexual postures as paradigms for human performance.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Kāmaśāstra." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . 26 Mar. 2019 <>.

"Kāmaśāstra." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . (March 26, 2019).

"Kāmaśāstra." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Retrieved March 26, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.