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Koka Shastra – Ancient Hindu Text On Sexuality And Eroticism

Koka Shastra, also known as Rati Rahasya and Kama Keli Rahasya, a significant Hindu text on the sexuality and eroticism composed in 12th century AD occupies an important position in the realm of ancient Hindu literature on erotica and ranks only next to Vatsyayana’s Kamasutra. It was composed by Kokkoka from personal experience with a Yakshi.

With his scientific thoroughness, discriminating analysis, practical wisdom and psychological understanding, Kokkoka admirably expounds his important topics of love in elegant and lucid style. Not only he ably epitomizes the views of the earlier noteworthy eroticians like Vatsyayana, Nandikeshvara, Gonikaputra, Mahuka and Ravana but he also, sometimes, differs from them in a brilliant manner.

The popular our fold-fold classification of females as Padmini, Citrini, Shankhini and Hastini was first time discussed in Koka Shastra.

Written in 552 artistic strophies, composed in different metres and divided into fifteen chapters, Rati Rahasya elucidates almost every aspect of its subject; the well-known fourfold classification of females and their distinct characteristics, the ways and means of winning them over, the different erogenous zones, the classification of males and females, the 27 types of union, females of different provinces and their sexual characteristics, details of tumescence and detumescence, the prescription of different Mantras and rites of enticing women helps us to understand the Tantric practices as in vogue. The aphrodisiacs described in 130 stanzas in the last chapter reveal the progress in Hindu medicine.

Its popularity can be inferred from the four well-known commentaries in Sanskrit written by scholars like Kanchinatha and from its many adaptations and translations in both Hindu Vernaculars and Muslim languages.

To explain and justify the erotic expressions and suggestions occurring in Jayadeva’s Geet-Govinda and Kalidasa’s works, the commentators quote Rati Rahasya considering it as an authoritative text in its own realm.

Koka Shastra, being a compendious work on Indian erotics written not only with metrical felicity but with scientific thoroughness, interesting and illuminating analysis, anatomical knowledge, psychological understanding and with rationalism of a practical art, is both an useful and enlightening work not only for the students of Indian erotics and ancient Hindu culture but also for the students of psychology, sociology, medicines and comparative sexology.

Source – Excerpts from an introduction in the text titled ‘The Hindu Secrets Of Love Rati Rahasya Of Pandit Kokkoka’ by Dr S. A Upadhyaya, Professor of Sanskrit, Post-graduate and Research Department in Sanskrit, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mumbai.