International Council for Education, Research and Training

Grihastha Ashrama And The Kamasutra

Bawa, Simmin

Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, Jai Hind College (Autonomous), Mumbai


The Kamasutra is an ancient text guiding the sensual and sexual life of men and women in society. The text authored by Mallinga Vatsyayana is a work of art describing the variety of human sexual conduct and its pursuit from the time the person is in the Grihastha ashrama or the householder’s stage of existence. This included men, women and the third gender. The Grihastha stage begins from the time studentship stage of Brahmacharya Ashrama ends and the person enters the stage of a householder where the person begins a professional career, acquires sources of income, gets married and begets children. The main protagonist of the Kamasutra, the “nagaraka” after acquiring education, sets up a lifestyle for himself, follows duties, participates in festivities, attends social gatherings, etc. The nagaraka also has a set of social skills and etiquettes to follow; maintain a wardrobe full of various attires for each function and makes efforts to maintain personal grooming; hosting and entertaining family, friends, lovers, courtesans and acquaintances, conduct business trade and maintain networking in social circles as well as indulge in cultural pursuits. Women had to focus on grooming, acquiring skills, maintaining the household and balancing between various relationships. But nowhere has Vatsyayana focused on mentioning stages of life where one procreates or prepares for Vanaprastha Ashrama or Sanyasa Ashrama or pursuit of Moksha or liberation. These aspects of the life of a commoner need to be explored at greater lengths in the academic arena for a holistic study on the great monumental work of Vatsyayana as Kamasutra is only seen as a work on sexual positions and portrayals. The current study proposes to explore various facets of the Grihastha life spelled out explicitly and implicitly by the author and aspects missed or avoided by him in the greater good of life. As we spend a large part of our life as householders, the views expressed by Vatsyayana hold good and true in these contemporary times as well which needs to be investigated exhaustively.

Keywords: Grihastha Ashrama, Householder, Kamasutra, Vatsyayana, Men, Women, Nagaraka, Brahmacharya, Vanaprastha, Sanyasa

Impact Statement

The article is a representation and reflection of the much controversial text, the Kamasutra with a focus on the analysis of the life of a common man.

About The Author

Ms. Simmin Bawa is an Assistant Professor and Head of Department, Philosophy at Jai Hind College (Autonomous) since 2008. She has presented many papers in National and International conferences and seminars; and published many articles in various journals and conference proceedings. Ms. Simmin is currently pursuing a PhD course from the research center of R. J. College, Mumbai on the theme of sexual ethics. Her areas of interest are applied ethics and comparative religion.


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