The Kama Sutra is a famous Hindu treatise on the art of love. But not many would know much about the author of this treatise, namely Vatsyayna. Richard Burton translated the Kama sutra which was originally written in Sanskrit. But even he could not unravel the life of the mystery author of the Kama sutra.
However we know the complete name of the writer which was Malinaga Vatsyayana. In all probability he was Hindu and one can surmise that he would have to be a Brahmin. This is so as in ancient times only a Brahmin was supposed to be the custodian of wisdom and education and had access to all the learned granths and books. The lower casts like the shudras had hardly any access to knowledge and education; hence we can conclude that Vatsyayna must have been from the highest caste.
Period of Vatsyayna
The period during which Vatsyayana lived cannot be pinpointed though we can make a general assessment. From the Book itself, we learn that he was a resident of Benares. This is very plausible as Benares has for centuries been a holy place and seat of learning of the Saints and Rishis( holy men) of the Hindu religion. There is also a real possibility that Vatsyayana just put into print what was ancient folklore from the Vedic age (2000BC).
Vatsyayans himself mentions that the ruler of Kuntal Satakarni Satavahana, killed his wife while making love to her in the heat of passion with a kartari (small dagger). Kuntal is supposed to be the Jat land (modern Western Utter Pradesh). This king is believed to have ruled during the first century A.D., and hence we can safely conclude that Vatsyayana must have lived during this period.
However the Mathematician cum astrologer Daivajna Varahamihira, in his book 'Brihatsanhita' writes of Vivah Patal( marriage world). This appears to be taken from the Kama sutra. Now Varahamihira who was from South Bengal is said to have lived during the sixth century A.D. Therefore one can conclude that Vatsyasana must have lived before him. So we can roughly surmise that the period of Vatsyayana's existence as perhaps from the first to the 3rd century AD.