Five: Courtship

Five:  Courtship
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A POOR man possessed of good qualities, a man born of a low family
possessed of mediocre qualities, a neighbour possessed of wealth, and
one under the control of his father, mother or brothers, should not
marry without endeavouring to gain over the girl from her childhood to
love and esteem him. Thus a boy separated from his parents, and living
in the house of his uncle, should try to gain over the daughter of his
uncle, or some other girl, even though she be previously betrothed to
another. And this way of gaining over a girl, says Ghotakamukha, is
unexceptional, because Dharma can be accomplished by means of it as
well as by any other way of marriage.

When a boy has thus begun to woo the girl he loves, he should spend
his time with her and amuse her with various games and diversions
fitted for their age and acquaintanceship, such as picking and
collecting flowers, making garlands of flowers, playing the parts of
members of a fictitious family, cooking food, playing with dice,
playing with cards, the game of odd and even, the game of finding out
the middle finger, the game of six pebbles, and such other games as
may be prevalent in the country, and agreeable to the disposition of
the girl. In addition to this, he should carry on various amusing
games played by several persons together, such as hide and seek,
playing with seeds, hiding things in several small heaps of wheat and
looking for them, blindman's buff, gymnastic exercises, and other
games of the same sort, in company with the girl, her friends and
female attendants. The man should also show great kindness to any
woman whom the girl thinks fit to be trusted, and should also make new
acquaintances, but above all he should attach to himself by kindness
and little services the daughter of the girl's nurse, for if she be
gained over, even though she comes to know of his design, she does not
cause any obstruction, but is sometimes even able to effect a union
between him and the girl. And though she knows the true character of
the man, she always talks of his many excellent qualities to the
parents and relations of the girl, even though she may not be desired
to do so by him.

In this way the man should do whatever the girl takes most delight in,
and he should get for her whatever she may have a desire to possess.
Thus he should procure for her such playthings as may be hardly known
to other girls. He may also show her a ball dyed with various colours,
and other curiosities of the same sort; and should give her dolls made
of cloth, wood, buffalo-horn, wax, flour, or earth; also utensils for
cooking food, and figures in wood, such as a man and woman standing, a
pair of rams, or goats, or sheep; also temples made of earth, bamboo,
or wood, dedicated to various goddesses; and cages for parrots,
cuckoos, starlings, quails, cocks, and partridges; water-vessels of
different sorts and of elegant forms, machines for throwing water
about, guitars, stands for putting images upon, stools, lac, red
arsenic, yellow ointment, vermilion and collyrium, as well as
sandalwood, saffron, betel nut and betel leaves. Such things should be
given at different times whenever he gets a good opportunity of
meeting her, and some of them should be given in private, and some in
public, according to circumstances. In short, he should try in every
way to make her look upon him as one who would do for her everything
that she wanted to be done.

In the next place he should get her to meet him in some place
privately, and should then tell her that the reason of his giving
presents to her in secret was the fear that the parents of both of
them might be displeased, and then he may add that the things which he
had given her had been much desired by other people. When her love
begins to show signs of increasing he should relate to her agreeable
stories if she expresses a wish to hear such narratives. Or if she
takes delight in legerdemain, he should amaze her by performing
various tricks of jugglery; or if she feels a great curiosity to see a
performance of the various arts, he should show his own skill in them.
When she is delighted with singing he should entertain her with music,
and on certain days, and at the time of going together to moonlight
fairs and festivals, and at the time of her return after being absent
from home, he should present her with bouquets of flowers, and with
chaplets for the head, and with ear ornaments and rings, for these are
the proper occasions on which such things should be presented.

He should also teach the daughter of the girl's nurse all the
sixty-four means of pleasure practised by men, and under this pretext
should also inform her of his great skill in the art of sexual
enjoyment. All this time he should wear a fine dress, and make as good
an appearance as possible, for young women love men who live with
them, and who are handsome, good looking and well dressed. As for the
sayings that though women may fall in love, they still make no effort
themselves to gain over the object of their affections, that is only a
matter of idle talk.

Now a girl always shows her love by outward signs and actions, such as
the following:

She never looks the man in the face, and becomes abashed when she is
looked at by him; under some pretext or other she shows her limbs to
him; she looks secretly at him though he has gone away from her side,
hangs down her head when she is asked some question by him, and
answers in indistinct words and unfinished sentences, delights to be
in his company for a long time, speaks to her attendants in a peculiar
tone with the hope of attracting his attention towards her when she is
at a distance from him, does not wish to go from the place where he
is, under some pretext or other she makes him look at different
things, narrates to him tales and stories very slowly so that she may
continue conversing with him for a long time, kisses and embraces
before him a child sitting in her lap, draws ornamental marks on the
foreheads of her female servants, performs sportive and graceful
movements when her attendants speak jestingly to her in the presence
of her lover, confides in her lover's friends, and respects and obeys
them, shows kindness to his servants, converses with them, and engages
them to do her work as if she were their mistress, and listens
attentively to them when they tell stories about her lover to somebody
else, enters his house when induced to do so by the daughter of her
nurse, and by her assistance manages to converse and play with him,
avoids being seen by her lover when she is not dressed and decorated,
gives him by the hand of her female friend her ear ornament, ring, or
garland of flowers that he may have asked to see, always wears
anything that he may have presented to her, becomes dejected when any
other bridegroom is mentioned by her parents, and does not mix with,
those who may be of his party, or who may support his claims.

There are also some verses on the subject as follows:

`A man, who has seen and perceived the feelings of the girl towards
him, and who has noticed the outward signs and movements by which
those feelings are expressed, should do everything in his power to
effect a union with her. He should gain over a young girl by childlike
sports, a damsel come of age by his skill in the arts, and a girl that
loves him by having recourse to persons in whom she confides.'


Now when the girl begins to show her love by outward signs and
motions, as described in the last chapter, the lover should try to
gain her over entirely by various ways and means, such as the

When engaged with her in any game or sport he should intentionally
hold her hand. He should practise upon her the various kinds of
embraces, such as the touching embrace, and others already described
in a preceding chapter (Part II, Chapter II). He should show her a
pair of human beings cut out of the leaf of a tree, and such like
things, at intervals. When engaged in water sports, he should dive at
a distance from her, and come tip close to her. He should show an
increased liking for the new foliage of trees and such like things. He
should describe to her the pangs he suffers on her account. He should
relate to her the beautiful dream that he has had with reference to
other women. At parties and assemblies of his caste he should sit near
her, and touch her under some pretence or other, and having placed his
foot upon hers, he should slowly touch each of her toes, and press the
ends of the nails; if successful in this, he should get hold of her
foot with his hand and repeat the same thing. He should also press a
finger of her hand between his toes when she happens to be washing his
feet; and whenever he gives anything to her or takes anything from
her, he should show her by his manner and look how much he loves her.

He should sprinkle upon her the water brought for rinsing his mouth;
and when alone with her in a lonely place, or in darkness, he should
make love to her, and tell her the true state of his mind without
distressing her in any way.

Whenever he sits with her on the same seat or bed he should say to
her, `I have something to tell you in private', and then, when she
comes to hear it in a quiet place, he should express his love to her
more by manner and signs than by words. When he comes to know the
state of her feelings towards him he should pretend to be ill, and
should make her come to his house to speak to him. There he should
intentionally hold her hand and place it on his eyes and forehead, and
under the pretence of preparing some medicine for him he should ask
her to do the work for his sake in the following words: `This work
must be done by you, and by nobody else.' When she wants to go away he
should let her go, with an earnest request to come and see him again.
This device of illness should be continued for three days and three
nights. After this, when she begins coming to see him frequently, he
should carry on long conversations with her, for, says Ghotakamukha,
`though a man loves a girl ever so much, he never succeeds in winning
her without a great deal of talking'. At last, when the man finds the
girl completely gained over, he may then begin to enjoy her. As for
the saying that women grow less timid than usual during the evening,
and in darkness, and are desirous of congress at those times, and do
not oppose men then, and should only be enjoyed at these hours, it is
a matter of talk only.

When it is impossible for the man to carry on his endeavours alone, he
should, by means of the daughter of her nurse, or of a female friend
in whom she confides, cause the girl to be brought to him without
making known to her his design, and he should then proceed with her in
the manner above described. Or he should in the beginning send his own
female servant to live with the girl as her friend, and should then
gain her over by her means.

At last, when he knows the state of her feelings by her outward manner
and conduct towards him at religious ceremonies, marriage ceremonies,
fairs, festivals, theatres, public assemblies, and such like
occasions, he should begin to enjoy her when she is alone, for
Vatsyayana lays it down, that women, when resorted to at proper times
and in proper places, do not turn away from their lovers.

When a girl, possessed of good qualities and well-bred, though born in
a humble family, or destitute of wealth, and not therefore desired by
her equals, or an orphan girl, or one deprived of her parents, but
observing the rules of her family and caste, should wish to bring
about her own marriage when she comes of age, such a girl should
endeavour to gain over a strong and good looking young man, or a
person whom she thinks would marry her on account of the weakness of
his mind, and even without the consent of his parents. She should do
this by such means as would endear her to the said person, as well as
by frequently seeing and meeting him. Her mother also should
constantly cause them to meet by means of her female friends, and the
daughter of her nurse. The girl herself should try to get alone with
her beloved in some quiet place, and at odd times should give him
flowers, betel nut, betel leaves and perfumes. She should also show
her skill in the practice of the arts, in shampooing, in scratching
and in pressing with the nails. She should also talk to him on the
subjects he likes best, and discuss with him the ways and means of
gaining over and winning the affections of a girl.

But old authors say that although the girl loves the man ever so much,
she should not offer herself, or make the first overtures, for a girl
who does this loses her dignity, and is liable to be scorned and
rejected. But when the man shows his wish to enjoy her, she should be
favourable to him and should show no change in her demeanour when he
embraces her, and should receive all the manifestations of his love as
if she were ignorant of the state of his mind. But when he tries to
kiss her she should oppose him; when he begs to be allowed to have
sexual intercourse with her she should let him touch her private parts
only and with considerable difficulty; and though importuned by him,
she should not yield herself up to him as if of her own accord, but
should resist his attempts to have her. It is only, moreover, when she
is certain that she is truly loved, and that her over is indeed
devoted to her, and will not change his mind, that she should then
give herself up to him, and persuade him to marry her quickly. After
losing her virginity she should tell her confidential friends about

Here end the efforts of a girl to gain over a man.

There are also some verses on the subject as follows:

`A girl who is much sought after should marry the man that she likes,
and whom she thinks would be obedient to her, and capable of giving
her pleasure. But when from the desire of wealth a girl is married by
her parents to a rich man without taking into consideration the
character or looks of the bridegroom, or when given to a man who has
several wives, she never becomes attached to the man, even though he
be endowed with good qualities, obedient to her will, active, strong,
and healthy, and anxious to please her in every way.\footnote{$^1$}
{There is a good deal of truth in the last few observations.
Woman is a monogamous animal, and loves but one, and likes to
feel herself alone in the affections of one man, and cannot
bear rivals. It may also be taken as a general rule that women
either married to, or kept by, rich men love them for their
wealth but not for themselves.}
A husband who is
obedient but yet master of himself, though he be poor and not good
looking, is better than one who is common to many women, even though
he be handsome and attractive. The wives of rich men, where there are
many wives, are not generally attached to their husbands, and are not
confidential with them, and even though they possess all the external
enjoyments of life, still have recourse to other men. A man who is of
a low mind, who has fallen from his social position, and who is much
given to travelling, does not deserve to be married; neither does one
who has many wives and children, or one who is devoted to sport and
gambling, and who comes to his wife only when he likes. Of all the
lovers of a girl he only is her true husband who possesses the
qualities that are liked by her, and such a husband only enjoys real
superiority over her, because he is the husband of love.'


{These forms of marriage differ from the four kinds of marriage
mentioned in Chapter I, and are only to be made use of when the
girl is gained over in the way mentioned in Chapters III and IV.}}

WHEN a girl cannot meet her lover frequently in private, she should
send the daughter of her nurse to him, it being understood that she
has confidence in her, and had previously gained her over to her
interests. On seeing the man, the daughter of the nurse should, in the
course of conversation, describe to him the noble birth, the good
disposition, the beauty, talent, skill, knowledge of human nature and
affection of the girl in such a way as not to let him suppose that she
had been sent by the girl, and should thus create affection for the
girl in the heart of the man. To the girl also she should speak about
the excellent qualities of the man, especially of those qualities
which she knows are pleasing to the girl. She should, moreover, speak
with disparagement of the other lovers of the girl, and talk about the
avarice and indiscretion of their parents, and the fickleness of their
relations. She should also quote samples of many girls of ancient
times, such as Sakoontala and others, who, having united themselves
with lovers of their own caste and their own choice, were ever happy
afterwards in their society. And she should also tell of other girls
who married into great families, and being troubled by rival wives,
became wretched and miserable, and were finally abandoned. She should
further speak of the good fortune, the continual happiness, the
chastity, obedience, and affection of the man, and if the girl gets
amorous about him, she should endeavour to allay her
{About this, see a story on the fatal effects of love at of
Early Ideas: a Group of Hindoo Stories, collected and collated
by Anaryan, W. H. Allen and Co., London, 1881.}
and her
fear as well as her suspicions about any disaster that might result
from her marriage. In a word, she should act the whole part of a
female messenger by telling the girl all about the man's affection for
her, the places he frequented, and the endeavours he made to meet her,
and by frequently repeating, `It will be all right if the man will
take you away forcibly and unexpectedly.'

\centerline{The Forms of Marriage}

When the girl is gained over, and acts openly with the man as his
wife, he should cause fire to be brought from the house of a Brahman,
and having spread the Kusha grass upon the ground, and offered an
oblation to the fire, he should marry her according to the precepts of
the religious law. After this he should inform his parents of the
fact, because it is the opinion of ancient authors that a marriage
solemnly contracted in the presence of fire cannot afterwards be set

After the consummation of the marriage, the relations of the man
should gradually be made acquainted with the affair, and the relations
of the girl should also be apprised of it in such a way that they may
consent to the marriage, and overlook the manner in which it was
brought about, and when this is done they should afterwards be
reconciled by affectionate presents and favourable conduct. In this
manner the man should marry the girl according to the Gandharva form
of marriage.

When the girl cannot make up her mind, or will not express her
readiness to marry, the man should obtain her in any one of the
following ways:

On a fitting occasion, and under some excuse, he should, by means of a
female friend with whom he is well acquainted, and whom he can trust,
and who also is well known to the girl's family, get the girl brought
unexpectedly to his house, and he should then bring fire from the
house of a Brahman, and proceed as before described.

When the marriage of the girl with some other person draws near, the
man should disparage the future husband to the utmost in the mind of
the mother of the girl, and then having got the girl to come with her
mother's consent to a neighbouring house, he should bring fire from
the house of a Brahman, and proceed as above.

The man should become a great friend of the brother of the girl, the
said brother being of the same age as himself, and addicted to
courtesans, and to intrigues with the wives of other people, and
should give him assistance in such matters, and also give him
occasional presents. He should then tell him about his great love for
his sister, as young men will sacrifice even their lives for the sake
of those who may be of the same age, habits, and dispositions as
themselves. After this the man should get the girl brought by means of
her brother to some secure place, and having brought fire from the
house of a Brahman should proceed as before.

The man should on the occasion of festivals get the daughter of the
nurse to give the girl some intoxicating substance, and then cause her
to be brought to some secure place under the pretence of some
business, and there having enjoyed her before she recovers from her
intoxication, should bring fire from the house of a Brahman, and
proceed as before.

The man should, with the connivance of the daughter of the nurse,
carry off the girl from her house while she is asleep, and then,
having enjoyed her before she recovers from her sleep, should bring
fire from the house of a Brahman, and proceed as before.

When the girl goes to a garden, or to some village in the
neighbourhood, the man should, with his friends, fall on her guards,
and having killed them, or frightened them away, forcibly carry her
off, and proceed as before.

There are verses on this subject as follows:

`In all the forms of marriage given in this chapter of this work, the
one that precedes is better than the one that follows it on account of
its being more in accordance with the commands of religion, and
therefore it is only when it is impossible to carry the former into
practice that the latter should be resorted to, As the fruit of all
good marriages is love, the Gandharva\footnote{$^3$}
{`About the Gandharvavivaha form of marriage, see note to page
28 of Captain R. F. Burton's Vickram and the Vampire; or Tales
of Hindu Devilry, Longmans, Green and Co., London 1870. This
form of matrimony was recognised by the ancient Hindoos, and is
frequent in hooks. It is a kind of Scotch wedding -
ultra.Caledonian - taking place by mutual consent without any
form or Ceremony. The Gandharras are heavenly minstrels of
Indra's court, who are opposed to be witnesses.}
form of marriage is respected,
even though it is formed under unfavourable circumstances, because it
fulfils the object sought for. Another cause of the respect accorded
to the Gandharva form of marriage is that it brings forth happiness,
causes less trouble in its performance than the other forms of
marriage, and is above all the result of previous love.'



A VIRTUOUS woman, who has affection for her husband, should act in
conformity with his wishes as if he were a divine being, and with his
consent should take upon herself the whole care of his family. She
should keep the whole house well cleaned, and arrange flowers of
various kinds in different parts of it, and make the floor smooth and
polished so as to give the whole a neat and becoming appearance. She
should surround the house with a garden, and place ready in it all the
materials required for the morning, noon and evening sacrifices.
Moreover she should herself revere the sanctuary of the Household
Gods, for, says Gonardiya, `nothing so much attracts the heart of a
householder to his wife as a careful observance of the things
mentioned above'.

Towards the parents, relations, friends, sisters, and servants of her
husband she should behave as they deserve. In the garden she should
plant beds of green vegetables, bunches of the sugar cane, and clumps
of the fig tree, the mustard plant, the parsley plant, the fennel
plant, and the xanthochymus pictorius. Clusters of various flowers
such as the trapa bispinosa, the jasmine, the jasminum grandiflorum,
the yellow amaranth, the wild jasmine, the tabernamontana coronaria,
the nadyaworta, the china rose and others, should likewise be planted,
together with the fragrant grass andropogon schaenanthus, and the
fragrant root of the plant andropogon miricatus. She should also have
seats and arbours made in the garden, in the middle of which a well,
tank, or pool should be dug.

The wife should always avoid the company of female beggars, female
Buddhist mendicants, unchaste and roguish women, female fortune
tellers and witches. As regards meals she should always consider what
her husband likes and dislikes and what things are good for him, and
what are injurious to him. When she hears the sounds of his footsteps
coming home she should at once get up and be ready to do whatever he
may command her, and either order her female servant to wash his feet,
or wash them herself. When going anywhere with her husband, she should
put on her ornaments, and without his consent she should not either
give or accept invitations, or attend marriages and sacrifices, or sit
in the company of female friends, or visit the temples of the Gods.
And if she wants to engage in any kind of games or sports, she should
not do it against his will. In the same way she should always sit down
after him, and get up before him, and should never awaken him when he
is asleep. The kitchen should be situated in a quiet and retired
place, so as not to be accessible to strangers, and should always look

In the event of any misconduct on the part of her husband, she should
not blame him excessively, though she be a little displeased. She
should not use abusive language towards him, but rebuke him with
conciliatory words, whether he be in the company of friends or alone.
Moreover, she should not be a scold, for, says Gonardiya, `there is no
cause of dislike on the part of a husband so great as this
characteristic in a wife'. Lastly she should avoid bad expressions,
sulky looks, speaking aside, standing in the doorway, and looking at
passers-by, conversing in the pleasure groves, and remaining in a
lonely place for a long time; and finally she should always keep her
body, her teeth, her hair and everything belonging to her tidy, sweet,
and clean.

When the wife wants to approach her husband in private her dress
should consist of many ornaments, various kinds of flowers, and a
cloth decorated with different colours, and some sweet-smelling
ointments or unguents. But her everyday dress should be composed of a
thin, close-textured cloth, a few ornaments and flowers, and a little
scent, not too much. She should also observe the fasts and vows of her
husband, and when he tries to prevent her doing this, she should
persuade him to let her do it.

At appropriate times of the year, and when they happen to be cheap,
she should buy earth, bamboos, firewood, skins, and iron pots, as also
salt and oil. Fragrant substances, vessels made of the fruit of the
plant wrightea antidysenterica, or oval leaved wrightea, medicines,
and other things which are always wanted, should be obtained when
required and kept in a secret place of the house. The seeds of the
radish, the potato, the common beet, the Indian wormwood, the mango,
the cucumber, the egg plant, the kushmanda, the pumpkin gourd, the
surana, the bignonia indica, the sandal wood, the premna spinosa, the
garlic plant, the onion, and other vegetables, should be bought and
sown at the proper seasons. The wife, moreover, should not tell to
strangers the amount of her wealth, nor the secrets which her husband
has confided to her. She should surpass all the women of her own rank
in life in her cleverness, her appearance, her knowledge of cookery,
her pride, and her manner of serving her husband. The expenditure of
the year should be regulated by the profits. The milk that remains
after the meals should be turned into ghee or clarified butter. Oil
and sugar should be prepared at home; spinning and weaving should also
be done there; and a store of ropes and cords, and barks of trees for
twisting into ropes should be kept. She should also attend to the
pounding and cleaning of rice, using its small grain and chaff in some
way or other. She should pay the salaries of the servants, look after
the tilling of the fields, and keeping of the flocks and herds,
superintend the making of vehicles, and take care of the rams, cocks,
quails, parrots, starlings, cuckoos, peacocks, monkeys, and deer; and
finally adjust the income and expenditure of the day. The worn-out
clothes should be given to those servants who have done good work, in
order to show them that their services have been appreciated, or they
may be applied to some other use. The vessels in which wine is
prepared, as well as those in which it is kept, should be carefully
looked after, and put away at the proper time. All sales and purchases
should also be well attended to. The friends of her husband she should
welcome by presenting them with flowers, ointment, incense, betel
leaves, and betel nut. Her father-in-law and mother-in-law she should
treat as they deserve, always remaining dependent on their will, never
contradicting them, speaking to them in few and not harsh words, not
laughing loudly in their presence, and acting with their friends and
enemies as with her own. In addition to the above she should not be
vain, or too much taken up with her enjoyments. She should be liberal
towards her servants, and reward them on holidays and festivals; and
not give away anything without first making it known to her husband.

Thus ends the manner of living of a virtuous woman.

During the absence of her husband on a journey the virtuous woman
should wear only her auspicious ornaments, and observe the fasts in
honour of the Gods. While anxious to hear the news of her husband, she
should still look after her household affairs. She should sleep near
the elder women of the house, and make herself agreeable to them. She
should look after and keep in repair the things that are liked by her
husband, and continue the works that have been begun by him. To the
abode of her relations she should not go except on occasions of joy
and sorrow, and then she should go in her usual travelling dress,
accompanied by her husband's servants, and not remain there for a long
time. The fasts and feasts should be observed with the consent of the
elders of the house. The resources should be increased by making
purchases and sales according to the practice of the merchants and by
means of honest servants, superintended by herself. The income should
be increased, and the expenditure diminished as much possible. And
when her husband returns from his journey, she should receive him at
first in her ordinary clothes, so that he may know in what way she has
lived during his absence, and should bring to him some presents, as
also materials for the worship of the Deity.

Thus ends the part relating to the behaviour of a wife during the
absence of her husband on a journey.

There are also some verses on the subject as follows:

`The wife, whether she be a woman of noble family, or a virgin
{This probably refers to a girl married in her infancy, or when
very young and whose husband had died before she arrived at the
age of puberty. Infant marriages are still the common custom of
the Hindoos.}
remarried, or a concubine, should lead a chaste life, devoted to her
husband, and doing everything for his welfare. Women acting thus
acquire Dharma, Artha, and Kama, obtain a high position, and generally
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