Six: Comments on polygamy

Six:  Comments on polygamy
Untitled Document

CHAPTER II ON THE CONDUCT OF THE ELDER WIFE TOWARDS THE OTHERWIVES OF HER HUSBAND, AND ON THAT OF A YOUNGER WIFE TOWARDS THE ELDER ONES. ALSO ON THE CONDUCT OF A VIRGIN WIDOW RE-MARRIED; OF A WIFE DISLIKED BY HER HUSBAND; OF THE WOMEN IN THE KING'S HAREM; AND LASTLY ON THE CONDUCT OF A HUSBAND TOWARDS MANY WIVES




THE causes of re-marrying during the lifetime of the wife are as
follows:
\item{*} The folly or ill-temper of the wife
\item{*} Her husband's dislike to her
\item{*} The want of offspring
\item{*} The continual birth of daughters
\item{*} The incontinence of the husband


From the very beginning, a wife should endeavour to attract the heart
of her husband, by showing to him continually her devotion, her good
temper, and her wisdom. If however she bears him no children, she
should herself toilette her husband to marry another woman. And when
the second wife is married, and brought to the house, the first wife
should give her a position superior to her own, and look upon her as a
sister. In the morning the elder wife should forcibly make the younger
one decorate herself in the presence of their husband, and should not
mind all the husband's favour being given to her. If the younger wife
does anything to displease her husband the elder one should not
neglect her, but should always be ready to give her most careful
advice, and should teach her to do various things in the presence of
her husband. Her children she should treat as her own, her attendants
she should look upon with more regard, even than on her own servants,
her friends she should cherish with love and kindness, and her
relations with great honour.


When there are many other wives besides herself, the elder wife should
associate with the one who is immediately next to her in rank and age,
and should instigate the wife who has recently enjoyed her husband's
favour to quarrel with the present favourite. After this she should
sympathize with the former, and having collected all the other wives
together, should get them to denounce the favourite as a scheming and
wicked woman, without however committing herself in any way. If the
favourite wife happens to quarrel with the husband, then the elder
wife should take her part and give her false encouragement, and thus
cause the quarrel to be increased. If there be only a little quarrel
between the two, the elder wife should do all she can to work it up
into a large quarrel. But if after all this she finds the husband
still continues to love his favourite wife she should then change her
tactics, and endeavour to bring about a conciliation between them, so
as to avoid her husband's displeasure.


Thus ends the conduct of the elder wife.


The younger wife should regard the elder wife of her husband as her
mother, and should not give anything away, even to her own relations,
without her knowledge. She should tell her everything about herself,
and not approach her husband without her permission. Whatever is told
to her by the elder wife she should not reveal to others, and she
should take care of the children of the senior even more than of her
own. When alone with her husband she should serve him well, but should
not tell him of the pain she suffers from the existence of a rival
wife. She may also obtain secretly from her husband some marks of his
particular regard for her, and may tell him that she lives only for
him, and for the regard that he has for her. She should never reveal
her love for her husband, nor her husband's love for her to any
person, either in pride or in anger, for a wife that reveals the
secrets of her husband is despised by him. As for seeking to obtain
the regard of her husband, Gonardiya says, that it should always be
done in private, for fear of the elder wife. If the elder wife be
disliked by her husband, or be childless, she should sympathize with
her, and should ask her husband to do the same, but should surpass her
in leading the life of a chaste woman.


Thus ends the conduct of the younger wife towards the elder.


A widow in poor circumstances, or of a weak nature, and who allies
herself again to a man, is called a widow remarried.


The followers of Babhravya say that a virgin widow should not marry a
person whom she may be obliged to leave on account of his bad
character, or of his being destitute of the excellent qualities of a
man, she thus being obliged to have recourse to another person.
Gonardiya is of opinion that as the cause of a widow's marrying again
is her desire for happiness, and as happiness is secured by the
possession of excellent qualities in her husband, joined to love of
enjoyment, it is better therefore to secure a person endowed with such
qualities in the first instance. Vatsyayana however thinks that a
widow may marry any person that she likes, and that she thinks win
suit her.


At the time of her marriage the widow should obtain from her husband
the money to pay the cost of drinking parties, and picnics with her
relations, and of giving them and her friends kindly gifts and
presents; or she may do these things at her own cost if she likes. In
the same way she may wear either her husband's ornaments or her own.
As to the presents of affection mutually exchanged between the husband
and herself there is no fixed rule about them. If she leaves her
husband after marriage of her own accord, she should restore to him
whatever he may have given her, with the exception of the mutual
presents. If however she is driven out of the house by her husband she
should not return anything to him.


After her marriage she should live in the house of her husband like
one of the chief members of the family, but should treat the other
ladies of the family with kindness, the servants with generosity, and
all the friends of the house with familiarity and good temper. She
should show that she is better acquainted with the sixty-four arts
than the other ladies of the house, and in any quarrels with her
husband she should not rebuke him severely but in private do
everything that he wishes, and make use of the sixty-four ways of
enjoyment. She should be obliging to the other wives of her husband,
and to their children she should give presents, behave as their
mistress, and make ornaments and playthings for their use. In the
friends and servants of her husband she should confide more than in
his other wives, and finally she should have a liking for drinking
parties, going to picnics, attending fairs and festivals, and for
carrying out all kinds of games and amusements.


Thus ends the conduct of a virgin widow remarried.


A woman who is disliked by her husband, and annoyed and distressed by
his other wives, should associate with the wife who is liked most by
her husband, and who serves him more than the others, and should teach
her all the arts with which she is acquainted. She should act as the
nurse to her husband's children, and having gained over his friends to
her side, should through them make him acquainted of her devotion to
him. In religious ceremonies she should be a leader, as also in vows
and fasts, and should not hold too good an opinion of herself. When
her husband is lying on his bed she should only go near him when it is
agreeable to him, and should never rebuke him, or show obstinacy in
any way. If her husband happens to quarrel with any of his other
wives, she should reconcile them to each other, and if he desires to
see any woman secretly, she should manage to bring about the meeting
between them. She should moreover make herself acquainted with the
weak points of her husband's character, but always keep them secret,
and on the whole behave herself in such a way as may lead him to look
upon her as a good and devoted wife.


Here ends the conduct of a wife disliked by her husband.


The above sections will show how all the women of the king's seraglio
are to behave, and therefore we shall now speak separately only about
the king.


The female attendants in the harem (called severally
Kanchukiyas,\footnote{$^1$}
{A name given to the maid servants of the zenana of the kings in
ancient times, on account of their always keeping their breasts
covered with a cloth called Kanchuki. It was customary in the
olden time for the maid servants to cover their breasts with a
cloth, while the queens kept their breasts uncovered. This
custom is distinctly to be seen in the Ajunta cave paintings.}
Mahallarikas,\footnote{$^2$}
{The meaning of this word is a superior woman, so it would seem
that a Mahallarika must be a person in authority over the maid
servants of the house.}
and Mahallikas\footnote{$^3$}
{This was also appertaining to the rank of women employed in the
harem. In latter times this place was given to eunuchs.})
should bring flowers, ointments and
clothes from the king's wives to the king, and he having received
these things should give them as presents to the servants, along with
the things worn by him the previous day. In the afternoon the king,
having dressed and put on his ornaments, should interview the women of
the harem, who should also be dressed and decorated with jewels. Then
having given to each of them such a place and such respect as may suit
the occasion and as they may deserve, he should carry on with them a
cheerful conversation. After that he should see such of his wives as
may be virgin widows remarried, and after them the concubines and
dancing girls. All of these should be visited in their own private
rooms.


When the king rises from his noonday sleep, the woman whose duty it is
to inform the king regarding the wife who is to spend the night with
him should come to him accompanied by the female attendants of that
wife whose turn may have arrived in the regular course, and of her who
may have been accidentally passed over as her turn arrived, and of her
who may have been unwell at the time of her turn. These attendants
should place before the king the ointments and unguents sent by each
of these wives, marked with the seal of her ring, and their names and
their reasons for sending the ointments should be told to the king.
After this the king accepts the ointment of one of them, who then is
informed that her ointment has been accepted, and that her day has
been settled.\footnote{$^4$}
{As kings generally had many wives, it was usual for them to
enjoy their wives by turns. But as it happened sometimes that
some of them lost their turns owing to the king's absence, or
to their being unwell, then in such cases the women whose turns
had been passed over, and those whose turns had come, used to
have a sort of lottery, and the ointments of all the claimants
were sent to the king, who accepted the ointment of one of
them, and thus settled the question.}


At festivals, singing parties and exhibitions, all the wives of the
king should be treated with respect and served with drinks.


But the women of the harem should not be allowed to go out alone,
neither should any women outside the harem be allowed to enter it
except those whose character is well known. And lastly the work which
the king's wives have to do should not be too fatiguing.


Thus ends the conduct of the king towards the women of the harem, and
of their own conduct.


A man marrying many wives should act fairly towards them all. He
should neither disregard nor pass over their faults, and should not
reveal to one wife the love, passion, bodily blemishes and
confidential reproaches of the other. No opportunity should be given
to any one of them of speaking to him about their rivals, and if one
of them should begin to speak ill of another, he should chide her and
tell her that she has exactly the same blemishes in her character. One
of them he should please by secret confidence, another by secret
respect, and another by secret flattery, and he should please them all
by going to gardens, by amusements, by presents, by honouring their
relations, by telling them secrets, and lastly by loving unions. A
young woman who is of a good temper, and who conducts herself
according to the precepts of the Holy Writ, wins her husband's
attachments, and obtains a superiority over her rivals.


Thus ends the conduct of a husband towards many wives.



PART V ABOUT THE WIVES OF OTHER PEOPLE CHAPTER I OF THE CHARACTERISTICS OF MEN AND WOMEN. THE REASONS WHY WOMEN REJECT THE ADDRESSES OF MEN. ABOUT MEN WHO HAVE SUCCESS WITH WOMEN, AND ABOUT WOMEN WHO ARE EASILY GAINED OVER


THE wives of other people may be resorted to on the occasions already
described in Part I, Chapter V, of this work, but the possibility of
their acquisition, their fitness for cohabitation, the danger to
oneself in uniting with them, and the future effect of these unions,
should first of all be examined. A man may resort to the wife of
another, for the purpose of saving his own life, when he perceives
that his love for her proceeds from one degree of intensity to
another. These degrees are ten in number, and are distinguished by the
following marks:
{*} Love of the eye
{*} Attachment of the mind
{*} Constant reflection
{*} Destruction of sleep
{*} Emaciation of the body
{*} Turning away from objects of enjoyment
{*} Removal of shame
{*} Madness
{*} Fainting
{*} Death


Ancient authors say that a man should know the disposition,
truthfulness, purity, and will of a young woman, as also the
intensity, or weakness of her passions, from the form of her body, and
from her characteristic marks and signs. But Vatsyayana is of opinion
that the forms of bodies, and the characteristic marks or signs are
but erring tests of character, and that women should be judged by
their conduct, by the outward expression of their thoughts, and by the
movements of their bodies.


Now as a general rule Gonikaputra says that a woman falls in love with
every handsome man she sees, and so does every man at the sight of a
beautiful woman, but frequently they do not take any further steps,
owing to various considerations. In love the following circumstances
are peculiar to the woman. She loves without regard to right or
wrong,\footnote{$^1$}
{On peut tout attendre et tout supposer d'une femme amoureuse.
- Balzac}
and does not try to gain over a man simply for the attainment
of some particular purpose. Moreover, when a man first makes up to her
she naturally shrinks from him, even though she may be willing to
unite herself with him. But when the attempts to gain her are repeated
and renewed, she at last consents. But with a man, even though he may
have begun to love, he conquers his feelings from a regard for
morality and wisdom, and although his thoughts are often on the woman,
he does not yield, even though an attempt be made to gain him over. He
sometimes makes an attempt or effort to win the object of his
affections, and having failed, he leaves her alone for the future. In
the same way, when a woman is once gained, he often becomes
indifferent about her. As for the saying that a man does not care for
what is easily gained, and only desires a thing which cannot be
obtained without difficulty, it is only a matter of talk.


The causes of a woman rejecting the addresses of a man are as follows:
\item{*} Affection for her husband
\item{*} Desire of lawful progeny
\item{*} Want of opportunity
\item{*} Anger at being addressed by the man too familiarly
\item{*} Difference in rank of life
\item{*} Want of certainty on account of the man being devoted travelling
\item{*} Thinking that the man may be attached to some other person
\item{*} Fear of the man's not keeping his intentions secret
\item{*} Thinking that the man is too devoted to his friends, and has too
great a regard for them
\item{*} The apprehension that he is not in earnest
\item{*} Bashfulness on account of his being an illustrious man
\item{*} Fear on account of his being powerful, or possessed of too
impetuous passion, in the case of the deer woman
\item{*} Bashfulness on account of his being too clever
\item{*} The thought of having once lived with him on friendly terms only
\item{*} Contempt of his want of knowledge of the world
\item{*} Distrust of his low character
\item{*} Disgust at his want of perception of her love for him
\item{*} In the case of an elephant woman, the thought that he is a hare
man, or a man of weak passion
\item{*} Compassion lest anything should befall him on account of his
passion
\item{*} Despair at her own imperfections
\item{*} Fear of discovery
\item{*} Disillusion at seeing his grey hair or shabby appearance
\item{*} Fear that he may be employed by her husband to test her chastity
\item{*} The thought that he has too much regard for morality


Whichever of the above causes a man may detect, he should endeavour to
remove it from the very beginning. Thus, the bashfulness that may
arise from his greatness or his ability, he should remove by showing
his great love and affection for her. The difficulty of the want of
opportunity, or of his inaccessibility, he should remove by showing
her some easy way of access. The excessive respect entertained by the
woman for him should be removed by making himself very familiar. The
difficulties that arise from his being thought a low character he
should remove by showing his valour and his wisdom; those that come
from neglect by extra attention; and those that arise from fear by
giving her proper encouragement.


The following are the men who generally obtain success with women:
\item{*} Men well versed in the science of love
\item{*} Men skilled in telling stories
\item{*} Men acquainted with women from their childhood Men
\item{*} who have secured their confidence
\item{*} Men who send presents to them
\item{*} Men who talk well
\item{*} Men who do things that they like
\item{*} Men who have not loved other women previously
\item{*} Men who act as messengers
\item{*} Men who know their weak points
\item{*} Men who are desired by good women
\item{*} Men who are united with their female friends
\item{*} Men who are good looking
\item{*} Men who have been brought up with them
\item{*} Men who are their neighbours
\item{*} Men who are devoted to sexual pleasures, even though these be with
their own servants
\item{*} The lovers of the daughters of their nurse
\item{*} Men who have been lately married
\item{*} Men who like picnics and pleasure parties
\item{*} Men who are liberal
\item{*} Men who are celebrated for being very strong (Bull men)
\item{*} Enterprising and brave men
\item{*} Men who surpass their husbands in learning and good looks, in good
qualities, and in liberality
\item{*} Men whose dress and manner of living are magnificent


The following are the women who are easily gained over:
\item{*} Women who stand at the doors of their houses
\item{*} Women who are always looking out on the street
\item{*} Women who sit conversing in their neighbour's house
\item{*} A woman who is always staring at you
\item{*} A female messenger
\item{*} A woman who looks sideways at you
\item{*} A woman whose husband has taken another wife without any just
cause
\item{*} A woman who hates her husband, or who is hated by him
\item{*} A woman who has nobody to look after her, or keep her in check
\item{*} A woman who has not had any children
\item{*} A woman whose family or caste is not well known
\item{*} A woman whose children are dead
\item{*} A woman who is very fond of society
\item{*} A woman who is apparently very affectionate with her husband
\item{*} The wife of an actor
\item{*} A widow
\item{*} A poor woman
\item{*} A woman fond of enjoyments
\item{*} The wife of a man with many younger brothers
\item{*} A vain woman
\item{*} A woman whose husband is inferior to her in rank or abilities
\item{*} A woman who is proud of her skill in the arts
\item{*} A woman disturbed in mind by the folly of her husband
\item{*} A woman who has been married in her infancy to a rich man, and not
liking him when she grows up, desires a man possessing a
disposition, talents, and wisdom suitable to her own tastes.
\item{*} A woman who is slighted by her husband without any cause
\item{*} A woman who is not respected by other women of the same rank or
beauty as herself
\item{*} A woman whose husband is devoted to travelling
\item{*} The wife of a jeweller
\item{*} A jealous woman
\item{*} A covetous woman
\item{*} An immoral woman
\item{*} A barren woman
\item{*} A lazy woman
\item{*} A cowardly woman
\item{*} A humpbacked woman
\item{*} A dwarfish woman
\item{*} A deformed woman
\item{*} A vulgar woman
\item{*} An ill-smelling woman
\item{*} A sick woman
\item{*} An old woman


There are also two verses on the subject as follows:


`Desire, which springs from nature, and which is increased by art, and
from which all danger is taken away by wisdom, becomes firm and
secure. A clever man, depending on his own ability, and observing
carefully the ideas and thoughts of women, and removing the causes of
their turning away from men, is generally successful with them.'



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