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employed. As for the saying that women who act and talk boldly and freely are
to be won by the personal efforts of the man, and that women who do not
possess those qualities are to be got at by female messengers, it is only a
matter of talk.

Now when a man acts himself in the matter he should first of all make the
acquaintance of the woman he loves in the following manner:

He should arrange to be seen by the woman either on a natural or special
opportunity. A natural opportunity is when one of them goes to the house of the
other, and a special opportunity is when they meet either at the house of a
friend, or a caste-fellow, or a minister, or a physician, as also on the occasion of
marriage ceremonies, sacrifices, festivals, funerals, and garden parties.

When they do meet, the man should be careful to look at her in such a way as
to cause the state of his mind to be made known to her; he should pull about
his moustache, make a sound with his nails, cause his own ornaments to tinkle,
bite his lower lip, and make various other signs of that description. When she is
looking at him he should speak to his friends about her and other women, and
should show to her his liberality and his appreciation of enjoyments. When
sitting by the side of a female friend he should yawn and twist his body,
contract his eyebrows, speak very slowly as if he was weary, and listen to her
indifferently. A conversation having two meanings should also be carried on
with a child or some other person, apparently having regard to a third person,
but really having reference to the woman he loves, and in this way his love
should be made manifest under the pretext of referring to others rather than to
herself. He should make marks that have reference to her, on the earth with his
nails, or with a stick, and should embrace and kiss a child in her presence, and
give it the mixture of betel nut and betel leaves with his tongue, and press its
chin with his fingers in a caressing way. All these things should be done at the
proper time and in proper places.

The man should fondle a child that may be sitting on her lap, and give it
something to play with, and also take the same back again. Conversation with
respect to the child may also be held with her, and in this manner he should
gradually become well acquainted with her, and he should also make himself
agreeable to her relations. Afterwards, this acquaintance should be made a
pretext for visiting her house frequently, and on such occasions he should
converse on the subject of love in her absence but within her hearing. As his
intimacy with her increases he should place in her charge some kind of deposit
or trust, and take away from it a small portion at a time; or he may give her
some fragrant substances, or betel nuts to be kept for him by her. After this he
should endeavour to make her well acquainted with his own wife, and get them
to carry on confidential conversations, and to sit together in lonely places.

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Examination of the State of a Woman's mind

When a man is trying to gain over a woman he should examine the state of her
mind, and act as follows:

If she listens to him, but does not manifest to him in any way her own
intentions, he should then try to gain her over by means of a go-between.

If she meets him once, and again comes to meet him better dressed than
before, or comes to him in some lonely place, he should be certain that she is
capable of being enjoyed by the use of a little force. A woman who lets a man
make up to her, but does not give herself up, even after a long time, should be
considered as a trifler in love, but owing to the fickleness of the human mind,
even such a woman can be conquered by always keeping up a close
acquaintance with her.

When a woman avoids the attentions of a man, and on account of respect for
him, and pride in herself, will not meet him or approach him, she can be gained
over with difficulty, either by endeavouring to keep on familiar terms with her,
or else by an exceedingly clever go-between.

When a man makes up to a woman, and she reproaches him with harsh words,
she should be abandoned at once.

When a woman reproaches a man, but at the same time acts affectionately
towards him, she should be made love to in every way.

A woman, who meets a man in lonely places, and puts up with the touch of his
foot, but pretends, on account of the indecision of her mind, not to be aware of
it, should be conquered by patience, and by continued efforts as follows:

If she happens to go to sleep in his vicinity he should put his left arm round
her, and see when she awakes whether she repulses him in reality, or only
repulses him in such a way as if she was desirous of the same thing being done
to her again. And what is done by the arm can also be done by the foot. If the
man succeeds in this point he should embrace her more closely, and if she will
not stand the embrace and gets up, but behaves with him as usual the next
day, he should consider then that she is not unwilling to be enjoyed by him. If
however she does not appear again, the man should try to get over her by
means of a go-between; and if, after having disappeared for some time, she
again appears, and behaves with him as usual, the man should then consider
that she would not object to be united with him.

When a woman gives a man an opportunity, and makes her own love manifest
to him, he should proceed to enjoy her. And the signs of a woman manifesting
her love are these:

She calls out to a man without being addressed by him in the first instance.

She shows herself to him in secret places.

She speaks to him tremblingly and inarticulately.

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The Business of a Go-Between

If a woman has manifested her love or desire, either by signs or by motions of
the body, and is afterwards rarely or never seen anywhere, or if a woman is
met for the first time, the man should get a go-between to approach her.

Now the go-between, having wheedled herself into the confidence of the
woman by acting according to her disposition, should try to make her hate or
despise her husband by holding artful conversations with her, by telling her
about medicines for getting children, by talking to her about other people, by
tales of various kinds, by stories about the wives of other men, and by praising
her beauty, wisdom, generosity and good nature, and then saying to her: `It is
indeed a pity that you, who are so excellent a woman in every way, should be
possessed of a husband of this kind. Beautiful lady, he is not fit even to serve
you.' The go-between should further talk to the woman about the weakness of
the passion of her husband, his jealousy, his roguery, his ingratitude, his
aversion to enjoyments, his dullness, his meanness, and all the other faults that
he may have, and with which she may be acquainted. She should particularly
harp upon that fault or that failing by which the wife may appear to be the most
affected. If the wife be a deer woman, and the husband a hare man, then there
would be no fault in that direction, but in the event of his being a hare man,
and she a mare woman or elephant woman, then this fault should be pointed
out to her.

Gonikaputra is of opinion that when it is the first affair of the woman, or when
her love has only been very secretly shown, the man should then secure and
send to her a go-between, with whom she may be already acquainted, and in
whom she confides.

But to return to our subject. The go-between should tell the woman about the
obedience and love of the man, and as her confidence and affection increase,
she should then explain to her the thing to be accomplished in the following
way. `Hear this, Oh beautiful lady, that this man, born of a good family, having
seen you, has gone mad on your account. The poor young man, who is tender
by nature, has never been distressed in such a way before, and it is highly
probable that he will succumb under his present affliction, and experience the
pains of death.' If the woman listens with a favourable ear, then on the
following day the go-between, having observed marks of good spirits in her
face, in her eyes, and in her manner of conversation, should again converse
with her on the subject of the man, and should tell her the stories of Ahalya1
and Indra, of Sakoontala2 and Dushyanti, and such others as may be fitted for
the occasion. She should also describe to her the strength of the man, his
talents, his skill in the sixty-four sorts of enjoyments mentioned by Babhravya,
his good looks, and his liaison with some praiseworthy woman, no matter
whether this last ever took place or not.

In addition to this, the go-between should carefully note the behaviour of the
woman, which if favourable would be as follows: She would address her with a
smiling look, would seat herself close beside her, and ask her, `Where have you
been? What have you been doing? Where did you dine? Where did you sleep?
Where have you been sitting?'

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On the Love of Persons in authority with the Wives of other People

Kings and their ministers have no access to the abodes of others, and moreover
their mode of living is constantly watched and observed and imitated by the
people at large, just as the animal world, seeing the sun rise, get up after him,
and when he sits in the evening, lie down again in the same way. Persons in
authority should not therefore do any improper act in public, as such are
impossible from their position, and would be deserving of censure. But if they
find that such an act is necessary to be done, they should make use of the
proper means as described in the following paragraphs.

The head man of the village, the king's officer employed there, and the man1
whose business it is to glean corn, can gain over female villagers simply by
asking them. It is on this account that this class of woman are called unchaste
women by voluptuaries.

The union of the above mentioned men with this class of woman takes place on
the occasions of unpaid labour, of filling the granaries in their houses, of taking
things in and out of the house, of cleaning the houses, of working in the fields,
and of purchasing cotton, wool, flax, hemp, and thread, and at the season of
the purchase, sale, and exchange of various other articles, as well as at the
time of doing various other works. In the same way the superintendents of cow
pens enjoy the women in the cow pens; and the officers, who crave the
superintendence of widows, of the women who are without supporters, and of
women who have left their husbands, have sexual intercourse with these
women. The intelligent accomplish their object by wandering at night in the
village, and while villagers also unite with the wives of their sons, being much
alone with them. Lastly the superintendents of markets have a great deal to do
with the female villagers at the time of their making purchases in the market.

During the festival of the eighth moon, i.e. during the bright half of the month
of Nargashirsha, as also during the moonlight festival of the month of Kartika,
and the spring festival of Chaitra, the women of cities and towns generally visit
the women of the king's harem in the royal palace. These visitors go to the
several apartments of the women of the harem, as they are acquainted with
them, and pass the night in conversation, and in proper sports, and
amusement, and go away in the morning. On such occasions a female
attendant of the king (previously acquainted with the woman whom the king
desires) should loiter about, and accost this woman when she sets out to go
home, and induce her to come and see the amusing things in the palace.
Previous to these festivals even, she should have caused it to be intimated to
this woman that on the occasion of this festival she would show her all the
interesting things in the royal palace. Accordingly she should show her the
bower of the coral creeper, the garden house with its floor inlaid with precious
stones, the bower of grapes, the building on the water, the secret passages in
the walls of the palace, the pictures, the sporting animals, the machines, the
birds, and the cages of the lions and the tigers. After this, when alone with her,
she should tell her about the love of the king for her, and should describe to her
the good fortune which would attend upon her union with the king, giving her at
the time a strict promise of secrecy. If the woman does not accept the offer,
she should conciliate and please her with handsome presents befitting the
position of the king, and having accompanied her for some distance should
dismiss her with great affection.

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About the Women of the Royal Harem, and of the keeping of one's own

The women of the royal harem cannot see or meet any men on account of their
being strictly guarded, neither do they have their desires satisfied, because
their only husband is common to many wives. For this reason among
themselves they give pleasure to each other in various ways as now described.
Having dressed the daughters of their nurses, or their female friends, or their
female attendants, like men, they accomplish their object by means of bulbs,
roots, and fruits having the form of the lingam, or they lie down upon the
statue of a male figure, in which the lingam is visible and erect.

Some kings, who are compassionate, take or apply certain medicines to enable
them to enjoy many wives in one night, simply for the purpose of satisfying the
desire of their women, though they perhaps have no desire of their own. Others
enjoy with great affection only those wives that they particularly like, while
others only take them, according as the turn of each wife arrives in due course.
Such are the ways of enjoyment prevalent in Eastern countries, and what is
said about the means of enjoyment of the female is also applicable to the male.

By means of their female attendants the ladies of the royal harem generally get
men into their apartments in the disguise or dress of women. Their female
attendants, and the daughters of their nurses, who are acquainted with their
secrets, should exert themselves to get men to come to the harem in this way
by telling them of the good fortune attending it, and by describing the facilities
of entering and leaving the palace, the large size of the premises, the
carelessness of the sentinels, and the irregularities of the attendants about the
persons of the royal wives. But these women should never induce a man to
enter the harem by telling him falsehoods, for that would probably lead to his

As for the man himself he had better not enter a royal harem, even though it
may be easily accessible, on account of the numerous disasters to which he
may be exposed there. If however he wants to enter it, he should first ascertain
whether there is an easy way to get out, whether it is closely surrounded by the
pleasure garden, whether it has separate enclosures belonging to it, whether
the sentinels are careless, whether the king has gone abroad, and then, when
he is called by the women of the harem, he should carefully observe the
localities, and enter by the way pointed out by them. If he is able to manage it,
he should hang about the harem every day, and under some pretext or other,
make friends with the sentinels, and show himself attached to the female
attendants of the harem, who may have become acquainted with his design,
and to whom he should express his regret at not being able to obtain the object
of his desire. Lastly he should cause the whole business of a go-between to be
done by the woman who may have access to the harem, and he should be
careful to be able to recognize the emissaries of the king.

When a go-between has no access to the harem, then the man should stand in
some place where the lady, whom he loves and whom he is anxious to enjoy,
can be seen.

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Introductory remarks

This Part VI, about courtesans, was prepared by Vatsyayana from a treatise on
the subject that was written by Dattaka, for the women of Pataliputra (the
modern Patna), some two thousand years ago. Dattaka's work does not appear
to be extant now, but this abridgement of it is very clever, and quite equal to
any of the productions of Emile Zola, and other writers of the realistic school of
today. Although a great deal has been written on the subject of the courtesan,
nowhere will be found a better description of her, of her belongings, of her
ideas, and of the working of her mind, than is contained in the following pages.

The details of the domestic and social life of the early Hindoos would not be
complete without mention of the courtesan, and Part VI is entirely devoted to
this subject. The Hindoos have ever had the good sense to recognise
courtesans as a part and portion of human society, and so long as they
behaved themselves with decency and propriety they were regarded with a
certain respect. Anyhow, they have never been treated in the East with that
brutality and contempt so common in the West, while their education has
always been of a superior kind to that bestowed upon the rest of womankind in
Oriental countries.

In the earlier days the well-educated Hindoo dancing girl and courtesan
doubtless resembled the Hetera of the Greeks, and, being educated and
amusing, were far more acceptable as companions than the generality of the
married or unmarried women of that period. At all times and in all countries,
there has ever been a little rivalry between the chaste and the unchaste. But
while some women are born courtesans, and follow the instincts of their nature
in every class of society, it has been truly said by some authors that every
woman has got an inkling of the profession in her nature, and does her best, as
a general rule, to make herself agreeable to the male sex.

The subtlety of women, their wonderful perceptive powers, their knowledge,
and their intuitive appreciation of men and things are all shown in the following
pages, which may be looked upon as a concentrated essence that has been
since worked up into detail by many writers in every quarter of the globe.
Of the Causes of a Courtesan resorting to Men; of the means of
Attaching to herself the Man desired, and the kind of Man that it is
desirable to be acquainted with

By having intercourse with men courtesans obtain sexual pleasure, as well as
their own maintenance. Now when a courtesan takes up with a man from love,
the action is natural; but when she resorts to him for the purpose of getting
money, her action is artificial or forced. Even in the latter case, however, she
should conduct herself as if her love were indeed natural, because men repose
their confidence on those women who apparently love them. In making known
her love to the man, she should show an entire freedom from avarice, and for
the sake of her future credit she should abstain from acquiring money from him
by unlawful means.

A courtesan, well dressed and wearing her ornaments, should sit or stand at the
door of her house, and, without exposing herself too much, should look on the
public road so as to be seen by the passers by, she being like an object on view
for sale. (1) She should form friendships with such persons as would enable her
to separate men from other women, and attach them to herself, to repair her
own misfortunes, to acquire wealth, and to protect her from being bullied, or
set upon by persons with whom she may have dealings of some kind or

These persons are:

The guards of the town, or the police

The officers of the courts of justice


Powerful men, or men with interest

Learned men

Teachers of the sixty-four arts

Pithamardas or confidants

Vitas or parasites

Vidushakas or jesters

Flower sellers


Vendors of spirits




And such other persons as may be found necessary for the particular object to
be acquired.

The following kinds of men may be taken up with, simply for the purpose of
getting their money:
q Men of independent income

q Young men

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