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THE KAMA SUTRA OF VATSYAYANA Part-27
On the Conduct of the Elder Wife Towards the Other Wives
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-marriage during the lifetime of the wife
are as follows:
( 1 ) The folly or ill temper of the wife.
(2) Her husband's dislike to her.
(3) The want of offspring.
(4) The continual birth of daughters.
(5) The incontinence of the husband.
From the very beginning a wife should endeavor 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 tell 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 favor 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 the 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 honor.
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 favor to quarrel with the
present favorite. After this she should sympathize with the
former, and having collected all the other wives together,
should get them to denounce the favorite as a scheming and
wicked woman, without however committing herself in any
way. If the favorite 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 that her husband still
continues to love his favorite wife, she should then change
her tactics, and endeavor 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 surpsass her in leading the life of a
Thus ends the conduct of the younger wife towards the
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. Gonardya 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 a 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 will 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 play-things
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 re-married.
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 of 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*
MahallarikasA and MahaUikas,%) 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 re-married, and after them the concubines and
dancing girls. All of these should be visited in their own
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
At festivals, singing parties and exhibitions all the wives
of the King should be treated with respect and served with
But the women of the harem should not be allowed to go
out alone, neither should any woman 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 honoring 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 attachment, and obtains a
superiority over her rivals.
Thus ends the conduct of a husband towards many wives.