The Kamasutra of Vatsyayana
Part 5 - ABOUT THE WIVES OF OTHER MEN
Chapter 5 - About the love of persons in authority for the wives of other men
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 man 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 have 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.
(2). Or, having made the acquaintance of the husband of the woman whom the King desires, the wives of the King should get the wife to pay them a visit in the harem, and on this occasion a female attendant of the King, having been sent thither, should act as above described.
(3). Or, one of the King’s wives should get acquainted with the woman that the King desires, by sending one of the female attendants to her, who should, on their becoming more intimate, induce her to come and see the royal abode. Afterwards, when she has visited the harem, and acquired confidence, a female confidante of the King, sent thither, should act as before described.
(4). Or, the King’s wife should invite the woman, whom the King desires, to come to the royal palace, so that she might see the practice of the art in which the King’s wife may be skilled, and after she has come to the harem, a female attendant of the King, sent thither, should act as before described.
(5). Or, a female beggar, in league with the King’s wife, should say to the woman desired by the King, and whose husband may have lost his wealth, or may have some cause of fear from the King: “This wife of the King has influence over him, and she is, moreover, naturally kind-hearted, we must therefore go to her in this matter. I shall arrange for your entrance into the harem, and she will do away with all cause of danger and fear from the King.”
If the woman accepts this offer, the female beggar should take her two or three times to the harem, and the King’s wife there should give her a promise of protection. After this, when the woman, delighted with her reception and promise of protection, again goes to the harem, then a female attendant of the King, sent thither, should act as directed.
(6). What has been said above regarding the wife of one who has some cause of fear from the King applies also to the wives of those who seek service under the King, or who are oppressed by the King’s ministers, or who are poor, or who are not satisfied with their position, or who are desirous of gaining the King’s favour, or who wish to become famous among the people, or who are oppressed by the members of their own caste, or who want to injure their caste fellows, or who are spies of the King, or who have any other object to attain.
(7). Lastly, if the woman desired by the King be living with some person who is not her husband, then the King should cause her to be arrested, and having made her a slave, on account of her crime, should place her in the harem. Or the King should cause his ambassador to quarrel with the husband of the woman desired by him, and should then imprison her as the wife of an enemy of the King, and by this means should place her in the harem.
Thus end the means of gaining over the wives of others secretly.
The above mentioned ways of gaining over the wives of other men are chiefly practised in the palaces of Kings. But a King should never enter the abode of another person, for Abhira, the King of the Kottas was killed by a washerman while in the house of another, and in the same way Jayasana the King of the Kashis was slain by the commandment of his cavalry.
But according to the customs of some countries there are facilities for Kings to make love to the wives of other men. Thus in the country of the Andras the newly married daughters of the people thereof enter the King’s harem with some presents on the tenth day of their marriage, and having been enjoyed by the King are then dismissed.
In the country of the Vatsagulmas the wives of the chief ministers approach the King at night to serve him. In the country of the Vaidarbhas the beautiful wives of the inhabitants pass a month in the King’s harem under the pretence of affection for the King. In the country of the Aparatakas the people gave their beautiful wives as presents to the ministers and the Kings. And lastly in the country of the Saurashtras the women of the city and the country enter the royal harem for the King’s pleasure either together or separately.
There are also two verses on the subject as follows:
“The above and other ways are the means employed in different countries by Kings with regard to the wives of other persons. But a King, who has the welfare of his people at heart, should not on any account put them into practice.”
“A King who has conquered the six enemies of mankind, becomes the master of the whole earth.”