The Kamasutra of Vatsyayana
Part 3 - ABOUT THE ACQUISITION OF A WIFE
Chapter 5 - On certain forms of marriage
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 has 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 Sakuntala 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 shame and her fear as well as her suspicions about any disaster that might result from the 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.”
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 aside.
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:—
(1). 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.
(2.) 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.
(3.) 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.
(4.) 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.
(5.) 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.
(6.) 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 the 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 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 any other forms of marriage, and is above all the result of previous love.
End of Part III