Brihat Samhita

by N. Chidambaram Iyer | 1884 | 135,584 words | ISBN-13: 9788171104215

This page describes sexual union (pumstri-samayoga) which is the seventy-eighth Chapter of the English translation of the Brihat-samhita. This work, written by Varahamihira in the 6th century, is classified as jyotisha literature, also known as Indian astronomy. It contains however, also content regarding astrology, palmistry, agriculture, gardening, perfumes, medicines and various other encyclopedic topics.

Chapter 78 - On Sexual Union (puṃstrī-samāyoga)

1. King Vidūratha was killed by his queen who concealed a weapon in her plaited hair; and the king of Benares was killed by his queen, who disliked him with poison which she carried in her anklets.

2. Thus wives who do not love their husbands have killed them. Of what use is it to quote more instances. Husbands shall therefore ascertain in various ways whether they have secured the affection of their wives.

3. A loving wife shows her love in various ways. She will, in the presence of her lord, show, as if by accident, her navel, arms, and ornaments and will adjust her garments; will allow the hair of her head to fall loose as if by accident, will raise her eyebrows, will tremble, and will cast a side-look at her husband.

4. She will spit aloud; laugh openly; get first into the bed; crack her joints; yawn; beg for the gift of trifles; embrace a child and kiss it; will for a time look at her friend; look at her husband when his look is turned from her, scratch her ears and will speak in his praise m his absence.

5-6. A loving wife will, besides, speak affectionately to her husband, assist him with her money, will give up her anger at the sight of her lord and will be filled with pleasurable sensations; will meet any calumnious attacks on him by recounting his virtues. She will show due respect to the friends of her lord and hate his enemies; she will feel grateful to him for his helps; will feel distressed during his absence. She will offer her bosoms and lips, embraces him, perspires, and kisses him first.

7. An unloving wife will contract her eye-brows; turn her look away from her lord; will be wanting in gratitude; will not move from her place at the sight of her husband; will never feel cheerful; her lips will be dull and motionless; she will be friend to the enemies of her lord and will be harsh in her speech.

8. She will shake with fear at the sight or touch of her lord; will feel haughty; will not attempt to pacify her lord when he leaves her company in anger; she will wipe off her face after sexual enjoyment; will go to bed before her lord and rise after him.

9-10. Begging women, female devotees, maid servants, the nurse, girls, the laundress, the flower-woman, the harlot, a friend, the barbar woman, these generally serve as messengers or go-betweens for women and bring disgrace and ruin on respectable families; it is therefore necessary to protect family women from the intrigues of these persons and to maintain the honour, fame, and respectability of the family.

11. To go out at night, to keep awake on the pretence of a religious observance, to excuse herself on the false plea of illness, to be found for ever in the houses of other persons, to attend plays and the like, to consult astrologers and to frequent mourning, are acts from which women should be kept back.

12. A modest wife would at first exhibit no inclination to sexual embrace, but would not give up amorous talk; in the beginning of the sexual acts, she would be bashful and languid in the middle, she would be free from bashfulness, and at the end, bashfully hang down her face. Then again she would show, during intercourse, various graceful expressions of sentiment, and perceiving the disposition of her lover attentively.

13. The virtues of a woman are young age. beauty, decoration with ornaments, being agreeable to her lord, being learned in matters which will make married life happy and being of a playful nature. A lady possessing these virtues is known as a female gem. A woman not possessing these virtues is loathed by a man of taste as a disease.

[NoteVyāsa says: A woman who is chaste and innocent, who eats pure meals, who is of sweet speech and who is fondly attached to her husband is known as a Lakṣmī (goddess of wealth). Again, a woman who has ugly eyes, who is dirty, quarrelsome, talkative, is known as a Rākṣasī (fury).]

14. A woman shall not indulge in low language; nor shall she wear bad-coloured clothes; nor be of a dirty body; and nor shall she while in the company of her lover in privacy remember other duties or tasks.

15. A good wife is one who breathes unlike men; who extends her arms to her lord to serve as a pillow for his head; the hair of whose head is of good smell, who is fondly attached to her husband; who sleeps after him and rises before him.

16. A woman of a wicked nature and one of weak health shall be rejected. A woman whose blood is black, green, yellow, or of copper colour, shall also be rejected.

17. A person shall not join in sexual union a woman who sleeps too much, whose blood discharges are excessive, who is of an over-bilious, phlegmatic or windy temperament, who perspires often, who is of defective or extra organs and whose hair is short or grey.

18. A person shall not join in sexual union a woman whose calves are exceedingly fleshy, whose belly is large, who is noisy and who is possessed of other vices described in the chapter on the features of women.

19. That blood is faultless which resembles the blood of the hare or the juice of red-cotton and which when well rubbed disappears.

20. If the blood flow out without pain and noise, and stops after three days, there will be conception at the next sexual union (puṃstrī-samāyoga).

21. For the three days from the day of appearance of the menses, a woman shall not bathe, wear flowers, or sandal, and on the fourth day she shall bathe as prescribed in the Smṛtis.

22. After this, the vegetable ingredients prescribed for Puṣya Snāna shall be brought and put in water and the several mantras therein mentioned shall be pronounced over the vessel and the woman shall bathe in the water.

23. On the even nights (from the day of appearance of the menses), a woman conceives a male child and on the odd nights, a female child. If the conception occur early, the issue will be a beautiful child of long and happy life.

24. If the foetus be on the right side the issue will be a male child; if on the left side, it will be a female child; if on both sides there will be a birth of twins and if m the middle of the abdomen the issue will be a eunuch.

25. A person shall join a woman in sexual love when the benefic planets occupy the angles or the triangular signs; when they occupy the rising sign and the sign occupied by the Moon; when malefic planets occupy the third, sixth and eleventh houses; and in male planetary yogas.[1]

26. At the time of union, a person shall not wound a woman with his nails and teeth; there shall be no union beyond the first sixteen days from the day of appearance of the menses or in any of the first three days.

Notes on the restrictions of sexual union (puṃstrī-samāyoga):

Add to these restrictions, the number of malefic planetary yogas described in chapter IV of Bṛhat Jātaka.

Again, according to the Śāstras, a person shall cease to cohabit with a woman after the birth of a son—the object of marriage being thereby secured.

Again, the Smṛtis refer to a number of days in which cohabitation is prohibited, such as the new-moon and full-moon days, the eleventh lunar day and the like. The Ṛṣis of old appear to have strictly followed all these rules. If the whole world could be equally firm-minded, there would probably be no occasion for so many curious, elaborate and sometimes even frightful solutions of the problem to check the growth of population. You allow the evil to grow and then seek a remedy; but the Śāstras aim at nipping the evil in the bud. Of course, when the demand exceeds supply and a disturbance of the social equilibrium occurs, nature restores it by applying her own remedy—by carrying away, every now and then, thousands by wars, by the plague and the like epidemics.

On the first appearance of the menses: The four asterisms from Kṛttikā are known as inner asterisms and the four from Punarvasu are known as the outer asterisms. Again the four from Maghā are known as inner asterisms, and the four from Citrā are known as outer asterisms, and so on, till we come to the end of the lunar Zodiac. For a list of the 28 asterisms vide Part-I. If the first appearance of the menses occur when the Moon passes through one of the inner asterisms, there will be prosperity, increase of family and the like. If the first appearance of the menses occur when the Moon passes through one of the outer asterisms. there will be misery, widow-hood, death of sons, sorrow and the like.

Again, divide the 27 asterisms (omitting Abhijit) into seven groups of 3, 3, 3. 3. 5, 7 and 3 asterisms beginning from Uttarāṣāḍha. If the first appearance of the menses occur in any of these, the effects will respectively be gain of wealth, gain of sons, servitude, sweet speech, rum, attachment to husband and widowhood.

Again, if the first appearance occur when the rising sign is Aries, the woman will become unchaste; when it is Taurus, she will annoy others; if Gemini, she will become rich and happy; if Cancer, she will cohabit with an outcaste: if Leo, she will get a son; if Virgo, she will become rich; if Libra, she will become deformed; if Scorpio, she will become unchaste. If the first half of Sagittarius, she will become wicked; if the second half, she will be chaste; if Capricorn, she will become shameless; if Acquarius, she will become poor and barren; and if Pisces, she will become beautiful.

Also, if the first appearance of the menses occur on a Sunday, the woman will be afflicted with diseases; if on a Monday, she will become chaste; if Tuesday, she will suffer grief, if Wednesday, she will get sons; if Thursday, she will live in plenty; if Friday, she will prosper well; and if on a Saturday, she will meet with early death.

Also, if the first appearance of the menses occur in the forenoon, the woman will be happy; if in the afternoon, she will suffer miseries; if at noon, she will be neither happy nor miserable.

Again, if the first appearance of the menses occur within 12 ghaṭikas at night, the woman will be happy. To prevent the death of the child in the womb, Śaunaka has prescribed the following ceremony: Perform Ajya Homa (pouring ghee into the fire) reciting the mantra commencing: “Brahmanāga samvidānaḥ” and rub over the woman a portion of the ghee remaining in the vessel and cause her to bathe and then drink the remaining ghee.

To prevent the death of children soon after birth, Śaunaka has prescribed an elaborate ceremony. The reader is referred to Śaunaka’s Śānti Kalpa.

Footnotes and references:


Vide stanzas 11 and 12 of chapter IV of the Bṛhat Jātaka.

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