by N. Gangadharan | 1954 | 360,691 words | ISBN-10: 8120803590 | ISBN-13: 9788120803596
This page describes Duties of a King in the Harem (antahpura) which is chapter 224 of the English translation of the Agni Purana, one of the eighteen major puranas dealing with all topics concerning ancient Indian culture, tradition and sciences. Containing roughly 15,000 Sanskrit metrical verses, subjects contained in the Agni-Purana include cosmology, philosophy, architecture, iconography, economics, diplomacy, pilgrimage guides, ancient geography, gemology, ayurveda, etc.
1-2. I shall describe the duties of the king in the harem [i.e., antaḥpura]. Virtues etc. (are) the purpose of life (for the king). The kings should entertain them without mutual conflict in the company of the women. Virtue is the root, worldly prosperity the bough and action or deed the great fruit. One who fosters this tree of the three objects of worldly existence, would realise the fruits.
3-9. O Rāma! Women are subject to desire. Hence the gems are gathered for their sake. They should be entertained and also not much entertained by the king who desires for wealth. One should not indulge excessively in eating, sexual pleasure and sleep. It would cause disease. The king should share his bed only with his beloved women. A woman behaving badly, not rejoicing in (hearing his) exploits, associating with the enemies (of the king), feeling haughty and proud, wiping her face when kissed, not feeling grateful after accepting a present, sleeping before and getting up later after sleep, shaking the body when touched and preventing from touching the body on account of shyness, scarcely listening to pleasing words and keeping the face turned away, ignoring to look at things placed in front, concealing the loins, having a pale face when looked at, turning her face away from the friends, appearing as if a mediator in the (affairs of) other women loved (by the king) and not adorning her person even after knowing that it is time for adorning (should be rejected).
10-19. One who is disinterested should be rejected and one who is loving should be entertained. (The characteristics of a loving woman are as follows). She rejoices even at the sight (of her husband). When looked at she casts her eyes down. Being looked at she places her shaking glances elsewhere. Yet she would not be able to turn aside her look completely. O Bhārgava (son of Bhṛgu, Paraśurāma)! She exhibits her concealed parts of body and covers up with effort the organs prohibited (from being displayed). She embraces and kisses him (immediately after) being seen. She always speaks only the truth. When being touched feels horripilation later manifesting as the sweat-drops (on the body). (O Rāma! She asks for easy and simple things (from the husband). She gets great rejoice after getting even a little. She feels elated and favoured much by the mere pronunciation of her name. She sends fruits to her husband with the impressions of her nails. She holds those sent by her husband on the chest out of regard. She besmears the body as if with the ambrosia by her embraces. She sleeps after (the husband) had slept and would get up before (he gets up). She would wake him up from sleep by touching his thigh much. O Sage! The clarified butter becomes fragrant by combination with the powders of kapittha and a column of curd as also with barley put in milk. This is the way by which an eatable thing should be dressed. Now I shall describe the mode of preparation of perfumes.
20-22. O Rama! Cleansing, gargling, vomitting, adorning (with flowers etc.), heating, burning (incense sticks) fumigation and perfuming are indicated to be the eight acts. Purification of a thing is by washing it with water containing the leaves of Kapittha, bilva, mango and Karavīra. In the absence of these, purification should be done with water saturated with musk.
23-29. The twenty-one herbs for fumigation are—nakha, kuṣṭha, dhana, māṃsī, spṛkka, śaileyaja, jala, saffron, shellac, sandal, agallochum, nīrada, sarala, devakāṣṭha, camphor, kāntā, bāla, kunduruka, guggulu, śrīnivāsaka and sarjarasa. Two of these should be taken and mixed with parts of resin from a śāla tree. They become fit for fumigation by being mixed with nakha, piṇyāka, malaya and honey and made as desired in the proper way. The bark, tubular part, fruit, oil, saffron, granthiparvaka, śaileya, tagara, kāntā, cola, camphor, māṃsī, surā and kuṣṭha are said to be the things (to be used) for bathing. One should bathe with any three (things) from these collected as one desires after mixing with the musk. This would increase the passion.
32. One would get an auspicious fragrant oil by putting the mañjiṣṭhā, tagara, cola, tvak, vyāghranakha, nakha and gandhapatra.
33. O Rāma! the oil extracted from the sesamum and scented with any of the flowers would certainly have the fragrance of the flower.
34. Cardamom, clove, kakkola, nutmeg and camphor mixed with the skin of the nutmeg would be able to make the mouth fragrant.
35-38. O Rāma! a kārṣika (weight) of camphor, saffron kāntā, musk, hareṇuka, kakkola, cardamom, clove, jātī, kośaka, tvakpatra, truṭi, musta, kastūrikā latā, the thorns of clove, the fruit and skin of nutmeg and kaṭuka should be powdered and a fourth part of the essence of khadira that gives fragrance should be added. Then tablets should be made of them by (adding) mango juice. When kept in the mouth they give fragrance and destroy the diseases of the mouth.
39. Arecanut well washed with the waters of the leaves of five (trees) and made fragrant with the (above) things (used) for (making) the pills would make the mouth fragrant.
40. O Rāma! (the herbs) kaṭuka and dantakāṣṭha soaked in cow’s urine for three days and perfumed as the arecanut would make the mouth fragrant.
42. The king should always protect the women thus. He should not trust them, especially, the mother of children. He should never sleep in the night in the apartment of a woman. The faith (placed in them) should be feigned one.