© Copyright by Brian Howard Seibert


Although a great deal has been written on the subject of the courtesan, nowhere will be found a better description of her, of her belongings, of her ideas, and of the working of her mind, than is contained in the following pages.

The details of the domestic and social life of the early Hindus would not be complete without mention of the courtesan, and Part VI. is entirely devoted to this subject.  The Hindus have ever had the good sense to recognise courtesans as a part and portion of human society, and so long as they behaved themselves with decency and propriety, they were regarded with a certain respect.  Anyhow, they have never been treated in the East with that brutality and contempt so common in the West, while their education has always been of a superior kind to that bestowed upon the rest of womankind in Oriental countries.

Queen Helga of Kiev

In the earlier days the well-educated Hindu dancing girl and courtesan doubtless resembled the Hetera of the Greeks, and being educated and amusing, were far more acceptable as companions than the generality of the married or unmarried women of that period.  At all times and in all countries, there has ever been a little rivalry between the chaste and the unchaste.  But while some women are born courtesans, and follow the instincts of their nature in every class of society, it has been truly said by some authors that every woman has got an inkling of the profession in her nature, and does her best, as a general rule, to make herself agreeable to the male sex.

The subtlety of women, their wonderful perceptive powers, their knowledge, and their intuitive appreciation of men and things, are all shown in the following pages, which may be looked upon as a concentrated essence that has been since worked up into detail by many writers in every quarter of the globe.



By having intercourse with men, courtesans obtain sexual pleasure, as well as their own maintenance.  Now when a courtesan takes up with a man from love, the action is natural; but when she resorts to him for the purpose of getting money, her action is artificial or forced. Even in the latter case, however, she should conduct herself as if her love were indeed natural, because men repose their confidence on those women who apparently love them. In making known her love to the man she should show an entire freedom from avarice, and for the sake of her future credit she should abstain from acquiring money from him by unlawful means.

A courtesan, well dressed and wearing her ornaments, should sit or stand at the door of her house, and without exposing herself too much, should look on the public road so as to be seen by the passers by, she being like an object on view for sale.  She should form friendships with such persons as would enable her to separate men from other women, and attach them to herself, and repair her own misfortunes, to acquire wealth, and to protect her from being bullied, or set upon by persons with whom she may have dealings of some kind or another.

Princess Helga of Kiev

These persons are:

   The guards of the town, or the police.

   The officers of the courts of justice.


   Powerful men, or men with interest.

   Learned men.

   Teachers of the sixty-four arts.

   Pithamardas or confidants.

   Vitas or parasites.

   Vidushekas or jesters.

   Flower sellers.


   Vendors of spirits.




And such other persons as may be found necessary for the particular object to be acquired.

Princess Helga of Kiev

The following kinds of men may be taken up with simply for the purpose of getting their money:

   Men of independent income.

   Young men.

   Men who are free from any ties.

   Men who hold places of authority under the King.

   Men who have secured their means of livelihood without difficulty.

   Men possessed of unfailing sources of income.

   Men who consider themselves handsome.

   Men who are always praising themselves.

   One who is an eunuch, but wishes to be thought a man.

   One who hates his equals.

   One who is naturally liberal.

   One who has influence with the King or his ministers.

   One who is always fortunate.

   One who is proud of his wealth.

   One who disobeys the orders of his elders.

   One upon whom the members of his caste keep an eye.

   The only son whose father is wealthy.

   An ascetic who is internally troubled with desire.

   A brave man.

   A physician of the King.

   Previous acquaintance.

Princess Helga of Kiev

On the other hand, those who are possessed of excellent qualities are to be resorted to for the sake of love, and fame.  Such men are as follows:

Men of high birth, learned, with a good knowledge of the world, and doing the proper things at the proper times, poets, good story tellers, eloquent men, energetic men, skilled in various arts, far-seeing into the future, possessed of great minds, full of perseverance, of a firm devotion, free from anger, liberal, affectionate to their parents, and with a liking for all social gatherings, skilled in completing verses begun by others and in various other sports, free from all disease, possessed of a perfect body, strong, and not addicted to drinking, powerful in sexual enjoyment, sociable, showing love towards women and attracting their hearts to himself, but not entirely devoted to them, possessed of independent means of livelihood, free from envy, and last of all free from suspicion.

Such are the good qualities of a man.

The woman also should have the following characteristics, being:

She should be possessed of beauty, and amiability, with auspicious body marks.  She should have a liking for good qualities in other people, as also a liking for wealth.  She should take delight in sexual unions resulting from love, and should be of a firm mind, and of the same class as the man with regard to sexual enjoyment.

She should always be anxious to acquire and obtain experience and knowledge, be free from avarice, and always have a liking for social gatherings, and for the arts.

The following are the ordinary qualities of all women, being:

To be possessed of intelligence, good disposition, and good manners; to be straightforward in behaviour, and to be grateful; to consider well the future before doing anything; to possess activity, to be of consistent behaviour, and to have a knowledge of the proper times and places for doing things; to speak always without meanness, loud laughter, malignity, anger, avarice, dullness, or stupidity, to have a knowledge of the Kama Sutra, and to be skilled in all the arts connected with it.

The faults of the women are to be known by the absence of any of the above mentioned good qualities.

Princess Helga of Kiev

The following kinds of men are not fit to be resorted to by courtesans, being:

One who is consumptive; one who is sickly; one whose mouth contains worms; one whose breath smells like human excrement; one whose wife is dear to him; one who speaks harshly; one who is always suspicious; one who is avaricious; one who is pitiless; one who is a thief; one who is self-conceited; one who has a liking for sorcery; one who does not care for respect or disrespect; one who can be gained over even by his enemies by means of money; and lastly, one who is extremely bashful.

Ancient authors are of opinion that the causes of a courtesan resorting to men are love, fear, money, pleasure, returning some act of enmity, curiosity, sorrow, constant intercourse, Dharma, celebrity, compassion, the desire of having a friend, shame, the likeness of the man to some beloved person, the search after good fortune, the getting rid of the love of somebody else, the being of the same class as the man with respect to sexual union, living in the same place, constancy, and poverty.  But Vatsyayana determined that desire of wealth, freedom from misfortune, and love, are the only causes that affect the union of courtesans with men.

Now a courtesan should not sacrifice money to her love, because money is the chief thing to be attended to.  But in cases of fear, etcetera, she should pay regard to strength and other qualities.  Moreover, even though she be invited by any man to join him, she should not at once consent to a union, because men are apt to despise things which are easily acquired.  On such occasions she should first send the shampooers, and the singers, and the jesters, who may be in her service, or, in their absence the Pithamardas, or confidants, and others, to find out the state of his feelings, and the condition of his mind.  By means of these persons she should ascertain whether the man is pure or impure, affected, or the reverse, capable of attachment, or indifferent, liberal or niggardly; and if she finds him to her liking, she should then employ the Vita and others to attach his mind to her.

Accordingly, the Pithamarda should bring the man to her house, under the pretence of seeing the fights of quails, cocks, and rams, of hearing the maina (a kind of starling) talk, or of seeing some other spectacle, or the practice of some art; or he may take the woman to the abode of the man.  After this, when the man comes to her house the woman should give him something capable of producing curiosity, and love in his heart, such as an affectionate present, telling him that it was specially designed for his use.  She should also amuse him for a long time by telling him such stories, and doing such things as he may take most delight in.  When he goes away she should frequently send to him a female attendant, skilled in carrying on a jesting conversation, and also a small present at the same time.  She should also sometimes go to him herself under the pretence of some business, and accompanied by the Pithamarda.

Thus end the means of attaching to herself the man desired.

Princess Helga of Kiev

Thus ends Causes of a Courtesan



When a courtesan is living as a wife with her lover, she should behave like a chaste woman, and do everything to his satisfaction.  Her duty in this respect, in short, is, that she should give him pleasure, but should not become attached to him, though behaving as if she were really attached.

Now the following is the manner in which she is to conduct herself, so as to accomplish the above mentioned purpose.  She should have a mother dependent on her, one who should be represented as very harsh, and who looked upon money as her chief object in life.  In the event of there being no mother, then an old and confidential nurse should play the same role. The mother or nurse, on their part, should appear to be displeased with the lover, and forcibly take her away from him.  The woman herself should always show pretended anger, dejection, fear, and shame on this account, but should not disobey the mother or nurse at any time.

She should make out to the mother or nurse that the man is suffering from bad health, and making this a pretext for going to see him, she should go on that account.  She is, moreover, to do the following things for the purpose of gaining the man’s favour, being:

Princess Helga of Kiev

Sending her female attendant to bring the flowers used by him on the previous day, in order that she may use them herself as a mark of affection, also asking for the mixture of betel nut and leaves that have remained uneaten by him; expressing wonder at his knowledge of sexual intercourse, and the several means of enjoyment used by him; learning from him the sixty-four kinds of pleasure mentioned by Babhravya; continually practising the ways of enjoyment as taught by him, and according to his liking; keeping his secrets; telling him her own desires and secrets; concealing her anger; never neglecting him on the bed when he turns his face towards her; touching any parts of his body according to his wish; kissing and embracing him when he is asleep; looking at him with apparent anxiety when he is wrapped in thought, or thinking of some other subject than herself; showing neither complete shamelessness, nor excessive bashfulness when he meets her, or sees her standing on the terrace of her house from the public road; hating his enemies; loving those who are dear to him; showing a liking for that which he likes; being in high or low spirits according to the state that he is in himself; expressing a curiosity to see his wives; not continuing her anger for a long time; suspecting even the marks and wounds made by herself with her nails and teeth on his body to have been made by some other woman; keeping her love for him unexpressed by words, but showing it by deeds, and signs, and hints; remaining silent when he is asleep, intoxicated, or sick; being very attentive when he describes his good actions, and reciting them afterwards to his praise and benefit; giving witty replies to him if he be sufficiently attached to her; listening to all his stories, except those that relate to her rivals; expressing feelings of dejection and sorrow if he sighs, yawns, or falls down; pronouncing the words “live long” when he sneezes; pretending to be ill, or to have the desire of pregnancy, when she feels dejected; abstaining from praising the good qualities of any body else, and from censuring those who possess the same faults as her own man: wearing anything that may have been given to her by him; abstaining from putting on her ornaments, and from taking food when he is in pain, sick, low-spirited, or suffering from misfortune, and condoling and lamenting with him over the same; wishing to accompany him if he happens to leave the country himself or if he be banished from it by the King; expressing a desire not to live after him; telling him that the whole object and desire of her life was to be united with him; offering previously promised sacrifices to the Deity when he acquires wealth, or has some desire fulfilled, or when he has recovered from some illness or disease; putting on ornaments every day; not acting too freely with him; reciting his name and the name of his family in her songs; placing his hand on her loins, bosom and forehead, and falling asleep after feeling the pleasure of his touch; sitting on his lap and falling asleep there; wishing to have a child by him; desiring not to live longer than he does; abstaining from revealing his secrets to others; dissuading him from vows and fasts by saying “let the sin fall upon me;” keeping vows and fasts along with him when it is impossible to change his mind on the subject; telling him that vows and fasts are difficult to be observed, even by herself, when she has any dispute with him about them; looking on her own wealth and his without any distinction; abstaining from going to public assemblies without him, and accompanying him when he desires her to do so; taking delight in using things previously used by him, and in eating food that he has left uneaten; venerating his family, his disposition, his skill in the arts, his learning, his caste, his complexion, his native country, his friends, his good qualities, his age, and his sweet temper; asking him to sing, and to do other such like things, if able to do them; going to him without paying any regard to fear, to cold, to heat, or to rain; saying with regard to the next world that he should be her lover even there; adapting her tastes, disposition and actions to his liking; abstaining from sorcery; disputing continually with her mother on the subject of going to him, and, when forcibly taken by her mother to some other place, expressing her desire to die by taking poison, by starving herself to death, by stabbing herself with some weapon, or by hanging herself; and lastly assuring the man of her constancy and love by means of her agents, and receiving money herself, but abstaining from any dispute with her mother with regard to pecuniary matters.

Princess Helga of Kiev

When the man sets out on a journey, she should make him swear that he will return quickly, and in his absence should put aside her vows of worshipping the Deity, and should wear no ornaments except those that are lucky.  If the time fixed for his return has passed, she should endeavour to ascertain the real time of his return from omens, from the reports of the people, and from the positions of the planets, the moon and the stars.  On occasions of amusement, and of auspicious dreams, she should say “Let me be soon united to him.”  If, moreover, she feels melancholy, or sees any inauspicious omen, she should perform some rite to appease the Deity.

When the man does return home she should worship the God Kama (i.e., the Indian Cupid), and offer oblations to other Deities, and having caused a pot filled with water to be brought by her friends, she should perform the worship in honour of the crow who eats the offerings which we make to the manes of deceased relations.  After the first visit is over she should ask her lover also to perform certain rites, and this he will do if he is sufficiently attached to her.

Now a man is said to be sufficiently attached to a woman when his love is disinterested; when he has the same object in view as his beloved one; when he is quite free from any suspicions on her account; and when he is indifferent to money with regard to her.

Such is the manner of a courtesan living with a man like a wife, and set forth here for the sake of guidance from the rules of Dattaka.  What is not laid down here should be practised according to the custom of the people, and the nature of each individual man.

Princess Helga of Kiev

Thus ends Living Like a Wife




Money is got out of a lover in two ways, being:

By natural or lawful means, and by artifices.  Old authors are of opinion that when a courtesan can get as much money as she wants from her lover, she should not make use of artifice. But Vatsyayana lays down that though she may get some money from him by natural means, yet when she makes use of artifice he gives her doubly more, and therefore artifice should be resorted to for the purpose of extorting money from him at all events.

Princess Helga of Kiev

Now the artifices to be used for getting money from her lover are as follows:

1st. Taking money from him on different occasions, for the purpose of purchasing various articles, such as ornaments, food, drink, flowers, perfumes and cloths, and either not buying them, or getting from him more than their cost.

2nd. Praising his intelligence to his face.

3rd. Pretending to be obliged to make gifts on occasion of festivals connected with vows, trees, gardens, temples, or tanks.

4th. Pretending that at the time of going to his house, her jewels have been stolen either by the King’s guards, or by robbers.

5th. Alleging that her property has been destroyed by fire, by the falling of her house, or by the carelessness of her servants.

6th. Pretending to have lost the ornaments of her lover along with her own.

7th. Causing him to hear through other people of the expenses incurred by her in coming to see him.

8th. Contracting debts for the sake of her lover.

9th. Disputing with her mother on account of some expense incurred by her for her lover, and which was not approved of by her mother.

10th. Not going to parties and festivities in the houses of her friends for the want of presents to make to them, she having previously informed her lover of the valuable presents given to her by these very friends.

11th. Not performing certain festive rites under the pretence that she has no money to perform them with.

12th. Engaging artists to do something for her lover.

13th. Entertaining physicians and ministers for the purpose of attaining some object.

14th. Assisting friends and benefactors both on festive occasions, and in misfortune.

15th. Performing household rites.

16th. Having to pay the expenses of the ceremony of marriage of the son of a female friend.

17th. Having to satisfy curious wishes during her state of pregnancy.

18th. Pretending to be ill, and charging her cost of treatment.

19th. Having to remove the troubles of a friend.

20th. Selling some of her ornaments, so as to give her lover a present.

21st. Pretending to sell some of her ornaments, furniture, or cooking utensils to a trader, who has been already tutored how to behave in the matter.

22nd. Having to buy cooking utensils of greater value than those of other people, so that they might be more easily distinguished, and not changed for others of an inferior description.

23rd. Remembering the former favours of her lover, and causing them always to be spoken of by her friends and followers.

24th. Informing her lover of the great gains of other courtesans.

25th. Describing before them, and in the presence of her lover, her own great gains, and making them out to be greater even than theirs, though such may not have been really the case.

26th. Openly opposing her mother when she endeavours to persuade her to take up with men with whom she has been formerly acquainted, on account of the great gains to be got from them.

27th. Lastly, pointing out to her lover the liberality of his rivals.

Thus end the ways and means of getting money.

Princess Helga of Kiev

A woman should always know the state of the mind, of the feelings, and of the disposition of her lover towards her, from the changes of his temper, his manner, and the colour of his face.

The behaviour of a waning lover is as follows:

1st. He gives the woman either less than is wanted, or something else than that which is asked for.

2nd. He keeps her in hopes by promises.

3rd. He pretends to do one thing, and does something else.

4th. He does not fulfil her desires.

5th. He forgets his promises, or does something else than that which he has promised.

6th. He speaks with his own servants in a mysterious way.

7th. He sleeps in some other house under the pretence of having to do something for a friend.

8th. Lastly, he speaks in private with the attendants of a woman with whom he was formerly acquainted.

Now when a courtesan finds that her lover’s disposition towards her is changing, she should get possession of all his best things before he becomes aware of her intentions, and allow a supposed creditor to take them away forcibly from her in satisfaction of some pretended debt. After this, if the lover is rich, and has always behaved well towards her, she should ever treat him with respect; but if he is poor and destitute, she should get rid of him as if she had never been acquainted with him in any way before.

Princess Helga of Kiev

The means of getting rid of a lover are as follows:

1st. Describing the habits and vices of the lover as disagreeable and censurable, with the sneer of the lip, and the stamp of the foot.

2nd. Speaking on a subject with which he is not acquainted.

3rd. Showing no admiration for his learning, and passing a censure upon it.

4th. Putting down his pride.

5th. Seeking the company of men who are superior to him in learning and wisdom.

6th. Showing a disregard for him on all occasions.

7th. Censuring men possessed of the same faults as her lover.

8th. Expressing dissatisfaction at the ways and means of enjoyment used by him.

9th. Not giving him her mouth to kiss.

10th. Refusing access to her Jaghana, the part of the body between the navel and the thighs.

11th. Showing a dislike for the wounds made by his nails and teeth.

12th. Not pressing close up against him at the time when he embraces her.

13th. Keeping her limbs without movement at the time of congress.

14th. Desiring him to employ her when he is fatigued.

15th. Laughing at his attachment to her.

16th. Not responding to his embraces.

17th. Turning away from him when he begins to embrace her.

18th. Pretending to be sleepy.

19th. Going out visiting, or into company, when she perceives his desire to enjoy her during the daytime.

20th. Misconstruing his words.

21st. Laughing without any joke, or at the time of any joke made by him, laughing under some pretence.

22nd. Looking with side glances at her own attendants, and clapping her hands when he says anything.

23rd. Interrupting him in the middle of his stories, and beginning to tell other stories herself.

24th. Reciting his faults and his vices, and declaring them to be incurable.

25th. Saying words to her female attendants calculated to cut the heart of her lover to the quick.

26th. Taking care not to look at him when he comes to her.

27th. Asking him what cannot be granted.

28th. And, after all, finally dismissing him.

Princess Helga of Kiev

Thus ends Means of Getting Money



When a courtesan abandons her present lover after all his wealth is exhausted, she may then consider about her re-union with a former lover.  But she should return to him only if he has acquired fresh wealth, or is still wealthy, and if he is still attached to her.  And if this man be living at the time with some other women she should consider well before she acts.

Queen Helga of Kiev

Now such a man can only be in one of the six following conditions, being:

1st. He may have left the first woman of his own accord, and may even have left another woman since then.

2nd. He may have been driven away from both women.

3rd. He may have left the one woman of his own accord, and be living with another woman.

5th. He may have been driven away from the one woman, and left the other of his own accord.

6th. He may have been driven away by the one woman, and may be living with another.

(1). Now if the man has left both women of his own accord, he should not be resorted to, on account of the fickleness of his mind, and his indifference to the excellencies of both of them.

(2). As regards the man who may have been driven away from both women, if he has been driven away from the last one because the woman could get more money from some other man, then he should be resorted to, for if attached to the first woman he would give her more money, through vanity and emulation to spite the other woman.  But if he has been driven away by the woman on account of his poverty, or stinginess, he should not then be resorted to.

(3). In the case of the man who may have left the one woman of his own accord, and been driven away by the other, if he agrees to return to the former and give her plenty of money beforehand, then he should be resorted to.

(4). In the case of the man who may have left the one woman of his own accord, and be living with another woman, the former (wishing to take up with him again) should first ascertain if he left her in the first instance in the hope of finding some particular excellence in the other woman, and that not having found any such excellence, he was willing to come back to her, and to give her much money on account of his conduct, and on account of his affection still existing for her.  Or, whether, having discovered many faults in the other woman, he would now see even more excellences in herself than actually exist, and would be prepared to give her much money for these qualities.  Or, lastly, to consider whether he was a weak man, or a man fond of enjoying many women, or one who liked a poor woman, or one who never did anything for the woman that he was with.  After maturely considering all these things, she should resort to him or not, according to circumstances.

(5). As regards the man who may have been driven away from the one woman, and left the other of his own accord, the former woman (wishing to re-unite with him) should first ascertain whether he still has any affection for her, and would consequently spend much money upon her; or whether, being attached to her excellent qualities, he did not take delight in any other women; or whether, being driven away from her formerly before completely satisfying his sexual desires, he wished to get back to her, so as to be revenged for the injury done to him; or whether he wished to create confidence in her mind, and then take back from her the wealth which she formerly took from him, and finally destroy her; or, lastly, whether he wished first to separate her from her present lover, and then to break away from her himself.  If, after considering all these things, she is of opinion that his intentions are really pure and honest, she can re-unite herself with him.  But if his mind be at all tainted with evil intentions, he should be avoided.

(6). In the case of the man who may have been driven away by one woman, and be living with another, if the man makes overtures in return to the first one, the courtesan should consider well before she acts, and while the other woman is engaged in attracting him to herself, she should try in her turn (through keeping herself behind the scenes) to gain him over, on the grounds of any of the following considerations, being:

1st. That he was driven away unjustly and for no proper reason, and now that he has gone to another woman, every effort must be used to bring him back to myself.

2nd. That if he were once to converse with me again, he would break away from the other woman.

3rd. That the pride of my present lover would be put down by means of the former one.

4th. That he has become wealthy, has secured a higher position, and holds a place of authority under the King.

5th. That he is separate from his wife.

6th. That he is now independent.

7th. That he lives apart from his father, or brother.

8th. That by making peace with him I shall be able to get hold of a very rich man, who is now prevented from coming to me by my present lover.

9th. That as he is not respected by his wife, I shall now be able to separate him from her.

10th. That the friend of this man loves my rival, who hates me cordially; I shall, therefore, by this means separate the friend from his mistress.

11th. And lastly, I shall bring discredit upon him by bringing him back to me, thus showing the fickleness of his mind.

Queen Helga of Kiev

When a courtesan is resolved to take up again with a former lover, her Pithamarda and other servants should tell him that his former expulsion from the woman’s house was caused by the wickedness of her mother; that the woman loved him just as much as ever at that time, but could not help the occurrence on account of her deference to her mother’s will; that she hated the union of her present lover, and disliked him excessively.  In addition to this, they should create confidence in his mind by speaking to him of her former love for him, and should allude to the mark of that love that she has ever remembered.  This mark of her love should be connected with some kind of pleasure that may have been practised by him, such as his way of kissing her, or manner of having connection with her.

Thus end the ways of bringing about a re-union with a former lover.

When a woman has to choose between two lovers, one of whom was formerly united with her, while the other is a stranger, the Acharyas (sages) are of opinion that the first one is preferable, because his disposition and character being already known by previous careful observation, he can be easily pleased and satisfied; but Vatsyayana thinks that a former lover, having already spent a great deal of his wealth, is not able or willing to give much money again, and is not, therefore, to be relied upon so much as a stranger.  Particular cases may, however, arise differing from this general rule on account of the different natures of men.

Queen Helga of Kiev

Thus ends Re-Union With a Lover



When a courtesan is able to realize much money every day, by reason of many customers, she should not confine herself to a single lover; under such circumstances, she should fix her rate for one night, after considering the place, the season, and the condition of the people, and having regard to her own good qualities and good looks, and after comparing her rates with those of other courtesans.  She can inform her lovers, and friends, and acquaintances about these charges.  If, however, she can obtain a great gain from a single lover, she may resort to him alone, and live with him like a wife.

Princess Helga of Kiev

Now, the Sages are of opinion that when a courtesan has the chance of an equal gain from two lovers at the same time, a preference should be given to the one who would give her the kind of thing which she wants.  But Vatsyayana says that the preference should be given to the one who gives her gold, because it cannot be taken back like some other things, it can be easily received, and is also the means of procuring anything that may be wished for.  Of such things as gold, silver, copper, bell metal, iron, pots, furniture, beds, upper garments, under vestments, fragrant substances, vessels made of gourds, ghee, oil, corn, cattle, and other things of a like nature, the first, being gold, is superior to all the others.

When the same labour is required to gain any two lovers, or when the same kind of thing is to be got from each of them, the choice should be made by the advice of a friend, or it may be made from their personal qualities, or from the signs of good or bad fortune that may be connected with them.

When there are two lovers, one of whom is attached to the courtesan, and the other is simply very generous, the Sages say that the preference should be given to the generous lover, but Vatsyayana is of opinion that the one who is really attached to the courtesan should be preferred, because he can be made to be generous, even as a miser gives money if he becomes fond of a woman, but a man who is simply generous cannot be made to love with real attachment.  But among those who are attached to her, if there is one who is poor, and one who is rich, the preference is of course to be given to the latter.

When there are two lovers, one of whom is generous, and the other ready to do any service for the courtesan, some Sages say that the one who is ready to do the service should be preferred, but Vatsyayana is of opinion that a man who does a service thinks that he has gained his object when he has done something once, but a generous man does not care for what he has given before.  Even here the choice should be guided by the likelihood of the future good to be derived from her union with either of them.

Princess Helga of Kiev

When one of the two lovers is grateful, and the other liberal, some Sages say that the liberal one should be preferred, but Vatsyayana is of opinion that the former should be chosen, because liberal men are generally haughty, plain spoken, and wanting in consideration towards others.  Even though these liberal men have been on friendly terms for a long time, yet if they see any fault in the courtesan, or are told lies about her by some other women, they do not care for past services, but leave abruptly.  On the other hand the grateful man does not at once break off from her, on account of a regard for the pains she may have taken to please him.  In this case also the choice is to be guided with respect to what may happen in future.

When an occasion for complying with the request of a friend, and a chance of getting money come together, the Sages say that the chance of getting money should be preferred.  But Vatsyayana thinks that the money can be obtained to-morrow as well as to-day, but if the request of a friend be not at once complied with, he may become disaffected.  Even here, in making the choice, regard must be paid to future good fortune.

On such an occasion, however, the courtesan might pacify her friend by pretending to have some work to do, and telling him that his request will be complied with next day, and in this way secure the chance of getting the money that has been offered her.

When the chance of getting money, and the chance of avoiding some disaster come at the same time, the Sages are of opinion that the chance of getting money should be preferred, but Vatsyayana says that money has only a limited importance, while a disaster that is once averted may never occur again.  Here, however, the choice should be guided by the greatness or smallness of the disaster.

The gains of the wealthiest and best kind of courtesans are to be spent as follows:

Building temples, tanks, and gardens; giving a thousand cows to different Brahmans; carrying on the worship of the Gods, and celebrating festivals in their honour; and, lastly, performing such vows as may be within their means.

Princess Helga of Kiev

The gains of other courtesans are to be spent as follows:

Having a white dress to wear every day; getting sufficient food and drink to satisfy hunger and thirst; eating daily a perfumed Tambala, and wearing ornaments gilt with gold.  The Sages say that these represent the gains of all the middle and lower classes of courtesans, but Vatsyayana is of opinion that their gains cannot be calculated, or fixed in any way, as these depend on the influence of the place, the customs of the people, their own appearance, and many other things.

When a courtesan wants to keep some particular man from some other woman; or wants to get him away from some woman to whom he may be attached; or to deprive some woman of the gains realized by her from him; or if she thinks that she would raise her position; or enjoy some great good fortune; or become desirable to all men by uniting herself with this man; or if she wishes to get his assistance in averting some misfortune; or is really attached to him and loves him; or wishes to injure somebody through his means; or has regard to some former favour conferred upon her by him; or wishes to be united with him merely from desire; or any of the above reasons, she should agree to take from him only a small sum of money in a friendly way.

When a courtesan intends to abandon a particular lover, and take up with another one; or when she has reason to believe that her lover will shortly leave her, and return to his wives; or that having squandered all his money, and became penniless, his guardian, or master, or father would come and take him away; or that her lover is about to lose his position, or lastly, that he is of a very fickle mind, she should, under any of these circumstances, endeavour to get as much money as she can from him as soon as possible.

On the other hand, when the courtesan thinks that her lover is about to receive valuable presents; or get a place of authority from the King; or be near the time of inheriting a fortune; or that his ship would soon arrive laden with merchandise; or that he has large stocks of corn and other commodities; or that if anything was done for him it would not be done in vain; or that he is always true to his word; then should she have regard to her future welfare, and live with the man like a wife.

Princess Helga of Kiev

Thus ends Kinds of Gain




It sometimes happens that while gains are being sought for, or expected to be realised, that losses only are the result of our efforts, the causes of these losses are:

   Weakness of intellect.

   Excessive love.

   Excessive pride.

   Excessive self conceit

   Excessive simplicity.

   Excessive confidence.

   Excessive anger.



   Influence of evil genius.

   Accidental circumstances.

The results of these losses are:

   Expense incurred without any result.

   Destruction of future good fortune.

   Stoppage of gains about to be realized.

   Loss of what is already obtained.

   Acquisition of a sour temper.

   Becoming unamiable to every body.

   Injury to health.

   Loss of hair and other accidents.

Princess Helga of Kiev

Now gain is of three kinds, being: gain of wealth, gain of religious merit, and gain of pleasure; and similarly, loss is of three kinds, being: loss of wealth, loss of religious merit, and loss of pleasure. At the time when gains are sought for, if other gains come along with them, these are called attendant gains. When gain is uncertain, the doubt of its being a gain is called a simple doubt. When there is a doubt whether either of two things will happen or not, it is called a mixed doubt. If while one thing is being done two results take place, it is called a combination of two results, and if several results follow from the same action, it is called a combination of results on every side.

We shall now give examples of the above.

As already stated, gain is of three kinds, and loss, which is opposed to gain, is also of three kinds.

(a). When by living with a great man a courtesan acquires present wealth, and in addition to this becomes acquainted with other people, and thus obtains a chance of future fortune, and an accession of wealth, and becomes desirable to all, this is called a gain of wealth attended by other gain.

(b). When by living with a man a courtesan simply gets money, this is called a gain of wealth not attended by any other gain.

(c). When a courtesan receives money from other people besides her lover, the results are: the chance of the loss of future good from her present lover; the chance of disaffection of a man securely attached to her; the hatred of all; and the chance of a union with some low person, tending to destroy her future good.  This gain is called a gain of wealth attended by losses.

(d). When a courtesan, at her own expense, and without any results in the shape of gain, has connected with a great man, or an avaricious minister, for the sake of diverting some misfortune, or removing some cause that may be threatening the destruction of a great gain, this loss is said to be a loss of wealth attended by gains of the future good which it may bring about.

(e). When a courtesan is kind, even at her own expense, to a man who is very stingy, or to a man proud of his looks, or to an ungrateful man skilled in gaining the heart of others, without any good resulting from these connections to her in the end, this loss is called a loss of wealth not attended by any gain.

(f). When a courtesan is kind to any such man as described above, but who in addition are favourites of the King, and moreover cruel and powerful, without any good result in the end, and with a chance of her being turned away at any moment, this loss is called a loss of wealth attended by other losses.

In this way gains and losses, and attendant gains and losses in religious merit and pleasures may become known to the reader, and combinations of all of them may also be made.

Thus end the remarks on gains and losses, and attendant gains and losses.

Princess Helga of Kiev

In the next place we come to doubts, which are again of three kinds, being: doubts about wealth, doubts about religious merit, and doubts about pleasures.

The following are examples:

(a). When a courtesan is not certain how much a man may give her, or spend upon her, this is called a doubt about wealth.

(b). When a courtesan feels doubtful whether she is right in entirely abandoning a lover from whom she is unable to get money, she having taken all his wealth from him in the first instance, this doubt is called a doubt about religious merit.

(c). When a courtesan is unable to get hold of a lover to her liking, and is uncertain whether she will derive any pleasure from a person surrounded by his family, or from a low person, this is called a doubt about pleasure.

(d). When a courtesan is uncertain whether some powerful but low principled fellow would cause loss to her on account of her not being civil to him, this is called a doubt about the loss of wealth.

(e). When a courtesan feels doubtful whether she would lose religious merit by abandoning a man who is attached to her without giving him the slightest favour, and thereby causing him unhappiness in this world and the next, this doubt is called a doubt about the loss of a religious merit.

(f). When a courtesan is uncertain as to whether she might create disaffection by speaking out, and revealing her love and thus not get her desire satisfied, this is called a doubt about the loss of pleasure.

Thus end the remarks on doubts.

Princess Helga of Kiev

In the next place we come to mixed doubts:

(a). The intercourse or connection with a stranger, whose disposition is unknown, and who may have been introduced by a lover, or by one who possessed authority, may be productive either of gain or loss, and therefore this is called a mixed doubt about the gain and loss of wealth.

(b). When a courtesan is requested by a friend, or is impelled by pity to have intercourse with a learned Brahman, a religious student, a sacrificer, a devotee, or an ascetic who may have all fallen in love with her, and who may be consequently at the point of death, by doing this she might either gain or lose religious merit, and therefore this is called a mixed doubt about the gain and loss of religious merit.

(c). If a courtesan relies solely upon the report of other people (i.e., hearsay) about a man, and goes to him without ascertaining herself whether he possesses good qualities or not, she may either gain or lose pleasure in proportion as he may be good or bad, and therefore this is called a mixed doubt about the gain and loss of pleasure.

Uddalika has described the gains and losses on both sides as follows:

(a). If, when living with a lover, a courtesan gets both wealth and pleasure from him, it is called a gain on both sides.

(b). When a courtesan lives with a lover at her own expense without getting any profit out of it, and the lover even takes back from her what he may have formerly given her, it is called a loss on both sides.

(c). When a courtesan is uncertain whether a new acquaintance would become attached to her, and, moreover, if he became attached to her, whether he would give her any thing, it is then called a doubt on both sides about gains.

(d). When a courtesan is uncertain whether a former enemy, if made up by her at her own expense, would do her some injury on account of his grudge against her; or, if becoming attached to her, would take away angrily from her any thing that he may have given to her, this is called a doubt on both sides about loss.

Princess Helga of Kiev

Babhravya has described the gains and losses on both sides as follows:

(a). When a courtesan can get money from a man whom she may go to see, and also money from a man whom she may not go to see, this is called a gain on both sides.

(b). When a courtesan has to incur further expense if she goes to see a man, and yet runs the risk of incurring an irremediable loss if she does not go to see him, this is called a loss on both sides.

(c). When a courtesan is uncertain, whether a particular man would give her anything on her going to see him, without incurring expense on her part, or whether on her neglecting him another man would give her something, this is called a doubt on both sides about gain.

(d.) When a courtesan is uncertain, whether, on going at her own expense to see an old enemy, he would take back from her what he may have given her, or whether by her not going to see him he would cause some disaster to fall upon her, this is called a doubt on both sides about loss.

By combining the above, the following six kinds of mixed results are produced, being:

(a). Gain on one side, and loss on the other.

(b). Gain on one side, and doubt of gain on the other.

(c). Gain on one side, and doubt of loss on the other.

(d). Loss on one side, and doubt of gain on the other.

(e). Doubt of gain on one side, and doubt of loss on the other.

(f). Doubt of loss on one side, and loss on the other.

A courtesan, having considered all the above things, and taken council with her friends, should act so as to acquire gain, the chances of great gain, and the warding off of any great disaster.  Religious merit and pleasure should also be formed into separate combinations like those of wealth, and then all should be combined with each other, so as to form new combinations.

Princess Helga of Kiev

When a courtesan consorts with men she should cause each of them to give her money as well as pleasure.  At particular times, such as the Spring Festivals, etc., she should make her mother announce to the various men, that on a certain day her daughter would remain with the man who would gratify such and such a desire of hers.

When young men approach her with delight, she should think of what she may accomplish through them.

The combination of gains and losses on all sides are: gain on one side, and loss on all others; loss on one side and gain on all others; gain on all sides, loss on all sides.

A courtesan should also consider doubts about gain and doubts about loss with reference both to wealth, religious merit, and pleasure.

Thus ends the consideration of gain, loss, attendant gains, attendant losses, and doubts.

The different kinds of courtesans are:

   A bawd.

   A female attendant.

   An unchaste woman.

   A dancing girl.

   A female artisan.

   A woman who has left her family.

   A woman living on her beauty.

   And, finally, a regular courtesan.

All the above kinds of courtesans are acquainted with various kinds of men, and should consider the ways of getting money from them, of pleasing them, of separating themselves from them, and of re-uniting with them.  They should also take into consideration particular gains and losses, attendant gains and losses, and doubts in accordance with their several conditions.

Thus end the considerations of courtesans.

Princess Helga of Kiev

Thus ends Gains and Losses


=End of Part VI=