Chapter 21 — Denunciation of Women

Rama added:—

What beauty is there in the body of a woman composed of nerves, bones and joints? She is a mere statue of flesh and a frame of moving machinery with her ribs and limbs. Separated from its flesh, skin, blood and water, can you find anything beautiful in the female form that is worth beholding? Then why dote upon it? This fairy frame consisting of hair and blood cannot engage the attention of a high-minded man to its blemishes. The bodies of females, so covered with clothing and repeatedly smeared with paints and perfumes, are (in the end) devoured by carnivorous (beasts and worms).

The breasts of women, decorated with strings of pearl, appear as charming as the pinnacles of Mount Sumeru washed by the waters of the Ganges falling upon them. Look at these very same breasts in the end, having become a lump of food to be devoured by dogs in cemeteries and on the naked ground.

There is no difference between a woman and a young elephant that lives in the jungle. Both are made of blood, flesh and bones. Then why hunt after her? A woman is charming only for a short time. I look upon her merely as a cause of delusion. There is no difference between wine and a woman. Both tend equally to produce high-flown mirth and jollity, creating revelry and lust. 10 Overindulgent men are like chained elephants among mankind. They will never come to sense however goaded by the hooks of reason.

11 Women are the flames of vice. Their black-dyed eye and hair are their smoke and soot. Though pleasing to the sight, they are as intangible as fire. They burn a man like fire consumes straw. 12 Though they appear soft and juicy to sight, they burn from afar and are as dry as bones. They serve as fuel for the fires of hell, and they are dangerous with their charm.

13 The woman resembles a moonlit night, veiled over by her loosened locks, and looking through her starry eyes. She shows her moon-like face amidst her flowery smiles. 14 Her soft dalliance destroys all manly energy, and her caresses overpower the good sense of men, like the shade of night does the sleeping (world). 15 A woman is as lovely as a vine in its flowering time. Her palms are the leaves and her eyes are the black bees. Her breasts are like the uplifted tops of the plant. 16 A lovely maiden is like a poisonous vine, fair as the filament of a flower but, by causing inebriation and unconsciousness, destructive of life.

17 Like the snake-catcher entices the snake by his breath and brings it out of its hole, so does a woman allure a man by her meddlesome civilities and gets him under her control. 18 Sexual desire, like a huntsman, has spread his nets in the form of women for the purpose of ensnaring deluded men like silly birds. 19 The mind of man, though as fierce as that of a furious elephant, is tied fast by the chain of love to the fulcrum of women, just as an elephant is fastened to the post where he remains dull and dumb forever.

20 Human life is like a pool in which the mind moves about in mud and mire. Here it is caught by the bait of woman, and dragged along by the thread of its impure desires. 21 The beautiful eyed maiden is a bondage to man, as the stable is to the horse, the fastening post to the elephant, and as spells are to the snakes.

22 This wonderful world, with all its delights and enjoyments, began with woman and depends on women for its continuance. 23 A woman is a casket full of all gems of vice. She is the cause of our chain to everlasting misery, and she is of no use to me. 24 What shall I do with her breast, her eyes, her loins, her eyebrows, the substance of which is only flesh and which therefore is altogether unsubstantial? 25 Here and there, O brahmin, her flesh and blood and bones undergo a change for the worse in course of a few days.

26 Sage, you can see those dearly beloved mistresses, so much fondled by foolish men, lying at last in the cemetery, their body parts all mangled and falling off. 27 O brahmin, those dear love objects, the faces of maidens so fondly decorated by their lovers with paints and pastes, are at last to be burned on the piles. 28 Their braided hairs hang like fly-whisks on the cemetery trees, and after a few days, their whitened bones are strewn about like shining stars. 29 Behold their blood sucked in by the dust of the earth, voracious beasts and worms feeding upon their flesh, jackals tearing their skin, and their vital air dispersed in the vacuum. 30 This is the state to which the members of the female body must shortly come to pass. You say all existence is delusion. Therefore tell me, why do you allow yourselves to fall into error? 31 A woman is nothing but a form composed of the five elements, so why should intelligent men be fondly attached to her?

32 Men’s longing for women is like the suta vine which stretches its sprigs to a great length, but bears plenty of bitter and sour fruit. 33 A man blinded by greed (for his mate) is like a deer that has strayed from its herd, not knowing which way to go, lost in the maze of illusion. 34 A young man under the control of a young woman is as lamentable as an elephant in pursuit of his mate that has fallen into a pit of Vindhya Mountain.

35 He who has a wife has an appetite for enjoyment on earth, but one without her has no object of desire. Abandonment of the wife amounts to abandonment of the world, and forsaking the world is the path to true happiness.

36 I am not content, O brahmin! with these unmanageable enjoyments which are as flickering as the wings of bees, and are as soon at an end as they are born. From my fear of repeated births, decay and death, I long only for the state of supreme bliss.