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In the Great God's Hair, by F. W. Bain, [1905], at

XV. A Woman's Lord

Then said Indra: O thou delicious lady, Love has cast his spell upon thee, or as thou sayest, caught thee on his hook; and now thou art like one who looks from afar upon the desert, and admires its delusive beauty, not knowing, by reason of inexperience, what its nature really is. And doubtless thou art right, and thy husband will hold thee fast, while the blossom of thy beauty is fresh and fragrant with morning dew; but when thou art worn and dusty in the heat of the day, beware! lest he should throw thee away. Thou dost not know what lies before the vagabond's wife.

Then said Wanawallarí: Brahman, she that

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chooses her own husband resembles a bold gambler, that stakes his all upon a single cast of the die. And if she has chosen lightly, guided only by frivolity and the desire of selfish pleasure, evil and woe will be her doom. But if she has made her choice not obeying her own inebriation but rather spell-bound and appropriated by the master spirit of her true husband and the fatal moment y that brought her like a planet within his grasp, then poor is her nature and feeble her devotion if she be not prepared to follow him blindfold, and take all that fate in his form may involve in her lot. For she that leaves all behind her and comes at the call of her husband does so not out of pleasure, though the pleasure is supreme, but as it were against her own will, and simply because she cannot help it, because he is he. And thereafter nothing can befall her, for the fruit of her birth is obtained. For it is better for a woman to find her master, even if he should afterwards ill-use or desert her, than never to discover him at all. For every woman needs a lord, but many

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never find him. But when she has found him, let him treat her how he will, she is his. But if she finds the wrong man, though he may treat her as a queen and adore her as a goddess, yet she never will love him and her heart will not be happy, because she is not his, and he cannot command her. For an elephant is held by a chain, and a woman by her heart; and the essence of her love is the sense of obedience; for no woman ever loves any man, unless she knows that he is her master to be obeyed without a murmur whether she will or no. Yet in this is no slavery, for she loves her chain, and likes to be dominated by the man she adores. And for every woman, happiness is misery, with the man who is not her true master: but misery is happiness with the husband who is. And no one but a woman can understand the indescribable pleasure of willing obedience to her lord; for it arises from the peculiarity of her nature which man does not share; for his nature is not to obey but command. And now, my husband is my lord, and I am his slave. And if he continue to love me, it is well: and if not, still it is well, for he cannot prevent me from worshipping him. For though the Creator may if he pleases drive away the swan from the lotus-haunted pool that he loves, he cannot with

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all his omnipotence deprive him of his desire of the pool. Nor can any destiny overpower the loyalty of a wife: for she whose devotion to her husband is diminished by circumstance or change was never his wife, but a stranger, joined to him by accident and error and called by a name that was never hers.


60:y The Sanskrit word lagna, meaning an astrological moment of planetary conjunction, has become, in modern Maráthí, the common term for a marriage. It is, I believe, essential for a Hindoo marriage that the horoscopes of the bride and groom should correspond.

Next: XVI. A God abashed