ABOUT THE BUSINESS OF A GO-BETWEEN
IF a woman has manifested her love or desire, either by signs or by motions of the body, and is afterwards
rarely or never seen anywhere, or if a woman is met for the first time, the man should get a go-between to
Now the go-between, having wheedled herself into the confidence of the woman by acting according to her
disposition, should try to make her hate or despise her husband by holding artful conversations with her, by
telling her about medicines for getting children, by talking to her about other people, by tales of various kinds,
by stories about the wives of other men, and by praising her beauty, wisdom, generosity and good nature, and
then saying to her: 'It is indeed a pity that you, who are so excellent a woman in every way, should be
possessed of a husband of this kind. Beautiful lady, he is not fit even to serve you.' The go-between should
further talk to the woman about the weakness of the passion of her husband, his jealousy, his roguery, his
ingratitude, his aversion to enjoyments, his dullness, his meanness, and all the other faults that he may have,
and with which she may be acquainted. She should particularly harp upon that fault or that failing by which
the wife may appear to be the most affected. If the wife be a deer woman, and the husband a hare man, then
there would be no fault in that direction, but in the event of his being a hare man, and she a mare woman or
elephant woman, then this fault should be pointed out to her.
Gonikaputra is of opinion that when it is the first affair of the woman, or when her love has only been very
secretly shown, the man should then secure and send to her a go-between, with whom she may be already
acquainted, and in whom she confides.
But to return to our subject. The go-between should tell the woman about the obedience and love of the man,
and as her confidence and affection increase, she should then explain to her the thing to be accomplished in
the following way. 'Hear this, Oh beautiful lady, that this man, born of a good family, having seen you, has
gone mad on your account. The poor young man, who is tender by nature, has never been distressed in such a
way before, and it is highly probable that he will succumb under his present affliction, and experience the
pains of death.' If the woman listens with a favourable ear, then on the following day the go-between, having
observed marks of good spirits in her face, in her eyes, and in her manner of conversation, should again
converse with her on the subject of the man, and should tell her the stories of Ahalya 1 and Indra, of
Sakoontala 2 and Dushyanti, and such others as may be fitted for the occasion. She should also describe to her
the strength of the man, his talents, his skill in the sixty-four sorts of enjoyments mentioned by Babhravya, his
good looks, and his liaison with some praiseworthy woman, no matter whether this last ever took place or not.
In addition to this, the go-between should carefully note the behaviour of the woman, which if favourable
would be as follows: She would address her with a smiling look, would seat herself close beside her, and ask
her, 'Where have you been? What have you been doing? Where did you dine? Where did you sleep? Where
have you been sitting?' Moreover, the woman would meet the go-between in lonely places and tell her stories
there, would yawn contemplatively, draw long sighs, give her presents, remember her on occasions of
festivals, dismiss her with a wish to see her again, and say to her jestingly, 'Oh, well-speaking woman, why do
you speak these bad words to me?', would discourse on the sin of her union with the man, would not tell her
about any previous visits or conversations that she may have had with him, but wish to be asked about these,
and lastly would laugh at the man's desire, but would not reproach him in any way.
Thus ends the behaviour of the woman with the go-between.
When the woman manifests her love in the manner above described, the go-between should increase it by
bringing to her love tokens from the man. But if the woman be not acquainted with the man personally, the
go-between should win her over by extolling and praising his good qualities, and by telling stories about his love for her. Here Auddalaka says that when a man or woman are not personally acquainted with each other,
and have not shown each other any signs of affection, the employment of a go-between is useless.
The followers of Babhravya on the other hand affirm that even though they be personally unacquainted, but
have shown each other signs of affection there is an occasion for the employment of a go-between.
Gonikaputra asserts that a go-between should be employed, provided they are acquainted with each other,
even though no signs of affection may have passed between them. Vatsyayana however lays it down that even
though they may not be personally acquainted with each other, and may not have shown each other any signs
of affection, still they are both capable of placing confidence in a go-between.
Now the go-between should show the woman the presents, such as the betel nut and betel leaves, the
perfumes, the flowers, and the rings which the man may have given to her for the sake of the woman, and on
these presents should be impressed the marks of the man's teeth, and nails, and other signs. On the cloth that
he may send he should draw with saffron both his hands joined together as if in earnest entreaty.
The go-between should also show to the woman ornamental figures of various kinds cut in leaves, together
with ear ornaments, and chaplets made of flowers containing love letters expressive of the desire of the man, 3
and she should cause her to send affectionate presents to the man in return. After they have mutually accepted
each other's presents, then a meeting should be arranged between them on the faith of the go-between.
The followers of Babhravya say that this meeting should take place at the time of going to the temple of a
Deity, or on occasions of fairs, garden parties, theatrical performances, marriages, sacrifices, festivals and
funerals, as also at the time of going to the river to bathe, or at times of natural calamities, 4 fear of robbers or
hostile invasions of the country.
Gonikaputra is of opinion however that these meetings had better be brought about in the abodes of female
friends, mendicants, astrologers, and ascetics. But Vatsyayana decides that that place is only well suited for
the purpose which has proper means of ingress and egress, and where arrangements have been made to
prevent any accidental occurrence, and when a man who has once entered the house can also leave it at the
proper time without any disagreeable encounter.
Now go-betweens or female messengers are of the following different kinds:
A go-between who takes upon herself the whole burden of the business
A go-between who does only a limited part of the business
A go-between who is the bearer of a letter only
A go-between acting on her own account
The go-between of an innocent young woman
A wife serving as a go-between
A mute go-between
A go-between who acts the part of the wind
A woman who, having observed the mutual passion of a man and woman, brings them together and arranges it
by the power of her own intellect, such a one is called a go-between who takes upon herself the whole burden
of the business. This kind of go-between is chiefly employed when the man and the woman are already is always done in all other cases) but by the woman also. The above name is also given to a go-between who,
perceiving that the man and the woman are suited to each other, tries to bring about a union between them,
even though they be not-acquainted with each other.
A go-between who, perceiving that some part of the affair is already done, or that the advances on the part of
the man are already made, completes the rest of the business, is called a go-between who performs only a
limited part of the business.
A go-between who simply carries messages between a man and a woman, who love each other, but who
cannot frequently meet, is called the bearer of a letter or message.
This name is also given to one who is sent by either of the lovers to acquaint either the one or the other with
the time and place of their meeting.
A woman who goes herself to a man, and tells him of her having enjoyed sexual union with him in a dream,
and expresses her anger at his wife having rebuked him for calling her by the name of her rival instead of by
her own name, and gives him something bearing the marks of her teeth and nails and informs him that she
knew she was formerly desired by him, and asks him privately whether she or his wife is the best looking,
such a person is called a woman who is a go-between for herself. Now such a woman should be met and
interviewed by the man in private and secretly.
The above name is also given to a woman who having made an agreement with some other woman to act as
her go-between, gains over the man to herself, by the means of making him personally acquainted with
herself, and thus causes the other woman to fail. The same applies to a man who, acting as a go-between for
another, and having no previous connection with the woman, gains her over for himself, and thus causes the
failure of the other man.
A woman who has gained the confidence of the innocent young wife of any man, and who has learned her
secrets without exercising any pressure on her mind, and found out from her how her husband behaves to her,
if this woman then teaches her the art of securing his favour, and decorates her so as to show her love, and
instructs her how and when to be angry, or to pretend to be so, and then, having herself made marks of the
nails and teeth on the body of the wife, gets the latter to send for her husband to show these marks to him, and
thus excite him for enjoyment, such is called the go-between of an innocent young woman. In such cases the
man should send replies to his wife through the same woman.
When a man gets his wife to gain the confidence of a woman whom he wants to enjoy, and to call on her and
talk to her about the wisdom and ability of her husband, that wife is called a wife serving as a go-between. In
this case the feelings of the woman with regard to the man should also be made known through the wife.
When any man sends a girl or a female servant to any woman under some pretext or other, and places a letter
in her bouquet of flowers, or in her ear ornaments, or marks something about her with his teeth or nails, that
girl or female servant is called a mute go-between. In this case the man should expect an answer from the
woman through the same person.
A person, who carries a message to a woman, which has a double meaning, or which relates to some past
transactions, or which is unintelligible to other people, is called a go-between who acts the part of the wind. In
this case the reply should be asked for through the same woman.
Thus end the different kinds of go-betweens.
A female astrologer, a female servant, a female beggar, or a female artist are well acquainted with the business of a go-between, and very soon gain the confidence of other women. Any one of them can raise
enmity between any two persons if she wishes to do so, or extol the loveliness of any woman that she wishes
to praise, or describe the arts practised by other women in sexual union. They can also speak highly of the
love of a man, of his skill in sexual enjoyment, and of the desire of other women, more beautiful even than the
woman they are addressing, for him, and explain the restraint under which he may be at home.
Lastly a go-between can, by the artfulness of her conversation, unite a woman with a man even though he may
not have been thought of by her, or may have been considered beyond her aspirations. She can also bring back
a man to a woman, who, owing to some cause or other, has separated himself from her.