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This Part VI., about courtesans, was prepared by Vatsyayana, from a
treatise on the subject, that was written by Dattaka, for the women of
Pataliputra (the modern Patna), some two thousand years ago. Dattaka's
work does not appear to be extant now, but this abridgement of it is
very clever, and quite equal to any of the productions of Emile Zola,
and other writers of the realistic school of to-day.
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
The details of the domestic and social life of the early Hindoos would
not be complete without mention of the courtesan, and Part VI. is
entirely devoted to this subject. The Hindoos 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.
In the earlier days the well-educated Hindoo 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.
OF THE CAUSES OF A COURTESAN RESORTING TO MEN; OF THE MEANS OF ATTACHING
TO HERSELF THE MAN DESIRED; AND OF THE KIND OF MAN THAT IT IS DESIRABLE
TO BE ACQUAINTED WITH.
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