CHAPTER XX – DUTY TOWARDS THE HAREM

1ON a site naturally best fitted for the purpose, the king shall construct his harem consisting of many compartments, one within the other, enclosed by a parapet and a ditch, and provided with a door.
2He shall construct his own residential palace after the model of his treasury-house; or he may have his residential abode in the centre of the delusive chamber (móhanagriha), provided with secret passages made into the walls; or in an underground chamber provided with the figures of goddesses and of altars (chaitya) carved on the wooden door-frame, and connected with many underground passages for exit; or in an upper storey provided with a staircase hidden in a wall, with a passage for exit made in a hollow pillar, the whole building being so constructed with mechanical contrivance as to be caused to fall down when necessary.
3Or considering the danger from his own classmates (sahádhyáyi), such contrivances as the above, mainly intended as safeguards against danger, may be made on occasions of danger or otherwise as he deems fit.
4No other kind of fire can burn that harem which is thrice circumambulated from right to left by a fire of human make (manushénágnina); nor can there be kindled any other fire. Nor can fire destroy that harem the walls of which are made of mud mixed with ashes produced by lightning, and wetted in hail-water (karaka-vári).
5Poisonous snakes will not dare to enter into such buildings as are provided with Jívanti (Fæderia Fœtida), svéta (Aconitum Ferox), mushkakapushpa (?), and vandáka (Epidendrum Tesselatum), and as are protected by the branches of péjáta (?) and of asvattha (Ficus Religiosa).
6Cats, peacocks, mangooses, and the spotted deer eat up snakes.
7Parrots, minas (sárika), and Malbar birds (bhringarája) shriek when they perceive the smell of snake-poison.
8The heron (crauncha) swoons in the vicinity of poison; the pheasant (jívanjívaka) feels distress; the youthful cuckoo (mattakókila) dies; the eyes of partridge (chakóra) are reddened.
9Thus remedies shall be applied against fire and poison.
10On one side in the rear of the harem, there shall be made for the residence of women compartments provided not only with all kinds of medicines useful in midwifery and diseases, but also with well known pot-herbs (prakhyátasamsthávriksha), and a water-reservoir; outside these compartments, the residences of princes and princesses; in front (of the latter building), the toilet-ground (alankára bhúmih), the council-ground (mantrabhúmib), the court, and the offices of the heir-apparent and of superintendents.
11In the intervening places between two compartments, the army of the officer in charge of the harem shall be stationed.
12When in the interior of the harem, the king shall see the queen only when her personal purity is vouchsafed by an old maid-servant. He shall not touch any woman (unless he is apprised of her personal purity); for hidden in the queen’s chamber, his own brother slew king Bhadrasena; hiding himself under the bed of his mother, the son killed king Kárusa; mixing fried rice with poison, as though with honey, his own queen poisoned Kásirája; with an anklet painted with poison, his own queen killed Vairantya; with a gem of her zone bedaubed with poison, his own queen killed Sauvíra; with a looking glass painted with poison, his own queen killed Jálútha; and with a weapon hidden under her tuft of hair, his own queen slew Vidúratha.
13Hence the king shall always be careful to avoid such lurking dangers. He shall keep away his wives from the society of ascetics with shaved head or braided hair, of buffoons, and of outside prostitutes (dási). Nor shall women of high birth have occasion to see his wives except appointed midwives.
14Prostitutes (rúpájíva) with personal cleanliness effected by fresh bath and with fresh garments and ornaments shall attend the harem.
15Eighty men and fifty women under the guise of fathers and mothers, and aged persons, and eunuchs shall not only ascertain purity and impurity in the life of the inmates of the harem, but also so regulate the affairs as to be conducive to the happiness of the king.
16Every person in the harem shall live in the place assigned to him, and shall never move to the place assigned to others. No one of the harem shall at any time keep company with any outsider.
17The passage of all kinds of commodities from or into the harem shall be restricted and shall, after careful examination, be allowed to reach their destination either inside or outside the harem as indicated by the seal-mark (mudrá).