Canto 8: strī-vighātaḥ
A Tirade against Women


Strī means a woman or (at the beginning of a compound) women. Vighāta, like the vighātana of BC Canto 4, is from the root vi-√han, which means to strike, to ward off, or to hinder. Hence the meanings of the noun vighāta include 1. a blow, 2. warding off, 3. an impediment, an obstacle, and 4. failure.

The present Canto describes a certain Buddhist striver striking a verbal blow against women in general. Hence the ostensible meaning of strī-vighātaḥ is (1.) A Tirade against Women or (as per Linda Covill) “The Attack on Women.”

In BC Canto 4, the ostensible sense is of the Prince warding away the amorous advances of women, but below the surface that Canto points us in the direction of rejecting the generalizations that an immature man makes about “women.” We are prompted instead to consider on a case by case basis what each individual woman stands for. Hence, as the title of BC Canto 4, strī-vighātana ostensibly means (2.) Warding Women Away, but in the hidden meaning Warding Away [the Concept] ‘Women.’

EH Johnston translated the present Canto title (3.) Woman the Obstacle. With appropriate punctuation, this title could also convey a hidden meaning – Woman, the Obstacle – in which case the obstacle is not women but certain people’s prejudices in regard to women.

Finally, the present Canto title strī-vighāta could be translated (4.) Women – Failure, in which case the failure in question is simply the striver’s failure to have the influence on Nanda that he wants to have.

In general, we know well enough by now, nothing that Aśvaghoṣa writes is to be taken at face value. Everything is to be examined critically. But this is especially true when Aśvaghoṣa is putting words in the mouth of somebody – like the immature ‘Hurry Up’ Udāyin in BC Canto 4 – who has pretensions of knowing a thing or two. Again, we saw in SN Canto 6 how a senior female servant, who was well respected and good with words, tried to take Sundarī firmly in hand and to tell her what was good for her. But the matronly advice she offered was too direct and it did not work. If anything, it only made Sundarī’s suffering worse. What helped Sundarī was the words and attitude of a less preachy female confidante whose predictions were not strictly accurate but whose indirect approach was more skillful and helpful. The striver introduced in the present Canto is the male counterpart of the bossy but ineffectual female servant who was good with words. The striver thinks of himself as wise, but only through his own conceit. Aśvaghoṣa’s real agenda is to use the Buddhist striver to satirize all male upholders of mysognist views.



atha nandam adhīra-locanaṁ gṛha-yānotsukam utsukotsukam /
abhigamya śivena cakṣuṣā śramaṇaḥ kaś-cid uvāca maitrayā // 8.1 //

Then, while Nanda was looking forward, with unsteady eyes and the eagerest of expectations, to going home, / A certain striver with a benevolent air approached him and said, in a friendly way: // 8.1 //

kim idaṁ mukham aśru-durdinaṁ hṛdaya-sthaṁ vivṛṇoti te tamaḥ /
dhṛtim ehi niyaccha vikriyāṁ na hi bāṣpaś ca śamaś ca śobhate // 8.2 //

“Why this face so clouded with tears, that reveals a darkness in your heart? / Come to constancy, restrain your emotion, for tears and tranquillity do not sit well together. // 8.2 //

dvi-vidhā samudeti vedanā niyataṁ cetasi deha eva ca /
śruta-vidhy-upacāra-kovidā dvi-vidhā eva tayoś cikitsakāḥ // 8.3 //

Pain invariably arises in two ways: in the mind and in the body. / And for those two kinds of pain, there are healers skilled in education and in medicine. // 8.3 //

tad iyaṁ yadi kāyikī rujā bhiṣaje tūrṇam anūnam ucyatām /
viniguhya hi rogam āturo nacirāt tīvram anartham ṛcchati // 8.4 //

So if this pain is physical be quick to tell a doctor all about it, / For when a sick man conceals his illness it turns before long into something serious. // 8.4 //

atha duḥkham idaṁ mano-mayaṁ vada vakṣyāmi yad atra bheṣajam /
manaso hi rajas-tamasvino bhiṣajo ’dhyātma-vidaḥ parīkṣakāḥ // 8.5 //

But if this suffering is mental tell me, and I will tell you the cure for it; / Because, for a mind enshrouded in gloom and darkness, the healer is a seeker who knows himself. The dramatic irony here, which we readers see but the striver himself does not see, is that the healer who knows himself is the Buddha, aided by Ānanda. The preachy striver – who understands the kind of pain of separation described in Cantos 4-7 to be either physical or else mental – is not such a person. 01 // 8.5 //

nikhilena ca satyam ucyatāṁ yadi vācyaṁ mayi saumya manyase /
gatayo vividhā hi cetasāṁ bahu-guhyāni madākulāni ca // 8.6 //

Tell the whole truth, my friend, if you think it fit to be told, to me; / For minds have many ways of working and many secrets, wherein concealment is complicated by conceit.” Here madākulāni has been read as madā (conceit) + ākula (confused/complicated). The elements of this compound could equally literally have been read mada + ākula (“full of intoxication” or “complicated by infatuation”). The translation “complicated by conceit” hints, again, at the ironic subtext whereby, in negating Nanda’s vanity, the striver only succeeds in showing his own vanity. 02 // 8.6 //

iti tena sa coditas tadā vyavasāyaṁ pravivakṣur ātmanaḥ /
avalambya kare kareṇa taṁ praviveśānyatarad vanāntaram // 8.7 //

Pressed in this way by [the striver], while wanting to explain his own decision, / [Nanda] clung to him, with hand in his hand, and went into another corner of the forest. // 8.7 //

atha tatra śucau latā-gṛhe kusumodgāriṇi tau niṣedatuḥ /
mṛdubhir mṛdu-māruteritair upagūḍhāv iva bāla-pallavaiḥ // 8.8 //

And so there the two of them sat in a vibrant bower of flower-spewing creepers / Whose soft young shoots, stirring in a soft breeze, seemed to be hiding them away. // 8.8 //

sa jagāda tataś cikīrṣitaṁ ghana-niśvāsa-gṛhītam antarā /
śruta-vāg-viśadāya bhikṣave viduṣā pravrajitena dur-vacam // 8.9 //

Then, in between the heavy sighs that intermittently gripped him, he expressed his intention, / Which was a hard one for a man who has knowingly gone forth to express. He told it to the beggar who was so adept at hearing and talking. Ostensibly Aśvaghoṣa is praising the striver as one who both talked and listened well. In the ironic hidden meaning, the suggestion might be that the striver was one who talked the talk but failed to walk the walk – as demonstrated by his spectacular failure to abandon a view on “women.” 03 // 8.9 //

sadṛśaṁ yadi dharma-cāriṇaḥ satataṁ prāṇiṣu maitra-cetasaḥ /
adhṛtau tad iyaṁ hitaiṣitā mayi te syāt karuṇātmanaḥ sataḥ // 8.10 //

“Evidently, it befits a devotee of dharma who is always friendly towards any living being, / That the benevolence inherent in your compassionate nature might be shown to me in my inconstancy! // 8.10 //

ata eva ca me viśeṣataḥ pravivakṣā kṣama-vādini tvayi /
na hi bhāvam imaṁ calātmane kathayeyaṁ bruvate ’py asādhave // 8.11 //

And that is why I would like especially to speak to you who preach propriety; / For what I am feeling now I would not tell to a man who was out of balance in himself and who, though a good talker, was not a true person. // 8.11 //

tad idaṁ śrṛṇu me samāsato na rame dharma-vidhāv ṛte priyām /
giri-sānuṣu kāminīm ṛte kṛta-retā iva kiṁnaraś caran // 8.12 //

Hear me then when I say, in short, that without my beloved I do not enjoy the practice of dharma; / I am like a kiṁnara without his lover roaming about, his semen ready, over mountain peaks. // 8.12 //

vana-vāsa-sukhāt parāṅ-mukhaḥ prayiyāsā gṛham eva yena me /
na hi śarma labhe tayā vinā nṛpatir hīna ivottama-śriyā // 8.13 //

I am averse to the happiness of the forest life, and simply want to go home; / For without her I obtain no comfort, like a king without his sovereignty.” // 8.13 //

atha tasya niśamya tad vacaḥ priya-bhāryābhimukhasya śocataḥ /
śramaṇaḥ sa śiraḥ prakampayan nijagādātma-gataṁ śanair idam // 8.14 //

When he heard those words of Nanda who, with his mind on his beloved wife, was burning with pain, / The striver, softly, while allowing his head to shake, said to himself: // 8.14 //

kṛpaṇaṁ bata yūtha-lālaso mahato vyādha-bhayād viniḥsṛtaḥ /
pravivikṣati vāgurāṁ mṛgaś capalo gīta-raveṇa vañcitaḥ // 8.15 //

“What a pity! In its longing for the herd, a rushing stag that has escaped the mortal danger of the hunter’s arrow, / Is about to enter the hunter’s trap, deceived by a call that the hunter sang. // 8.15 //

vihagaḥ khalu jāla-saṁvṛto hita-kāmena janena mokṣitaḥ /
vicaran phala-puṣpa-vad vanaṁ pravivikṣuḥ svayam eva pañjaram // 8.16 //

Truly, a bird that was caught in a net and set free by a benevolent person, / Desires, as it flits about the fruiting and blossoming forest, to fly of its own volition into a cage. // 8.16 //

kalabhaḥ kariṇā khalūddhṛtoḥ bahu-paṅkād viṣamān nadī-talāt /
jala-tarṣa-vaśena tāṁ punaḥ saritaṁ grāhavatīṁ titīrṣati // 8.17 //

A baby elephant, truly, after an adult elephant has pulled it up out of the deep mud of a dangerous riverbed, / Is wishing, in its thirst for water, to enter again that crocodile-infested creek. // 8.17 //

śaraṇe sa-bhujaṅgame svapan pratibuddhena pareṇa bodhitaḥ /
taruṇaḥ khalu jāta-vibhramaḥ svayam ugraṁ bhujagaṁ jighṛkṣati // 8.18 //

In a shelter where slithers a snake, a sleeping boy, awoken by an elder who is already awake, / Has become agitated and, truly, he is about to grab the horrible reptile himself. // 8.18 //

mahatā khalu jāta-vedasā jvalitād utpatito vana-drumāt /
punar icchati nīḍa-tṛṣṇayā patituṁ tatra gata-vyatho dvijaḥ // 8.19 //

Truly, having flown up and away from a tree that is blazing in a great forest fire, / A chick in The final word of the verse in Sanskrit is dvi-jaḥ, lit. “one twice born,” which means 1. a bird, which is twice born in the sense of being born first in an egg laid by the mother, and then born again on hatching from the egg; and 2. a person, and especially a brahmin, who has in some sense been reborn, for example in an initiation or confirmation ceremony in the Āryan tradition. So in placing dvi-jaḥ as the last word of this verse, the striver might be appealing again to Nanda’s sense of what is proper for an Āryan man of noble birth. This would be in keeping with the striver’s stance as a preacher of propriety (kṣama-vādin; verse 11). 04 its longing for the nest is wishing to fly there again, its former alarm forgotten. // 8.19 //

avaśaḥ khalu kāma-mūrcchayā priyayā śyena-bhayād vinā-kṛtaḥ /
na dhṛtiṁ samupaiti na hriyaṁ karuṇaṁ jīvati jīva-jīvakaḥ // 8.20 //

Truly, a pheasant separated from its mate through fear of a hawk, and so stupefied by desire as to be helpless, / Is lacking in resolve and lacking in reserve: the pathetic little beggar Jīva-jīvakaḥ means 1. a particular species of bird, a kind of pheasant, and 2. what the dictionary defines as “a Buddhist ascetic.”05 is living a pitiful life. // 8.20 //

akṛtātmatayā tṛṣānvito ghṛṇayā caiva dhiyā ca varjitaḥ /
aśanaṁ khalu vāntam ātmanā kṛpaṇaḥ śvā punar attum icchati // 8.21 //

Greedy and untrained, devoid of decency and intelligence, / Truly, a wretched dog is wishing to eat again some food that he himself has vomited.” // 8.21 //

iti manmatha-śoka-karṣitaṁ tam anudhyāya muhur nirīkṣya ca /
śramaṇaḥ sa hitābhikāṅkṣayā guṇavad vākyam uvāca vipriyam // 8.22 //

So saying, the striver contemplated [Nanda] for a while, beholding him tormented by the sorrows of love. / Then in his eagerness to be of benefit, the striver spoke fine words, which were unpleasant to hear. // 8.22 //

avicārayataḥ śubhāśubhaṁ viṣayeṣv eva niviṣṭa-cetasaḥ /
upapannam alabdha-cakṣuṣo na ratiḥ śreyasi ced bhavet tava // 8.23 //

“For you who draws no distinction between good and bad, whose mind is settled on objects of the senses, / And who is without the eye of attainment, naturally, no delight could there be in being better. Śreyas, as the Buddha uses the term, especially in SN Cantos 12 and 13, is the thing that Nanda eventually comes to believe in: better, betterment, a better way – a better way, that is, than hedonism, and also a better way than striving in pursuit of illusory targets. This verse, however, can be understood as full, from beginning to end, of Aśvaghoṣa’s irony, so that, unbeknowns to himself, the striver is just expressing the enlightenment of sitting buddha, which is free of conceit, and so there is no delight in being better than others (na ratiḥ śreyasi). 06 // 8.23 //

śravaṇe grahaṇe ’tha dhāraṇe paramārthāvagame manaḥ-śame /
aviṣakta-mateś calātmano na hi dharme ’bhiratir vidhīyate // 8.24 //

Again, to him whose thinking is not firmly fixed – in the matters of hearing, grasping, retaining and understanding the supreme truth, and in the matter of mental peace – / To him who easily changes his mind, Calātmanaḥ generally has a negative connotation: e.g. fickle-minded (SN1.20), out of balance in himself (SN8.11), but here again Aśvaghoṣa’s irony might be at play. 07 joy in dharma is not apportioned. // 8.24 //

viṣayeṣu tu doṣa-darśinaḥ parituṣṭasya śucer amāninaḥ /
śama-karmasu yukta-cetasaḥ kṛta-buddher na ratir na vidyate // 8.25 //

But that joy is certainly known The emphatic double negative, na ratir na vidyate, has here been translated as a positive. 08 to one who sees the faults in objects of the senses, Does this include seeing a fault in women, for being objects of men’s sexual desire? 09 who is contented, pure, and unassuming, / Whose mind is versed in the religious acts that generate peace and whose understanding therein is formed. // 8.25 //

ramate tṛṣito dhana-śriyā ramate kāma-sukhena bāliśaḥ /
ramate praśamena saj-janaḥ paribhogān paribhūya vidyayā // 8.26 //

A covetous man delights in opulence; a fool delights in sensual pleasure; / A true person delights in tranquillity, having transcended sensual enjoyments by virtue of his knowledge. // 8.26 //

api ca prathitasya dhīmataḥ kula-jasyārcita-liṅga-dhāriṇaḥ /
sadṛśī na gṛhāya cetanā praṇatir vāyu-vaśād girer iva // 8.27 //

What is more, when a man of good repute, a man of intelligence and breeding, bears the honoured insignia / His consciousness inclines towards home no more than a mountain bends in the wind. // 8.27 //

spṛhayet para-saṁśritāya yaḥ paribhūyātma-vaśāṁ sva-tantratām /
upaśānti-pathe śive sthitaḥ spṛhayed doṣavate gṛhāya saḥ // 8.28 //

Only a man who aspires to dependence on another, spurning autonomy and self-reliance, / Would yearn, while he was on the auspicious path to peace, for life at home with all its faults. // 8.28 //

vyasanābhihato yathā viśet parimuktaḥ punar eva bandhanam /
samupetya vanaṁ tathā punar gṛha-saṁjñaṁ mṛgayeta bandhanam // 8.29 //

Just as a man released from prison might, when stricken by some calamity, betake himself back to prison, / So might one who has retired to the forest seek out again that bondage called home. // 8.29 //

puruṣaś ca vihāya yaḥ kaliṁ punar icchet kalim eva sevitum /
sa vihāya bhajeta bāliśaḥ kali-bhūtām ajitendriyaḥ priyām // 8.30 //

The man who has left his strife behind and yet would like nothing better than to go back again to his strife: / He is the fool who would leave behind and then return, with his senses still unconquered, to the strife that is a wife. // 8.30 //

sa-viṣā iva saṁśritā latāḥ parimṛṣṭā iva soragā guhāḥ /
vivṛtā iva cāsayo dhṛtā vyasanāntā hi bhavanti yoṣitaḥ // 8.31 //

Like poisonous clinging creepers, like swept-out caves still harbouring snakes, / Like uncovered blades being held in the hand, women are calamitous in the end. // 8.31 //

pramadāḥ samadā mada-pradāḥ pramadā vīta-madā bhaya-pradāḥ /
iti doṣa-bhayāvahāś ca tāḥ katham arhanti niṣevaṇaṁ nu tāḥ // 8.32 //

Sexy members of the female gender engender sexual desire, whereas unsexy ones are fearsome. The word used here for woman, pramadā, etymologically is already sexually charged (pra = emphatic; madā = sexual desire), so that the dictionary gives pramadā as “a young and wanton woman, any woman.” The similar-sounding word pra-da means engendering. The first line then, is an alliterative play on these words, and at the same time a typical example of misogynist ignorance. 10 / Since they bring with them either a fault or fear, in what way do they merit attention? // 8.32 //

svajanaḥ svajanena bhidyate suhṛdaś cāpi suhṛj-janena yat /
paradoṣa-vicakṣaṇāḥ śaṭhās tad anāryāḥ pracaranti yoṣitaḥ // 8.33 //

So that kinsman breaks with kinsman and friend with friend, / Women, who are good at seeing faults in others, Who is the one who is seeing the fault, not in himself, but in others? 11 behave deceitfully and ignobly. // 8.33 //

kula-jāḥ kṛpaṇī bhavanti yad yad ayuktaṁ pracaranti sāhasam /
praviśanti ca yac camū-mukhaṁ rabhasās tatra nimittam aṅganāḥ // 8.34 //

When men of good families fall on hard times, when they rashly do unfitting deeds, / When they recklessly enter the vanguard of an army, women in those instances are the cause. // 8.34 //

vacanena haranti valgunā niśitena praharanti cetasā /
madhu tiṣṭhati vāci yoṣitāṁ hṛdaye hālahalaṁ mahad-viṣam // 8.35 //

They beguile with lovely voices, and attack with sharpened minds: / There is honey in women’s speech, and lethal venom in their hearts. // 8.35 //

pradahan dahano ’pi gṛhyate vi-śarīraḥ pavano ’pi gṛhyate /
kupito bhujago ’pi gṛhyate pramadānāṁ tu mano na gṛhyate // 8.36 //

A burning fire can be held, the bodiless wind can be caught, For example, a fire can be held by means of a flaming torch, and the wind can be caught by a sail. 12 / An angry snake can be captured, but the mind of women cannot be grasped. // 8.36 //

na vapur vimṛśanti na śriyaṁ na matiṁ nāpi kulaṁ na vikramam /
praharanty aviśeṣataḥ striyaḥ sarito grāha-kulākulā iva // 8.37 //

Without pausing to consider looks or wealth, or intelligence or breeding or valour, / Women attack no matter what, like a ragged assortment of crocodiles in a river. // 8.37 //

na vaco madhuraṁ na lālanaṁ smarati strī na ca sauhṛdaṁ kva-cit /
kalitā vanitaiva cañcalā tad ihāriṣv iva nāvalambyate // 8.38 //

No charming speech, nor soothing caresses, As an amendment to the paper manuscript’s original na rādranaṁ, Shastri conjectured na lālanaṃ. EHJ accepted this amendment but queried na cādaraṁ, which would give No charming speech, nor showing of respect…”13 nor any affection do women ever remember. / The female, even when cajoled, is flighty: so rely on one no more than you would your enemies in this world. // 8.38 //

adadatsu bhavanti narma-dāḥ pradadatsu praviśanti vibhramam /
praṇateṣu bhavanti garvitāḥ pramadās tṛptatarāś ca māniṣu // 8.39 //

Women flirt with men who give them nothing; with generous men, they get restless. / They look down with disdain on the humble, but towards the arrogant show simpering contentment. // 8.39 //

guṇavatsu caranti bhartṛ-vad guṇahīneṣu caranti putravat /
dhanavatsu caranti tṛṣṇayā dhanahīneṣu caranty avajñayā // 8.40 //

They lord it over men of merit, and submit like children to men who are devoid of merit. / When men with money are around, they act rapaciously; men who are short of money they treat with contempt. // 8.40 //

viṣayād viṣayāntaraṁ gatā pracaraty eva yathāhṛtāpi gau /
anavekṣita-pūrva-sauhṛdā ramate ’nyatra gatā tathāṅganā // 8.41 //

Just as a cow, having gone from one pasture to another pasture, keeps right on grazing, however she’s restrained, / So a woman, without regard for any affection she felt before, moves on and takes her pleasure elsewhere. // 8.41 //

praviśanty api hi striyaś citām anubadhnanty api mukta-jīvitāḥ /
api bibhrati caiva yantraṇā na tu bhāvena vahanti sauhṛdam // 8.42 //

For though women ascend their husband’s funeral pyre, though they follow at the cost of their own life, / Though the restraints placed upon them they can indeed bear, they are not truly capable of genuine friendship. // 8.42 //

ramayanti patīn kathaṁ-cana pramadā yāḥ pati-devatāḥ kva-cit /
cala-cittatayā sahasraśo ramayante hṛdayaṁ svam eva tāḥ // 8.43 //

Women who sometimes, in some small way please their husband, by treating him like a god, / A thousand times more, in their fickle-mindedness, please their own heart. // 8.43 //

śva-pacaṁ kila senajit-sutā cakame mīna-ripuṁ kumudvatī /
mṛga-rājam atho bṛhad-rathā pramadānām agatir na vidyate // 8.44 //

The daughter of Sena-jit the Conqueror, so they say, coupled with a cooker of dogs; Sva-paca, lit. “a dog-cooker,” means a member of a tribe said to cooks dogs, an outcaste. 14 Kumud-vatī, ‘the Lilly Pool,’ paired up with Mīna-ripu, ‘the Foe of Fishes’; / And Bṛhad-rathā, ‘the Burly Heroine,’ loved a lion: there is nothing women will not do. EHJ was unable to trace the sources of these tales of female bestiality, but thought that Mīna-rupu, the Fishes’ Foe (also mentioned or alluded to in SN10.53), might here have taken the form of a crocodile. 15// 8.44 //

kuru-haihaya-vṛṣṇi-vaṁśa-jā bahu-māyā-kavaco ’tha śambaraḥ /
munir ugratapāś ca gautamaḥ samavāpur vanitoddhataṁ rajaḥ // 8.45 //

Scions of the Kurus, Haihayas and Vṛṣṇis, along with Śambara whose armour was mighty magic, Śambara is the name of a demon formerly slain by Indra; in epic and later poetry he is an enemy of Kāma-deva, the god of love. 16 / And the sage Ugra-tapas Gautama – ‘the Gautama of Grim Austerities’ – all incurred the dust of passion which a woman raises. // 8.45 //

akṛtajñam anāryam asthiraṁ vanitānām idam īdṛśaṁ manaḥ /
katham arhati tāsu paṇḍito hṛdayaṁ sañjayituṁ calātmasu // 8.46 //

Ungrateful, ignoble, unsteady: such is the mind of women. / What man of wisdom could allow his heart to be fastened onto such fickle creatures? // 8.46 //

atha sūkṣmam atidvayāśivaṁ laghu tāsāṁ hṛdayaṁ na paśyasi /
kim-u kāyam asad-gṛhaṁ sravad vanitānām aśuciṁ na paśyasi // 8.47 //

So you fail to see how pernicious, in their intense duplicity, are their little lightweight hearts? / Do you not see, at least, that the bodies of women are impure, oozing houses of foulness? // 8.47 //

yad ahany-ahani pradhāvanair vasanaiś cābharaṇaiś ca saṁskṛtam /
aśubhaṁ tamasāvṛtekṣaṇaḥ śubhato gacchasi nāvagacchasi // 8.48 //

Day after day, by means of ablutions, garments, and jewels, they prettify an ugliness / Which you, with eyes veiled by ignorance do not see as ugliness: you see it as beauty. // 8.48 //

atha vā samavaiṣi tat-tanūm aśubhāṁ tvaṁ na tu saṁvid asti te /
surabhiṁ vidadhāsi hi kriyām aśuces tat-prabhavasya śāntaye // 8.49 //

Or else you do see that their bodies are foul but intelligence is lacking in you: / For the fragrant task in which you are engaged is extinction of the impurity that originates in them. Cf. “Not doing any wrong, undertaking what is good, cleansing one’s own mind – this is the teaching of buddhas.” (sarva-pāpasyākaraṇaṁ kuśalasyopasaṁpadaḥ / svacitta-paryavadanam etad buddhasya śāsanam // [Udānavarga 28.1] ) 17 8.49 //

anulepanam añjanaṁ srajo maṇi-muktā-tapanīyam aṁśukam /
yadi sādhu kim-atra yoṣitāṁ sahajaṁ tāsu vicīyatāṁ śuci // 8.50 //

Cosmetic paste and powder, garlands, gems and pearls, gold and fine fabric: / What have these fine things, if fine they are, got to do with women? Let us examine what inherently in women is so immaculate. // 8.50 //

malapaṅka-dharā dig-ambarā prakṛti-sthair nakha-danta-romabhiḥ /
yadi sā tava sundarī bhaven niyataṁ te ’dya na sundarī bhavet // 8.51 //

Dirty and unclothed, Unclothed” is dig-ambarā, lit. “clothed in sky/space.” 18 with her nails and teeth and body-hair in their natural state: / If she were like that, your Sundarī, whose name means ‘Beautiful Woman,’ surely wouldn’t be such a beautiful woman to you now. // 8.51 //

sravatīm aśuciṁ spṛśec ca kaḥ saghṛṇo jarjara-bhāṇḍavat striyam /
yadi kevalayā tvacāvṛtā na bhaven makṣika-pattra-mātrayā // 8.52 //

What man who was capable of disgust would touch a woman, leaking and unclean like an old bucket, / If she were not scantily clad in skin as thin as a flying insect’s wing? // 8.52 //

tvaca-veṣṭitam asthi-pañjaraṁ yadi kāyaṁ samavaiṣi yoṣitām /
madanena ca kṛṣyase balād aghṛṇaḥ khalv adhṛtiś ca manmathaḥ // 8.53 //

If you see that women’s bodies are bony skeletons wrapped around with skin / And yet you are forcibly drawn by passion, truly then, Love is immune to disgust and lacking in all restraint. // 8.53 //

śubhatām aśubheṣu kalpayan nakha-danta-tvaca-keśa-romasu /
avicakṣaṇa kiṁ na paśyasi prakṛtiṁ ca prabhavaṁ ca yoṣitām // 8.54 //

In nails and in teeth, in skin, and in hair, both long and short, which are not beautiful, you are inventing beauty. / Dullard! Don’t you see what women originally are made of and what they originally are? // 8.54 //

tad avetya manaḥ-śarīrayor vanitā doṣavatīr viśeṣataḥ /
capalaṁ bhavanotsukaṁ manaḥ pratisaṁkhyāna-balena vāryatām // 8.55 //

So then, reckon women, in mind and in body, to be singularly implicated with faults; / And hold back, by the power of this reckoning, the mind which strains so impulsively for home. // 8.55 //

śrutavān matimān kulodgataḥ paramasya praśamasya bhājanam /
upagamya yathā tathā punar na hi bhettuṁ niyamaṁ tvam arhasi // 8.56 //

You are educated, intelligent, and well-bred – a fitting vessel for supreme tranquillity; / As such, you ought not in any way to break the contract into which you have entered. // 8.56 //

abhijana-mahato manasvinaḥ priya-yaśaso bahu-mānam icchataḥ /
nidhanam api varaṁ sthirātmanaś cyuta-vinayasya na caiva jīvitam // 8.57 //

For the man of spirit and noble birth; for the man who cherishes honour and strives to earn respect; / For the man of grit – better death for him than life as a backslider. // 8.57 //

baddhvā yathā hi kavacaṁ pragṛhīta-cāpo nindyo bhavaty apasṛtaḥ samarād ratha-sthaḥ /
bhaikṣākam abhyupagataḥ parigṛhya liṅgaṁ nindyas tathā bhavati kāma-hṛtendriyāśvaḥ // 8.58 //

For just as he is blameworthy who, having girded his armour on and taken up a bow, then flees in his warrior’s chariot away from the battle; / So he too is blameworthy who, having accepted the insignia and taken to begging, then allows the stallion of his senses to be carted away by desire. // 8.58 //

hāsyo yathā ca paramābharaṇāmbara-srag bhaikṣaṁ caran dhṛta-dhanuś cala-citra-mauliḥ /
vairūpyam abhyupagataḥ para-piṇḍa-bhojī hāsyas tathā gṛha-sukhābhimukhaḥ sa-tṛṣṇaḥ // 8.59 //

And just as it would be ridiculous to go begging, while bedecked in the finest ornaments, clothes and garlands, while holding an archer’s bow, and with a head full of passing fancies, / So too is it ridiculous to subsist on offerings, having consented to shapelessness, while longing thirstily for the comforts of home. // 8.59 //

yathā sv-annaṁ bhuktvā parama-śayanīye ’pi śayit varāho nirmuktaḥ punar aśuci dhāvet paricitam /
tathā śreyaḥ śrṛṇvan praśama-sukham āsvādya guṇavad vanaṁ śāntaṁ hitvā gṛham abhilaṣet kāma-tṛṣitaḥ // 8.60 //

Just as a hog, though fed on the best of food and lain on the finest bedding, would, when set free, run back to his familiar filth; / So, having tasted the excellent pleasure of cessation while learning the better way, would a man of thirsting libido abandon the tranquil forest and yearn for home. // 8.60 //

yatholkā hasta-sthā dahati pavana-prerita-śikhā
yathā pādākrānto daśati bhujagaḥ krodha-rabhasaḥ /
yathā hanti vyāghraḥ śiśur api gṛhīto gṛha-gataḥ
tathā strī-saṁsargo bahu-vidham anarthāya bhavati // 8.61 //

Just as a flaming torch, when fanned by the wind, burns the hand that holds it, / Just as a snake, being swift to anger, bites the foot that steps on it, / Just as a tiger, though caught as a cub, mauls the one who took it in, / So too does association with women, in many ways, make for disaster. // 8.61 //

tad vijñāya manaḥ-śarīra-niyatān nārīṣu doṣān imān,
matvā kāma-sukhaṁ nadī-jala-calaṁ kleśāya śokāya ca /
dṛṣṭvā durbalam āma-pātra-sadṛśaṁ mṛtyūpasṛṣṭaṁ jagan
nirmokṣāya kuruṣva buddhim atulām utkaṇṭhituṁ nārhasi // 8.62 //

Therefore, know these faults to be mentally and physically bound up with women; / Understand how sensual pleasure, as it flows away like river water, makes for affliction and for sorrow; / See the world, in the shadow of Death, to be fragile as an unbaked pot; / And make the peerless decision that leads to release – instead of causing the neck to stiffen up through sorrowful yearning.” Utkaṇṭhitum means to lift up (ud-) the neck (kaṇṭha) – with a connotation of being eager, or being on the point of doing something – and hence to long for, or to sorrow for.19// 8.62 //

saundaranande mahākāvye strī-vighāto nāmāṣṭamaḥ sargaḥ //8//
The 8th canto in the epic poem Handsome Nanda, titled “A Tirade against Women.”