Mahabharata and Evolutionary Psychology;

Lessons in Male-Female Psyche

Of late (certainly it is never too late to learn) I have been studying “evolutionary psychology” – a comparatively new (well, not very ‘new’ – it took birth before my birth) - academic discipline and entrant in academia and Culture, at least in its present garb and name, and from the moment of its claimed birth, it has been like the Enfant Terrible finding itself – whether willingly, inadvertently, or otherwise - locking horns with various “ism” like Feminism, Marxism etc. and more prominently with Politically Correct-ism!

It has to be so, because its subject matter and predictions (claimed to be based on empirical research and findings) are bound to shock-jerk many a pious (read, Static) souls out of Complacent Political Correctness, particularly regarding the Narrative of Man-Woman Heterosexual Love Relation – so carefully and cautiously built up by Elite Culture or High Culture that dominates so-called Mainstream Culture.

The academic discipline of “evolutionary psychology” tries to be aware of the Primitive past (happy old hunting-fishing-gathering days) Always-Already in us. That past exists like a Script that can be read, and predicted. It traces all our psychological traits back to hunting-gathering times, and suggests the evolution of Male-Female Psychology with marked differences, that is, Male-Female Psyche are two Different Systems, complementary, but never the same. This is of course unpalatable to Orthodox Feminism that insists on sameness, because it is always suspicious of the Narrative and discourse of Difference as Patriarchal ploy to subjugate Woman. Similarly, it has to be unpalatable too to Patriarchy because “evolutionary psychology” predicts Woman as an individual who is Free in aspects that the Patriarchy has tried over the ages to suppress.

Well, let us remember that Patriarchy and Male are not synonymous; Patriarchy includes Woman as well. Further, let us be aware that use of the term to define a situation of Human Reality (e.g. the statement – “The World is Patriarchal”) might itself be a Strategy of Subversion of Patriarchy or plain mischief– as in the case when a Woman blames Patriarchy for victimizing her, yet surreptitiously enacts the Bengali proverb “gaachher khaoyaa talaaro kudaano” (eating fruits from the tree and collecting fallen fruits as well), or as in the case when a man criticizes Patriarchy for a glossy Social Image but exploits and subjugates Woman in his own household etc.

Studying “evolutionary psychology” I cannot but feel it has several serious shortcomings at least until now. First, it has not learnt yet to take account of “Spiritual Psychology” – that superior urge in Human to transcend “evolutionary psychology”. [Dharma or Spirituality is not the same as Religion in the sense Marx and Freud used it, or in the sense, Richard Dawkins has used it in his “The God Delusion” (2006)]. Secondly, and this has been felt by some famous proponents of “evolutionary psychology” too, that the empirical data on which the research and finding is based, cannot be absolutely reliable, because what the informants say or reveal is too much conscious, that is, they do not provide information (and cannot too) of the True Reality of their life. Thirdly, the terminology that “evolutionary psychology” uses is too much based on primate and primitive life; for example, use of words like Mating to denote Love. This is bound to create serious communication problem. Fourthly, – and this is the main reason why I am writing this article – “evolutionary psychology” in general seems to be suffering from a Pride that its findings are new!

I suggest, the whole of “evolutionary psychology” that is, whatever it stands for, its findings etc. – are already in the corpus of Art and Culture, expressed more vividly, and even more Humanely. While some Sub-Culture expresses “evolutionary psychology” very raw, inhumanly, primitively, and too often animalistically (like pornography), Folk Culture has expressed “evolutionary psychology” somewhat more directly with humaneness – as in the case of Radha-Krishna narratives in Bengali Folk Culture called Kheur (though relative to High Culture, and from that perspective, it might sometimes appear obscene), and Elite Culture seems to present the same with much hiding, glossiness, and artificiality – as in the case of associating Romanticism with all that is beautiful while rejecting much of the Reality as abject (in the sense Julia Kristeva uses it). However, High Art alone has presented “evolutionary psychology” in all its complex dimensions, taking Life with all its expressions and manifestations as Normal, Natural and Spontaneous to Existential Reality of Human Existence. At first glance though, the presence of “evolutionary psychology” in High Art may not be detectable because High Art speaks in a Language of its own – one of its vocabulary being Coded Message inherent and characteristic to Art. It is because of this Coding that High Art cannot be understood always, or communicated, and no doubt this is one reason why “evolutionary psychology” has not yet learnt to take account of High Art as the ultimate source of empirical data.

Before proceeding further, (I have a growing awareness that this bulky introduction is on the verge of becoming dryly academic), let me end this part saying that henceforth I will use the term Evolutionary Psychology in the sense of “evolutionary psychology” plus “Spiritual Psychology” – to distinguish it from “evolutionary psychology” and also to take account of Spirituality, that is the Human urge to go Beyondevolutionary psychology”.

Now, let us look at the basic tenets of “evolutionary psychology” regarding the difference of Male-Female Psyche in Heterosexual Love Relation (that is, what makes Man and Woman ‘fall in love’ with each other, or what is Sexually Attractive etc.) – to put a bit simplistically and generally (that naturally admits of exceptions) using terms from "Hindu Culture" and some my own for the convenience of easy communication –

  1. Man is more Visual-Centric in his choice of Sexual Partner (Beauty of Woman is indicator of good gene – and Man’s Kama is instigated more by Woman’s Physical Beauty); Woman is more Artha-Centric in her choice because to her, indicator of Man’s good gene is his resources - in its broad sense including money, property etc., Status, Social Position, Power (Personal and Social), Intelligence, Sense of Humour, and Ethics.

  2. Both Man and Woman are promiscuous by Nature; both Man and Woman seek Long-term Mating and Short-term Mating, and device Strategy for the same, either consciously or naturally, with varied motives of Dharma-Artha-Kama

  3. Both Man and Woman may follow Dual Mating Strategy – that is, Cheating the partner/spouse of the Confirmed Relation (approved by Law, Society, Religion, Morality etc. like Marriage, live-together, or an ongoing Love-Relation) to enter another Emotional Relation and/or Sexual Relation either Long-term or Short-term, with an Outsider while maintaining the Confirmed one. In married relation, we generally call it Extra-Marital Affair.

  4. Man is generally more adulterous in Nature than Woman; however, conditional to conditions, Woman is not less adulterous than Man. Man might seek fulfillment of Kama anytime, anyplace, Woman seeks fulfillment of Kama through Man more during her ovulation, and otherwise (mostly through emotional bonding with both Male-Female) at other times. In short, the difference in approach to Kama is not only psychological but biological as well. For Woman, interest in Kama is much dependent and conditional to her menstrual cycle. (Unable to understand this, Man often utter trashes like “Woman is Paradox,” or “Even God does not understand Woman’s character, what of man?” etc.)

  5. Man is more troubled by Physical infidelity (when his woman has Sex with another man), woman is more troubled by Emotional infidelity (when her man has emotional relation and/or Connection with another woman).

Well, reading my own writing up to this, I feel; has “evolutionary psychology” anything new to say or offer except inventing some neology? Our good old Vatsyayana has stated all these in Kamasutra, and in the West, Ovid has said it all in his “Art of Love.” Kalidasa and Shakespeare – in fact, all great litterateurs including our Rabindranath Tagore – and Sculptors (e.g. Konark and Khajuraho Temple Sculptures in India, Greek and Roman Sculptures particularly on Greek/Roman Mythology and Aphrodite/Venus), Painters (e.g. Renaissance, Baroque) have also shown these in all their complex dimensions even vividly. If God grants me time, I will discuss on them separately.

Why Art and Culture only? The real comedy of Human Life is that, we all know these as Reality, from our personal experience or otherwise, whether we like it or not, yet we need “academic confirmation” of the same! Then again, there are too many Octavius among us (remember Bernard Shaw’s “Man and Superman”?) betraying “Rabbit with Head-in-the-Hole Syndrome” to accept Truth.

Now, where is Mahabharata in this universe of “evolutionary psychology” that shakes violently and threatens to shatter into pieces all our very dear Moral and Social Norms? I suggest, Mahabharata is the Eagle that will claw out the rabbit.

As I said before, High Culture is never comfortable with the complete Truth in Human Nature, however, High Art has its mission to take it all, and indeed takes it all and also expresses the Truth. The whole of Culture is actually expression of the struggle to learn “evolutionary psychology” and evolutionary psychology, and to learn to go Beyond “evolutionary psychology”. Since Art is the most composite and aesthetically satisfying form of Cultural Expression, it is better to learn “evolutionary psychology” and evolutionary psychology through Art; since there is High Art and Low Art, it is better to learn from High Art (I am not using the word High Art synonymous with Elite Art or High Culture; High Art is a possibility in all forms of Art including Folk Art as well as in Sub-Culture, though rare)

What better example of High Art than Mahabharata?

I intend to show in this article that Human needs to take account of “evolutionary psychology”, as a part of him/herself, and/or in his/her partner in Heterosexual Love Relation, learn from it even the hard way, and Recognize and Acknowledge it to transform “evolutionary psychology” into Evolutionary Psychology, and to Evolve to “Spiritual Psychology”.

I will now discuss some episodes from Mahabharata in very brief outline (with the presumption that readers already know these episodes well) to show how Vyasa was mastermind in “evolutionary psychology” and Evolutionary Psychology – and his Wisdom can reach incredible Subtle Levels before which our modern “evolutionary psychology” is still in its nappy days, and Freudians (that is, to those Guru Freud is still be all and end all) are still in their happy days in the womb!

One thing must be kept in Mind. Each episode operates in different time and place; the characters are different - each with unique nature, and so is the context. Thus, the principles and lessons that emerge from each episode must be understood strictly in context. It is only what is common and universal in all these episodes and elsewhere that must constitute “evolutionary psychology” and Evolutionary Psychology.

Finally, with the reminder that in this article I would be using the words Kama and Artha in their broad and extended sense and connotations, here I jump into the Ocean of Mahabharata.

Indra, Ahalya, and Gautama

Everybody knows this narrative, though with some variations. Indra seduces Ahalya in Gautama’s absence. Gautama returns to catch them red-handed (in Mahabharata, when Indra was leaving after sex; in Brahmavaivarta Purana, while in act of intercourse – but Gautama does not obstruct), and curses them. Ahalya turns to stone (in Ramayana), or metaphorically petrified (in Mahabharata). Rama rescues her (Ramayana), or Ahalya herself evolves by Self-learning and courtesy her remarkably liberal son Cirakaarii (Mahabharata). Finally Gautama and Ahalya live “happily ever after” in heaven (Ramayana), or in this very world (Mahabharata).


  1. A Man can be Indra-like “womanizer par excellence”/ “devil incarnate” (depending on readers’ inclination) if he understands Female Psyche well. In this case, Indra knows when and how to approach Woman. In Mahabharata, Indra makes a Direct Approach to Ahalya, wants her sexually, but maintaining calm, never in hurry, never too eager for sex. The result? Ahalya is “curious”?

  2. For Woman, “curiosity” in a Man is akin to Sexual Interest.

  3.  A Woman can engage in Short-term Mating like Ahalya if she has Sexual Dissatisfaction in conjugal life [according to the Mahabharata version of Indra-Ahalya-Gautama-Cirakaarii Narrative (12.258)]

  4.  When such Short-term Mating Strategy stems from necessities to realize her Essence through Kama, Artha is no more a factor. (Now readers please don’t ask me what Essence is. Even Marx could not define Human Essence, how can I get marks on that count?)

  5.  A Man may learn the hard way like Gautama what being husband actually means, that is, a wife remains faithful only when the husband has Balance between Impersonal and Personal pursuit, otherwise not. In this case, Gautama tilts more to Tapasyaa without taking care of wife’s Sexual Needs (- that explains why, in pine forest Myths in Puranas, Shiva teaches this Balance to ascetics by seducing their wives and daughters. Of course some scholars would never understand the significance of Dharma and Balance in Hindu Philosophy, and would find nothing but erotica and trash phallic theories in Puranik narratives)

  6.  Both Man and Woman are capable of Evolving to “Spiritual Psychology” having learnt “evolutionary psychology” in full swing; that is, both Man and Woman need to see this primitive side in each other and oneself as essential part of being. Ahalya learns about Male Psyche from Indra (how a Man can take advantage of her Sexual Dissatisfaction) and Gautama (what a husband/Man can do in Sexual Jealousy or Sexual possessiveness), and of course she learns about Female Psyche from her own conduct. Gautama learns to see Indra-threat in a taken-for-granted married life and the dark side of Sexual Jealousy and Sexual Possessiveness from his own Self. Indra, it seems, does not learn, or cannot learn, or is not permitted to learn – otherwise, who would set the stone of Puranik Narratives rolling? If Indra learns anything at all from this event, it is to further polish his Seduction-Art, and make it foolproof. Of course, this Puranik Indra is not even a shadow of RgVedic or Upanishadik Indra, the Ideal Man, and the Ideal Ruler.

  7.  Rama (in Ramayana), Vyasa and Krishna never disrespect Ahalya; she is the foremost of Panca-Kanyaas (Read Pradip Bhattacharya’s brilliant exposition of the psychology of Panca-Kanyaas). Though cuckolded, Gautama is thus not the Archetype of cuckolded husband, but a revered sage. This shows, Ancient India’s positive approach to “evolutionary psychology” and considering it an essential stepping-stone to “Spiritual Psychology”.

  8.  Exceptional husband, exceptional wife. This episode certainly does not teach that a ‘modern’ man should desist from filing a divorce suit when his wife commits adultery (cursing nowadays would not turn her into stone, rather might earn stone-pelting from her, her relatives, and public), or that a ‘modern’ woman should not file a divorce suit if her husband cannot satisfy her sexually (besides, no Indra would be available, but Asuras aplenty).

  9.  If Marriage as an institution has to survive, either it should accept “evolutionary psychology” and transcend it (that means bye-bye “Rabbit with Head-in-the-Hole Syndrome”) with common goal towards Spirituality, or it should suppress Evolutionary Nature by Social-Self. There is no third option, because any third option is compromise, and compromise is a sure ticket to living in Hell, just as the second option might turn out to be – Hell, not in the after-life nether world, This-World. Dr. Eric Berne (“Games People Play”) and Thomas Harris (Transactional Analysis) have shown enough what that Hell is like when Power-Game ensues.

  10.  In every man are Indra and Gautama; in every woman is Ahalya.

Veda-Veda’s-Wife-Uttanka Narrative (1.3.89B-D)

Guru Veda leaves home for officiating sacrifice, appointing Shishya Uttanka in-charge of household. Guru Veda’s wife is in her seasons. She sends female emissaries to Uttanka inviting him to bed with two justifications –

  •  Uttanka being technically “pati” of household, he can take ‘charge’ of Guru’s wife in full-charge

  •  Her Rtu-Kaala (‘seasons’) cannot go futile according to customs and Shaastra. Uttanka declines the offer, and is later praised and blessed by Guru Veda when, returning home he learns what has happened. Veda is happy to see Uttanka’s restraint and sense of morality, but he does not say a single word against his wife, or nourishes any ill feelings or anger towards her. Later when Uttanka wants to give Guru-Dakshinaa, he tells Uttanka to do something for his wife.



  1.  Woman seeks Short-term Mating during ovulation – someone other than the husband, yet ‘safe’ and ‘secure’. (According to “evolutionary psychology”, this is the period when Woman is most vulnerable to sexual advances by ‘other’ man. Indra must have been keeping track of Ahalya!)

  2.  When her Mind is set on such an affair, she can justify her act to herself in the name of legality and morality; in this case, she interprets “pati” as ‘in-charge’ of her Body too though Veda certainly did not appoint Uttanka as “pati” in that extended sense

  3.  Veda has learnt and gone Beyondevolutionary psychology”; so, he is not shocked and surprised at his wife’s act

  4.  This episode has its situation in Ancient India when free expression of “evolutionary psychology” was socially permissible (The famed Uttarakuru and Maahishmatii are role-models in this matter). Nowadays, the entertainment industry (cinema, theatre, mass media) portray such episodes – teacher’s wife inviting student to bed, or kissing – and needless to say, does pretty business. The entertainment industry, despite all its intellectual pretensions can never be Social Reformers, so it does more harm to society than any real good. Again I repeat, the entertainment industry has business as its motive; it will justify prostitutes as intellectual artists, and can never bring any social change. Kautilya understood this well; and that is why he suggested where to keep the entertainer-class in society. Unfortunately for us, we have substituted real teachers for these entertainers and call them ‘sir’ or ‘madam.’ Cleavage-show, curvature-displays, pelvic gyrations, all imaginable and non-imaginable obscenities (by any standard of Culture) – and then marriage (when selling-power has declined) with full religious rites – are all that are needed to become MLAs and MPs and gain Padmashris or Padmabhushanas. May be Bharatratna is not that far!

Brhaspati-Mamataa Narrative (1.98.6-16)

Brhaspati seeks Sex from his brother Utathya’s pregnant wife Mamataa. She is not that unwilling but raises an objection that since she is already carrying, how she can accommodate another child in her womb (Hummm…her Fantasy has not only visualized the intercourse, but has also gone far beyond that … true foresight!). Brhaspati is in no mood to be stopped. The story goes that Diirghatamaa has been in the womb, and from there the unborn Diirghatamaa thwarts Brhaspati’s semen with his legs. From the fallen semen, Bharadvaaja is born. Angry Brhaspati curses the unborn one, and Diirghatamaa is born blind.


  1.  A Kama-struck Man (pure biological impulse in this case) is no more Visual-Centric; Mamataa’s pregnant figure does not dispel Brhaspati.

  2.  Brhaspati’s lust suggests, Possibility of Sex Appeal enhancement in pregnant Woman (empirical research has proved this in some cases)

  3.  Mamataa’s willingness suggests, Possibility of increased Sexual Urge during pregnancy (empirical research has proved this in some cases)

  4.  No question of believing that Bharadvaaja was born from fallen semen. I suggest, following Brhaspati’s intercourse, both Diirghatamaa and Bharadvaaja were born as twins by two different fathers. Some years back I would not have believed this. One of my doctor friends showed me a similar rare case (with pictures) from a medical book. One woman had intercourse with her husband. After 6 hours she was raped by a dark-skinned person. She did not reveal this out of shame and social fear. Later, a twin was born – one white-skinned and the other dark-skinned. DNA test revealed they were by different fathers. I don’t believe in the Myth that Maadrii conceived by intercourse with Ashvins. However, Nakula-Sahadeva as twin by two Human fathers indicates the possibility of similar birth.

Yayaati-Devayaanii-Sharmishthaa Narrative (1.76-77)

Sharmishthaa is the daughter of the great Daitya King Vrishparva. She is also a friend of Devayani, the daughter of Sage Shukracharya. When Yayaati marries Devayaanii, Sharmishthaa is given as dowry to Yayaati to remain as Devayaanii’s Daasii (maidservant). Later, Sharmishthaa directly approaches Yayaati, and Yayaati engages in relation with her at Devayaanii’s back and begets three sons – one of them is Puru.


  1. Classic case of what is known in “evolutionary psychology” as Mate-Poaching. Sharmishthaa ‘poaches’ her friend’s husband. Her Jealousy for Devayaanii enhances her Kama for Yayaati

  2. Yayaati gains in Mate-Value because he is another Woman’s (and same-sex rival’s) husband – the formidable attraction for Para-Purusha for a Woman – the formidable attraction to deceive a friend.

  3. When the attraction is such formidable, the Woman has no need to delay Union by courtship games like playing Coy etc. – she approaches straight for double pleasure – obtaining the Man, and hurting the rival Woman

  4. Classic Male Psyche; having obtained the ‘principal’ Devayaanii on principle, Yayaati would be interested in the ‘interest’ Sharmishthaa too!

  5. Cheating common in both Man and Woman – needs no further explanation. Deception and Cheating are all part of the Love Game. Devayaanii ‘trusted’ Sharmishthaa and her husband. Before the demands of “evolutionary psychology”, all morality is swept away.

Duhshanta and Shakuntala

Duhshanta and Shakuntala are attracted to each other Naturally and Spontaneously. Shakuntala plays Natural Mind Games – Kalidasa shows that even more beautifully – to flare up Duhshanta’s Kama. Finally, she submits but not before shoeing away her rival queens’ legal rights by procuring the promise that her son would be next king. However, after getting her, Duhshanta simply forgets her. Kanva is calm in accepting whatever has happened; he is a great Rshi having already known the drama of Male-Female Psyche. When Shakuntala goes to Duhshanta’s court, she argues for her Artha-right and status as married wife, and NOT for her Love-right. Duhshanta has to acknowledge her as his legal wife; and the later Patriarchal poet caresses Duhshanta’s Ego (and his own Male Ego) by inventing a Daiva-Vaanii.


  1.  The episode is a classic archetype of Love Game after it has crossed the initial sweet selfless phase of courtship (when oxytocin dopamine has started to wane), and the Woman has gained in Power owing to greater Objectivity. At that phase, Shakuntala’s Inner Script is: “Give me all your resources, deprive my rivals, and in exchange I will give you Sex.” (Shakuntala may not be aware of the Inner Script of the Innter Script at this phase: “Since I will give Sex, forget about getting it later as a matter of right; just go on providing me your resources, and just depend on my whims for Sex’’) Duhshanta’s Inner Script is: “I will promise whatever you want to have Sex.” (Duhshanta may not be aware of the Inner Script of the Inner Script: “After I have enjoyed you sexually in exchange of promises, go to Hell”)

  2.  Woman has the Natural capacity to play Natural Mind Games – whatever Mind Games Shakuntala has been playing are not entirely calculative with cool brain; her Evolutionary Nature prompts her to do that because the Evolutionary Woman in her needs security for her child and a provider, not a truant)

  3.  Once a Man gets the Object of his Kama, he writes her off without feelings; actually once the Mystery of a Woman is solved, he feels no Kama for her – no question of Love. A poor later Patriarchal poet (et tu Kalidasa!) tries his best to justify Duhshanta’s amnesia by heaping all responsibility on poor Durvaasaa’s emaciated shoulders. And a Fish has to be invented – very fishy indeed!

  4. Even if a Woman is Kama-struck, her “check-valve” is strong enough to see her through a successful bargain for Artha. When it comes to Artha-right in exchange of Kama, she is absolutely ‘heartless’; how she leads Duhshanta like a dog to deprive his other wives’ and sons’ legal rights!

  5. When Woman has more Objectivity in a Love-Relation, she has all the Power, and does not have the least hesitation to use Power by the carrot of Sex.

  6. If the husband cheats her, she is at the best of her wits to defend her ‘legal’ Artha-right. Even in Duhshanta’s court, she argues for herself – for HERSELF (asking for Bharata’s right is actually securing her own right as Queen over other queens) – trying to establish her superior birth over Duhshanta because she is Vishvaamitra and Menakaa’s abandoned daughter. (Ahem! Menakaa Apsaraa, being high status prostitute has high Social Value. Very Modern and Post-Modern indeed! We can recognize many such prostitutes in Apsaraa industry … errrr… entertainment industry! I do not have enough money to fight defamation cases, otherwise I could have named them, or I could have cried “Sllllllluuuuut” like Jim Carrey in “Liar Liar”)

  7. Kama-Centric Man and Artha-Centric Woman are Nature’s ploy to maintain Balance of Power. Had Shakuntala not been Artha-Centric, Duhshanta would have simply evaded all responsibilities having enjoyed her. Had Duhshanta not been Kama-Centric, Shakuntala could not have been Queen. And our country would not have got its name! (I seriously doubt whether Bharatavarsha is after this Bharata; I think Rama’s brother Bharata with his Dhaarmik, quiet and Self-effacing personality is that Bharata after whom we have Bharatavarsha. Panini first mentions “Praacya Bharata” at Ashtaadhyaayii, IV.2.113 – which lay between Udicya-North and Praacya-East. Doesn’t it seem to be Koshala?)

  8. I cannot but pose the two questions: could Shakuntala’s son Bharata really pass a DNA Test? Could the Duhshanta-Shakuntala married life be really ‘happy’ after all that? Vyasa is the giant shrewd of shrewdness; he would not show us how well-cooked the khichari is in the pressure cooker of household life! Of course, Vyasa shows us Kaala-Time as the Cook of all beings.

Uparicara Vaasu and Satyavati’s Birth

Springtime, far away from home, Uparicara Vaasu fantasizes his wife, and seeks ‘relief’ through Sex with a Woman of Matsya tribe. Satyavati is born. Though later poets hide the fact; no way believing that Uparicara Vaasu’s Spontaneously ejaculated semen was carried by hawk, then swallowed by a fish (actually AAdrikaa Apsaraa), Satyavati born in womb of that fish etc.


  1. Same Male Psyche; once a Man uses a Woman just for Kama, he writes her off without feelings; actually, once the Mystery of a Woman is solved, he feels no Kama for her – no question of Love

  2. Male Sexual Fantasy flares in congenial relation with Nature

  3. A Male can engage in Sex with one woman, while fantasizing another woman

Satyavati and Paraashara, and Vyasa’s birth

Paraashara is Kama-struck; Satyavati is cool but willing. When Paraashara presses, Satyavati bargains well for Artha (nice odour instead of Matsyagandhaa, excellent son, and restoration of virginity) before submitting on the boat midway in Yamunaa.


  1. Same Same! (NOT Shame! Shame!) Man is willing to provide Artha (here ‘gains’ – have to be called boons) for Kama

  2. Woman is willing to provide Kama for Artha; Shakuntala lives through Satyavati; Woman’s instinctive and intuitive understanding of exchange-value of Sex.

  3. Testosterone oppression for man once Kama has spread its hoods

  4. Woman has greater Objectivity in Kama – Satyavati thus can keep her Kama in limbo for the time being with Artha-motive; she permits Sex only after Paraashara grants all the boons; years later she lies to Bhishma that Paraashara forced him upon her and that in fear of the Rshi’s curse she agreed to Sex.

    Lessons within lessons:

    Woman will not hesitate to paint the Man Black to project herself White, if necessary. A Subtle Revenge Motive is involved here; since Paraashara has no more any Sexual Attraction for her, she has to be angry whether she knows it or not.

  5.  Paraashara and Satyavati never meet again, nor there is any evidence that Paraashara ever indulged in Sex with any other woman; Paraashara gains Wisdom in Woman's “evolutionary psychology” and transcends to “Spiritual Psychology

  6. Satyavati does not have that Spiritual merit; she makes Shantanu fall in Love with her and enters family life well concealing her previous tryst with Paraashara; this time her adopted father Daasa-Raajaa steps in to do the necessary bargain and deprives Bhishma of his right; Satyavati plays the coy lady and of course cannot go against her father to protest that injustice against Bhishma; only when both her sons die, she reveals her past to Bhishma in a distorted way. (this is Vyasa’s genius; he does not hide the Truth even about his mother)

Shantanu and Gangaa

Kama-Attached Shantanu is Gangaa’s slave; he has to tolerate all her whims of child-killing


  1. Already stated; if Man/husband is Kamavashagah, Woman simply treats him like doormat; for her, then, Sex is just an instrument for exerting Power over Man.

  2. Woman can relegate her Mothering-Instinct to the background to Privilege and Prioritize Lover-Instinct.

(I have an explanation for this child-killing matter – I don’t believe in this; but I won’t discuss it here; it would be irrelevant here. We should not also forget that Gangaa – of course a Human Woman - brought up Bhishma singlehandedly and arranged for him the best possible education possible – under tutelage of Vashishthas, Shukra, and Parashurama. Her Mother-Role is impeccable.)


Vyasa, Ambika, Ambalika, and Bhishma

Ambika and Ambaalika have reluctant Sex with Vyasa; they fantasize Bhishma; the Daasii has willing Sex with Vyasa because for her it is getting Moon – actually Moon-Artha because she gains Freedom and her son Vidura gets royal treatment at par with Dhrtaraashtra and Paandu.


  1. Bhishma is Object of Fantasy because he is unattainable; his Brahmacarya – abstention from Sex – makes him more desirable because he poses the greatest challenge to Female PsycheIndifference to her Physical Beauty. Wretched Amba too is lost with similar psychology; she seeks Bhishma’s death – Revenge Motive gone berserk. (Pertinent to mention here that Woman’s love for ascetic or Brahmacaarin is a recurrent motive in Culture. I will later discuss on this motive in Khajuraho and Konark Temple Sculptures)

  2. Vyasa is not Paraashara; dissatisfied Sex does not enable him to transcend “evolutionary psychology” at this phase; he has to enter another relation – and Shuka is born. (I believe Shuka is the youngest, though I will not discuss the reasons here)

Kunti and Suurya

Initially Kunti is curious to see Suurya (actually a Man) on his knees before her Female Power (the Mantra she gets from Durvaasaa is actually lessons in Kamashaastra; more on this later – already some in my article “Karna’s Father Found”) – later she tries to back off; by then Suurya is at his best in Seductive Art; Kunti finally submits but not before bargaining well for Artha – valiant son and restoration of virginity (absurd! Actually promise to keep the matter hushed up by using Suurya’s ‘political’ clout).


  1. Shakuntala and Satyavati live on through Kunti in Kama-for-Artha motive

  2. Woman’s curiosity in Man is the other name of Sexual Attraction (Ahalya lives on in Kunti)

  3. When Social fear comes to the fore, Woman’s Social-Self is activated and her Natural Self (Kama) goes back – not dead, alive, but Controlled; she gains more Objectivity than the Man (This phenomenon of Sexual Interest followed by sudden Disinterest is often interpreted by man as Mind Game – though it is not always so; the interplay of Evolutionary Self, Natural Self, and Social Self in Female Psyche must be understood, otherwise communication in Gender Relation becomes problematic. Again, it cannot be absolutely determined how much the Woman is Natural in this Game, or how much she is calculative)

  4. Speech is Man’s formidable weapon in seduction – praise of Beauty, playing Subservient and Slave, even ‘I am suffering so much,’ (a dose of pity clinches the deal) and of course, promises and promises and promises …. Even impossible ones like restoration of virginity

  5. Just as Kama-struck man loses all rationality, Kama-struck woman bargaining for Artha loses all rationality too! If she is not Kama-struck, then her bargaining is more grounded in reality.

  6. After initial interest, the more the Woman says NO, the more the Man’s Kama gains Power, and the more he becomes Subservient and Slave to her. (See Dr. Eric Berne’s Game-Theory for modern analysis of this – how Woman manipulates man with this YES-NO-Game.)

Pandavas and Draupadi

All Pandavas are Kama-struck on first sight of Draupadi – Visual-Centricity; Draupadi initially garlands Arjuna, but when she later sees the five brothers, she is equally attracted to all (Vyasa provides enough hints). The polyandrous marriage is her dream come true; no way believing in trashes that a Patriarchal ploy thrusts her in polyandrous marriage. Given the strength of her character (and believing in the version that she rejected Karna in Svayamvara Sabhaa), she would have protested downright had she considered it an insult. Peter Brook and Saoli Mitra has simply failed to understand the strength of her character, or perhaps they have compulsions to be Politically Correct. Mallika Sarabhai seems to have understood Draupadi better. Vyasa compares Draupadi with Sarasvatii and Pandavas with elephants enjoying in water – when they begin their conjugal life in Indraprashtha. Naarada’s so-called ‘rule’ of rotational husband is a later addition, because they have already spent two years in group-living (1 year in Paancaala, and 1 year in Indraprashtha before Naarada arrives).

The Pandavas and Draupadi relation transcends to “Spiritual Psychology” because all of them have Controlled-Kama. That is why Sunda-Upasunda-like Sexual Jealousy is never an issue with Pandavas.


  1.  Controlled-Kama or keeping Kama in its place – that is One-Third Life (Kama being one pillar only in Dharma-Artha-Kama) is the secret of true conjugal happiness. Vidura understands this well having Spiritual Wisdom. Karna understands the secret of the glue a bit – though he does not acknowledge the restraint of the Pandavas, and thinks Draupadi would not let jealousy happen because Woman loves polyandrous relation (this one-side view is indicative of Karna’s Sexual Jealousy); Duryodhana is fool to think he can evoke jealousy and cause dissension among Pandavas

  2. Draupadi loves Arjuna the most because he is the elusive husband, untamed, Free, and having an Impersonal pursuit Beyond ordinary (Bhuubhaaraharana) without Kama-Centricity in personal life

  3. Draupadi respects Yudhishthira the most because of his love for Dharma; when he tilts more to Braahmana Guna, she is at the best of her acerbic tongue to restore Balance in him.

  4. Draupadi can manipulate Bhima because she can make him Kama-Centric about her. (As in Viraata Parvan – she gives him Touch, embrace – may be later poets edited out Sex – to make Bhima agree to kill Kichaka – actually a ‘political murder’)

Bhima and Hidimbaa

Hidimbaa falls in love with Bhima on first sight; then abandons her Social security with her brother Hidimba for an uncertain future


  1. When Woman has Kama and Love for Man, she can be heartless to her previous relations

  2. In such case, she has no Artha-motive, and she can even plunge into uncertain future (Ah! That is why many a modern heroines fly away with poor lovers throwing Khandan to the winds.)

  3. Bhima is Indifferent to Hidimbaa’s Beauty, he does not fall in Kama-trap laid by her, and he prioritizes his duty to his family over her – that is why he gains in Masculine Status to her – so much, that she is even willing to abandon and sacrifice her whole being for him

Arjuna and Uluupii

When Uluupii takes him into the water kingdom, Arjuna is calm, and after completing his rituals as if nothing has happened, she addresses Uluupii with a smile.


  • Similar as above. Arjuna’s Controlled-Kama is the reason why he is such a mighty attraction to Woman.

  • Another reason is Arjuna’s Sense of Humour, only paralleled in Krishna in the whole of Mahabharata. That explains, why Krishna and Arjuna are such mighty warriors and lovers – and why, most women find them irresistible.

Arjuna and Subhadra

Arjuna falls in love with her; he is uncertain about her; Krishna suggests abduction


  • Vyasa shows mighty Arjuna’s limitation. He cannot make all women fall in love with him (a similar parallel in Arjuna-Alli Folk Mahabharata – I will come to that later). He gains Subhadra’s love only by exerting force – but Controlled force – the Kama-motive is absent before her. This is bound to be a dangerous lesson that sometimes some Woman does love force and falls in love with that Man who uses force on her.

Well, let me wash my hand off this with “statutory” cautions:

Anyone who wants to try this lesson – Be Arjuna first

Arjuna and Urvashii

Arjuna has been gazing at Urvashii, and that sent ripples in Urvashii’s heart to fantasize him. Later she learns that Arjuna has no Kama-motive. In anger, she curses him – a classic case, when thwarted Kama transforms into hostile anger (sangaat samjaayate kamah kaamaat krodho 'bhijaayate (Giitaa- 2.62/ Mbh.-6.24.62)


  1. Earlier Vyasa showed us the Reality of Male Sexual Fantasy in Uparicara Vaasu; and here he shows us the Reality of Female Sexual Fantasy in Urvashii. (This is not really a ‘lesson’ – but I am mentioning this because Victorian Puritanism is still a viable reality today – Thoughts in the line that Woman “does not do such things” etc.)

  2.  Sexual Fantasy distorts the Vision of Reality in Female Psyche; here, Urvashii projects her Sexual Desire on Arjuna. Yet another ‘dangerous’ lesson. A man might be gazing at a woman thinking her to be mother, but the woman might take that as a Kama-Gaze. Well, let me now reduce the temper of this a bit. Every woman is not Urvashii. Possible nymphomaniac tendency might lead a woman to see Kama in a man’s innocent Gaze.

  3. When a Woman’s Sexual Desire is not fulfilled, she turns into enemy abandoning all rationality

  4. For such woman, it is impossible to scale down from Self-ascribed Lover-Role to Mother-Role

  5. We have an opposite version of Male Psyche in Krishna’s son Pradumnya – that I will discuss later, not here.

Draupadi and Jayadratha, Draupadi and Kichaka, Draupadi and Jataasura

Jayadratha, Kichaka and Jataasura have explicit Kama-motive; all are Kamavashagah


  1. A Woman can never love a Man with One-Third-Life-of-Kama (Jayadratha and Kichaka want Draupadi sexually no doubt, but they also want to marry her. It can of course be argued that they think promise of marriage would work in Seduction – that is, promise of Marriage is Seduction Strategy)

  2. If such a man exerts force on her, she will destroy him (Draupadi gets Kichaka killed by Bhima in the most inhuman and sadistic way because Kichaka molested and kicked her. Bhima’s possessive anger is understandable.)

  3. No Woman can love a rapist who violates her by insult, humiliation, and physical assault (This should be thought provoking; nowadays, many Courts of law direct rapists to marry the victim woman; if he marries, he is absolved of crime of rape. This is certainly not a general case, but I have read such news. I refuse to believe that the marriage would be happy at all. Media, of course does not cover what happens one year after such marriage)

  4. Through Draupadi, Vyasa reveals the most important aspect of Female Psyche –her “evolutionary psychology”. Her Evolutionary Nature does not permit her to Love or feel Kama for a man who wants her Body only. That is why the Evolutionary Woman – of whom Draupadi and Sita are the epitome – always rejects the man who is fixed in One-Third-Life-of-Kama – Kamavashagah. The Evolutionary Woman never considers such a Kamavashagah man as her Evolutionary Match. It is below her dignity. Only a nymphomaniac may be an exception to this. Vatsyayana’s Kamasuutra states this unequivocally.

The episodes I have mentioned above are all well-known episodes, but Vyasa shows the subtler dimensions of “evolutionary psychology” and “Spiritual Psychology” in the lesser known episodes. I will discuss that in the next part.

Before ending this part, I cannot help drawing up the following lessons from Mahabharata (no, I am not preaching, nor do I intend to preach):

In a Woman,

[Artha {Artha > Kama} + Kama {Kama < Artha}] > Dharma = HELL

In a man,

[Artha {Artha < Kama} + Kama {Kama > Artha}] > Dharma = HELL

As I said, I am not preaching, so I will not try to formulate what Svarga (Heaven) is; every person is naturally intelligent to understand that. However, if the above formula of HELL seems doubtful, get involved in a relation with a Man or Woman with that equation, and find out for yourself. In the meantime, I stick to my finding: marital discord is the result when a Man or Woman’s (or of both) Subject-Position is like that.

There are of course “happy” couples with that Subject-Position – and they are my much-admired “Politically-Correct-Oaalaas”.

To be Continued …


More by :  Indrajit Bandyopadhyay

Top | Hinduism

Views: 4030      Comments: 6

Comment @ Harsha
"there is one point i would like to disagree - curiosity about a man in a woman translating into actual sex."
= Actually I did not say, 'curiosity' translates into 'actual sex.' See, I have written "For Woman, “curiosity” in a Man is akin to Sexual Interest." Now, Sexual Interest and Actual Sex are not same thing. The Sexual Interest needs nourishment, circumstances, favourable conditions etc to translate into Actual Sex. Ahalya-Indra's time was different. They could translate their interest into action. In a way, that is HONEST. In our times, Interest in most cases flow through Fantasy, and "allowed" to translate through entertainment industry. In a way, we, so-called moderns, are 'cowards' incarnate, Then you are right to say,
"This may not be always right" - yes, that's my point too - I agree with you.

I agree with your other points. However, let us remember, Indra was actually the title of deva-king, and not a particular individual. Besides, the Indra of Ahalya, and the Indra of Kunti as Arjuna's father are not the same person.

Thanx for reading and commenting.

29-May-2013 07:47 AM

Comment Sir,
I agree with most of what you have written. However there is one point i would like to disagree - curiosity about a man in a woman translating into actual sex. This may not be always right. In Indra-Ahalya's case, it was clearly the lack of sex in her life which drove Ahalya into accepting Indra's advances. Later Lord Rama understands that the real 'nature' of what has happened and forgives her and accepts her into the mainstream society thereby lifting the 'curse'.!
One must also note that Indra is depicted as a very potent , fit n healthy (sexually virile fit n attractive) male, a leader of the army of the devas whose son is Arjuna who also bears a remarkable resemblance to Indra in the that many women around him found him irressistible (Arjuna is also the alpha male , fit n healthy , a natural leader and sexually attractive ).

A very nice and insightful article. the Ancient world of Mahabharat and Ramayana were far more evolved psycholgically than the current world we live in.


29-May-2013 04:39 AM

Comment @ pranlal sheth
yes sir, I fully agree with you - " It is our present, keep your mind on it and go to future for the love you care for never to look behind." However, Mahabharat and Ramayan though "distance away" are in our Cultural Memory and as such part of our being. You rightly say "Jealousy is root cause of have and have not." 'Jealousy' is our "evolutionary psychology" - we cannot deny its green existence - and we need to transcend it to "Spiritual Psychology." Even if we do not believe in Spirituality, the very urge to understand and transcend "evolutionary psychology" proves that our lot is not be pin-fixed in "evolutionary psychology". Mahabharata and Ramayana can be valuable guidelines in this regard. That is my approach in the article. Thank you for reading and commenting.

27-May-2013 00:14 AM

Comment All said is well said But I believe in what you believe. Never to believe in what
others tells you to believe. Mahabharat and Ramayan are distance away, look to what you read, see and watch around. Media brings to you true and untrue
stories. It is our present, keep your mind on it and go to future for the love you care for never to look behind. Your love forher is a cause for her love for you
Jealousy of her for you does not work both ways. Jealousy is root cause of have and have not. Now look into what said above and get your answer.

pranlal sheth
26-May-2013 17:14 PM

Comment @ Anne Ouellette
yes, I agree with you. However, have you read the article in full? I would be glad if you read the article and see that your apprehension of narrow interpretation is unfounded in this case.

26-May-2013 16:26 PM

Comment Evolutionary psychology is a quite interesting field of study. While it has its limitations due to lack of empirical data the further it reaches back into our evolutionary history, it raises interesting questions as to how we define normative behavior in contemporary times. As it is a rather recent field of study my view is that one must be cautious in making conclusions based on extrapolation of hypotheses. The danger is that in making premature conclusions, one will too narrowly interpret the data to support existing social norms.
[Spirituality and Consciousness - Linkedin Forum]

Anne Ouellette
24-May-2013 23:38 PM

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