Mahabharata Anushasna Parva Chapter 38

Mahabharata Anushasna Parva (Dana Dharma Parva) Chapter 38

"'Yudhishthira said, "O best of the Bharatas, I wish to hear thee discourse on the disposition of women. Women are said to be the root of all evil. They are all regarded as exceedingly frail. "'Bhishma said, "In this connection is cited the old history of the discourse between the celestial Rishi Narada and the (celestial) courtezan Panchachuda. Once in ancient times, the celestial Rishi Narada, having roamed over all the world, met the Apsara Panchachuda of faultless beauty, having her abode in the region of Brahman. Beholding the Apsara every limb of whose body was endued with great beauty, the ascetic addressed her, saying, 'O thou of slender waist, I have a doubt in my mind. Do thou explain it. "'Bhishma continued, "Thus addressed by the Rishi, the Apsara said unto him, 'If the subject is one which is known to me and if thou thinkest me competent to speak on it, I shall certainly say what is in my mind.' Narada said, 'O amiable one, I shall not certainly appoint thee to any task that is beyond thy competence. O thou of beautiful face, I wish to hear from thee of the disposition of women. "'Bhishma continued, "Hearing these words of the celestial Rishi, that foremost of Apsaras replied unto him, saying, 'I am unable, being myself a woman, to speak ill of women. Thou knowest what women are and with what nature they are endued.
It behoveth thee not, O celestial Rishi, to set me to such a task.' Unto her the celestial Rishi said, 'It is very true, O thou of slender waist! One incurs fault by speaking what is untrue. In saying, however, what is true, there can be no fault.' Thus addressed by him, the Apsara Panchachuda of sweet smiles consented to answer Narada's question. She then addressed herself to mention what the true and eternal faults of women are. Panchachuda said, 'Even if high-born and endued with beauty and possessed of protectors, women wish to transgress the restraints assigned to them. This fault truly stains them, O Narada! There is nothing else that is more sinful than women. Verily, women are the root of all faults. That is certainly known to thee, O Narada! Women, even when possessed of husbands having fame and wealth, of handsome features and completely obedient to them, are prepared to disregard them if they get the opportunity. This, O puissant one, is a sinful disposition with us women that, casting off modesty, we cultivate the companionship of men of sinful habits and intentions. Women betray a liking for those men who court them, who approach their presence, and who respectfully serve them to even a slight extent. Through want of solicitation by persons of the other sex, or fear of relatives, women, who are naturally impatient of all restraints, do not transgress those that have been ordained for them, and remain by the side of their husbands. There is none whom they are incapable of admitting to their favours.