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In the Great God's Hair, by F. W. Bain, [1905], at

V. Man's Other Half

And as Wanawallarí listened to his words, she discerned instinctively danger to her husband from that old Brahman. And she said to herself: Who is this that knows all about us already? Is he a spy of my father's, who knows me by sight? Or can he be some god in disguise, come down to injure my husband, or corrupt me for my beauty? For such things have often happened before. And she looked at him coldly, and said: Brahman, thou art an evil counsellor; and I should indeed be more worthless than stubble, should I abandon my husband, for whom I have only just abandoned my parents. Nor can I imagine, by what means all should be known to thee, unless thou art a god. But wert thou the very god whom, if thou speakest the

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truth, my husband has offended, I would tell thee, that my husband did well to scorn one who practises the very thing that he condemns in my husband, in seeking to seduce the wife of another from her religion. Dost thou not know that to a true wife her husband is a god? And if it were the case, as thou sayest, that my husband had abandoned his gods, would it make the case any better, if I should forsake him who is mine?

Then said Indra: O lady, luckless and lovelorn, art thou, alas! already so far corrupted by associating with a scorner of the gods, as to side with him against them? Know, that he shares the guilt of a crime who approves of the criminal when it is done: and thou dost as it were thyself offer insult to the deity by defending its offender.

Then said Wanawallarí: I know no deity but my husband, and follow him without question or reason, as night follows day. And so far from being wrong, this is the duty of a woman, for it is dharma p, established from the very beginning, and having its roots in her nature and his. For once there was a time, when there were neither men nor women, but the universe existed

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alone. And then one day, when the Creator was meditating with a view to further creation, he said to himself: Something is wanting to complete this Creation which I have created. It is blind, and unconscious of its own curious beauty and excellence. Thereupon he created a man. And instantly the Creation became an object of wonder and beauty, being reflected like a picture in the mirror of the mind of the man. Then the man roamed alone in the world, wondering at the flowers and the trees and the animals, and at last he came to a pool. And he looked in, and saw himself. Then full of astonishment, he exclaimed: This is the most beautiful creature of all. And he hunted incessantly through the whole world to find it, not knowing that he was looking for himself. But when he found that in spite of all his endeavours he could never do more than see it on the surface of pools, he became sad, and ceased to care about anything. Then the Creator, perceiving it, said to himself: Ha! this is a difficulty which I never foresaw, arising naturally from the beauty of my work. But now, what is to be done? For here is this man, whom I made to be a mirror for my world, snared in the mirror of his own beauty. So I must somehow or other cure this evil. But I cannot make another

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man, for then there would be two centres to the circle of the universe. Neither can I add anything to the circumference of Nature, for it is perfect in itself. There is necessary, therefore, some third thing: not real, for then it would disturb the balance of the universe; nor unreal, for then it would be nothing: but poised on the border between reality and non-entity. So he collected the reflections on the surface of the pools, and made of them a woman. But she, as soon as she was made, began to cry. And she said: Alas! alas! I am, and I am not. Then said the Creator: Thou foolish intermediate creature, thou art a non-entity, only when thou standest alone. But when thou art united to the man, thou art real in participation with his substance. And thus, O Brahman, apart from her husband a woman is a non-entity and a shadow without a substance: being nothing but the mirror of himself, reflected on the mirror of illusion.


33:p Dharma means law, duty, custom and religion combined.

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