Episode 14 – Hooker with a Heart of Gold

This week on MYTH, we’ll be heading into the brothels of ancient India.  In this episode, you’ll learn how to impress the country’s most beautiful woman, why losing body parts can be holy, and that bleeding out in a graveyard is just as terrifying as you’d think.  Then, in Gods and Monsters, it’s a kinky goddess who likes to drink her own blood while watching couples fuck.  This is the Myths Your Teacher Hated podcast, where I tell the stories of cultures around the world in all of their original, bloody, uncensored glory.  Modern tellings of these stories have become dry and dusty, but I’ll be trying to breathe new life into them.  This is Episode 14, “Hooker with a Heart of Gold.”  As always, this episode is not safe for work.

  • We’ve spent a few episodes covering folktales recently, so I thought it was about time for another myth.  This week’s story is from a culture we haven’t encountered previously if you don’t count the incredibly inaccurate version in the Monkey King stories from Episode 6 (and I don’t).  There are several variations on this story, with the main character being a dancer instead of a prostitute, and the love interest being a buddhist monk instead of a perfume vendor, but I think this version works best, personally.
  • Many years ago, there was a courtesan in Mathura of extraordinary beauty (and equally extraordinary prices) named Vasavadatta.  Everyone fortunate or wealthy enough to spend any time with her agreed that she was very clever and of very noble bearing, to the point where you could almost forget that, in addition to all of her skill with dance, music, and wit, she also fucked people for money.  The cost to spend an evening with this enchanting woman could probably a small kingdom, but everyone who had that kind of money to spare agreed it was well worth it.
  • Now, in the same kingdom lived Upagupta, the son of a successful perfumer.  His dad was a wealthy merchant, so he’d had a good upbringing, including a thorough education in religious and occult knowledge.  He was considered to be an extraordinarily handsome man, and he was clever, educated, and a genuinely nice person to boot.  His family’s perfumes were all the rage, and as their business spread, so too did the fame of this handsome young man.  Being the highest paid hooker in the land, Vasavadatta was used to people being awestruck with her beauty when they spent time together, so it surprised her when some of her customers started mentioning this merchant’s son, Upagupta.  She’d heard her maids swooning over the guy, but shit, if even dudes who were paying exorbitant amount of money for access to her pussy were talking about him rather than taking advantage of said pussy, this guy must really be something special.
  • After this had happened a few times, Vasavadatta became so intrigued that she sent one of her maids with a message for this Upagupta.  She had decided that it was only right that the most beautiful woman in the kingdom fuck the most handsome man in the kingdom.  Anything else would surely be a waste, right?  She was taken aback that evening when her maid returned with a box heaped full of expensive perfumes from Upagupta’s business.  Vasavadatta looked at her maid, then at the box, then back at her maid.  “Fuck, girl, did you rob his ass while he wasn’t looking?  Why in god’s name did you bring back so much perfume?”
  • The maid bowed her head.  “Of course not, mistress.  They are a gift from Upagupta.  I met him this afternoon, and he is just as sexy as everyone says.  Seriously, he’s fucking hawt.  He was nice enough to talk with me awhile, and he made me feel all fluttery in my chest with his sweet words.  I’m definitely in lust with him.  He asked me to bring you this perfume as an apology.  He asked me to tell you that the time is not yet right for Upagupta to meet Vasavadatta.
  • The courtesan sat in stunned silence for a long minute.  This wasn’t how this was supposed to play out.  No one had ever turned her down before; that was her job, goddammit.  The more she thought about it, though, and the more she saw how enamored of this dude her maid was (from her reaction, I’m guessing she fantasized about him in the bath), she became more intrigued by this guy.  Her desire to jump his bones grew, and she thought that maybe, just maybe, she was starting to fall in love with this merchant’s son who had the balls to turn her down. 
  • She was getting good and hot for this upstart young merchant, so she sent her maid again to see Upagupta.  “Tell him that I will be coming to fuck his brains out three nights from now.  Say exactly that.”  The maid nodded and went off.
  • That evening, the maid returned again.  She was still a little wobbly and distracted by how suave, charming, and just fucking hot Upagupta was.  She handed Vasavadatta 20 gold pieces.  “I’m sorry mistress, he says the time is still not right, but asked that I deliver you this gold as an apology.”
  • Vasavadatta wasn’t sure how to take this.  She’d never been paid to NOT fuck someone before.  He couldn’t possibly be turning her down, not with as sexy and fuckable as she knew she was, so there had to be a rational explanation.  After a moment, one occurred to her.  “Dear child, Upagupta must have heard how expensive a night with me usually is, as the nation’s highest paid courtesan.  He’s an honest merchant, so he doesn’t have the 500 gold pieces I usually charge, and he’s trying to find a polite way to not embarrass himself.  That’s so sweet!  Go back to him, and tell Upagupta not to worry about the fee.  If he’s as sexy and charming as you say, it’s worth it for me to fuck him for free.  It’s only right that two people as hot as we are spend a night performing unspeakable acts on each other’s naughty bits.”
  • The maid left again, and returned the next morning.  She shook her head.  “I’m so sorry, mistress, but he says the fee isn’t the issue.  Upagupta says the time is simply not right.”  “What the fuck does that even mean?  When will the time be right?”  Annoyed and sexually frustrated in a way Vasavadatta had never experienced before, she gave up on Upagupta.  “Fuck it, his loss.  I can’t believe I was going to suck his cock for free.”
  • A few weeks went by, and a successful caravan owner came to the city from the north country to sell 500 horses, all of them young, strong, and swift.  Bear in mind that at this point in history, horses were about the most useful thing a person could own, and were therefore stupid expensive.  Selling off 500 particularly expensive horses would bring this already rich man a small fortune.  And by small fortune, I mean a large trunk literally full of gold. 
  • It had been a good year, so the rich dude, like rich dudes throughout history, wanted to celebrate by putting his dick in something.  Cocaine hadn’t been invented yet, so he didn’t have a lot of options as far as celebratory vices.  He asked the owner of the inn he was staying at who the best courtesan in the city was.  “Vasavadatta is the best, no doubt about it, but she’s very expensive.  You can have someone almost as good for a lot less gold…”  The caravan owner cut him off.  “No, no second best for me.  It is decided: I shall fuck this Vasavadatta!”
  • He had the 500 gold in his chest, but he wanted to make sure that he got the best fuck out of this expensive ass whore, so he also gathered up an array of expensive gifts to bring when he went to get his dick wet.  He sent messengers ahead of him to let the hooker know that he was coming to fuck her and to get ready, then headed off himself without waiting for a reply because there was no possible way she could already have a paying client today, right?  He was the biggest swinging dick around, so no one would dare tell him no.
  • Because the way assholes think the world works usually isn’t, Vasavadatta was mid blowjob when the messengers arrived, bearing the gold and the super expensive and probably tacky gifts.  It was rare that anyone paid over the required price, and Vasavadatta was nothing if not a business-minded woman, so she decided to fuck the new guy.  This dude sounded like he knew how to treat a woman, which sounded better than letting this selfish dick grunt over her for a long minute before swaggering off thinking he was the best lay ever.  She blew him to climax as quickly as she could, then spit his cum on the floor.  “Sorry to suck and run, but you’ve got to go.  Someone very rich is coming to fuck me, and I need to get ready.”  Her current client was the rich, spoiled son of a guild master, so he was used to pretty much doing whatever he wanted whenever he wanted.  Two swinging dicks were about to collide.
  • “You can’t stop now, Vasavadatta, we haven’t fucked yet.  I’ll get blue balls!”  “Then jerk off already and scram.  You already came once anyhow.  I’ve got bigger fish to fry.”  “Fuck you, whore.  Do you know who my father is?  You get the fuck over here now, get on your knees, and suck my fucking dick!”  Like the entitled asshole children of rich people throughout history, this kid had a massively inflated sense of his own importance, so he absolutely refused to leave the courtesan’s house.
  • Vasavadatta sighed.  “Look, prick, we can do this the easy way or the hard way.”  “What’s the hard way, bitch?  You try and make me?  Do it.”  She gave the asshole a scathing look, and whistled.  From out in the hall came her seven armed and armored maidens known as the heavenly demonesses.  They were all nearly as beautiful as Vasavadatta, but not nearly as compliant. 
  • The warrior maidens beat the ever-loving shit out of the guild master’s son and tossed him out into the cess pool, which was undoubtedly full of piss, shit, rotting garbage, and less savory things.  The sides were steep and muddy, so it took the kid some time to finally heave himself out of the nastiness, and I can only presume he swallowed at least some of it in his efforts.  He lay on the bank after crawling out for a long time, catching his breath and planning his vengeance.  No one treated him like this, least of all a fucking woman!
  • He went home that night and told his father and all of his relatives what had happened, leaving out anything that made him look in the least bit responsible for anything that had happened.  To hear him tell it, he had gone over and paid her, but she had stolen his money and beaten him senseless without any cause whatsoever just because she was a cunt.  It’s not clear if his family believed him or not, but at the very least, they couldn’t let this insult to their power and authority stand, so they agreed to fuck her world up.
  • The guild master went to the governor, who was a close personal friend, with all of the powerful people he could gather to back him up.  The governor, not one to show a spine in the face of political pressure, sent the city guard out for the courtesan.  They found her at home and dragged her from her bed to the city square.  There, without even a sham of a trial or any attempt to get her side of the story, they stripped her naked and cut off her hands, feet, nose, and ears.  They threw her in the graveyard to die, and threw the bloody mess that had been hacked off of her lovely body into the crematory pit.  Her maids soon found her lying there amongst the dead, crying in a pool of her own blood.
  • Shit like this spreads like wildfire, and it wasn’t long at all before word reached Upagupta’s ears of what had befallen the once-beautiful woman.  “Well, shit.  She wanted to meet me to fuck like animals, but now she’s been hacked to bloody pieces.  She’s lost her pride, her passion, and her joy.  Now, it is time for Upagupta to meet Vasavadatta.”  I can’t tell if he’s magic or just a dick who was waiting for something bad to happen to her, but this was apparently what he had been waiting for.
  • In the graveyard, Vasavadatta’s maids had done their best to stem the bleeding and cauterize the wounds, but the poor woman was a mess.  As they were trying to clean her as best they could, one of the maids stood to stretch her back and caught sight of the handsome Upagupta making his way determinedly towards the graveyard.  “Uh, mistress?  It looks like Upagupta has taken you up on your offer at the worst possible moment.  What should we do?”
  • Vasavadatta panicked.  She was still a little infatuated with Upagupta, and couldn’t stand the thought of him seeing her like this.  “Quickly, girls, gather up my hands, feet, nose, and ears, and put them back where they belong as well as you can.  Then cover me with a robe.  Maybe we can hide the worst of the damage.”  I’m guessing her reaction was equal parts massive shock and panic.
  • Upagupta entered the cemetery, and walked quickly through the smoke of the cremation fires.    He found Vasavadatta lying on the ground, surrounded by her maids.  She did her best to smile.  “Have you finally come to let me fuck you like no one else could ever fuck you, Upagupta?  I really wish you had come sooner.  I’ve had a…really bad day today.  I’m lying here in a pool of my blood in incredible pain.  What took you so long?  I asked you over and over to come to me, and you kept saying it wasn’t the right time.  Why now?  Today is the first time I can’t do a goddamned thing to try and please you.  Why wait until I’m no longer beautiful and willing?”
  • Upagupta knelt down beside her.  “Because I am a pious man, dear lady.  How could I come to you, knowing that it would take me down a bad road, one that leads away from enlightenment?  You lie here before me, and cruel blades have cut away all of your vanity and  sexuality.  I come to you, not with lust and an erection like all the others, but with compassion.  I want to know you, know your soul, and try to help you.”
  • Vasavadatta sighed.  “Still, I wish you could have seen me when I was smoking hot, wearing jewels, some scraps of silk, and nothing else.  It sucks that you’re seeing me instead covered in blood and the ashes of the dead.  Come on, be honest.  I look like shit, right?  I must be horrifying to look at, which hurts.  I used to make everyone who looked at me happy and horny.”
  • Upagupta shook his head.  “I don’t think you look like shit.  Back when you were a sexpot, no one saw passed your tits and ass to who you really were.  No one saw YOU.  Now, free from your prison of beauty and sex, I can see the real you, and you are beautiful.  I can’t understand why everyone seems so caught up in dicks and pussies.  Bodies are just disgusting walking corpses that our real selves ride around in.  Why are people so attached to their skin?  It just distracts you from inner beauty with outer beauty.  Shit, even the most beautiful things on the outside can be rotten and putrid on the inside.  But if you’re ugly on the outside, if you’re truly hideous, what do you have to hide?  Nothing, that’s what.  Trust me, I should know.  My dad’s a perfume merchant, and I’ve met some people with truly powerful stenches who tried to cover it under sweet scents, but it never lasts.  When tears of sorrow wash away the bullshit, the only thing left is the truth, which is a fucking putrid body that we worshiped into the fucking grave.  If we give up desire, we lose weariness, sadness and suffering.  We find nirvana.”
  • I don’t know about you, but having someone come to me just after being tortured nearly to death and lecturing me about how it was a good thing that I was disgusting to look at now because it made me a better person would piss me right the fuck off.  Because this is a buddhist myth, though, Vasavadatta immediately saw the wisdom of what Upagupta was saying, and became utterly disgusted by her previous life of shameful desire.  The story says that she attained capital T truth, putting her on the path to leaving the wheel of reincarnation and achieving nirvana.  “You have shown me the hidden road, Upagupta, away from the shitty path of sin that everyone else is on.  I was blind, but now I see!  And now, I’m going to die because I’ve still been cut up pretty bad and left in a graveyard instead of getting any kind of help or treatment, but I’m glad that you won’t be at all sad that I die or shed any tears.  You know that I am going to nirvana, unlike all the losers like I used to be who still think sex is good.”
  • With that, the former courtesan and new fanatic died and was transported to the heavens with the deities.  Because apparently, being an incredibly hot chick still makes you special in a place where desire is supposed to not exist, the sky opened up to receive her in a way that it doesn’t for normal people.  Upagupta gathered up her bloody, shit-covered, ash-stained corpse and walked through the city with it.  Instead of asking “Dude, what the actual fuck”, people apparently paid homage to the corpse, and she was canonized as the Courtesan of Noble Truth, because even heaven needs a hooker.  Her tormenters were forgotten (which is why they don’t have any names in this story), and so were her servants the Seven Heavenly Demonesses, which sucks.  They seemed pretty awesome, and devoted to the woman they protected.
  • One part of their story survives, though.  A few days after Vasavadatta quote “escaped into heaven”, the seven demonesses broke into the guild master’s house under the cover of night.  The gathered everyone up, and beat everyone to fucking death with their fists and some improvised clubs for coercing the mayor into killing their mistress.  They killed everyone except the guild master’s son, who was spared to live many years as a beggar in the town square, trying his best to survive without his hands, feet, ears, or nose.  It’s a pretty spectacular piece of revenge, and apparently it continued into his next life.  For being such a shitty person, he was reborn into a low life of pain and torment to ensure he continued to pay for being such a selfish asshole for so many years.
  • And with justice duly meted out, it’s time for Gods and Monsters.  This is a segment where I get into a little more detail about the personalities and history of one of the gods or monsters from this week’s pantheon that was not discussed in the main story.  This week’s god is Chinnamasta, a Hindu goddess who’s name translates to “She who’s head is severed”, which is pretty fucking metal.  She is one of the Mahavidyas, ten goddesses from from the tantric tradition (which is different from the tantric sex that you were probably thinking, you saucy listener), and she is also an aspect of Devi, the Hindu mother goddess. 
  • If you were to design a cover for a metal album, you could pretty much just use the standard depiction of Chinnamasta and be happy with the results.  Most images of her show her as a completely naked 16 year old with full breasts, holding her own severed head in one hand and a scimitar in the other.  Her skin is described as being as red as a hibiscus flower, and she wears a serpent around her neck, intertwined with a garland of skulls, bones, and severed heads.  She either sits or stands on top of a divine couple in the middle of fucking, and I mean she literally stands on the naked, thrusting back of one of the enthusiastic participants. Three jets of blood gout out of the stump of her bleeding neck, where they are drunk by her two also naked female attendants Dakini and Vamini and by her own fucking severed head.  Seriously, try to make a more metal album cover than that.  I’ll wait.
  • Chinnamasta is a goddess of contradictions, embodied by the whole walking around holding her own severed head thing.  She is both aspects of Devi the mother goddess – the life giver and the life taker (similar to modern allegories of Mother Earth, who both nourishes life and also brings destructive natural disasters).  Unsurprisingly, given the squirming forms of Kamadeva and his wife Rati who make up her footstool, she is considered a symbol of both sexual control and sexual energy.  She embodies death, the temporary nature of existence, and destruction, but also life, immortality, and resurrection.  She is self realization and the awakening of the kundalini, the spiritual energy.  Most of the myths about her emphasize her self sacrifice, sometimes in a maternal sense, sometime in sexual dominance, and sometimes in a self-destructive fury.
  • She appears in two main myths: the story of the creation of the Mahavidyas and her own origin story.  The former story is actually pretty great, so we’ll be covering it in a later episode and I won’t spoil it here.  The story of Chinnamasta’s origin is inconsistent, with several variation on the story.
  • In one tale, Parvati, the second wife of Shiva, but also the reincarnation of his first wife is bathing in the Mandakini River when, for reasons unknown, she becomes super horny and her skin turns jet black.  At the same time, her two attendants Dakini and Varnini decide they are starving and beg the goddess for food.   She promises to feed them when the get home, but they keep begging (much like children in a candy store).  “Come on, mom!  You’re the mother of the universe, and everyone knows that moms are supposed to feed their kids!  We’re sooooo hungry!”  She quickly gets tired of their whining, and cuts off her own head with her nails so that they can feast on her blood.  Her head falls onto her palm, and three gouts of blood spout from her neck, letting the two attendants drink (and her own head drinks the third).  Once they are satisfied, she puts her head back on and goes home.  From that moment on, she was known as Chinnamasta.
  • The second version is very similar.  It starts with Parvati fucking her husband Shiva in cowgirl style (seriously, the position is part of the story).  He cums inside her, which enrages her, though the story doesn’t say why.  From context, I think it’s because he got off before she did, and she’s pissed that she’s got lady blue balls.  In her anger, the two attendants rise from her body, and accompany her to the river.  The rest of the story is the same, and in this one, at least her being super horny makes sense.
  • The third version has the goddess Prachanda-Chandika (a version of Parvati) going to the aid of the gods in a massive war with the demons.  The gods and demons had worked together for centuries to churn the milk ocean in order to release amrita, the nectar of immortality.  When it finally worked, Prachanda-Chandika drank the elixir that was supposed to be for the demons (after the gods had already consumed their share) and then cut off her own head to prevent them from making her vomit it back up so they could drink it.  Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face!

That’s it for this episode of Myth Your Teacher Hated.  Keep up with new episodes on our Facebook page, on iTunes, on Stitcher or on TuneIn, or you can follow us on Twitter as @HardcoreMyth.  We’re even on I heart radio now!  You can also find news and episodes on our website at myths your teacher hated dot com.  If you like what you’ve heard, I’d appreciate a review on iTunes.  I want to give a special thanks to Mrich616 and Weirdball for the reviews on iTunes.  These reviews really help increase the show’s standing and let more people know it exists.  If you have any questions, any gods or monsters you’d want to learn about, or any ideas for future stories that you’d like to hear, feel free to drop me a line.  I’m trying to pull as much material from as many different cultures as possible, but there are all sorts of stories I’ve never heard, so suggestions are appreciated.  The theme music is by Tiny Cheese Puff, whom you can find on fiverr.com.

Next time, we’ll be covering two stories from South America, one from Mayan mythology, and one from Brazilian folklore.  You’ll learn that jaguars make terrible teachers, that the idea of monkeys playing guitar is way older than you thought, and that the names of fruit have great power.  Then, in Gods and Monsters, it’s a mule that manages to breathe fire in spite of having no head.  That’s all for now.  Thanks for listening.