“The more sweet a man is towards a woman, the more agreeable she becomes. Yet in this case the more dear words the speaker has used, the more disregarded he has been.” (Ravana speaking to Sita Devi, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 22.2)
yathā yathā sāntvayitā vaśyaḥ strīṇāṃ tathā tathā |
yathā yathā priyam vaktā paribhūtastathā tahā ||
You are a reflection of your association. At least this is the general rule. If you want to become a first class drunkard, frequent bars and nightclubs. Just as you would go to the gym every day to get your body into shape, make an appointment to sit on a bar stool for hours on end as the bartender continues to hand you drinks. Tell them that you never want to be empty-handed; as soon as a drink is finished a new one should be there waiting as a replacement. This rule on association is especially noted by spiritualists looking to advance to the state of pure consciousness, which is rarely achieved. For truly exalted individuals, who are always liberated from the influence of the material nature, even prolonged association of nefarious characters can’t change them. In fact, the more time they spend with such characters, the more they are repulsed by them.
A successful entrepreneur eventually has to work with others. Perhaps there are sales to make or the company grows to the point that extra help is required. If you really want to get someone to come to your company, what will you do? Let’s say that the coveted member finally becomes available. Previously they were locked up with another organization. They weren’t looking to move. In some cases, it might even be illegal to talk to such candidates. When they become free, the interested parties start what is commonly referred to as a “charm offensive.”
You send your best pitchman out to meet the candidate. You offer whatever gifts are allowed. You “wine and dine” the coveted candidate. If you had previously hurt them, you try your best to make that transgression a distant memory. Obviously you will use kind and gentle words. You will praise them. You will speak of so many good things to come in the future. You will promise all sorts of enjoyment. Whatever you think the person wants, that is what you will put on the table.
The charm offensive is especially employed by men seeking to enjoy with women. The male is viewed as the stronger party, so it is typically expected of them to be the seekers. The women, being generally weaker, are meant to be chased. If a woman is averse at first, the man just tries harder. He increases the charm. If he is strong-willed, he will not be deterred by countless rejections. Eventually, he might succeed, as who can keep turning down someone who is so nice to them?
One may even be aware that they are being charmed. They may know that the words sent in an email to them were crafted specifically to persuade them in a certain direction. They may know that it is all an act, and yet still there is a softening of the stance. It is only natural to be pleased by such kind words. You think, “Maybe I am being a little cruel. Perhaps I should give this person a chance. They might be sincere.”
In the case of an infamous king a long time back, the more charm he tried to apply, the stronger he was rejected. In the above referenced verse from the Ramayana he says as much. His object of desire was the wife of another man. Previously that hadn’t been a problem for the king, who was named Ravana. He had plenty to use in his charm offensive. His arsenal consisted of personal achievements, physical strength, and tremendous opulence in the home.
The desired person, Sita Devi, was offered the post of chief queen. Ravana made his pitch stronger every time she rebuked him. He promised to be her servant, which is the opposite of the way marriages of that time typically went. Indeed, if a husband was too consumed with passion and was thus led by the wife instead of leading her, he was considered weak. Ravana didn’t care about how he appeared, however. He just wanted Sita, and he would do anything to move her to his side.
Inadvertently, he pays Sita a very nice compliment here. His observation is also a testimony to his vile nature. Sita is like a beautiful swan who prefers to remain amidst lotus flowers floating on the pristine pond. Ravana is like a crow, which stays amidst rubbish. The more time she spent with Ravana, the more she saw his crow-like nature. If we enter a room with a foul odor, if we stay in the room long enough eventually we stop noticing the smell. Though the area is unpleasant, there is gradual assimilation.
This did not occur with Sita. The more she heard from Ravana, the more repulsed she was by him. The reason was not necessarily due to Ravana’s presence, either. She was separated from her dear husband Rama. The separation was due to Ravana’s shameful act of stealing her away in secret. As the time spent in separation from Rama increased, the more her devotion to Him grew. The more one is devoted to Rama, the more they are repulsed by anything not devoted to Him. Ravana is the quintessential atheist; he thinks there is no God and that Rama is just an ordinary man.
Therefore Sita did not want his association in the least. Ravana gave her two more months to change her mind. But he could have given her a thousand more months and her dislike for him would have only increased further. He had no shot of turning her around. The words he used had no effect, since whatever he offered only meant further separation from Rama. This was a deal she would never accept.
Striking beauty of female to alarm,
Lusty man then to apply the charm.
Constant rejection no issue,
In attempts only to continue.
Eventually might soften the hardened stance,
Thus kind words for success increase the chance.
Ravana despite concerted effort long,
Rebuke of Sita only became more strong.
From side of beloved Rama he took,
Thus Janaka’s daughter never to give a look.