Celestial Apsaras

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2. ApsarameansCelestial nymphs who dwell in the heaven of the god Indra.
Apsarasare beautiful, supernatural girls: they appear as young women of great beauty and elegance who are proficient in the art of dancing.
They are the wives of the Gandharvas, the court servants of Indra. They dance to the music made by their husbands, usually in the palaces of the gods, and entertain gods and fallen heroes.
In their assignment as caretakers of fallen heroes, they may be compared to the valkyries of Norse mythology.
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3. Apsaras have been variously described as fairies, angels, nymphs and sirens. Actually they are celestial maidens of exquisite beauty and alluring charm, and have the power and will to use both.
Like other divine creatures they are able to change their form as and when desired. Hierarchically, the Apsaras were under the control of Indra, the king of the demi-Gods.
Under his directions they seduced mortals, kings and sages, who were becoming powerful enough to threaten Indra.
They also danced at his court and entertained his guests.
The male counterparts of the Apsaras were the Gandharvas. The Gandharvas were the custodians of music and the arts.
4. The sage Kashyap, through his many wives, fathered many races of celestial beings. The demi-Gods were born from Aditi, while a race of demons from Diti.
The BhagavataPurana states that the Apsaras were born from Kashyap and Muni.
In the Mahabharata the mother is stated as Pradha.
This kind of inconsistency between the texts is common in Hindu mythology.
In a later canto in the BhagavataPurana an alternative version of the origin of the Apsaras is given.
When the demi-Gods and Demons churned the ocean to bring forth the elixir of life, several treasures and divine beings emerged from the ocean depths. Among them were the Apsaras.
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