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Apsarases in Indian Literature and the Legend of Urvasi and Pururavas

Indian literature abounds in a variety of myths and legends narrating allegorical/historical stories with moral teachings where celestial or semi-celestial beings, in particular the apsarases, occupy an important place. ....read below

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About This Book

Indian literature abounds in a variety of myths and legends narrating allegorical/historical stories with moral teachings where celestial or semi-celestial beings, in particular the apsarases, occupy an important place. Of such legends, a few have become much popular and they reappear in the course of the history of literature at various stages. One such legend is that of Urvashi and Pururavas which is one of the most ancient legends of India, owing its origin to the Rigveda.

This scholarly work, based on extensive original sources -- primary, comprising ancient Sanskrit texts, commentaries and glosses and modern literary pieces, kavyas and plays, as well as critical writings on these original works, studies the origin and development of the institution of apsarases and their characteristics as described in the vast corpus of Vedic, Epic-Puranic and classical works. In this context, it undertakes an interesting survey of the concept of nymphs (apsarases) in Indo-European, especially Greek mythology. Dr. Handique then thoroughly examines the depiction of the legend of Urvashi and Pururavas -- a favourite theme that has been immortalised in literary masterpieces in Indian literature as a whole: from the ancient Vedas and Puranas, the Harivamsha and Vikramorvashiyam to modern works like Urvashi Janani and Abhishapta Urvashi and stray poetic pieces.

Presenting a new angle to the study, the book attempts to explore aspects of an age old tradition that bears close affinity with the institution of the apsarases in terms of mode of living worship and ideals -- like system of the devadasis.

The book will prove invaluable to scholars of Indian mythology, culture and literature as well as interest general readers of ancient India's legends and tales.

  • Binding: : Hardbound
  • 13 Digit ISBN : 9788186921166
  • 10 Digit ISBN : 8186921168
  • Edition : 1st edition
  • Year : 2001
  • Pages : xiii, 201 p.
  • Size : 23
  • Weight (approx.) : 500
  • Bibliographic Details : Appendices; Bibliography; Index

Preface 
Abbreviations

1. Introduction

Sources of Our Study

Vedic -- The Two Epics -- Classical Sanskrit Works -- Modern Works: (Selected Works in Assamese, Bengali and Hindi Only)

Method and Approach
Summary of the Present Work

Part  I
Apsarases in Indian Literature

2. Origin and Development of Apsarases 

Origin of the Nymphs in Indo-European Literature 
Characteristics of Nymphs 
Apsarases Relation with the Gandharvas 
Origin of the nymphs or Apsarases in Indian Literature 
Apsarases in the Ramayana: Post-Vedic Period

Various Legends of the Apsarases in the Ram -- Rambha and Vishvamitra -- Natural Role of the Apsarases -- Apsarases Role in the Hermitage of Bharadvaja -- Episode of Viradha -- Mandakini and Pancapsarases -- Punjikasthala: Mother of Hanuman -- Reference to Ghritaci and Vishvamitra -- Places Infested by the Apsarases --  Hema -- Hema: Mother of Mandodari -- Story of Rishyashringa -- Story of Shabari -- Rambha and Ravana -- Ravana's Recollections -- Role of the Nymphs in the Battlefield -- Hermitage of Trinavindu -- Lanka: Abode of Nymphs -- Prayer of Hanuman -- Songs of Nymphs in the Ashoka Garden -- Gandhakali -- Critical Appreciation 

The Apsarases in the Mahabharata 

Pramadvara -- Matsya and Satyavati -- Menaka and Vishvamitra -- Gautama and Janapadi -- Tilottama -- The Apsarases in the Devasabhkas -- The Apsarases in the Court of Kubera -- Ghritaci and the Sage Bharadvaja -- Arjuna and the Apsarases -- Abode of the Apsarases 

The Apsarases in the Puranas 

The Apsarases in the Vayu Purana -- The Apsarases in the Vishnu Purana -- The Apsarases in the Bhagavata Purana -- The Apsarases in the Agni Purana and Garuda Purana -- The Apsarases in the Vamana Purana -- The Apsarases in the Padma Purana -- The Apsarases in the Markandeya Purana -- The Apsarases in the Brahmavaivartta Purana -- The Apsarases in the Brahma and Matsya Puranas -- The Apsarases in the Harivamsha Purana -- The Apsarases in the Linga Purana --   The Apsarases in the Kalika Purana -- The Apsarases in the Devi Bhagavata 

Apasarases in the Katha Literature 
The Apsarases in the Katha-Sarit-Sagara

Alambusha -- Tilottama -- Ruru and Pramadvara

Part II
Legend of Urvashi and Pururavas

3. Legend of Urvashi and Pururavas in Vedic Literature 

The Dialogue Hymn of the RV, 10, 95 
Urvashi and Pururavas in the YV 
Urvashi: One of the Female Seers of the Vedic Mantras 
Urvashi Pururavas: Akhyana Theory 
The Legend is an Allegory 
The Dramatic Element in the Legend 
A Love Legend 
Analysis of the Word 'Urvashi' and 'Pururavas'
Urvashi and Pururavas in Brihaddevata 
Urvashi and Pururavas in Nitimanjari
Urvashi and Pururavas in Vedarthadipika 

4. The Legend of Urvashi and Pururavas in the Post-Vedic Period 

Urvashi and Pururavas in Ramayana
Urvashi and Pururavas in the Mahabharata 

Urvashi and Rishyashringa -- Urvashi's Role in the Courts of Kubera and Indra -- Urvashi and Arjuna in the Indraloka -- Urvashi and Shuka

Urvashi and Pururavas in the Puranas 

Urvashi and Pururavas in the Vayu Purana -- Urvashi and Pururavas in the Matsya Purana -- Urvashi and Pururavas in the Vishnu Purana -- Urvashi and Pururavas in the Bhagavata Purana -- Urvashi and Pururavas in the Vamana Purana -- Birth Story of Urvashi in the Devi Bhagavata -- Critical Appreciation of the Vamana and the Devi Purana -- Urvashi and Pururavas in the Brahma Purana -- Urvashi and Pururavas in the Padma Purana -- Urvashi and Pururavas in the Skanda Purana -- Urvashi and Pururavas in the Agni Purana -- Urvashi and Pururavas in the Varaha Purana -- Urvashi and Pururavas in the Kurma Purana -- Urvashi and Pururavas in the Garuda Purana -- The Story of Vasishtha and Agastya in the Matsya Purana -- Urvashi?s Role in the Circle of the Sun -- Urvashi and Pururavas in the Harivamsha 

Pururavas and Urvashi in the Katha-Sarit-Sagara 
Pururavas and Urvashi in the Upapuranas 

Pururavas and Urvashi in the Kalika Purana -- Pururavas and Urvashi in the Vaishnava Upapuranas -- Pururavas and Urvashi: Vishnudharmottara Purana -- Urvashi: The Model of Art of Painting -- Urvashi in the Saura Purana

Urvashi in the Holy Places 
Urvashi in the Fairy Tales 
Urvashi Incarnation of Durga 

Urvashi and Pururavas in Vikramorvarshiyam of Kalidasa -- Deviation and Innovation brought about by Kalidasa

5. Legend of Urvashi and Pururavas in Modern Literature

Urvashi Janani 
Urvashi: Ramdhari Singh Dinakar
Abishapta Urvashi 

6. Urvashi and Devadasis 

Temples and Devadasis 
Citrangada 
Devadasi: Profession Prevailed in Kerala 
Evidence of Devadasis and Shiva Temples 
Devadasi and Shankaradeva 
Yogini Tantra and Devadasis 
Ahom Queen Phuleshvari was originally a Devadasis 
The origin of Bharat Natyam 
Madhava Kandali's Ramayana 
Devadasi:  A Holy Tradition 
Devadasi: Social Evils and Indian Women 
Devadasi: Source Hailed from Western countries 

7. Conclusion 

Appendix I
Appendix II
Bibliography 
Index
  
  

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