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Apsaras, the Desperate Housewives of Hindu Mythology

Français : Apsaras, détail d'une partie inféri...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These lovely celestial spirits come from Hindu mythology (and Buddhist) and, being gorgeous, stacked, and awesome dancers, are very un-demonic. They do have a bit of moral ambiguity to them, though. So they count under my Bad Girls category.

Apsaras serve Indra, the Hindu leader of the gods and the lord of heaven. He’s also the god of war and storms. Apsaras are usually court dancers and musicians. It’s common for an apsara to be the wife of a Gandharva, a male supernatural warrior.

Here’s where the moral ambiguity comes in. Lots of stories about apsaras tell of them serving Indra by visiting meditating sages. Thing is, sages who are close to enlightenment… Well, Indra gets worried about these guys. See, if they achieve enlightenment, they get really powerful. Perhaps powerful enough to challenge the lord of heaven.

So, to divert a sage from his studies, Indra just might call on one of his favorite celestial maidens to take a trip to Earth. There, her job is to find the sage and lead him off the path of enlightenment. Which she generally does by sleeping with him.

Okay, that’s not really great behavior, but think about it. Indra’s chief weapon, his alternative for distracting a sage, is a bolt of lightning. So, if you had a choice, would you rather be fried to a crisp or seduced?

I thought so.

Apsaras can fly, change shape (though they’re beautiful, so why would they want to?) and rule over luck and good/bad fortune. They also escort the souls of dead warriors to the afterlife, so they have a lot in common with your Norse valkyries.


About teresawilde

Author of Young Adult Paranormals, Paranormal Romance, Historical Paranormal Romance, tragical- comical-historical-pastoral, scene individable, and poem unlimited.

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