In Hindu folklore an Aspara is a celestial nymph (cloud/rain/water spirit). We see them mentioned in the “Mahabharata,” The world’s most longest epic poem known. They are sometimes depicted as court dancer or musicians of the Hindu Deities. The myth is they are so enchanting and beautiful to behold that not mortal can withstand their seducing powers. There are two well known Asparas, Tilottama and Urvashi.
Sunda and Upasunda were two demon brothers. They were cursed to die at each other’s hands but they loved each other too much that they can’t inflict any pain on the other. Tired of the destruction they had caused on earth, Brahma approached Vishwakarma, the heavenly architect, to find a solution. They decided to create a woman so beautiful that nobody could take their eyes off her. Accordingly, Vishwakarma created the exquistly beautiful Tilottama, seeing whom even Shiva could not remove his gaze. Brahma then instructed her to meet the demons. Tilottama appeared before the demons and seeing her, both brothers fell for her charms. They both wanted to marry her and thus, a fierce enmity followed. They took up arms against each other and died fighting. Unfortunately, Tilottama’s charms kept captivating one and all. So Brahma gave curse that nobody would be able to cast his eyes on her for too long.
Pururava is a son of Budha and Ilaa. As a son of a mortal (Ilaa) and an immortal (Budha), he is a mortal. He is a grandson of Soma (Moon) and the first king of lunar dynasty.
Heavenly nymph (Apsara) Urvashi had to come down to earth as a punishment to some offense to gods Mitra and Varuna. On earth she met Pururava who fell in love with her. Urvashi agreed to live with Pururava provided he met certain conditions. Urvashi had a couple of pet rams that should always remain by her side and she should never see Pururava naked.
Gods in the heaven of Indra and Gandharvas, heavenly musicians and close associates of apsaras, the heavenly dancers were anxious to have Urvashi back in heaven. So gandharvas went disguised as robbers and stole Urvashi’s rams. Pururava was naked in bed so at first he did not respond for the fear that Urvashi will see him undressed. Later he roused himself and went in search of robbers. Gandharvas brought a flash of lightening and Urvashi saw Pururava naked so the charm was broken and Urvashi went back to heaven.
Pururava distraught with grief at the loss of Urvashi roamed the earth. Once he saw Urvashi at Kurukshetra bathing with four other apsaras. Urvashi told him she was pregnant and asked him to come back. Urvashi gave him a son on the second trip and spent a night with him. This sequence was repeated. She spent a night with him each year and bore him four more sons.