Brahman asked the architect to take the best quality of everything as the
ingredients and create an aspara. Thus Tilottama therefore means the being whose smallest particle is the finest or one who is composed of the finest and highest qualities. Tilottama is reputed to have been created by Visvakarma for the mutual destruction of the Asuras Sunda and Upasunda.
According to the Puranas she was an ugly widow, named Kubja in her previous birth cursed by the sage Durvasa. Kubja underwent severe penance and finally performed Magha puja to be reborn as Tilottama. The Brahma Vaivarta Purana states that Sahasika, Bali’s grandson who was malingering with Tilottama, disturbed Durvasa Muni’s penance. Sahasika was cursed to be a donkey and Tilottam to be born as daughter to the demon, Banasura as Usha.
PURANAS: She was of exquisite beauty and alluring charm, attracting Siva and
Indra. Puranas mention Brahma’s lust. Time in the upper lokhas are different
from earth time. Immediately after creation, Brahma casts his eyes on his own
daughter, Tilottama. He caused four aheads so that she does not escape his
sight. He grows another when she tried to escape skywards. Finally, when matters
got worse with Brahma’s non-continence she fled to Mount Kailash, the abode of
Shiva, to pay her obeisance to him.
In Book 13 of the Mahabaratha is a tale
that Siva, in his eagerness to see Tilottama as she circumambulated him,
developed four further faces. But the Puranas explain the symbolism of the
‘pancha mugha’ of five faces as four being visible and one as invisible. East
face – signifies sovereignty; north – face to sport with Parvathi; west – to
ensure happiness of creatures; south – to destroy the universe and the fifth was
was invisible to Tilottama. However, the story is that Siva too casts his eyes
on her. He was not aware that Parvathi was seated next to him. As usual, Narada
chips in to add fuel to fire by hinting at Siva’s five new appearance. "You can
image what Shiva is thinking about this prostitute who is reviled by wise men".
Tjis agitates, Parvati. She covers Shiva's eyes with her hands submerging the
universe in darkness. The universe becomes imbalanced due to this darkness. Lord
Shiva then developed the third eye to bring light and wisdom to the universe.
ASPARAS: The Ghandarvas are Indra’s court musicians. Their wives are
the asparas described as beautiful dancing girls who complement the music. They
are said to please Indra, the God of the Heavens in more than one way. According
to the Puranas, the elixir of immortality was lost in the mythological Ocean of
Milk. The gods had let it slip of to the asuras. They therefore needed the
asparas assistance to recover it. As such these goddesses were born from the
ocean of milk as water nymphs. They were pulled from the ocean by the Hindu
Devas and Vasuki, the Serpent God.
The asparas emerged with exquisite
beauty and powers over both mortal and immortal males due to their unsurpassed
beauty and elegance. They had the ability to change their forms to suit their
purpose of fulfilling a particular chore. The Puranas state that they were
willing servants of Indra. The goddesses would appear to men with their naked
body. They used their seductive charms and beauty to seduce mortals, kings and
wise men who may have threatened Indra’s power. It is said that they became
powerful enough to threaten Indra. They were charming with their gold ornaments
and scanty dresses. Temple carvings are replete with aspara stories. Of note are
the 1800 Angkor Watt dancing asparas. In Tantric practice, Aspara Mantra is used
to charm a lover.
MAHABARATHA: In the Adi Parva of the Mahabaratha, the
sage Narada tells the Pandavas the tells the story of the slaying of Sunda and
Upasunda. There were sons of the asura Nikumbha who shared all their possessions
and happiness. They were always of one mind. But they wanted to boon to make
then invincible. So they undertook severe penance in the Vindhya mountains. This
is supposed to be in the present day Gujarat bordering Rajasthan and Madhya
Pradesh. Their asceticism generated such extreme heat that the Gods became
exceedingly alarmed. The Gods attempted to distract the brothers through
enticement of maidens. This did not work.
Finally, Lord Brahma agreed
to grante the asura brothers a boon that they would be completely invulnerable
except by harm done to each other. This means they could only hurt or kill each
other. Now this boon made them very powerful and the asura brothers soon
gathered an army to attack the celestial abodes of the gods. The gods and devas
were finally driven out.
Now Brahma re-enters to trouble shoot. He
devised a plan that would off-set his own boon. He ordered Vishkarma to collect
all things beautiful from the three lokhas including gems to creates a woman
with unrivalled beauty. Since she was a creation from bits of diamond, Brahma
named her Tilottama. She was given the mandate to seduce both the asura brothers
and create an issue of contention between them. Tilottama traces the asuras and
finds then in the countryside with their retinue, drinking and celebrating their
victories. They were in dalliance with women and given to liquor. Tilottama
pretended to pluck flowers and neared the party site. They were bewitched by her
voluptuousness as she was naked waist up. The asuras rushed to her and each took
hold of her right and left hand respectively. In wanting to be physically
intimate, each tried to drag Tilottama in his direction. Then an argument
ensued. Envy over a woman can be pretty messy and asuras are no exception. Here
our fellows use a Beretta or Walter; there the asuras used clubs. They would not
know about revolvers. So they grabbed their clubs and waged horrible attacks.
Tilottama stood looking while the fight got worse and the blows rendered the
asuras bleeding to death. Order was established in all the three lokhas. While
the Gods congratulated Tilottama, Brahma on the other hand with his lustful
looks, decreed that no one would be able to look at Tilottama for more than a
second due to her luster!
KATHASARITSAGARA: These are a collection of
Indian legends and fairy tales as retold by a Shaivite sage called Somadeva. It
contains eighteen books with 124 chapters and approximately 22,000 slokas. It
tells of a story where Tilottama curses King Sahasranika. One is not sure if
this Sahasranika and the one mentioned in Padma Purana are one and the same
fellow. Apparently Sahasranika and Tilottama had a parallel line in the running.
One day Sahasranika was on his way to his way from Indralokha to return to his
kingdom. Tilottama requested him wo wait a while. But through her magical powers
she comes to know that Sahasranika was in a rush to meet his other sweetheart,
the aspara Alambusa. Tilottama was simply infuriated by his conduct and cursed a
separation from Alambusa for 14 years. One can suppose that Alambusa did not
have any regrets over this, as asparas nested quite comfortably here and there.
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