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Five Dancing Apsaras

"The musicians in the upper planetary systems are called Gandharvas, and the dancing girls are called Apsaras. After being attacked by the demons and evolving a form of a beautiful woman in the twilight, Brahma next created Gandharvas and Apsaras."

Srimad-Bhagavatam 3:20:38

"The aesthetic sense of the Lord is manifested in the artistic, colorful creation of varieties of birds like the peacock, parrot and cuckoo. The celestial species of human beings, like the Gandharvas and Vidyadharas, can sing wonderfully and can entice even the minds of the heavenly demigods."

Srimad-Bhagavatam 2:1:36

"One who desires to be beautiful should worship the beautiful residents of the Gandharva planet, and one who desires a good wife should worship the Apsaras and the Urvasi society girls of the heavenly kingdom."

Srimad-Bhagavatam 2:3:2-7

"There are many instances in which Apsaras, heavenly angels, have descended to this earth by the order of a superior demigod like Lord Brahma or Lord Indra, have followed the demigod's order by marrying someone and giving birth to children, and have then returned to their celestial homes. For example, after Menaka, the celestial woman who had come to delude Visvamitra Muni, gave birth to the child Sakuntala, she left both the child and her husband and returned to the heavenly planets. Purvacitti did not remain permanently with Maharaja Agnidhra. After cooperating in his household affairs, she left Maharaja Agnidhra and all nine sons and returned to Brahma to worship him."

Srimad-Bhagavatam 5-2-20

"The Apsaras, denizens of the heavenly planets, are generally known as dancing girls. The girls in the heavenly planets are exquisitely beautiful, and if a woman on earth is found to be very beautiful, she is compared to the Apsaras. There were five Apsaras named Lata, Budbuda, Samici, Saurabheyi and Varna. It is said that these five beautiful dancing girls were sent by Indra to break the severe austerity of a saintly person called Acyuta Rsi. This action was typical of Indra, the King of heaven. Whenever Indra discovered someone undergoing severe austerities, he would begin to fear for his post. Indra was always anxious about his position, fearing that if someone became more powerful than him he would lose his elevated position. Thus as soon as he would see a saint undergoing severe austerities, he would send dancing girls to distract him. Even the great saint Visvamitra Muni fell victim to his plan."

"When the five Apsaras went to break Acyuta Rsi's meditation, they were all chastised and cursed by the saint. As a result, the girls turned into crocodiles in a lake that came to be known as Pancapsara. Lord Ramacandra also visited this place. From Sri Narada Muni's narration, it is understood that when Arjuna went to visit the holy places, he learned about the condemnation of the five Apsaras. He delivered them from their abominable condition, and from that day the lake known as Pancapsara became a place of pilgrimage."

Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhyam 9:27

Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. Excerpted from various texts and purports of HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.