The Classes of Demons, Part 2
Five Dancing Apsaras
Sep 1, CANADA (SUN) Lila pastimes with the transcendental demons.
The Gandharvas and Apsaras
"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)
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
The Yaksas and Raksasas
Yaksi (left) and Raksasa
"The demons who were born from the body of Brahma were called Yaksas and Raksasas because some of them cried that Brahma should be eaten and the others cried that he should not be protected. The ones who said that he should be eaten were called Yaksas, and the ones who said that he should not be protected became Raksasas, man-eaters. The two, Yaksas and Raksasas, are the original creation by Brahma and are represented even until today in the uncivilized men who are scattered all over the universe. They are born of the mode of ignorance, and therefore, because of their behavior, they are called Raksasas, or man-eaters."
"Similarly, one can go to many ghostly planets and become a Yaksa, Raksa or Pisaca. Pisaca worship is called "black arts" or "black magic." There are many men who practice this black art, and they think that it is spiritualism, but such activities are completely materialistic."
"There are some types of living entities in the form of human beings whose living conditions and eatables are most abominable. Generally they eat flesh and fermented blood, which is mentioned in this verse as ksatajasavam. The leaders of such degraded men known as Yaksas, Raksasas, bhutas and pisacas, are all in the mode of ignorance. They have been placed under the control of Rudra. Rudra is the incarnation of Lord Siva and is in charge of the mode of ignorance in material nature. Another name of Lord Siva is Bhutanatha, meaning "master of ghosts." Rudra was born from between Brahma's eyes when Brahma was very angry at the four Kumaras."
"The demon Yaksas are by nature very heinous, and by their demoniac power of illusion they can create many strange phenomena to frighten one who is less intelligent."
"Out of disgust, Brahma threw off the body of ignorance, and taking this opportunity, Yaksas and Raksasas sprang for possession of the body, which continued to exist in the form of night. Night is the source of hunger and thirst."
"O club in the hand of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, you produce sparks of fire as powerful as thunderbolts, and you are extremely dear to the Lord. I am also His servant. Therefore kindly help me pound to pieces the evil living beings known as Kusmandas, Vainayakas, Yaksas, Raksasas, Bhutas and Grahas. Please pulverize them."
"Raksasas are understood to be accustomed to eating their own sons, as snakes and many other animals sometimes do. At the present moment in Kali-yuga, Raksasa fathers and mothers are killing their own children in the womb, and some are even eating the fetus with great relish. Thus the so-called civilization is gradually advancing by producing Raksasas."
"Raksasis learn mystic powers by which they can travel in outer space without machines. In some parts of India there are still such mystical witches, who can sit on a stick and use it to fly from one place to another in a very short time. This art was known to Putana. Assuming the feature of a very beautiful woman, she entered Nanda Maharaja's abode, Gokula."
The Siddhas, Caranas and Vidyadharas
The Siddhas are the inhabitants of Siddhaloka, wwhere all are born with fully developed mystic powers. There is aother planet inhabited by the Vidyadharas and Caranas, who are very expert in singing.
"Then Lord Brahma, by his ability to be hidden from vision, created the Siddhas and Vidyadharas and gave them that wonderful form of his known as the Antardhana.
Purport: Antardhana means that these living creatures can be perceived to be present, but they cannot be seen by vision."
"It is said that the demigods never touch the surface of the earth. They walk and travel in space only. Like the great sage Narada, the Kumaras do not require any machine to travel in space. There are also residents of Siddhaloka who can travel in space without machines. Since they can go from one planet to another, they are called siddhas; that is to say they have acquired all mystic and yogic powers. Such great saintly persons who have attained complete perfection in mystic yoga are not visible in this age on earth because humanity is not worthy of their presence."
"Beyond the region of ignorance [the material cosmic manifestation] lies the realm of Siddhaloka. The Siddhas reside there, absorbed in the bliss of Brahman. Demons killed by the Lord also attain that realm.
Purport: Tamas means darkness. The material world is dark, and beyond the material world is light. In other words, after passing through the entire material atmosphere, one can come to the luminous spiritual sky, whose impersonal effulgence is known as Siddhaloka. Mayavadi philosophers who aspire to merge with the body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as well as demoniac persons who are killed by Krsna, such as Kamsa and Sisupala, enter that Brahman effulgence. Yogis who attain oneness through meditation according to the Patanjali yoga system also reach Siddhaloka. This is a verse from the Brahmanda Purana."
Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi 5:29
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. Excerpted from various texts and purports of HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.