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Apsaras

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APSARA
APSARA (Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap) is the Cambodian management authority responsible for protecting the archaeological park of Angkor. Founded in 1995, it is in charge of the research, protection, and conservation as well as the urban and tourist development of the park.

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Apsara
An Apsara (also spelled as Apsarasa) is a female spirit of the clouds and waters in Hindu and Buddhist mythology.

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Encyclopedia Mythica Dictionary

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Apsaras
[Hindu] The Apsaras were nature spirits, the mates of the Gandharvas. They sometimes were water nymphs, and other times were beings of the forest. They are all female, and all of them are described as being very beautiful. They were paired with the Gandharvas, who would play their instruments so the Apsaras would dance. They would often perform for the gods in their palaces. They were inspirations for love, and were sometimes sent to tempt rishis or Brahmans who were very austere.

Rakefet Dictionary

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Apsaras
Apsaras (Sanskrit) [from ap water + saras flowing from the verbal root sri to flow, glide, blow (as of wind)] Moving in the waters; a class of feminine divinities known as celestial water nymphs, whose location is commonly placed in the sky between the clouds rather than in the waters of earth, although they are often described as visiting earth. These fairy-like wives of the gandharvas (celestial musicians) can change their shape at will, often appearing as aquatic birds. In Manu they are held to be the creations of the seven manus, but in the Puranas and the Ramayana their origin is attributed to the churning of the cosmic waters, and it is said that neither gods nor asuras would have them for wives. Since mythologically they were common to all, they are called Sumadatmajas (self-willed pleasurers) -- 35 millions of them, of whom Kama, god of love, is lord and king. One of their roles is to act as temptresses to those too ardent for divine status. Only the individual who can withstand the perfumed entreaties of the apsarasas is worthy of full enlightenment. In the Yajur-Veda the apsarasas are called sunbeams because of their connection with the gandharva who personifies the sun.
Blavatsky looks upon the apsarasas as "both qualities and quantities" (SD 2:585) and also as " 'sleep-producing' aquatic plants, and interior forces of nature" (TG 28).
In the Puranas the apsarasas are sometimes divided into two classes, the daivika (divine or belonging to the devas), hence highly ethereal beings, and the laukika [from loka worldly], belonging to the worlds of manifestation, such as a physical plane. Considered apart from mythologic references, the apsarasas bear a strong resemblance to the undines of medieval Europe, nature forces and elementals appurtenant to all ten ranges of their hierarchical distribution, from the spiritual to the grossly material and physical. Every one of the seven or ten cosmic elements (bhutas) or principles (tattvas) has its own class of inhabitants.



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