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This article is related to Hindu mythology. For the Indian film actresses with the name Urvashi see Urvashi (actress) and Urvashi Sharma
Urvashi and Pururavas painted by Raja Ravi Varma

Urvashi (Urvaśī, from uru "wide" + "to extend", "widely extending") is an Apsara (nymph) in Hindu mythology. She was a celestial maiden in Indra's court and was considered the most beautiful of all the Apsaras.

She became the wife of king Pururavas (Purūrávas, from purū+rávas "crying much or loudly"), an ancient chief of the lunar race. ShBr 11.5.1, and treated in Kalidasa's drama Vikramōrvaśīyam.

She is perennially youthful and infinitely charming but always elusive.[1] She is a source as much of delight as of dolour.[2]

Contents

Birth

There are many legends about the birth of Urvashi but the following one is most prevalent.

Once the revered sages Nara-narayana was meditating in the holy shrine of Badrinath situated in the Himalayas. Indra, the king of the Gods, did not want the sage to acquire divine powers through meditation and sent two apsaras to distract him. The sage struck his thigh and created a woman so beautiful that Indra’s apsaras were left matchless. This was Urvashi, named from ur, the Sanskrit word for thigh. After his meditation was complete the sage gifted Urvashi to Indra, and she occupied the pride of place in Indra’s court.

Ur also means heart and vash means to control, hence Urvashi is also the name of a woman who conquers the heart. According to the etymology of the poet Ramdhari Singh 'Dinkar', Urvashi also means a lady who invokes utter desire in men.[3]

Urvashi in literature

Rashtrakavi Ramdhari Singh 'Dinkar' composed an epic poem titled Urvashi. Ramdhari Singh 'Dinkar's language and imagery reflected elements of the romantic sensibility but he made them a vehicle of his dramatic, narrative style, as seen in Urvashi (1961) for which he received the Jnanpith Award in 1972.[4] Urvashi is the eternal woman whom man can only desire but never possess.[5] Urvashi is also one of the protagonists in Kalidasa's play Vikramōrvaśīyam.

See also

References

  • A Dictionary of Hindu Mythology & Religion by John Dowson
  1. ^ George (ed.), K.M. (1992). Modern Indian Literature, an Anthology. Sahitya Akademi. ISBN 9788172013240.  
  2. ^ George (ed.), K.M. (1992). Modern Indian Literature, an Anthology. Sahitya Akademi. ISBN 9788172013240.  
  3. ^ Singh Dinkar, Raamdhari (1994) (in English). Dinkar's Urvashi : a saga of human love and Vedanta. Kr̥shṇa Kumāra Vidyārthī (trans) (1st ed.). New Delhi: Siddharth Publications. ISBN 817220065X 9788172200657.  
  4. ^ George (ed.), K.M. (1992). Modern Indian Literature, an Anthology. Sahitya Akademi. ISBN 9788172013240.  
  5. ^ George (ed.), K.M. (1992). Modern Indian Literature, an Anthology. Sahitya Akademi. ISBN 9788172013240.  







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