Menaka

Menaka

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In Hindu mythology
Hindu mythology
Hindu religious literature is the large body of traditional narratives related to Hinduism, notably as contained in Sanskrit literature, such as the Sanskrit epics and the Puranas. As such, it is a subset of Nepali and Indian culture...

, Menaka is considered one of the most beautiful of the heavenly Apsaras.

She was sent by Indra
Indra
' or is the King of the demi-gods or Devas and Lord of Heaven or Svargaloka in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall.Indra is one of the chief deities in the Rigveda...

, the king of the Devas
Deva (Hinduism)
' is the Sanskrit word for god or deity, its related feminine term is devi. In modern Hinduism, it can be loosely interpreted as any benevolent supernatural beings. The devs in Hinduism, also called Suras, are often juxtaposed to the Asuras, their half brothers. Devs are also the maintainers of...

, to break the severe penance undertaken by Vishwamitra. She successfully incited Vishwamitra's lust and passion when he saw her swimming naked in a lake near a waterfall. She succeeded in breaking the meditation of Vishwamitra and the two made love for many years.
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In Hindu mythology
Hindu mythology
Hindu religious literature is the large body of traditional narratives related to Hinduism, notably as contained in Sanskrit literature, such as the Sanskrit epics and the Puranas. As such, it is a subset of Nepali and Indian culture...

, Menaka is considered one of the most beautiful of the heavenly Apsaras.

She was sent by Indra
Indra
' or is the King of the demi-gods or Devas and Lord of Heaven or Svargaloka in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall.Indra is one of the chief deities in the Rigveda...

, the king of the Devas
Deva (Hinduism)
' is the Sanskrit word for god or deity, its related feminine term is devi. In modern Hinduism, it can be loosely interpreted as any benevolent supernatural beings. The devs in Hinduism, also called Suras, are often juxtaposed to the Asuras, their half brothers. Devs are also the maintainers of...

, to break the severe penance undertaken by Vishwamitra. She successfully incited Vishwamitra's lust and passion when he saw her swimming naked in a lake near a waterfall. She succeeded in breaking the meditation of Vishwamitra and the two made love for many years. However, she fell in genuine love with him. When Vishwamitra realized that he had been tricked by Indra, he was enraged. But he merely cursed Menaka to be separated from him forever, for he loved her as well and knew that she had lost all devious intentions towards him long ago.

Later, Menaka is also said to have been the mother of Shakuntala
Shakuntala
In Hindu mythology Shakuntala is the wife of Dushyanta and the mother of Emperor Bharata. Her story is told in the Mahabharata and dramatized by Kalidasa in his play Abhijñānaśākuntalam .-Etymology:Rishi Kanva found her in forest as a baby surrounded by Shakunta birds...

, who was left at the hermitage of a Sage Kanva when she was a baby. Later Shakuntala became the love of King Dushyanta
Dushyanta
Dushyant or Dushyanta was a great king in classical Indian literature and mythology. He is the husband of Shakuntala and the father of the Emperor Bharatha. He appears in the Mahabarata and in Kalidasa's play The Recognition of Sakuntala .-Historical king:According to the Mahābhārata, Dushyanta is...

 and gave birth to his son Bharata
Bharata (emperor)
Bharata was a legendary emperor of India, and is referred to in Hindu and Jain mythology. He was son of King Dushyanta and Shakuntala and thus a descendant of the Lunar Dynasty of the Kshatriya caste. Bharata conquered all of greater Greater India, uniting it into a single entity which was named...

.