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Tilottama, aka: Tilottamā; 4 Definition(s)


Tilottama means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Kathā (narrative stories)

1) Tilottamā (तिलोत्तमा) is the name of an Apsara who cursed King Sahasrānīka after he ignored her appeal, according to the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 9. The curse was uttered as follows: “King, thou shalt be separated for fourteen years from her (Mṛgāvatī) who has so engrossed thy mind that thou dost not hear my speech.”

2) Tilottamā (तिलोत्तमा) is the name of a heavenly women created by Viśvakarman at the command of Brahmā, in order to destroy Sunda and Upasunda, according to the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 15. Sunda and Upasunda are two Asura brothers, surpassing the three worlds in valour, whose story is told by sage Nārada to Udayana (king of Vatsa) and Yaugandharāyaṇa, at an auspicious hour, before starting their journey to Lāvānaka.

The Kathāsaritsāgara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning Tilottamā, is a famous Sanskrit epic story revolving around prince Naravāhanadatta and his quest to become the emperor of the vidyādharas (celestial beings). The work is said to have been an adaptation of Guṇāḍhya’s Bṛhatkathā consisting of 100,000 verses, which in turn is part of a larger work containing 700,000 verses.

Source: Wisdom Library: KathāsaritsāgaraKathā book cover
context information

Kathās (कथा) are special kind of Sanskrit literature: they are a kind of a mix between Itihāsa (historical legends) and Mahākāvya (epic poetry). Some Kathās reflect socio-political instructions for the King while others remind the reader of the historical deeds of the Gods, sages and heroes.


Tilottamā (तिलोत्तमा).—The Apsaras1 presiding over the month of Iṣa (Māgha and Phālguna, Vāyu-purāṇa); born out of the fire altar of Brahmā;2 resides in the Sun's chariot in the month of Māgha; cursed by Aṣtāvakra.3

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa XII. 11. 43; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 23. 22; III. 7. 6; IV. 33. 20; Matsya-purāṇa 13. 53; Vāyu-purāṇa 52. 22; 69. 5.
  • 2) Vāyu-purāṇa 69. 59.
  • 3) Viṣṇu-purāṇa II. 10. 16; V. 38. 73 and 77.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana IndexPurāṇa book cover
context information

The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

General definition (in Hinduism)

Tilottama is an Apsara in Indra's court. In Sanskrit, Tila means seasme, and since Vishwakarma created her from from seasme seeds (on the advice of Lord Brahma), she is known as Tilottama.

Source: Apam Napat: Indian Mythology

Tilottamā (तिलोत्तमा) is an Apsara (celestial nymph) described in Hindu mythology. "Tila" is the Sanskrit word for sesame seed or a bit and "uttama" means better or higher. Tilottama therefore means the being whose smallest particle is the finest or one who is composed of the finest and highest qualities.

In the Hindu epic Mahabharata, Tilottama is described to have been created by the divine architect Vishwakarma, at Brahma's request, by taking the best quality of everything as the ingredients. She was responsible for bringing about the mutual destruction of the Asuras (demons), Sunda and Upasunda. Even gods like Shiva and Indra are described to be enamoured of Tilottama.

While a legend talks about a pre-birth as an ugly widow, another narrates how she was cursed to be born as a Daitya (demon) princess Usha by sage Durvasa.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

Relevant definitions

Search found 5 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

apsarā (अप्सरा).—f A courtesan of svarga. Not fully grown or developed. Timid, gentle.
śuṇḍā (शुंडा).—f śuṇḍādaṇḍa m The trunk of the elephant.
Upasunda (उपसुन्द) and Sunda are two Asura brothers, surpassing the three worlds in valour, acc...
Shiva is called as Panchvaktra (पञ्चवक्त्रः) because he possesses five faces. The five faces...
agnikuṇḍa (अग्निकुंड).—n A hole in the ground for receiving and preserving consecrated fire.

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