Puranic encyclopaedia

by Vettam Mani | 1975 | 609,556 words | ISBN-10: 0842608222

This page describes the Story of Rambha included the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani that was translated into English in 1975. The Puranas have for centuries profoundly influenced Indian life and Culture and are defined by their characteristic features (panca-lakshana, literally, ‘the five characteristics of a Purana’).

Story of Rambhā


One of the most beautiful of the apsarā women. Urvaśī, Tilottamā and Rambhā are really reputed for their beauty.


All the famous Celestial women were daughters of Kaśyapaprajāpati by his wife Pradhā. Devarṣi (Kaśyapa) begot the following daughters of his wife Pradhā i.e. Alambuṣā, Miśrakeśī, Vidyutparṇā, Tilottamā, Aruṇā, Rakṣitā, Rambhā, Manoramā, Subāhū, Keśinī, Suratā and Surajā. (Ādi Parva, Chapter 65).

Rāvaṇa cursed.

Rāvaṇa raped Rambhā and Nalakūbara cursed him. (See under Nalakūbara)

Purūravas and Rambhā.

Indra once killed an asura chief named Māyādhara and held a festival in honour of the victory. At the festival Rambhā danced before her preceptor Tumburu. Purūravas too was present on the occasion and he ridiculed Rambhā for her mistakes in dancing. Moreover he claimed that he was a greater master of dance than Tumburu preceptor of Rambhā. Enraged by this claim Tumburu cursed that Purūravas would be separated from his wife Urvaśī. (Kathāsaritsāgara, Lāvāṇakalambaka, Taraṅga 3).

Rambhā and Suṣeṇa.

There was a King called Suṣeṇa on mount Citrakūṭa. This handsome bachelor prince used to sit alone in the lotus pond near his palace. When once Rambhā passed through the sky above the pond her eyes met those of Suṣeṇa and she alighted on the spot and the long talk between the two ended in their marriage. Suṣeṇa enjoyed life there for a long time with Rambhā without knowing that she was an apsarā woman. He had attempted many a time to know the real facts about her, to no purpose. Rambhā did not even think about her native Svarga. Her companion, a Yakṣī, showered gold all over Suṣeṇa’s kingdom. In due course Rambhā delivered a beautiful female child and then she told the King that she was Rambhā and that she had continued as his wife till then as she felt love towards him. She further told him that now she had begot a daughter, she was leaving him and that she had a curse upon her which had been redeemed now. She also assured him that they would meet in Svarga in case the daughter was duly wedded. Rambhā departed to Svarga. Suṣeṇa named the child Sulocanā and when she came of age he married her to Vatsamaharṣi and then went to Devaloka where he lived happily with Rambhā for a long time. (Kathāsaritsāgara, Madanamañcukālambaka, Taraṅga 2).

Other information.

(1) The powerful asura called Caturāsya once felt a great yearning for Rambhā and her maid Svayamprabhā managed things for him. He built a garden-city and presented it to Svayamprabhā in return for her service stated above. (Kamba Rāmāyaṇa, Kiṣkindhā Kāṇḍa).

(ii) The Sage Gautama alias Śaradvān experienced seminal emission on seeing Rambhā and from the semen was born Kṛpī whom in due course of time Droṇācārya married. (Kathāsaritsāgara, Madanamañcukālambaka, Taraṅga 6).

(iii) Indra once deputed Rambhā to break the vigorous tapas Viśvāmitra was observing. She approached him in the guise of a nightingale and with her song disturbed his meditation. The muni cursed her as follows and turned her into a rock. "Oh! evil woman Rambhā, you have cheated me, who have mastered desire and anger and so you be turned into a rock for a thousand years. The great brahmin ascetic, Bhūritejas will absolve you from my curse and you will then resume your own form." (Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa. Bālakāṇḍa, Canto 64).

(iv) Rambhā gave a dance performance on the occasion of the birthday celebrations of Arjuna. (Ādi Parva, Chapter 122, Verse 62).

(v) She had lived for sometime in the court of Kubera serving him. (Sabhā Parva, Chapter 10, Verse 10).

(vi) When Arjuna lived in Svarga as Indra’s guest Rambhā danced in honour of the former. (Anuśāsana Parva, Chapter 43, Verse 29).

(vii) On another occasion she danced in Kubera’s court in honour of Aṣṭāvakra muni. (Anuśāsana Parva, Chapter 19, Verse 44).

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