Puranic encyclopaedia

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

This page describes the Story of Tilottama 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 Tilottamā

A prominent celestial maiden.


Tilottamā was born to Pradhā, wife of Kaśyapa, grandson of Brahmā and son of Marīci. Alambuṣā, Miśrakeśī, Vidyutparṇā, Aruṇā, Rakṣitā, Rambhā, Manoramā, Subāhu, Keśinī, Suratā, Surajā and Supriyā were all sisters of Tilottamā. (Chapter 65, Ādi Parva).

There is a story about the birth of Tilottamā. Two demons named Sunda and Upasunda obtained invincible powers by doing penance. To make these two brothers quarrel with each other, by directions from Brahmā, Viśvakarmā created Tilottamā. Viśvakarmā collected from all inanimate and animate objects parts of objects beautiful to look at and created the enchanting Tilottamā. Tilottamā was then made to come to the world through the womb of Kaśyapa’s wife. Because she was made by the tilāṃśa (small particle) of all the best (uttama) articles of the world she got the name of Tilottamā. (Chapter 215, Ādi Parva).

The good girl named Tilottamā was formerly created by Brahmā from small particles of diamonds. (Śloka 1, Chapter 141, Anuśāsana Parva).

How Śiva got four heads and Indra a thousand eyes.

When the two demon brothers Sundopasundas were creating great havoc in the world by their cruel and immoral deeds, it was Tilottamā who was deputed by Brahmā to create a split between the brothers. On the eve of her departure to the world she went to Devaloka to bid adieu. Brahmā stood facing south and Śiva stood facing north and Tilottamā stood in the centre surrounded by the Devas. Tilottamā circled round the devas worshipping them. Śiva was enamoured of her beauty and wanted to see her always and so a face on all the four sides of his head sprang up so that he could see her always as she circled round him. Indra was also enamoured of her and he found his two eyes insufficient to enjoy her beauty. So instantly a thousand eyes sprang up in the face of Indra. (Chapter 215, Ādi Parva).

How Tilottamā cursed Sahasrānīka.

(See under Sahasrānīka).

Tilottamā and Sundopasundas.

See under Sunda.

Other details.

Tilottamā partook in the Janmotsava (birthday festival) of Arjuna. (Śloka 62, Chapter 122, Mahābhārata).

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