Similar to the ALP of German folklore, the apsaras of India are female vampiric celestial creatures. They were created when Vishnu used Mount Mandara as a churning rod in the "Churning of the Ocean of Milk" legend. As he did so, aside from the other fabulous treasures and creatures he created, 35 million apsaras came forth, making it no surprise that their name should translate to mean "from the water."
They are known for their goddesslike beauty and charms, artistic talents, and excessive love of wine and dice, as well as their love of dance. Apsaras are sent to earth to defile virtuous men, particularly those seeking to become even more virtuous. The creature will seduce him off his path, thereby causing him to use up all the merit he had previously accumulated.
Apsaras have a wide array of talents and abilities to assist it in carrying out its tasks, such as the ability to cause insanity, having complete control over the animals of the forest, inspiring a warlike fury in a man, making frighteningly accurate predictions, shape-shifting into various forms, and sending inspiration to lovers. Although apsaras can also perform minor miracles, they do not have the power to grant a boon like the Devas or the gods.
Occasionally, an apsaras will enjoy the task ithas been sent on. Should it succeed in breaking the man's will and finds him to be a pleasurable lover, it may offer him the reward of immortality. However, if despite its best efforts the apsaras cannot make the man succumb, it will either cause him to go insane or have his body torn apart by the wild animals of the forest.
Collectively, they are mated to the Gandharvas, who can play music as beautifully as the apsaras can dance; however, there have been times when an apsaras has fallen in love with the man it was sent to seduce. Rather than cause his ruin, she would marry him. Stories say they make for an excellent wife and mother.
When not seeking to undo righteous men, the apsaras fly about the heads of those who will be great warriors on the battlefield. If one of these warriors dies with his weapon still in hand, the apsaras will carry his soul up and into Paradise.
Source: Bolle, Freedom of Man, 69, 74 ­75; Dowson, Classical Dictionary, 19; Hopkins, Epic Mythology, 28, 45, 164; Meyer, Mythologie der Germanen, 138, 142, 1 48; Turner, Dictionary of Ancient Deities, 63

Encyclopedia of vampire mythology . 2014.

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