Menaka

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A nymph of extraordinary beauty. Taking instructions from Indra, Menaka used to entice man sages and destroy their power of penance. There an innumerable stories of this kind in Puranas. Some important events connected with Menaka are given below

1) Mother of Pramadvara.
Once Menaka became pregnant by a Gandharva named Visvavasu. On the day she delivered she threw the child on the banks of a river and went to Svarga. A sage named Sthulakesa who was doing penance nearby took the babe and brought it up. When she grew up she was named Pramadvara and Ruru married her.

2) Birth of Sakuntala.
When Visvamitra was performing penance in the forests, Menaka, under instruction from Indra, went and enticed Visvamitra and broke the continuity of his penance. A girl was born to Menaka and became later the celebrated Sakuntala.
(See under Sakuntala).

3) Again with Visvamitra.
Once again when Visvamitra was performing penance in Puskaratirtha, Menaka approached him and again Visvamitra fell in love with her and they lived together for ten years. Then one day Visvamitra realised his folly and leaving her went again to the forests for penance.

4) Mankana was enticed by her.

5) Other details.

(i) When once Durvasas visited Devaloka it was Menaka who presented him with a flower garland. This incident led to the churning of the milk ocean at a later period.

(ii) Menaka was one among the six prominent celestial maidens. Urvasi, Purvacitti, Sahajanya, Menaka, Ghrtaci and Visvaci are the six.
(Maha-bharata Sloka 68, Chapter 74, Adi Parva).

(iii) Menaka attended the Janmotsava of Arjuna and sang on the occasion.
(Maha-bharata Sloka 64, Chapter 122, Adi Parva).

(iv) Menaka was a dancer in the court of Kubera
(Maha-bharata Sloka 10, Chapter 10, Sabha Parva).

(v) #Menaka once gave a music performance in the court of Indra in honour of Arjuna. (Sloka 29, Chapter 43, Vana Parva).

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