john stvyn high, illustrator john stvyn high
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J. Steven High
published illustrator
  Minaret of the Apsaras
7.5 x 13 Inches
Gouache and Opaque Watercolor
© John Styvn High 2000


Apsaras are nymphs, usually associated with lakes and rivers and represent the principle of pleasure. They know 64 ways to rouse the senses and delight the mind. The god-king Indra loves their company. Some of his favorite nymphs are Menaka, Urvashi, Rambha and Ghritachi.

Whenever a sage becomes too powerful by performing austerities, the god-king Indra sends his nymphs to bewitch them with their beauty. As soon as the sage embraces these voluptuous beauties, he loses his spiritual prowess acquired after years of restraint and self-mortification.

A minaret is a tower near a mosque from which the faithful are called to prayer five times a day. However, it was not for this reason alone that Indra was demoted in the Hindu pantheon, but rather because the indigenous peoples who worshipped him were conquered by the Aryans of the west…the Celtoiranians. Around 2400 BC the Kurgans migrated into the Caucasus region and met and mixed, as was their wont, with the refugees from the Indus valley. This was the beginning of the Indo-Europeans, the Granddaddy of Western Civilization.

Years went by and eventually, the Aryans migrated east back into India and established the venerable culture that now exists. But coming or going, Hindu or Celt, the Apsaras were always assured of a prominent place, whether carved on the temples of Lumpur or engraved into the harness of a Celtic war chariot. Everybody loves a good nymph, or an odalisque.