Menaka was born during the churning of the ocean by the devas and asuras and was one of the most beautiful apsaras (celestial fairy) in the world with quick intelligence and innate talent but desired a family.
Vishwamitra, one of the most respected and revered sages in ancient India, frightened the gods and even tried to create another heaven - Indra, frightened by his powers, sent Menaka from heaven to earth to lure him and break his meditation. Menaka successfully incited Vishwamitra's lust and passion when he saw her beauty. She succeeded in breaking the meditation of Vishwamitra. However, she fell in genuine love with him and a baby was born to them who later grew in Sage Kanva's ashram and came to be called Shakuntala. Later Shakuntala falls in love with King Dushyanta and gives birth to a child called Bharata after whom India was first named.
When Vishwamitra realized that he had been tricked by Indra, he was enraged. But he merely cursed Menaka to be separated from him forever, for he loved her as well and knew that she had lost all devious intentions towards him long ago.
In the Mahabharata Pauloma Parva, Sauti said that Menaka had a daughter with Gandharva Visvavasu. She was ashamed of giving birth to the child so she left her in front of sage Sthulakesha's hermitage. The sage adopted the child and named her Pramadvara, who later married Ruru, descendant of Bhrigu.
- PC Roy Mahabharata link: http://www.holybooks.com/mahabharata-all-volumes-in-12-pdf-files/
- Devdutt Pattanaik (2000). The Goddess in India: The Five Faces of the Eternal Feminine. Inner Traditions / Bear & Co. p. 67.
- Sattar, Arshia (22 June 2017). "The ultimate male fantasy". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 5 September 2020.
- "अप्सरा मेनका ने क्यों छोड़ दिया था विश्वामित्र को? | apsara Menaka story". hindi.webdunia.com. Retrieved 5 September 2020.
- Pauloma Parva, Section VIII, PC Roy Mahabharata link: http://www.holybooks.com/mahabharata-all-volumes-in-12-pdf-files
- Quotations related to Menaka at Wikiquote