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Title: Apasmara  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Nataraja, Dakshinamurthy, Brihajjabala Upanishad
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia



According to Hindu mythology, Apasmāra was a dwarf who represented ignorance and epilepsy. In order to preserve knowledge in the world, Apasmāra could not be killed; to do so would throw out the balance of knowledge and ignorance, as to kill Apasmāra would mean attaining knowledge without effort, dedication and hard work. Consequently this would lead to the devaluing of knowledge in all forms. In order to subdue Apasmāra, Lord Śiva adopted the form of Śrī Naṭarāja - the Lord of Dance and performed the cosmic dance of Tāṇḍava. During this dance, Śrī Naṭarāja suppressed Apasmāra by crushing him with his right foot. As Apasmāra is one of the few demons destined to immortality, it is believed that Lord Śiva forever remains in his Śrī Naṭarāja form suppressing Apasmāra for all eternity.

This mythological dwarf is generally depicted with his hand in Añjali Mudrā. He is often depicted in this posture in depictions of Naṭarāja. He is also known as Muyalaka or Muyalakan.

Apasmāra is also a neurological disorder described in Āyurveda. According to Maharṣi Caraka, there are 4 types of apasmāra. This condition is also known as epilepsy.


  • Dictionary of Hindu Lore and Legend (ISBN 0-500-51088-1) by Anna Dallapiccola

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