By M. A. Alwar
Ilā is derived from "ilati viṣṇuvarāt puṁstvaṁ prāpnoti" which means 'attains manhood by the boon of Viṣṇu'.
Ilā is a feminine form.
It can be split as ila+ka+ṭāp.
- Ilā is the name of a daughter of Vaivasvata Manu. She obtained manhood by the boon of Viṣṇu and became famous as Sudyumna.
- She became woman again by the curse of śaṅkara while entering the Kumāravana.
- Budha wedded her and became father of Purūravas.
- Then Ilā's priest Vaśiṣṭha worshiped śaṅkara and got her a boon of being male and female for alternate months.
- Ilā was the son of Prajāpati Kardama, who entered the birthplace of Kārttikeya and became a woman known as ilā.
- After worshiping Pārvatī, she obtained the boon of being male and female for alternate months.
- Ilā is recognized as a goddess of light and brilliance along with Sarasvatī and Mahī.
- She is accounted as the goddess of the earth. She resides in the center of the earth.
- She is declared as the daughter of Manu and the teacher of men.
- The place sanctified by her feet on the sacrificial altar is used to keep the fire of the sacrifice.
Ilā In Purāṇas and Mahābhārata
- She is pictured as the daughter of Manu.
- She has changed her sex to enter a forbidden place or due to the efforts of the sages like Vasiṣṭha.
- She either becomes prince Sudyumna or the wife of Budha and mother of Pururavas.
- She used to undergo change of sex once a month.
- Shabdakalpadrumah by Raja Radhakantdev, Varadaprasada Vasu, Haricarana Vasu