By M. A. Alwar
Ilvalaḥ is a masculine form.
Ilvalaḥ can be split as il+valac.
- Name of a demon, the brother of Vātāpi and the son of Siṁhikā.
- A kind of fish.
Ilvalaḥ As per Harivaṁśa
According to him, Ilvalaḥ is:
“Thirteen powerful men known as Saiṁhikeyas (sons of Siṁhikā) – Aiśa, Balya, Balī, Nabhas, Abala, Vātāpi, Namuci, Ilvalaḥ and Khasṛma”.
Ilvalaḥ As per Mahābhārata
Oh son of Kaurava! Long ago, there was a demon named Ilvalaḥ in the city of Maṇimatī. His younger brother was Vātāpi. That demon requested a Brahmin who was engaged in penance, thus – ‘Venerable sir! Please grant me a son equaling Indra’.
That Brahmin did not grant him such a son who could rival Indra. The demon became furious with that Brahmin. Since then,
Oh great king! The demon Ilvalaḥ took to killing Brahmins, filled with rage. Skilled in magic, he converted his brother Vātāpi into a goat.
Vātāpi can take any form at his own will. He took the form of a ram which Ilvalaḥ cooked and feeded to a Brahmin. Then Ilvalaḥ would call out for Vātāpi. Vātāpi was a skilled magician, very powerful and a torment to Brahmins, ripped apart the sides of that Brahmin and came out laughing. Ilvalaḥ would do that repeatedly and killed number of Brahmins.
Oh king! Thus, again and again, the evil Ilvalaḥ fed the Brahmins and killed them.
At the same time, the venerable Agastya saw his ancestors hanging upside down in a pit. Later, the 99th chapter describes the hospitality rendered to Agastya by Ilvalaḥ. Lomasha said that Ilvalaḥ, on knowing the arrival of the kings along with the great sage, received them with honor at the border of his kingdom. Then that terrible demon served them with his brother Vātāpi, who was cooked well. Seeing that evil demon, cooked in the form of a ram, all the Rājarṣis became fearful and dejected. Then, the great sage Agastya told those Rājarṣis,
‘Do not be dejected. I will eat that evil demon’.
Then, the great sage approached the first seat and sat down. The demon-king Ilvalaḥ served him, suppressing his laughter. Then, Agastya himself ate Vātāpi completely. After he finished eating, Ilvalaḥ invited the demon. At that time, a huge gust of wind erupted from beneath the great sage, with a loud sound, roaring like a cloud. Ilvalaḥ called again and again,
‘Vātāpi! Come out’.
The great sage Agastya told him laughing,
Oh king! ‘How can he come out? That demon has been digested by me’.
Ilvalaḥ was dejected upon seeing the great demon being digested. He folded his hands, along with his ministers.
Notes by the editor
Mahābhārata depicts the story of the cruel demon brothers Ilvalaḥ and Vātāpi. Ilvalaḥ being angry at a Brahmin, who refused to grant him a son equaling Indra, found an innovative way of tormenting and killing Brahmins. Being skilled at magic, he would turn his brother, Vātāpi, into a goat which would be killed, cooked well, and served to unsuspecting Brahmins. Once the Brahmin had finished eating, Ilvala would call out to him brother, who emerged ripping open the stomach of the Brahmin. The great sage Agastya was requested to end this menace. Sage partook the feast of Vātāpi in the form of a goat, and digested him completely so that he could no longer come out.
- As per Medinī
- Harivaṁśa 3|98,99
- Tīrthayātrāparvan agastyopākhyāna chapter 96
- Shabdakalpadrumah by Raja Radhakantdev, Varadaprasada Vasu, Haricarana Vasu