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By M. A. Alwar

Sometimes transliterated as: Ilvalah, IlvalaH, Ilvalah


Ilvalaḥ is a masculine form.


Ilvalaḥ can be split as il+valac.


Ilvalaḥ is meant as the absence of guṇa by nipātana.

1. Name of a demon – the brother of Vātāpi and the son of Siṁhikā 2. A kind of fish - Medinī Harivaṁśa, 3|98,99 Trans. “Thirteen powerful men known as Saiṁhikeya-s (sons of Siṁhikā) – Aiśa, Balya, Balī, Nabhas, Abala, Vātāpi, Namuci, Ilvala and Khasṛma”.

The story of Vātāpi and Ilvala is found in the Mahābhārata, tīrthayātrāparvan agastyopākhyāna chap.96 – Trans. “Lomaśa said – Oh son of Kaurava! Long ago, there was a demon named Ilvala in the city of Maṇimatī. His younger brother was Vātāpi. ||4|| That demon requested a Brahmin who was engaged in penance, thus – ‘Venerable sir! Please grant me a son equalling Indra’. ||5|| That Brahmin did not grant him such a son who could rival Indra. The demon became furious with that Brahmin ||6|| Since then, Oh great king! The demon Ilvala took to killing Brahmins, filled with rage. Skilled in magic, he converted his brother into a goat. ||7|| That Vātāpi, in the form of a ram, could take on any form at will. (Ilvala) cooks him and feeds him to a Brahmin. Then, wishing to kill him, ||8|| he calls out to him who has gone to Yama’s abode. He was seen coming back to his body, alive. ||9|| Then again, he converted the demon Vātāpi into a goat, cooked him well, fed him to a Brahmin, and again, called him. ||10|| Hearing that sound, uttered in a loud voice by Ilvala, that Vātāpi, who was a skilled magician, very powerful and a torment to Brahmins, ripped apart the sides of that Brahmin and came out laughing. Oh king! ||11,12|| Thus, again and again, the evil Ilvala fed the Brahmins and killed them. ||13|| At the same time, the venerable Agastya saw his ancestors hanging upside down in a pit…||14|| Later, the 99th chapter describes the hospitality rendered to Agastya by Ilvala. Trans. “Lomasha said – Ilvala, knowing the arrival of the kings along with the great sage, received them with honour at the border of his kingdom. ||1|| Then that terrible demon served them with his brother Vātāpi, who was cooked well. ||2|| Seeing that evil demon, cooked in the form of a ram, all the Rājarṣi-s became fearful and dejected. ||3|| Then, the great sage Agastya told those Rājarṣi-s – ‘Do not be dejected. I will eat that evil demon’. ||4|| Then, the great sage approached the first seat and sat down. The demon-king Ilvala served him, suppressing his laughter. ||5|| Then, Agastya himself ate Vātāpi completely. After he finished eating, Ilvala invited the demon. ||6|| At that time, a huge gust of wind erupted from beneath the great sage, with a loud sound, roaring like a cloud ||7|| He called again and again, ‘Vātāpi! Come out’. ||8|| Oh king! The great sage Agastya told him laughing, ‘How can he come out? That demon has been digested by me’. ||9|| Ilvala was dejected upon seeing the great demon being digested. He folded his hands, along with his ministers, and spoke this - ||10||

• Notes by the editor: The story of the cruel demon brother, Ilvala and Vātāpi, is found in the Mahābhārata. Ilvala, angry at a Brahmin who refused to grant him a son equalling Indra, found an innovative way of tormenting and killing Brahmins. Being skilled at magic, he would turn his brother, Vātāpi, into a goat. That goat 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, who was requested to end this menace, partook of the feast of Vātāpi in the form of a goat, and digested him completely, so that he could no longer come out.


  • Shabdakalpadrumah by Raja Radhakantdev, Varadaprasada Vasu, Haricarana Vasu