The Rakshasa Brothers: Vatapi and Ilvala

- December 22, 2020


By Srinidhi Murthy  Illustration: Arijit Dutta Chowdhury According to Valmiki’s Ramayana, there once lived rakshasa brothers, Vatapi and Ilvala. All their life they killed holy men by tricking them. Vatapi had the boon of transforming into any life form at will. While Ilvala had the power to bring back the dead.  In order to kill the sages, both would take another form. Ilvala would assume the form of a holy man and Vatapi would transform himself into a goat. Every time sages passed through the forest, Ilvala would invite them for a feast. Ilvala would cook the goat, which was Vatapi, and serve it to the holy men. After they were done feasting, Ilvala would shout, “ O Vatapi! Come out.”...

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