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Story of Ila - King Who Became Man And Woman

Ila was the daughter of Vaivasvata Manu but had to live the life of both male and female. Vaivasvata Manu and his wife Shraddha did not have children after several years of marriage. Manu asked Sage Vasishta to conducted a yajna to get a son. As a result of yajna a daughter was born to Vaivasvata Manu and his wife Shraddha. The newborn was called Ila. Vaivasvata Manu wanted a son who will take over his kingdom. So he complained to Sage Vasishta who immediately changed the girl into a boy and he was called Sudyumna.

A young Sudyumna once entered the cursed forest of Kumaravana near Kailash. This forest was cursed by Shiva and Parvati. Once, Sage Sunaka and others had entered the forest when Shiva and Parvati were making love. The divine couple did not tolerate this intervention and cursed that in future men who will enter the forest will become women.

As a result of the curse young Sudyumna became a woman. She again took the name of Ila. Budha, or mercury, one of the Navagrahas fell in love with Ila. They got married and a son named Pururavas was born to them.

Ila once met Sage Vasishta and explained how she had become a woman again. Sage Vasishta asked her to worship Shiva. Shiva pleased with her devotion gave her the boon that she will be a man every alternate month and a woman during the other months.

He ruled the kingdom as Sudyumna every alternate month and retired to the palace when she was Ila. This continued till Pururavas became the king.

Ila then retired to the forest and here Sage Narada taught her the Navakshari Mantra. Ila worshipped Goddess Shakti in the forest. Pleased with her devotion Mother Goddess gave her moksha.