BOOK 7: UTTARA KANDA
Hearing the words of Lakshmana and smiling, the highly effulgent descendant of Raghu, Rama, skilled in the art of speech, replied Lakshmana", O foremost of men, thou hast truly related the story of Vritra s destruction and the fruits of horse sacrifice. O gentle one, I have heard, that formerly in the province of Valheeka, the graceful king Ila, the son of the patriarch Kardama, was highly pious.
O foremost of men, having brought the entire earth under his control, the highly illustrious king Ila used to govern his subjects like unto his own sons. O descendant of Raghu, being terrified, the generous Devas, the rich Daityas, the highly powerful Nagas, the irrepressible Rakshasas, Gandharvas and Yakshas used to adore him perpetually. The high souled Ila being enraged, the three worlds used to be convulsed with terror.
And albeit so very powerful the highly illustrious king of Valheeka never swerved from the path of morality nor neglected his Devas and rather intelligently used to administer all business. Once on a time in the picturesque season of spring the mighty armed Ila, with his army and conveyances, entered into a charming forest, and on the pretext of hunting, slew hundreds and thousands of deer. With slaying deer only the high souled king was not satisfied.
He slew millions of diverse other animals. In this way being engaged in hunting the king Ila arrived where Kartikeya was born. At that time, in that hilly fountain there was sporting in the company of his followers, the irrepressible god of gods, the three eyed deity with the daughter of the Chief of mountains.
Being desirous of satisfying the goddess Uma, her lord, whose emblem is bull, was sporting under the guise of a female. In that forest land, all male animals or trees were metamorphosed into the other sex at that time. A hunting, the king Ila, the son of Kardama.
arrived at that place and saw all animals and trees changed into female forms. And immediately the king, and his army were changed into similar forms. Finding himself in that plight the king Ila was greatly sorry, and thinking that the misfortune was owing to the influence of the god of gods Uma s lord, he was greatly terrified.
Thereupon with his followers and army the king took shelter of the high souled and red throated deity. Thereupon the great god, the conferror of boons, with the goddess, smiling said "Rise up, O son of Kardama, O thou of great strength, O gentle one, do thou beg of me any other boon than that of obtaining thy manhood." Being thus disappointed by the great deity, the king Ila, metamorposed into a female, became greatly sorry and did not pray for any other boon.
Being stricken with great sorrow, the king, with whole heart, saluted the daughter of the mountain chief and said :_"O goddess; thou art the protectress of all thou dost confer boons on all; seeing thee doth not become fruitless. Do thou therefore have compassion on me." Thereupon, cognizant of that king s intention, the goddess, with Hara s consent, said Half" of the boon, that thou shalt beg of us both, shall be granted by Mahadeva, and the other half shall be granted by me.
Do thou therefore beg of me the half." Heaing of that excellent and wondrous boon the king became greatly delighted and said: "If thou art pleased with me, O goddess, do thou confer upon me this boon, that I may be for one month, a female gifted with wonderful beauty in the three worlds and for another month I may be a male." Thereupon understanding king s desire, the beautiful goddess Parvati, mercifully said "The boon, according to thy desire, shall be granted.
O king, when thou shalt attain to the male figure, thou shalt not remembering of thy female form. And when thou shalt assume the charming female figure thou shalt forget everything of thy male state." O Lakshmana, by virtue of this boon, the king Ila for one month used to become a man and for the next used to become a female, charming in the three worlds under the name of Ila.