Encyclopedia for Epics of Ancient India

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IDA. [Source: Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology] In the Rigveda Ida is primarily food, refreshment, or a libation of milk; thence a stream of praise, personified as the goddess of speech. She is called the instructress of Manu, and frequent passages ascribe to her the first institution of the rules of performing sacrifices. According to Sayana, she is the goddess presiding over the earth.

A legend in the Satapatha Brahmana represents her as springing from a sacrifice which Manu performed for the purpose of obtaining offspring. She was claimed by Mitra-Varuna, but remained faithful to him who had produced her. Manu lived with her, and praying and fasting to obtain offspring, he begat upon her the race of Manu.

In the Puranas she is daughter of the Manu Vaivaswata, wife of Budha (Mercury), and mother of Pururavas. The Manu Vaivaswata, before he had any sons, instituted a sacrifice to Mitra and Varuna for the purpose of obtaining one; but the officiating priest mismanaged the performance, and the result was the birth of a daughter, Ida or Ila. Through the favour of the two deities her sex was changed, and she became a man, Sudyumna. Under the malediction of Siva, Sudyumna was again turned into a woman, and, as Ila, married Budha or Mercury.

After she had given birth to Pururavas, she, under the favour of Vishnu, once more became Sudyumna, and was the father of three sons.

According to another version of the legend, the Manu's eldest son was named Ila. He having trespassed on a grove sacred to Parvati, was changed into a female, Ila. Upon the supplications and prayers of Ila's friends, Siva and his consort conceded that the offender the should be a male one month and a female another.

There are other variations in the story which is apparently ancient.

Modern Languages MLLL-4993. Indian Epics. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. The textual material made available at this website is licensed under a Creative Commons License. You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one. No claims are made regarding the status of images used at this website; if you own the copyright privileges to any of these images and believe your copyright privileges have been violated, please contact the webmaster. Page last updated: October 16, 2007 12:22 PM