Vatapi – Daitya Slain by Agastya


Vatapi was the younger brother of the Daitya Ilvala, the ruler of the city of Manimati. He was a shape-shifter. His brother was denied a boon by the sage Agastya, and hence the brothers became the enemies of Brahmanas.

When any Brahmana guest arrived at the palace, Vatapi would transform into a ram. Ilvala would then cause the meat of this ram to be served to the unsuspecting guest. Once the Brahmana had eaten his fill, Ilvala would utter a magical incantation, and say, “O Vatapi, come out!”. Vatapi would then emerge whole and alive from the belly of the guest, killing that Brahmana in that process.

When the sage Agastya again visited the city of Manimati, the brothers tried to pull the same trick on him. However, the wily sage, rubbed his stomach and said, “May Vatapi be digested!”, before Ilvala could utter the magical incantations, and Vatapi was slain. Chastened, Ilvala gave many gifts and made peace with th sage.

See [Maha:3.96,3.99].

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