Beginning of Lunar Dynasty(Chandravansha)…..

Lord Shiva as Ardhnarishwar

This one-story has stuck to me for a while and probably one of the lesser-known stories but a very interesting one. We all know Shikandi’s story where a woman turns into a man but there is one more story where a man turns into a woman. This story is the beginning of Chandra vansh(Lunar dynast). The first person from the lunar dynasty was born “from” a transgender. This story has its lineage in the forefather of Kauravas, Pandavas and even Krishna. According to Mahabharata, this is the beginning of the Kuru lineage. This story also finds mention in Linga Purana and even Ramayan.

Sudyumna was the king of Bahlika(modern-day Afganistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. which is Central Asia). Sudyumna is a son of Vaivasvata Manu( Shraddhadeva Manu the current Manu). He was a very good king and had a prosperous kingdom. King didn’t have a child for a long time. He would perform all religious activities to please God so that he would be blessed by a son. Finally, God was impressed with his devotion and gave him a boon.

Once while hunting in a forest, the king spotted a deer who happened to be Yakshini, deer and deliberately led king into Sharavana (“Forest of Reeds”), the sacred grove of the goddess Parvati the consort of the god Shiva. Upon entering Sharavana, all-male beings except for Shiva, including trees and animals, are transformed into females. Even his charioteer and his horses all will turn into a female
[In Mahabharata, it states that the king had been blessed for having heir but his wife could not bear a child].

Coming back to the story now the king turned into a very beautiful woman and he is called as Ila. Due to the sudden transformation into a female, Ila approached Lord Shiva for help and mercy. Shiva laughed with scorn but the compassionate Parvati reduced the curse and allowed Ila to switch genders every month. However, as a male, he would not remember his life as a female and vice versa. While Ilā was bathing in a river in her new form with her female attendants, Budha, the god of the planet Mercury and the son of the moon-god (Chandra), noticed her. Ilas beauty caused him to fall in love with her at first sight.

The female Ilā married Budha and spent an entire month with him and consummated the marriage. Since Manu(Ila’s father) was descendant of sun and Budha was the son of the moon their marriage is considered as the union between sun and moon. However, after a month Ilā woke up as Sudyumna and remembered nothing about the past month.

Budha convinced Ila to stay with him for a year. During each month she spent as a woman, Ilā had a good time with Budha. During each month as a man, Ila turned to pious ways and performed austerities under the guidance of Budha. In the ninth month, Ilā gave birth to a son on Mount Puru, hence he was called Pururavas, who grew up and became the king of the Prayag. Ila was both father and mother of Pururavas. Then, as per the advice of sage Vasistha, Ila pleased Shiva with a horse sacrifice and Shiva restored Ila’s masculinity permanently.

Pururavas became the first king of the lunar dynasty. As per the advice of Narada muni Sudyumna retired to Vanasprastha and prayed to Devi Bhagavati. Goddess Bhagavati then merges Ila soul with herself, thus Ila gets salvation.
Pururavas great-grandson was Yayati, Yayati had 5 sons namely
Yadu(Krishna was descendant of yadu, hence called Yadavas), Turvasu,
Druhyu, Anu and Puru(Kauravas and Pandavas are descendants of Puru).

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