During the childhood days, when we enjoy a heavy meal or feel discomfort after it, our grandparents use to soothe the pain by rubbing on the stomach by saying, “jeernam jeernam vatapi jeernam” for digestion of the food.
Till today, whenever we go over such a situation, we use to do the same to ease the digestion and in fact, we would pass this word to our next generation kids too.
Do you know there is an interesting story behind this saying of Vatapi Jeernam?
The Story of Vatapi Jeernam
Once, there lived two demon brothers named Ilvalu and Vatapi in a forest, they were wicked in nature and had black magical powers.
These demon brothers use to kill the innocent travelers passing by the forest and feed on them. But to implement this, they use to have a wicked plan in their mind and here it is.
The plan of Ilvalu and Vatapi to trap the Travellers
The ilvalau would turn himself into a sage and wait for a traveler who is passing by the forest and then he use to approach and lure them with good words, saying…
O, traveler! It is my pleasure to invite such a grateful person to my cottage and provide you with a grand meal. Please accept my invitation and proceed to my cottage to enjoy a delicious meal!
By hearing such lucrative words, the traveler would accept the invitation of ilvalu and reaches their cottage.
On the other hand, Vatapi would turn himself into a goat and ilvalu would cook this goat and serve it to the guest.
Once the guest completes his meal, the ilavalu calls his brother, saying Vatapi! Vatapi!
By listening to these words, the vatapi would burst out of the poor traveler’s belly. Then, the brothers would feed on their victims.
Sage Agastya listens about Vatapi and Ilvalu’s actions in forest
As their actions continued so long, several travelers passing the forest were worried that something mischievous is going on to the people who are traveling by this forest.
Later Sage Agastya listened about these demons from the travellers and thought to put an end to this
One fine day, the sage took the same route, where the travelers were gone missing, as he continued traveling through the path, after some time he encountered the demon ilavlu in the form of a sage.
Ilavalu invites Sage Agastya
Ilvalu in the form of sage respected Agastya and invited him to take a meal which he is offering for the travelers. Agastya, without any hesitation, acted normal and accepted the invitation of ilvalu to take a grand meal at his cottage.
Ilvalu, asusual cooked his brother Vatapi, present in the form of goat and served him to the muni.
Maha Muni Agastya digests Vatapi and teaches a lesson to Ilvalu
Done with his meal, Sage Agastya gave a gentle smile by rubbing his stomach and uttered “Vatapi jeernam Vatapi jeernam – jeernam jeernam Vatapi jeernam!”
Ilvalu laughed at the sage and said Vatapi! Vatapi! But surprisingly, this time the vatapi did not come out of the sages’ stomach. Ilvalu shouted, again and again, Vatapi! Vatapi! Come out! but it was hopeless.
Agastya said, O Ilvalu, your brother would no longer come back because you heard me saying Vatapi Jeernam Vatapi Jeernam, he has been annihilated by my digestive fire.
Finally, Ilvalu came to know the person he invited was not a normal person and thought he might have some super natural powers and Ilvalu took his original form and tried to attack Agastiyar. However, with his mighty power Maha Muni Agastya turned ilvalu in to ashes.
This is the interesting story behind the word Vatapi Jeernam Vatapi Jeernam.
As you can see from the story, it shows how miraculous powers sage Agastya maha muni had.
People from then till now, often utter these words after a meal as a Mantra, especially for children by rubbing their belly. Some people even believe uttering these words can even turn the mountain into a powder, describing the power of the words uttered by Sage Agastya.
What a great story to know, and interestingly, it was still being passed on to generation to generation.