Unknown Rig Vedic hymn on Aśvins in Mahabharata & the purpose of Rig Veda

Vedas are many and only some of them have been compiled by Vyasa (Krishna Dwaipayana), so goes the tradition. Even this compilation was very huge but what we have today is just 99.1% of what Vyasa had compiled. Of them Rig Vedic hymns in the form of 1028 sūktas are available now. At times we do hear about discovery of some Rig Vedic sūktas with someone, but the authenticity of those hymns cannot be known. In this backdrop, it makes exciting reading to come across an unknown Rig Vedic sūkta onAśvins in Mahabharata.

Exciting because,

(1) It was recited in a time frame that can be deciphered. This brings in newer insight in ‘dating’ efforts of Rig Veda.

(2) It gives references to the zodiac, much the same as what is found in RV 1-164 authored by Rishi Dirghatamas.

(3) The references reveal the purpose of Rig Veda with Sūktas which are nothing but mantras that bring out designated results.

Background of the Sūkta found in Mahabharata.

This Rig Vedic hymn (Sūkta) was recited by Upamanyu, the son of Vyāghrapāda. Upamanyu also happened to be a preceptor for Krishna (MB: 13-17). In his youth while he was serving as a student in the Gurukul of Ayoda-Dhaumya an incident happened by which he lost his vision and fell into a pit. On the advice of his preceptor to glorify Aśvins to regain eye sight, Upamanyu began reciting the Rig Vedic hymn of Aśvins! It is not known whether this sūkta was created by Upamanyu then and there or it existed earlier.

The sūkta begins as follows:

“sa evam ukta upādhyāyena stotuṃ pracakrame devāv aśvinau vāgbhir ṛgbhiḥ”

(स एवम उक्त उपाध्यायेन सतॊतुं परचक्रमे देवाव अश्विनौ वाग्भिर ऋग्भिः) Mahabharata (1:3-59)

(Meaning: “Upamanyu thus directed by his preceptor began to glorify the twin Aśvins, in the following words of the Rig Veda”)

This is followed by 11 riks that praise Aśvins as the Supreme Being that set the Wheel of Time to roll eternally causing the fruits of action manifested for all beings. (Text and meaning at the end of this article)


Aśvins given supreme position.

A chronology of ideas exist in Rig Vedic sūktas, of which the foremost one is in offering soma to Indra and other deities and not offering the same to Aśvins. But then came a time when Aśvins were also offered Soma. It was Rishi Chyavana, son of Bhrigu who started offering Soma to Aśvins (MB- 3:124-125). Generally Kaṇvas were associated with offering oblations to Aśvins. An Atharvan verse (2:141-04) says that the soma offered by Kaṇvas to Aśvins helped Yadu and Turvasu of whom Yadu was the progenitor of Krishna’s race. And Krishna himself had opted for Aśvins in the place of Indra after he stopped the Indra festival. A couple of verses in Rig Veda refer to Krishna invoking Aśvins to accept Soma (RV 8:74.3 &4).

All this goes to show that by Krishna’s times Aśvins had replaced Indra in receiving soma. Upamanya of the same period of Krishna had praised Aśvins as the Supreme Being who facilitated creation and manifestation of karmic results through the wheel of Time.

The Sūkta recited by Upamanyu containing 11 verses (mantras / riks) extols Aśvins as the first –born and who set in motion the wheel of time that had 360 days and 720 days and nights. There is a reference to 12 spokes of the wheel referring to 12 months and the zodiac. Though by themselves are free from fruits of action, the Aśvins cause the fruits of action to all beings.

This sūkta is comparable to another Rig Vedic sūkta (RV 1:164) having the same notions on Wheel of Time but it has in addition two popular ideas of Vedic Thought. One is about the 2-bird analogy found in the Upanishads of the Atman and Paramatman sitting on a tree as birds, with Atman eating the fruit of karma while the other not eating any but shining well. The other view is the now famous but also mis-interpreted verse “ekaṃ sad viprā bahudhā vadanti” – which has the meaning as follows:

They call him Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni, and he is heavenly noblywinged- Garutman. 

To what is One, sages give many a title they call it Agni, Yama, Mātariśvan
.” (RV 1:164.46)

This conveys that the Supreme Being is known by different names such as Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni, Garutman (Garuda), Yama and Mātariśvan. In other words the deities we know as Indra, Varuna etc are none other than the Supreme Being Itself. This verse by Rishi Dirghatamas does not attest the same status to Aśvins though it does say that Aśvins are endowed with helping mankind. But Aśvins are given the Supreme status in Upmanayu’s sūkta.

Part of the compilation by Vyasa.

Now the question comes whether this hymn was part of the Rig Vedic corpus that is now lost or it was newly composed by Upamanyu. Looking at the contemporariness of Upamanyu and Vyasa, and the age of Upamanyu at the time of reciting it – as a young student serving his master – it appears that this verse could have been part of the pre-existing compilation. Upamanyu had recited it for regaining eye-sight

Contextually similar event appears in RV 1:112.6 in a verse in praise of Aśvins that says,

Wherewith ye rescued Antaka when languishing deep in the pit, and Bhujyu with unfailing help.”

Yet another one (1:116.11) says  that Aśvins “delivered Vandana from the pit like hidden treasure”.

Restoration of eye sight is also attributed to Aśvins in a couple of Rig Vedic verses (1:112.8 & 1:116.16). Though Upamanyu’s sūkta does not refer to his sufferings (falling into the pit and losing eye sight), the purpose of the sūkta was to get relief from his suffering. As such this sūkta must have been a popular one in those days when there was a high probability of losing way in the forests and falling into pits and losing eyesight. Upamanyu suffered blindness upon eating a poisonous herb and falling into a pit thereafter. After reciting this sūkta, the Aśvins appeared and got him cured.

Coming to the issues raised earlier,

(1) As Upamanyu was a contemporary of Krishna, this sūkta can be dated to anytime before 5000 years from now. This hymn, found missing from the presently available śāka of Rig Veda but well entrenched in Mahabharata is proof that many Vedic hymns had existed in the past.

(2) The reference to the 12-part zodiac in this sūkta makes it known that the knowledge of the zodiac had existed in India 5000 years ago. The hymn of Dirghatamas being more ancient, it can be said that the original concept had evolved much earlier.  (The reference to 5000 years as the date of Krishna is based on the Mahabharata war-date evidenced inAihole inscription).

Purpose of Rig Veda

(3) Coming to the purpose of the Rig Veda, all riks are mantras and the compilation of the riks is a sūkta . Every sūkta or a mantra (rik) is capable of invoking the concerned deity, which is the very purpose of the Rig Veda. The basis is śabda that is understood as word or sound. When Śabda is arranged in specific order known as ‘Ānupūrvi’, the deity is invoked.

This is comparable to the sub-atomic particles of the Universe which combine in various ways – but in specific order- to create composite particles and atoms. That order is the Ānupūrvi of the sub-atomic particles.  Every time creation starts after a deluge, the Ānupūrvi of those particles are manifest in the same way – this is expressed as the Supreme Being remembering the Ānupūrvi of śabda that form the Vedas. Science is yet to recognise and be receptive to śabda – the sounds and vibrations of the sub atomic syllables.

The amazing part of the Ānupūrvi is that no mortal except the rishis have understood which śabda goes to make a specific order of Ānupūrvi so that a specific deity can be invoked and through Him, a specific result.  For example, in the sūkta of Upamanyu the meaning of the verses look like some description of the zodiac, but that is the Ānupūrvi that makes the śabda eternal by which the Supreme Being in the name Aśvins can be invoked to balance the elements present in Its co-bird on the tree (RV 1:164) – here, Upamanyu.

Thinking in these lines, one cannot miss out the co-existence of three concepts in the hymn of Dirghatamas (RV 1:164) –

(1) Wheel of Time causing things to happen and fruits of action,

(2) Atman co-existing with Paramatman but getting impacted by the Wheel of Time and

(3) Realisation of the Paramatman as the one and only Supreme Being but recognised by different names.

When all these are understood and felt by the Atman, the Atman gets relieved from the influence of Wheel of Time. That is the ultimate result of the hymn by Dirghatamas. But Upamanyu’s hymn invokes Asvins as Paramatman without reference to the last two but with only the first idea of Wheel of Time. His hymn gave him back eye-sight but not ultimate Release. But Dirghatamas was not known to have regained his eye-sight though he invoked Aśvins in that hymn and referred to the Wheel of Time in similar description. The difference in result was obviously related to the Ānupūrvi of the śabda of the riks he conceived. But lesser mortals that we are, we can only see the ‘meanings’ and the differences in them and not the śabda!

The same hymn by Dirghatamas speaks about the purpose of Vedas.

The 39th rik says,

ṛco akṣare parame vyoman yasmin devā adhi viśve niṣeduḥ |
yastan na veda kiṃ ṛcā kariṣyati ya it tad vidusta ime samāsate

रचो अक्षरे परमे वयोमन यस्मिन देवा अधि विश्वे निषेदुः |
यस्तन न वेद किं रचा करिष्यति य इत तद विदुस्त इमे समासते ||

Meaning by David Frawley:

“The supreme syllable of the chant in the supreme ether, in which all the Gods reside, those who do not know this, what can they do with the Veda? Those who know it alone are gathered here.”

Meaning by Griffith:

“Upon what syllable of holy praisesong-, as twere their highest heaven, the Gods repose them,
Who knows not this, what will he do with praisesong-? But they who know it well sit here assembled.”

Gods reside in śabda, the basic syllable. Those who know this, sing the riks to get what the Gods give them.  But those who don’t know, treat the Vedas as a literary work – the world knows the worst outcome of that – it was the invention of Aryan Invasion!

Here is a small solace for those yearning to see historic inputs in the Rig Veda: one can see a historic development in the concept of Aśvins from Dirghatamas to Upamanyu. Dirghatamas was born blind and remained so throughout his life. Though he praised Aśvins in his hymns, he didn’t see Aśvins as the Supreme Being. In contrast Upamanyu lost his eyesight accidentally and regained it by praying to Aśvins as the Supreme Being. The change of status to Aśvins had happened from Dirghatamas to Upamanyu.

What happened in between cannot be traced in Rig Veda as it is not a historic document. We have to turn to the Itihāsa which are the historical documents. One is expected to refer to the Itihāsa to understand what the Vedas say. This can be authenticated from a verse in Vālmiki Ramayana that Vālmiki composed Ramayana to reinforce the import of the Vedas. (“vedopabrimhaṇārthāya” VR: 1:4-6). The scope of the Itihāsas is such that they help us to weave the chronology of men and events in addition to understanding the Vedic Thought.  

The gap between Dirghatamas and Upamanyu can be filled by inputs from Mahabharata with a combined understanding of the Vedic seers mentioned in Rig Veda. Dirghatamas recognised Aśvins only as a benefactor of the Supreme Being and not as the Supreme Being Itself. Aśvins were elevated to the status of the Supreme Being as those who take soma-oblations by Rishi Chyavana (Mahabharata: 3-123). Since invoking Aśvins to partake the soma is found to be associated with the Kaṇvas, Kaṇvas can be positioned after Chyavana and not before him. In a surprising connection to Tamil language, Kaṇ, a Tamil word means eye! This takes us to a different discourse on whether Tamil was theManuśya bhaṣa of those times, which we are not probing here. Finally we find Upamanyu invoking Aśvins as the Supreme Being but he gained eye-sight and not Release from the Wheel of Time.

With just one hymn of riks found in Mahabharata, we are able to construct a fairly reasonable history of the development of Aśvins from a subordinate deity to the main Supreme Deity. And we could identify the persons involved in this development using the Itihāsas.

This runs counter to what persons like Witzel had said that Vedas “represent the only contemporary literary sources for most of early Indian history” and his claim that “everything from known history up to the Mahabharata war is filled in from Vedic sources. ….. One can easily show that groups of 2-3 kings were lifted intact from the Rigveda, the Brahmanas, and so on, and inserted wherever they were thought to fit.” (1995, “Early Indian history: Linguistic and textual parameters”)

For him Rig Veda is “a notoriously difficult text” and “the immigration of Indo-Aryans is a fact that can frequently be noticed in the Rig Veda”. He and those of his ilk certainly do not belong to the gathering that Dirghatamas referred to in his verse as those who knew what Vedic śabda are meant for!


Text of the Rig Vedic Hymn recited by Upamanyu:

And Upamanyu thus directed by his preceptor began to glorify the twin Aswins, in the following words of the Rig Veda:

“Ye have existed before the creation! Ye first-born beings, ye are displayed in this wondrous universe of five elements! I desire to obtain you by the help of the knowledge derived from hearing, and of meditation, for ye are Infinite! Ye are the course itself of Nature and intelligent Soul that pervades that course! Ye are birds of beauteous feathers perched on the body that is like to a tree! Ye are without the three common attributes of every soul! Ye are incomparable! Ye, through your spirit in every created thing, pervade the Universe! Ye are golden Eagles! Ye are the essence into which all things disappear! Ye are free from error and know no deterioration!

Ye are of beauteous beaks that would not unjustly strike and are victorious in every encounter! Ye certainly prevail over time! Having created the sun, ye weave the wondrous cloth of the year by means of the white thread of the day and the black thread of the night! And with the cloth so woven, ye have established two courses of action appertaining respectively to the Devas and the Pitris. The bird of Life seized by Time which represents the strength of the Infinite soul, ye set free for delivering her unto great happiness! They that are in deep ignorance, as long as they are under delusions of their senses, suppose you, who are independent of the attributes of matter, to be gifted with form! Three hundred and sixty cows represented by three hundred and sixty days produce one calf between them which is the year. That calf is the creator and destroyer of all. Seekers of truth following different routes, draw the milk of true knowledge with its help. Ye Aswins, ye are the creators of that calf!

The year is but the nave of a wheel to which is attached seven hundred and twenty spokes representing as many days and nights. The circumference of this wheel represented by twelve months is without end. This wheel is full of delusions and knows no deterioration. It affects all creatures whether to this or of the other worlds. Ye Aswins, this wheel of time is set in motion by you! The wheel of Time as represented by the year has a nave represented by the six seasons. The number of spokes attached to that nave is twelve as represented by the twelve signs of the Zodiac. This wheel of Time manifests the fruits of the acts of all things. The presiding deities of Time abide in that wheel. Subject as I am to its distressful influence, ye Aswins, liberate me from that wheel of Time.

Ye Aswins, ye are this universe of five elements! Ye are the objects that are enjoyed in this and in the other world! Make me independent of the five elements! And though ye are the Supreme Brahma, yet ye move over the Earth in forms enjoying the delights that the senses afford. In the beginning, ye created the ten points of the universe! Then have ye placed the Sun and the Sky above! The Rishis, according to the course of the same Sun, perform their sacrifices, and the gods and men, according to what hath been appointed for them, perform their sacrifices also enjoying the fruits of those acts! Mixing the three colours, ye have produced all the objects of sight! It is from these objects that the Universe hath sprung whereon the gods and men are engaged in their respective occupations, and, indeed, all creatures endued with life! Ye Aswins, I adore you!

I also adore the Sky which is your handiwork! Ye are the ordainers of the fruits of all acts from which even the gods are not free! Ye are yourselves free from the fruits of your acts! Ye are the parents of all! As males and females it is ye that swallow the food which subsequently develops into the life creating fluid and blood! The new-born infant sucks the teat of its mother. Indeed it is ye that take the shape of the infant! Ye Aswins, grant me my sight to protect my life.”

Mahabharata 1-3

59 sa evam ukta upādhyāyena stotuṃ pracakrame devāv aśvinau vāgbhir ṛgbhiḥ

 60 prapūrvagau pūrvajau citrabhānū; girā vā śaṃsāmi tapanāv anantau
divyau suparṇau virajau vimānāv; adhikṣiyantau bhuvanāni viśvā
61 hiraṇmayau śakunī sāmparāyau; nāsatya dasrau sunasau vaijayantau
śukraṃ vayantau tarasā suvemāv; abhi vyayantāv asitaṃ vivasvat
62 grastāṃ suparṇasya balena vartikām; amuñcatām aśvinau saubhagāya
tāvat suvṛttāv anamanta māyayā; sattamā gā aruṇā udāvahan
63 ṣaṣṭiś ca gāvas triśatāś ca dhenava; ekaṃ vatsaṃ suvate taṃ duhanti
nānā goṣṭhā vihitā ekadohanās; tāv aśvinau duhato gharmam ukthyam
64 ekāṃ nābhiṃ saptaśatā arāḥ śritāḥ; pradhiṣv anyā viṃśatir arpitā arāḥ
anemi cakraṃ parivartate ‘jaraṃ; māyāśvinau samanakti carṣaṇī
65 ekaṃ cakraṃ vartate dvādaśāraṃ; pradhi ṣaṇ ṇābhim ekākṣam amṛtasya dhāraṇam
yasmin devā adhi viśve viṣaktās; tāv aśvinau muñcato mā viṣīdatam
66 aśvināv indram amṛtaṃ vṛttabhūyau; tirodhattām aśvinau dāsapatnī
bhittvā girim aśvinau gām udācarantau; tad vṛṣṭam ahnā prathitā valasya
67 yuvāṃ diśo janayatho daśāgre; samānaṃ mūrdhni rathayā viyanti
tāsāṃ yātam ṛṣayo ‘nuprayānti; devā manuṣyāḥ kṣitim ācaranti
68 yuvāṃ varṇān vikurutho viśvarūpāṃs; te ‘dhikṣiyanti bhuvanāni viśvā
te bhānavo ‘py anusṛtāś caranti; devā manuṣyāḥ kṣitim ācaranti
69 tau nāsatyāv aśvināv āmahe vāṃ; srajaṃ ca yāṃ bibhṛthaḥ puṣkarasya
tau nāsatyāv amṛtāvṛtāvṛdhāv; ṛte devās tat prapadena sūte
70 mukhena garbhaṃ labhatāṃ yuvānau; gatāsur etat prapadena sūte
sadyo jāto mātaram atti garbhas tāv; aśvinau muñcatho jīvase gāḥ

59 स एवम उक्त उपाध्यायेन सतॊतुं परचक्रमे देवाव अश्विनौ वाग्भिर ऋग्भिः

60 परपूर्वगौ पूर्वजौ चित्रभानू; गिरा वा शंसामि तपनाव अनन्तौ
दिव्यौ सुपर्णौ विरजौ विमानाव; अधिक्षियन्तौ भुवनानि विश्वा
61 हिरण्मयौ शकुनी साम्परायौ; नासत्य दस्रौ सुनसौ वैजयन्तौ
शुक्रं वयन्तौ तरसा सुवेमाव; अभि वययन्ताव असितं विवस्वत
62 गरस्तां सुपर्णस्य बलेन वर्तिकाम; अमुञ्चताम अश्विनौ सौभगाय
तावत सुवृत्ताव अनमन्त मायया; सत्तमा गा अरुणा उदावहन
63 षष्टिश च गावस तरिशताश च धेनव; एकं वत्सं सुवते तं दुहन्ति
नाना गॊष्ठा विहिता एकदॊहनास; ताव अश्विनौ दुहतॊ घर्मम उक्थ्यम
64 एकां नाभिं सप्तशता अराः शरिताः; परधिष्व अन्या विंशतिर अर्पिता अराः
अनेमि चक्रं परिवर्तते ऽजरं; मायाश्विनौ समनक्ति चर्षणी
65 एकं चक्रं वर्तते दवादशारं; परधि षण णाभिम एकाक्षम अमृतस्य धारणम
यस्मिन देवा अधि विश्वे विषक्तास; ताव अश्विनौ मुञ्चतॊ मा विषीदतम
66 अश्विनाव इन्द्रम अमृतं वृत्तभूयौ; तिरॊधत्ताम अश्विनौ दासपत्नी
भित्त्वा गिरिम अश्विनौ गाम उदाचरन्तौ; तद वृष्टम अह्ना परथिता वलस्य
67 युवां दिशॊ जनयथॊ दशाग्रे; समानं मूर्ध्नि रथया वियन्ति
तासां यातम ऋषयॊ ऽनुप्रयान्ति; देवा मनुष्याः कषितिम आचरन्ति
68 युवां वर्णान विकुरुथॊ विश्वरूपांस; ते ऽधिक्षियन्ति भुवनानि विश्वा
ते भानवॊ ऽपय अनुसृताश चरन्ति; देवा मनुष्याः कषितिम आचरन्ति
69 तौ नासत्याव अश्विनाव आमहे वां; सरजं च यां बिभृथः पुष्करस्य
तौ नासत्याव अमृतावृतावृधाव; ऋते देवास तत परपदेन सूते
70 मुखेन गर्भं लभतां युवानौ; गतासुर एतत परपदेन सूते
सद्यॊ जातॊ मातरम अत्ति गर्भस ताव; अश्विनौ मुञ्चथॊ जीवसे गाः


Vālakhilyas: Were they the descendants of “Hobbits” of Indonesia?

The name Vālakhilya evokes excitement and interest besides puzzlement for two main reasons. One is that it refers to a group of eleven hymns generally counted as an appendage to the 8th Mandala of Rig Veda. Opinions vary on why they are there and whether they are later additions. Another reason is that sages by a generic name Vālakhilya have existed in a remote past amply referenced in Mahabharata, with a couple of references appearing in Vālmiki Ramayana also. Mahabharata often refers to their height of unbelievable proportions – as ‘thumb’ size. Yet another often mentioned feature describes them as doing penance by hanging upside-down in the branches of the trees. A penance of this kind done by Vālakhilya rishis finds mention in Bhrṅgīśa samhita and also practiced as yogic posture by the name Vālakhilyāsana even today.

With enough source materials to decode the myths around Vālakhilyas, what is left improbable is their thumb sized height.  Even that can be interpreted as a symbolic reference to their short stature compared to normal human beings. Interestingly support comes from archaeological findings on very small beings, hardly of three feet height who walked on the earth along with normal human beings (Homo erectus) as recently until 13,000 years ago if we go by fossil records and until the 16th century CE as per many first person accounts. They were the “Hobbits” who had lived in Indonesia! The information we gather from the three texts (Rig Veda, Ramayana and Mahabharata) gives us ample leads to connect Vālakhilyas with Hobbits.

Such information includes the origins of Vālakhilyas, their olden location, their later location, their characteristics and their contribution. Of these let us first proceed from the information on their olden location to establish their origins in Indonesia!

Oldest story of Vālakhilyas.

Both Mahabharata and Vālmiki Ramayana repeat a similar incident involving Vālakhilyas in which the Garuda came to be identified as the king of birds for the first ever time. Interestingly enough, the name Garuda came into being for the first time only after that incident, coined by the none other than Vālakhilyas. This means that the concept of Garuda as the carrier of Vishnu and later as the insignia of Viṣṇu / Kṛṣṇamust have come up after this incident. This places Vālakhilyas much before the origin of the concept of Garuda and its status as the carrier bird for Viṣṇu!

This incident is recalled by Rāvana (VR: 3-35) on his way to meet Mārīca to seek his help to abduct Sīta. While passing through the sea coast he saw a huge banyan tree that reminded him of an incident of the old in which the mighty Garuda plunged from the sky to perch on a huge banyan tree with an elephant and a mammoth tortoise clutched in his paws. By the weight his plunge, the branch where he landed started breaking off. It was then he noticed that sages such as Vālakhilyas were doing penance by hanging upside down on that branch. Anxious that they should not fall down, Garuda immediately picked up the broken branch with his beak and soared high with the sages still hanging in the tree-branch.

It was an awe-inspiring to see the huge bird flying in the sky with an elephant and a huge tortoise in firm grip of its two claws and a huge branch of a tree in its beak with many Vālakhilyas hanging down from that. Rāvana recounts that the bird safely landed the Vālakhilyas in a site after which it unleashed the branch on a habitat of Nishādas (fishermen or boatmen implying coastal or riverside people) destroying them. The sight of the huge banyan tree brought out the memory of this old tale of Garuda and Vālakhilyas to Rāvana. This incident appearing in Vālmiki Ramayana goes without saying that Vālakhilyas existed even before Rama’s times!

Now coming to the chronologically later history of Mahabharata, the same incident is narrated by Ugrasrava Sauti in the story of Garuda. (MB: 1-29 & 30). Here he gives some more information. Garuda, the son of Vinata was keen on increasing his strength to fetch amrita in order to free his mother from the bondage of Kadru, the mother of snakes. He did this by eating the Nishādas and the creatures of the forest. Once he spotted an elephant and a huge tortoise fighting with each other in a lake. He swooped on them and caught them with his claws. He soared high with the two huge animals in the grip of his claws looking for a place to perch and saw a group of banyan trees near ‘Ālamba tīrtha’ (MB: 1-25-27). There the Vālakhilya rishis were engaged in penance while clinging on to the tree-branches with their body and the head downwards.

Unaware of their presence, Garuda landed on a branch but the branch started breaking. Only then Garuda noticed the presence of Vālakhilyas in that branch and wishing to save them from getting crushed, he picked up the branch with his beak and started flying again. The rishis, still hanging from the branch were amazed to see the huge bird carrying two huge animals in its claws and a huge branch in its beak as surpassing the might of the Gods and hence called the bird, ‘Garuda’ meaning ‘the bearer of heavy weight’. The very formation of the name “Garuda” has thus been attributed to Vālakhilyas!

After they were left to safety, the Vālakhilyas were guided by sage Kaśyapa to leave forHimavat to continue with their penance without any disturbance.  Sauti continues the narration on how Garuda managed to get amrita and met Viṣṇu on his way who on seeing him not drinking amrita, granted him two boons by which Garuda became immortal and came to be the carrier of Viṣṇu and found a place in his flag. This narrative from Mahabharata places the identification of Garuda as the carrier of Viṣṇu at a time when Vālakhilyas were already advanced beings proficient in ascetic practices.

This incident involving Garuda and Vālakhilyas cannot be brushed aside as a figment of imagination for the reason it is repeated in both the Itihāsas. The incident is filled with ample clues to the location where this had happened. It also tells about a time when raptors (Garuda) were ruling the skies and almost threatened all forms of terrestrial life including human beings. The Nishādas living on sea shores and river-side were forced to move out for fear for life from the bird. The Vālakhilyas also were forced to take refuge in the Himavat. Piecing the clues together it is possible to identify the place where this incident had taken place.

Location of Garuda, Giant tortoise, Banyan and Vālakhilyas.

The incident has three creatures, a mighty Garuda (let’s call it eagle), an elephant and a giant tortoise. The location was teeming with water bodies or it could have been near the coast if we go by Ramayana narration – where elephants and giant tortoises were co-habiting. This location must also have plenty of banyan trees.

Banyan trees

The mention of Ālamba tīrtha’ where the Vālakhilyas were engaged in penance by hanging upside down on the tree branches unfolds the mystery, as one of the meanings of Ālamba is ‘hanging down’ and another is ‘support’. Banyan trees have their branches (roots) hanging down which form their own support. ‘Ālam’ in Ālamba has a curious connection with the Tamil word ‘Ālam’ (ஆலம்) which is how banyan tree is called in Tamil! True to its meaning, the Vālakhilyas also had practiced the upside down posture from the tree-branch during meditation.

Banyan trees are endemic to South Asia and South East Asia. Giant banyan trees are found in Angkor Wat temple complex. Banyan tree has a place in the Coat of Arms of Indonesia inscribed within the giant image of ‘Garuda’!

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Coat of Arms of Indonesia

Though this was recently adopted by Indonesia, the design reflects native elements specific to the country and its traditions. Banyan found a place in this design not just for the symbolism but also because it is native to Indonesia.

The spread of banyans can be seen as far as the Pacific island of Vanuatu where the tree has the same utility as in India – i.e., a meeting place or for public congregations.

Certain species of banyan do appear in Central and South America. But those places do not qualify to be the venue of the above mentioned incident of Garuda and Vālakhilyas. The fact that Vālakhilyas had moved from Ālamba to Himavat points to the region of South or South East Asia. The movement to Himavat could not have happened fromEurope or Siberia for the very reason that banyans are not native to those regions. So our search gets narrowed down to South East Asia as a probable region. India is excluded from this reckoning for other reasons, one of it being the absence of giant tortoises.

Giant Tortoise.

Giant tortoise found in coastal regions or inland lakes is an important test feature for this incident. The following map published by a Checklist and Review of extinct species of turtles and tortoises shows that South East Asia had harboured many such species until 12,000 years ago.

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Srilanka is the only region in South Asia to have been home for these species until 12,000 years ago. But some species have lived until 450 years ago in the east of Australia and in the regions where Vanuatu is located. Indonesia (Java) was home for some extinct species.

When we look for the probable species of giant tortoises in South East Asia, we do come across Asian Giant Tortoises  (Manouria emys) as the most primitive but still living in wet lands and waterways in South East Asia and South Asia.

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Manouria emys phayrei in Kaeng Krachan National Park, Thailand

Source: HERE

This species is found from ‘Assam in India and eastern Bangladesh in the west, through Myanmar and western Thailand, and south through peninsular Malaysia to Sumatra and Borneo in the east’ (Here). To narrow down the search further, we must look for giant eagle population in these regions.

Giant eagles

The narration tells about the size of Garuda and not his colour. He was a man-eater initially and had devoured huge animals including elephants. He was not snake-eater, as Garuda had not troubled the snakes born to Kadru. Not all eagles eat snakes. After he got the boon of immortality from Viṣṇu, Garuda came to be known as ‘Suparṇa’, a bird with ‘beautiful wing’. With these clues we have to locate the eagle in a region which was a habitat for giant tortoises and elephants too.

The most widespread eagle family in the northern hemisphere is the Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos). But they are found in regions to the north of India and in Europe and not in South East Asia. Since our search is narrowing down to South and South East Asia, we have to look for the species found here. The most common one is white-bellied sea eagle (H. leucogaster) seen from India to Indonesia to Australia.

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White-bellied Sea eagle.

The characteristic white coloured belly of this eagle can be expected to be found in the narration if this is the bird that came to be called as Garuda. But the absence of this reference rules out this to be Garuda.

But far from Indonesia, an extinct eagle of huge size has been found in New Zealand (closer to Vanuatu where extinct tortoises have been found and where banyans abound). A study published in PLOS Biology had identified an extinct giant eagle called  Haast’s eagle. “With  a 2.5-3m wingspan weighing in at between 10 and 14 kg, Haast’s eagle was about 30-40% heavier than the largest living bird of prey (the harpy eagle of Central and South America) and was approaching the upper weight limit of powered flight”. The absence of terrestrial mammals except a few species of bats in New Zealand about 700 years ago when human settlement began was attributed to the presence of this giant eagle in the past.

It had no predators, but plenty of food in the form of terrestrial animals that resulted in gaining weight to the maximum possible limit to enable it to fly. This is the same description we find in Mahabharata on Garuda, as having no enemy but only food everywhere, and thereby becoming ‘immortal’ though it had not drunk amrita it carried!

Drinking Amrita is figurative expression for immortality of a race. The Garuda had its genesis after the birth of snakes, as per the story of Garuda. It did not live on snakes which is normally believed to be the food for eagles, but on other animals. It had preyed on human beings too. With these insights if we probe into the origins of Haast’s eagle, we find a genetic study on a 2000 year old bone of this eagle mentioned in the same article as saying that it is closely related to the world’s smallest eagle –“the “Little Eagle” from Australia and New Guinea, which typically weighs under 1 kg”. They had a common ancestor who lived a million years ago, but the giant eagle had grown in size 10-15 times over a period just by eating unabatedly with none to threaten its survival.

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The giant Haast’s eagle attacking the extinct New Zealand moa.

Source: HERE

An interesting correlation is that the region where the fossil of this eagle is discovered is close to Vanuatu, the region of banyan trees and tortoises. Generally eagles are territorial. The Haast’s eagle had held its hold on New Zealand. It is not known whether Garuda belongs to this genus or is different from it but there can be no doubt that it had a similar life style as that of Haast’s eagle.

Its immortality was threatened by Indra in the same story on Garuda wherein it is stated that Indra discharged his weapon on Garuda. But Garuda managed to survive after losing a few feathers. This sounds symbolic of a reduced form of Garuda in due course while continuing to exist as a species as a mark of immortality. We may not get to identify the exact species of Garuda unless and until we find fossil remains of the bird. However the very fact about the way of life of Haast’s eagle raises the probability of an ancestral or a sub-species of that bird ruling the skies and the land long ago anywhere from Indonesia to New Zealand.

Fortunately our search is further fine-tuned by an account on Garuda’s territory atŚālmali Dwīpa described in Vālmiki Ramayana.

Garuda, the native of Śālmali Dwīpa.

Garuda and Vālakhilyas appear in regions far-east of India (Bharat) in the narration of Sugrīva of a route until a point in the globe where sun rise is witnessed (VR: 4-40). The route passes through Yava Dwīpa, the olden name for Java. From there after crossing Mt Shishira (Mt Semeru) and River Shona (R.Solo) the route passes through a series of islands leading to Śālmali Dwīpa. Even today many islands are seen to the east of Java. Sugrīva specifically mentions that Śālmali Dwīpa was the home of Garuda, Vinata’s son(VR:4-40-4)

In Sugrīva’s narration, the next region to the east of Śālmali Dwīpa is described as having horrifying demons of the shapes and size of mountains, dangling upside down from the mountain peaks and surrounded by oceans. Day after day they fall into water and also freshly arise from mountaintops (VR 4-40.41-43). This is a reference to lava spiting volcanoes of this region. The ocean of this region was described as Red sea (VR 4.40. 39) precisely because the hot and molten lava running down the volcanoes into the seas had given red hue to the sea. This description fits with Mt Puncak Jaya in Papua province.

This limits the region of Śālmali Dwīpa (Garuda’s home) to the parts to the east of Yava Dwīpa and west of Papua New Guinea. The probable location of Śālmali Dwīpa deduced from this description is shown in the picture below:

Pic 8


The currently available archaeological findings in the region that we identified as Śālmali Dwīpa are known for ‘Lapita pottery’. Interestingly a bowl of this culture exhibits the image of Garuda! (Illustration below)

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Lapita Bowl/Face – Tarawa Atoll / Kiribati Photo – John Terrell / Lapita Gallery

Garuda images have been found in different parts of the world. But no other region in the world has all the three, namely, banyan trees, giant tortoises and giant eagles at one place as in Śālmali Dwīpa, which is part of Indonesia today.

There are other two entities, the elephant and the Vālakhilyas of short stature that we have to find in this region. The elephant also must be of the size that a giant eagle (Garuda) is capable of holding with one of its claws. That means they must be of smaller than normal size of elephants. Incidentally Insular Dwarfism is common in islands and Indonesia, an archipelago fits the bill very well.

Dwarf elephants of Indonesia.

An extinct species of dwarf elephant known as Stegodon florensis insularis is found to have lived in Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan and Japan. The ancestral species of these elephants were found to be huge in size, but dwarfism occurred as an evolutionary development for those species that were confined within islands where the food supply was limited. Interestingly the birds of Indonesia have shown gigantism while the elephants have shown dwarfism.

For example Giant storks of size 6 feet high and weight 16 Kg had lived in Indonesia until 11,000 years ago. Similarly giant rats and giant tortoises had lived in the same region while the elephants were of dwarf kind. This disparity is attributed to the availability of food. The species dependant on food available in water had grown big in Indonesian islands while a species like an elephant had struggled to get its food. The story of Garuda lifting the elephant and the tortoise actually narrates the scenario of the two fighting with each other in a water body when Garuda picked them up. That fight must have been for food and territory that each of them wanted for itself. The amazing correlation of the story with the discovery of the presence of these two species in Indonesian islands further reiterates the fact that the elephant could have been of a dwarf kind that the huge Garuda (a case of island gigantism of birds of prey) was able to lift with ease.

Adding credence to this supposition, Indonesia was home for dwarf people who lived along with dwarf elephants. Dwarf people named as Homo floresiensis after the name of the place Flores  – an island in Indonesia where their fossils have been found in the caveLiang Bua had lived at a time the dwarf elephants were roaming in Indonesia. Fossil remains of the dwarf elephant Stegodon are found in the same stratigraphic layer associated with the fossils of Homo floresiensis who have been nick-named as Hobbits! A comparative size of a Hobbit and the dwarf elephant are shown below with the model of a giant stork and a giant rat of the same place that lived until 11,000 years ago.

Pic 10

Source: Here

research article presumes that Stegodon elephants were eaten by the still extantKomodo Dragon, a species of lizards. It is no wonder that they were also falling prey to the giant raptor, Garuda. The extinction of Stegodon can also be attributed to the giant eagle, Garuda – whose liking for the elephant can be made out from the incident narrated in both the Itihāsas.

Flores where the fossil remains of Hobbits have been found is well within Śālmali Dwīpa where Garuda had lived, and where elephants (dwarf variety) and giant tortoises also had co-existed. This region is also known for banyan growth.

Pic 11

Researchers have established Hobbits as hominins, a short race of humans whose ancestral species had lived 700,000 years ago. They had evolved from homo erectus and lived along with us (homo sapiens) in Indonesia. Starting from this piece of information let us see what Indic scriptures have to say about the short species, the Vālakhilyas.

Vālakhilyas: early and distinct human species.  

A narration in Mahabharata describes “Brahma darśana” on creation of life forms (MB:13-85) including human beings. Decoding of the metaphorical verses of this description shows that the earliest life was formed from heat in water, then from heat on land and then from the latent heat of the previous one. They have been named as Bhrigu, Angiras and Kavi. All the life forms including human beings have sprung from one of these elementary three forms only. Creation of this kind is described as a yajna. Then comes the reference to the blades of Kuśa grass spread out for the yajna. It is further said (in the words of sage Vasishtha) that Vālakhilyas sprang from the blades of Kuśa grass. It further adds that from the same blades of Kuśa, sprang Atri – a famous Rig Vedic sage!

The narration puts Vālakhilyas and Atri on the same state of origin! It must be noted that they were not put on par with numerous offsprings that emerged from the yajna or the fire of the yajna. Instead they were traced to the Kuśa blades that would be discarded once the yajna is over!  Does this convey that these two species of human race originating from the same source would cease to exist at some point of Time?

Vālakhilyas and Atri-s

The most common feature between Vālakhilyas and Atri was their affinity to the Sun! In as many as 3 places Mahabharata describes Vālakhilyas as subsisting on sun rays (MB 3.125, 9.43 & 13.115). Sugrīva in his description of ‘Udaya Paravata’ in far-east refers to Vālakhilyas coming into sight at the region of sunrise shining with the resplendence of the Sun. (प्रकाशमाना दृश्यन्ते सूर्य वर्णाः VR: 4-40-60).[i] Sugrīva also refers to that location as the place of sunrise where Viṣṇu makes his first foothold. The reference to difference in time between that place and Jambhu Dwīpa shows that it is near Fiji islands and there is a 6-hour gap between the two places. (VR:4-40-59). Obviously that was considered to be the region of sun rise for the globe and Vālakhilyas, who subsist on sun rays had preferred to live at that location sometime in the past.

Sage Atri is also associated with observing the Sun. The Rig Vedic hymn attributed to him refers to eclipse of the sun (RV: 5-40). It is believed that Atri or the family of Atri were the first ones to have understood the occurrence of solar eclipse. With Atri-s sharing a common origin with Vālakhilyas, were they similar in traits with Vālakhilyas – one of which being observing the sun relentlessly as though they were subsisting on the sun?

Though born of the same Kuśa grass, Atri was classified along with Sapta rishis while Vālakhilyas were not. From the insights gained from the names of the rishis mentioned in the narration of Brahma darśana, it looks as though each rishi signified a separate human race with Atri also signifying a separate race of human beings. The sapta rishis being present always, it implies that Atri race still continues in existence.  The exclusion of Vālakhilyas in the group shows that they were not ever lasting.

Atri-s, sharing the same origin with Vālakhilyas could mean that they were also short in stature but not as short as Vālakhilyas. The absence of any specific mention about their height is taken to mean this. But they had some affinity with sun like Vālakhilyas.

Thinking about height, sage Agastya also is said to be short. He was also associated with Sun, in the metaphorical narration of subduing Vindhya Mountain to make way for the Sun to move beyond that. Did he also belong to an olden human race that was short and spend more time under the sun, watching the movement sun – a habit that was common between Vālakhilyas and Atri-s?

Of all the three, the incident involving Garuda offers better clues to link Vālakhilyas with Hobbits of Indonesia.

Hobbits and Valakhilyas.

The olden location of Vālakhilyas occurring in Śālmali Dwīpa, they make better candidate to have had genetic connection with the short Hobbits. Science says that Hobbits, though shorter in stature were in no way inferior to homo sapiens in intellect.Falk et al observed that the area of the brain associated with higher cognition (Brodmann area 10) in Hobbits is of the same size as in humans even though the overall brain size is small. This means the Hobbits were as intelligent as human beings and were capable of all the executive functions like humans.

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Comparative skull size of Hobbit (left) and modern human (right)

Source: HERE

Hobbits were living in the cave of Flores of Indonesia until the 16th century as per the report of the Portuguese in 1511 CE (Details here). This is confirmed by an article in Science Daily saying, “There are lots of local folk tales in Flores about these people, which are consistent and incredibly detailed. The stories suggest there may be more than a grain of truth to the idea that they were still living on Flores up until the Dutch arrived in the 1500s.”

Pic 13

Source: Sciencedaily.com

For generations, the Nagekeo tribes living near the Flores cave have told about Hobbits as small people, but very much like humans, walking erect and the body covered with hair. They were not known to have used fire but gobbled up any food whole and raw. On rare occasions they were invited by the villagers and given food. But they were found to eat indiscriminately anything they found around, that they had to be stopped from gulping sharp instruments.

This feature has a striking resemblance to Atri as Atri means ‘devourer’! That is the best word to describe the eating habit of Hobbits! This eating habit earned them a name Ebu Gogo by the surrounding villagers, which means “Grandmother who eats everything”.

Whatever they ate was not cooked with fire but they seemed to have survived well with whatever they ate raw. Was this taken to mean that the sunrays entering their body provided the heat to soften the food within their body? One cannot help thinking like this, for the very fact that Vālakhilyas were repeatedly described in Indic texts as those subsisting on sun rays.

The 20th century text titled ‘Gaudiya-Kanthahara’ gives the meaning of the name Vālakhilya somewhat closer to the habit of devouring food. It says that ‘Vālakhilya is one who discards the stock of food he has with him (purva ancita anna tyagah) the moment he gets a fresh stock of food (nave pane labdhya)’ (refer here). This meaning could not have been written without a source text describing so.

This meaning looks suitable to Hobbits who never used fire and therefore never devised cooking methods and therefore never indulged in saving anything for the next meal. By not having used fire and cooking methods, the Hobbits must have lived on whatever they got new while discarding what they already they had.

The comparison of Vālakhilyas with Hobbits does not end here. An interpretation of Vālakhilyas appears in Taittrīya Āranyaka (I-23) in the context of creation of world by Prajāpati. It says that Vālakhilyas were the ‘hair’ of Prajapati. ‘Vāla’ means hair and Khila refers to appendage. Vālakhilya could just be a reference to their hairy appearance. It must be noted that Hobbits too were hairy-bodied.

Another interpretation could be that hair can be completely discarded. By referring to them as the hair of Prajapati, did the rishis mean that Vālakhilyas would cease to exist sometime?  Were they already extinct during the time of Vyāsa whose references to them were only quotational and not contemporaneous?

Whatever be the original import, one cannot deny the fact that some beings by name Vālakhilyas had existed in the past and moved to Himavat.

Vālakhilyas in Himavat.

After the incident involving Garuda, the Vālakhilyas had moved to Himavat (MB:13-10). If they were part of Hobbits, it can be presumed that a section of them living within the territory of Garuda had moved to Himavat for doing peaceful penance. Others outside the territory of predating Garuda had continued their life in Indonesia.

Yet another reference from Mahabharata (3-141) says that Vālakhilyas lived nearAlakananda.  The book ‘Wandering Himalayas’ published by Chinmaya Trust refers to ‘Vālakhilya’ mountain to the south of Uttarkashi. Nachiketa Tal is located near this mountain. Why should a mountain get this name unless this was connected with (occupied by) Vālakhilyas in the past?

Reiterating the view that Vālakhilyas did reside in that part of the Himalayas, there is a description of ‘Khilyāyana tīrtha’ in the 3rd chapter of Bhrṅgīśa Samhita.  It says that rishis by name Vālakhilyas were doing penance by standing on their toe with a posture of ‘Urdhva retas’. When Viṣṇu appeared, they ‘jumped down’ and offered their obeisance.

Though not explicit, the minimal description of the posture of penance shows that they were hanging down from the branch of a tree with the toe of one leg supporting their posture. A yogic posture known as Vālakhilyāsana can be re-positioned to a hanging position from a tree with a toe pressing the ground.



Picture credit: Here

The re-positioned posture of Vālakhilyāsana as hanging from a tree would look as follows:

Pic 1

It is amazing that this posture by name Vālakhilyāsana replicates a possibility of hanging upside-down from a tree – that Vālakhilyas were known for.

Valakhilyas’ devotion for Visnu.

Vālakhilyas were associated with the worship of Viṣṇu in Rig Vedic hymn, Bhrṅgīśa samhita and Vālmiki Ramayana. Bhrṅgīśa samhita says Viṣṇu appeared before Vālakhilyas and granted boons. That location is known as Narayana tīrtha  and the place where the Vālakhilyas did the penance is called as Vālakhilya Grāma.

In Sugrīva’s narration of route to Udaya parvata (Mountain of sunrise) Sun is personified as Trivikrama (Viṣṇu) making the first step at Udaya parvata and the second step on top of Meru in Jambhu Dwīpa. (VR: 4-40-58). And Vālakhilyas were to be seen at the region of sunrise shining with the luminosity of the Sun. They have worshiped Viṣṇu in the form of the sun.

In the narration of Garuda’s story in Mahabharata (written in the beginning) Viṣṇu was supposed to have met Garuda in the sky during his global trot. This could once again refer to the trot of the Sun. From this it is deduced that personification of Sun as Viṣṇu had existed before the identification of Garuda.

For all their obsession to be present at the region of first sunrise and drink the sunrays as much as possible, can the Vālakhilyas be credited with having ‘discovered’ the Vedic truth of Viṣṇu as Sun making three steps? Looks plausible as we come across a reference to Viṣṇu’s three steps in the 4th Vālakhilya hymn of Rig Veda.  It says

“यस्मै विष्णुस्त्रीणि पदा विचक्रम” (yasmai viṣṇustrīṇi padā vicakrama)

“He to whom Viṣṇu came striding his three wide steps”.

Isn’t this proof enough that a people by name Vālakhilyas who were fond of watching the Sun rise from the eastern most part of the globe beyond which the world is impassable (to quote Sugrīva) were the same ones who had written the quoted Rig Vedic verse.

Their origins go very much back in time, even before Rama’s birth and in a location which was outside India. Every reference to ‘Garutman’ in Rig Veda must have been uttered after the incident involving Garuda and Vālakhilyas.  The verse of Dirghatamas(RV:1-164) equating Garutman (Garuda) with the Supreme Being has its origins in the glorification of Garuda by Vālakhilyas at a location in Indonesia!!

The antiquity of the existence of Vālakhilyas even before many hymns of Rig Veda were composed goes to show that the Vālakhilya hymns were not later additions but olden hymns which were added as an after-thought. Some of the verses of Vālakhilyas appearing in other Vedas disprove them to be of later origin. Vālakhilya hymns must have existed before Vyasa’s times when Vedas were classified into four.

The Garuda angle reveals some un-thought-of events. It was much after the experience of the Vālakhilyas with Garuda, the bird had been caught and trained as a carrier. Krishna travelling on this bird does not seem to be fictional when we think about this massive bird capable of carrying any heavy weight.

Finally Garuda and Vālakhilyas appearing in the same episode is a strong proof of from where the early Vedic sages emerged. Certainly Vālakhilyas and Atri-s did not come from West Asia or central Europe. The glorification of Viṣṇu, Trivikrama, the sun and Garuda / Garutman had emerged from regions far-east of India and not in North West India or further North West.

A long route found in the narration of Sugrīva shows it was possible to walk, hop and swim across the long stretch starting from Ganga or Sarayu or Vanga or Himavat to Yava Dwipa and winding through Śālmali Dwipa up until Fiji Islands (Udaya Parvata) and even New Zealand!  This entire stretch has been highly supportive of life-thriving conditions and therefore lasting growth of human population and civilization and movement of people within this route. This was also the path of global trot of Viṣṇufrom his first to the second step. The highest point of this step did not go beyond or north of Jambhu Dwīpa. This is the single most proof of the unlikelihood of the beginnings of Vedic culture as having sprung from anywhere other than the route that passes through South East Asia and South Asia just south of the Himalayas.


[i] Devi Bhagavata Purana refers to Vālakhilyas as numbering 60,000 going in front of the Sun from its rise till it sets. This doesn’t concur with any of the description of Vālakhilyas in the Itihāsas except a symbolism that Vālakhilyas had subsisted on sun rays. Some writers had attempted to link the 60,000 number going in front of the Sun with certain verses of Tamil Sangam texts (Puranānuru 43, Tirumurugārrup padai- 107 and Silappadhikāram 12). What is referred to in those texts is the company of Mitra, Varuna and Aryaman along with the sun who take the oblations of water – of whom Aryaman accepts for Pitrus while the other two accept from any water source (evaporation). This is spelt out clearly in Silappadhikāram verse as “avippali” – ‘havis’. The accompanying sages accept Havis, is what is conveyed in the Tamil sources. This can be illustrated in the Vāstu mandala distribution of the deities as below:

Pic 14

Nowhere Vālakhilyas were mentioned as travelling along with the Sun or accepting havis.