Our Bharathiya cultural heritage has withstood the test of time and we have to be grateful to our great Rishis for this.
Among the eighty four lakhs of living beings, man is considered to be the most superior. Hence, our great Sages have said that, by virtue of occupying such a position, we should not waste our precious time.
It is praise worthy that they have codified the truths along with the happenings during the four yugas and preserved them in the form of great books. The vedas, upanishads, the puranas, the Ramayana, the Mahabharatha are some of
these sacred books.
What is a Purana
Let us try to understand what we mean by puranas. Long ago, it is said that the puranas consisted. of. a hundred cro
books. It was generally understood that puranas meant something old. However, scholars say that though ‘puraapinavam’ is old, books which give us an insight into new thoughts or ideas are called puranas, The universal truths found in the Vedas are also seen in the puranas but the same truths are made easier and more interesting
through stories and simple language in the puranas. During the great deluge, when everything was being destroyed, Lord Vishnu preached the essense of all these books to Lord Brahma. Human memory is short lived and in order to save these great principles and truths, Brahmadeva took birth as Sage Vedavyasa and wrote a great book called Purana Samhitha.
Today there are only eighteen maha puranas available in prakrith along with the same number of upapuranas.
Among the eighteen puranas, Vishnu, Narada, Sri Bhagavatha, Garuda, Padma, and Varaha are considered to be Satvik puranas.
Brahmanda, Brahmavaivartha, Markandeya, Bhavishya, Vamana and Rajas – these six puranas are considered to
be rajasa puranas.
Matsya, Koorma, Lainga, Shaiva, Skanda and Agneya are considered to be thamasa puranas.
Who is Bali?
According to puranas, Mahatma Bali was the grandson of Bhakta Prahlada, the great devotee of Lord Sri Hari. He was the son of Virochana. Banasura was his son.
The lord of swarga, Devendra, defeated Bali, took away all his wealth and killed him. The preceptor of Daityas, the great Shukracharya, who belonged to the Bhrigu clan, knew Sanjeevini Vidya. With the help of the same, he was able to bring Bali back to life. Bali was very happy and he became one of his loving disciples. As a token of gratitude he offered all his wealth to Shukracharya. He began to serve hig preceptor and all those who belonged to his clan with great devotion.
Bali had a great desire to make heaven a part of his kingdom. Shukracharya, who knew his disciple?s desire, made him sit on the throne of the lord of the three worlds and performed the mahabhisheka ceremony. He also helped him to successfully complete the great Vishwajith yaga.
At the end of the yaga in which a lot of things such as samith, charu and ghee had been offered, a divine chariot came from the middle region of the dazzling Yajneshwara.
The chariot looked exactly like the one used by Devendra, with green horses, a flag with the lion?s image and decorated with precious stones, A. golden bow, an inexhaustible shaft with arrows and divine armour came out of the yajna kunda. Lord Brahma gave Bali a garland of lotus flowers which would never fade and his preceptor Shukracharya gave him a divine conch.
In this way emperor Bali obtained not only his Guru?s blessings but all the necessary things he needed for an
onslaught on heaven. The Ritwijas chanted the holy hymns invoking God. He offered them dakshina and took their blessings. He prostrated before Prahlada, the greatest devotee of Lord Sri Hari and_ his grandfather, and took his blessings and permission to begin his campaign.
Bali wore the lotus garland given to him by Lord Brahma, got into the chariot which he had got with the blessings of his preceptor Shukracharya, tied the divine sword to his waist and the shaft of arrows on his back. Adorning himself with golden arm guards and fish shaped earrings, he looked as radiant as Yajneswara himself.
With the strength, courage and wealth of the Daithyas supporting him, Bali Chakravarthi set off on his military
campaign. Sending down shivers in the three worlds with his lion-like roar, Bali marched towards Amaravathi, the capital where happiness and prosperity reigned.
Devendra?s capital, Amaravathi, was an exquisitely beautiful city. It had divine gardens and parks. Birds were singing all the time. Scented flowers, ripe and juicy fruits and creepers made these gardens very attractive. There were lakes with pellucid water in which swans, tarns, chakravakas and karande birds moved about and they wereafeast to the eyes of onlookers.
On both sides of the roads, there were high rise buildings which seemed to kiss the sky. Every house had a crystal dome, big front doors, wide and beautifully shaped windows which were framed in gold. The halls i n the city were planneg and built by Vishwakarma, the divine architect. There were wide roads and spacious squares. Ten crore dazzling aircraft stood there. All this gave the city a grand appearance.
The fragrance of the saugadhika flowers which fell down from the plaits of the Devatha women pervaded the entire city of Amaravathi. Every house hada flag flying atop it indicating a warm welcome to one and all. The melodeous music of the conch, mrudangam, anaka, dundubhi, flute veena and other musical instruments filled one with joy and happiness. Bali?s joy increased further as he saw the divine beauty and charm of the lovely apsara women. Infact,
the city of Amaravathi seemed to bemocking at the Goddess of beauty with its incomparable radiance and beauty.
It was a well-known truth that only the righteous, the just and the truthful – those who possessed all good qualities-could enter and have look at the great sights of the city and live there.
Bali entered this splendid city, the capital city of the devas. He blew his conch so hard that everyone was simply taken aback. As soon as Devendra heard the news that Bali had entered Amaravathi, he ran to the preceptor of Devas, Acharya Brihaspathi.
Brihaspathi’ s words of Advice
Devendra was unnerved by Bali’ s radiance, courage, spirit of adventure and his well-equipped army. He regretted that it was impossible t o face Bali. He asked Brihaspathi how Bali was able to acquire such a strong mind, valour and physical strength.
Brihaspathi had the ability to see the past, present and future. With that power, he came to know that Bali had acquired such great capabilities as a result of Shukracharya?s divine instruction to him and the blessings of Lord vishnu. Only Vishnu could face Bali. He advised them to abandon Swargaloka, hide somewhere and look forward to the day of Bali’s demise.
All the devas disguised themselves in different forms and left Swargaloka. When all the Devas left Amaravathi, Bali and his men settled in the place and made it their own.
Shukarcharya was successful in helping Bali to perform one hundred Ashwamedha yagas. As a result of that great feat Balindra?s name and fame Spread in all the three worlds. Bali, the emperor, who had a sense of fulfilment, began to enjoy ruling over his vast kingdom of the three worlds, the kingdom which was filled with wealth and prosperity.
Sage Kashyapa – Adithi
Sage Kashyapa and Adithi were husband and wife. Dithi, Adithi’ s sister was also the wife of Kashyapa. Sage
Kashyapa was the son of Sage Marichi (son of Brahma) and Kala (daughter of Kardamana). Adithi?s children were
Adithyas or Devas and Dithi?s children and Daithyas
The divine mother of the Devas, Adithi began to perform a vratha by name payovratha on the advice of her husband,
Kashyapa, for the welfare of their children. Payovratha is also known as sarvayajna or sarvavritha. This vratha has to be observed within the confines of the Brahmacharya vratha, for twelve days from the first day of the brighter half of the month of Phalguna to the thirteenth day during which, the person observing it worships Lord Sriman
Narayana. In these twelve days, Lord Vishnu (Sri Hari) has to be worshipped following the Shodashopachara Pooja* and Shodashopachara pooja refers to the sixteen ways of doing homage to God. They are: asana, swagatha, padya, arghya, acamaniya, madhuparka, acamana, snana, vasana, abharana, sugandha, sumanasa, dhupa, deepa, naivedya and vandana.
chant ?Om Namo Bhagavathe Vasudevaya.” While chanting this twelve lettered mantra, gandha (sandalwood
paste) flowers, dhoopa, deepa, naivedya prepared by using rice, milk, sugar and ghee are to be offered with great devotion.
In this way Adithi worshipped Sri Mahavishnu with concentration and devotion. On the last day, she offered six
kinds of sweets and other delicacies to the lord, welcomed acharyas and rithwijas whole heartedly. She offered them a sumptuous meal and also gave them clothes, jewellery, cows and money as dakshina She worshipped the brahmins,
honoured them appropriately and made them happy.
In her free time, she worshipped the Lord by offering seva in the form of dance, music, bhajans and swathivachana. The lord was pleased with the pooja, prayer and other sevas and appeared before her. He was dressed in peethambara, (yellow silk) holding the shankha, chakra, gada and padma in his four arms. Adithi?s joy knew
no bounds when she saw the lord standing before her. Her entire body began to tremble and she prostrated before the lord. She was overtaken bya thrill of rapture. She got up and stood before the divine figure, unable to speak. After a few minutes she composed herself and began to praise the lord with divine songs and prayers. The lord was pleased and said,
“We have understood your heart’s desire. Devendra?s kingdom has been taken away by his enemies. Your sons have
become orphans. You desire to get back the lost kingdom and to see that your sons live in peace, happiness and prosperity.
“The Asura generals are great warriors. No one can defeat them in a battle. Therefore we shall think of a plan and by
using tact we shall take back the kingdom from Bali, the king of Asuras. We shall restore to your sons their wealth, honour and happiness shortly. Be happy.”
‘I will enter the person of your great husband and be born as your son just to protect your people.” Lord Vishnu
| promised the mother of the Devas that he would save her sons and vanished.
Incarnation of Vamana
In answer to the prayer of Kashyapa and Devamatha Adithi, Lord Vishnu entered Adithi?s womb and dwelt there for
a thousand years. At the end of that period, he came out and revealed himself to the world. His blue body shone brightly. He had two exquisite earrings which made him look brighter. On his chest one could see the symbol of Srivatsa (swastika symbol). He had shining bangles on his wrists, and a golden crown on his head. The golden girdle and anklets made him more attractive. He had a garland of flowers round his neck. One could see bees humming round the flowers in the garland.
When the child was born, the place round Sage Kashyapa?s ashram became bright, as darkness was driven away by the brightness of the Lord. The atmosphere looked fresh and bright. Rivers and lakes were filled to the brim. People were happy and contented. It appeared as if all the seasons had congregated and had become active at the same time.
The Lord was born in the abhijith muhurtha under the shravana nakshatra on the twelfth day of the brighter half of the moon in the month of Bhadrapada. All the planets were in auspicions positions at that moment. Hence that day came to be called Vijaya Dwadashi.
When the Lord (Vamana) was born divine music was being played on the earth and in heaven. Shankha, dundubhi,
mridanga, panada, aanaka, thuthoori, dhakke, maddale and other musical instruments were heard and the happiness of the people touched heavenly heights.
The Apsaras danced in heaven while the Gandharvas sang. The Sages, Devas and – Pithru Devas prayed to God. The siddhas, vidyadharas, kinnaras, kimpurushas, birds, NagaDevas and followers of Devas in heaven began to dance to the tune of music played by gandharvas. They also rained flowers round the ashrama praising the great qualities of the Lord.
Prajapathis, such as Marichi, arrived on the spot to have a darshan of the Lord. The seven Sages (Saptarshis)-Bharadwaja, Gowthama, Kashyapa, Visvamithra, Jamadagni, Vasistha and Athri-came to have a look at the Lord and pay their homage to him. Then thousands of great Sages came and got blessed by Lord Sri Hari.
The Ashta_ dikpalakas, Vayuganas, Viswadevas, Sadhyadevas, Nagadevas and all the living beings came craving for the Lord?s darshan. They made obeisance to him and got blessed. Famous apsaras Anooka, Jaami, Mishrakeshi, Alambusha, Mareechi, Shuchika, Vidwathpoorna, Thilothama, Adrika, Lakshhna, Rambha, Manorama, Asitha, Subaahu, Supriya, Subhaga, Urvashi, Chithralekha, Sugreeva Sulochana, Pundarika, Sugandha, Suratha, Pramaathini, Nanda, Sharadwathi, Menaka, Sahajanya, Parnika, Punjikasthala and many others danced to celebrate the Lord’ s incarnation.
Vamana shone with the brightness of one thousand suns. Even Prajapitha Brahma prostrated before the Lord.
The Lord, who was born with four arms bearing four weapons (Shankha, Chakra, Gada and Padma) took on the form of Vamana. (a dwarf) All the Devas present there prayed fervently in their own ways. ?May god prevail – they all hailed the Lord in unison, Vamana was highly pleased and said, “Best among the Suras, what can I do for you? What boon do you desire from me? Why have you came to me? Please answer my questions.’
The Devas and others present there were thrilled: they folded their hands and prayed. They said, “O great one! Balindra, who is omniscient, is also invincible and a maha tapasvi. He is brave, adventurous and has conquered his senses. He pleased Lord Brahma, got a powerful boon and as a result of the strength he acquired, defeated us and took away all we had. He was successful in pleasing Brahmadeva, who granted him the boon that he cannot be killed by us. Only you can bring him round. We have come to you in total surrender. You always protect those who come seeking your help. O great Sri Hari, save us from this catastrophe.”
Maha Vishnu, who was born as Vamana (Upendra, Thrivikrama), was loved by one and all. Maharshi Kashyapa
performed jatakarma and other samskaras to Vamana as suggested by the all-knowing Sages. The upanayana samskara was also over. He was initiated into the Gayathri mantra by lord Surya himself. The preceptor of Devas, Sage Brihaspathi, gave him the sacred thread. Kashyapa tied the mounji (girdle made out of darbha grass) |
round his waist and the sacred thread round his neck and shoulders. Bhoodevi gave him the holy Krishnajina. Chandra, the lord of nature, gave him the staff (danda). Mother Adithi gave him Kaupina (loin cloth) and the waist band. The goddess of space gave him a divine umbrella. Brahma gave him the holy water pot and Saptarshis, darbha. Goddess Saraswathi gave hima rosary (a string of beads.) After the Upanayana, the king of yakshas, Kubhera, gave him the begging bowl.
The mother of the earth, and the greatest and the best of Sathis, Uma Devi gave him the first bhiksha. Everyone who
came to attend the ceremony gave various kinds of gifts to the brahmachari and honoured him. The assembly, attended by great brahmarshis, dazzled with the radiance of Vamana. Then Vamana, with the help of Samiths, invoked Agnideva and performed the first fire sacrifice (agnikarya)
Vamana enters the holy Mantapa of Aswamedha
The best and the greatest among the Daitya kings, Bali, performed ashwamedha yaga at the instance of Shukracharya, his preceptor. Vamana, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu came to know about it. He went to
the preceptor of Devas, Acharya Brihaspathi, and asked him to take him to emperor Bali, who had made a name as a
great daani (one who gives things as gifts to others.) He also told the Sage that he had made a plan to take away from him, his entire kingdom, which spread in all the three worlds
A s desired by Vamana, sage Brihaspathi took him t o emperor Bali’ s yajna shala. Vamana appeared like an Ordinary Brahmin boy wearing mounji made of darbha grass as girdle. He wore the sacred thread and had a holy water pot, a danda and an umbrella. He had put on the krishnajina as uttariya (upper garment).
The main entrance to the yajnashala was being guarded by brave Daitya warriors. Ritwijas were sitting round the
yajna kunda chanting veda mantras and performing the yagna. Emperor Bali was sitting on a holy seat. Vamana reached Bali in a trice. When the ritwijas saw Vamana, they were struck by the form and the proportionate growth of his person. They noticed the radiance on his face and began to wonder who could the brahmachari, who shone with brilliance equal to the Sun God, be. He appeared to be highly learned but was full of humility. They thought that
he was all knowing like Lord Sri Hari. Could, he. be Yajneswara. himself? The dignity on his face struck them most. The Sages present there discussed about the young brahmachari thus.
Emperor Bali, who was observing the happenings, got up, welcomed the brahmachari and offered him arghya and
padya. The brahmachari appeared to be murmuring something. Bali washed the young brahmachari?s feet and took the water as thirtham. Then he lifted both his hands and prostrated before Vamana with great reverence.
Vamana then explained the importance of the ashwamedha yaga being performed by the king. He discussed the nuances of a number of points relating to yajnas logically with the Sages. All the Sages, including Shukracharya who came to attend the yajna, were wonder struck at the depth of knowledge and the skills of argument of the young vatu on topics which needed deeper understanding and scientific: approach. The great teachers assembled there had no answers fo many of the questions the young vatu posed to them. But they were supremely happy to look at the handsome figure of Vamana and were full of appreciation for his scholarship. Who could this handsome young scholar be? No one could guess!
After Bali completed the formalities of welcome, the king said to him. “O great young brahmachari, where have you come from? Who are you? Whose son are you? What can I do for you? I have not seen a young brahmin like you. I have not even heard that such a great one as you could exist. It appears that all the fruit of the tapas of all Sages seem to have got concentrated in your personality.
“You are still very young, but you appear to be the greatest scholar I have ever seen. You have mastered all knowledge of vedas, shastras and sciences. You speak like a nobleman in a very pleasing manner. If one goes on looking at you, he may not even feel the passage of time. You have a handsome figure and a scholarly head to match it.
“This yajna platform has got blessed by your presence. All the Pithru Devathas are pleased. My clan is blessed.
“The Yajna I have undertaken is successfully completed today. I presume, I have pleased all the Agnis due to which I
have had your holy darshan.
“All my sins have been washed away by the water I have used to wash your feet.
“I feel that you have come here seeking something. Do not have any reservations. Kindly ask for anything you want.
“O sacred one, you can ask for anything I have-my land, gold, m y well-furnished palace, food, maidens, prosperous villages, horses, elephants, cows, chariots – infact ask for anything. You can have them. Please let me know what you desire, I will give it to you immediately.
“I have not seen a better and holier brahmin than you in my life. The like of you cannot be found among Devas, Sages, nagayajnas, Asuras, siddhas, gandharvas, PithruDevas or any other group.” Emperor Bali pleaded with the brahmachari to ask for the thing he desired.
Vamana Praises Bali
Vamana had a few words of praise for Balindra. Vamana said, “Balindra, you have spoken in a manner which befits your position. Your words are highly righteous. They bring respectability and credit to you and t o your clan. Regarding dharma you consider Shukracharya?s (son of sage Bhrigu) words as an authority. You follow the order and advice of your grandfather, Prahlada, the great devotee of Lord Sri Hari.
“Your clan comprises of courageous, large hearted, and truthful people with great humility. They have always fulfilled the desires of those who came to them.
They have always been ready to face battles of any magnitude with the bravest of warriors, They have never been known to shirk their duty on the battlefield like cowards. The fame of Prahlada, your grandfather, has spread on earth and in heaven and it will remain as long as the Sun and the Moon exist.
What a great warrior Hiranyaksha, who belonged to your clan, was! N o one on earth could defeat him in a battle. Such a great warrior was killed by Lord Vishnu when he took the incarnation of Varaha. Even then, Lord Vishnu was surprised at his valour.
“His brother, Hiranyakashipu was angry at Hiranyaksha?s death and he was sad that Lord Vishnu was responsible for it. He directly went to Vaikunta to avenge his brother?s death. He would not leave | easily. Then Vishnu, with his maya, blended himself and started dwelling in the person of Hiranyakashipu. Unable to find Vishnu anywhere, he thought that he had gone to the abode of Yama and gave up his hatred of Vishnu. Thus we find a number of large hearted people in your great clan.
“You father, Virochana, had_ great respect for brahmins. Once the Devas came to your father in the guise of brahmins and asked for his life. Though he knew that it was a plot hatched by the Devas, he readily offered his life to the brahmins.
“You are also large-hearted like your elders.You always follow the footsteps of your grandfather, father and your
preceptor, Shukracharya. You are well known for granting boons.
“You are the emperor of three worlds and large hearted too. O great emperor, you are performing a mahayaga at the
moment. It is one of the best yajnas a king can perform. Previously Indra had performed it. You have done it in a better way. Lord Brahmadeva also had performed this. At that time the various things needed for the yaga were in plenty but you have procured those things in greater quantities. This ashwamedha yaga cleanses one of all sins and helps one to obtain heaven. It fulfills all desires and is like the heavenly Kalpavriksha.
“Among the four ashramas (brahmacharya, grihastha, vanaprastha and sanyasa) grihasthashram 15 the best,
because it gives protection to all. Among humans, a brahmana is the best. In the Same way you are the greatest among Daityas. Among yagas, the ashwamedha yaga is the best. I am sure that you will keep your promise. Like your grandfather Prahlada, you are a model to all good people.”
Gift of the Third foot
Vamana continued, “I do not desire Kingdom, women or wealth. I have to establish a yajnashala in memory of my
preceptor. For that purpose I need land measuring three footsteps. Please give me this gift and nothing more.”
In reply Bali said, “O young brahmin, you are still a boy. You lack experience. I am ready to give you my kingdom, but you are asking for land measuring three feet. You must really be foolish!”
Vamana said, “O great king, there is no limit to human desire. One should be satisfied with what he has. Those who feel contented with what God has granted them, are really happy people. Those who do not have their senses under control, will not be happy even when they become rulers of heaven.
Dharma, artha, kama, moksha – for all these, dharma and moksha serve as fencing. If one crosses the fencing, he leads a life of adharma, asatya, athrupti (discontentment) and anyaaya (unjust). These desires have no control. Therefore One has to take only that much that he actually needs.”
“My desire will be fulfilled by land measuring three steps; therefore grant me only that much which I need.”
All the while Shukracharya was listening to the conversation between the two. Then he called the king aside and
said, “O great king, do not give anything to this young brahmachari. Do you know who he is? He is the greatest among gods, Lord Vishnu himself. He is disguised as a brahmachari with the help of his maya. He is demanding land measuring three steps Just to deceive you. He has come here to help the Devas and loot all you have. Speak
to him tactfully and sweetly, convince him about your position but do not give him the land you have promised already. I am telling you this because I am interested in your welfare.
“If you grant this brahmachari what you have promised, the entire Danava race will be in trouble. This young man is going to take everything you have-your name, fame, courage, brilliance-and gift it to the Devas. Then you may be reduced to a position in which you may have to beg for your bare necessities. No wise man canever appreciate your gesture.
“Please think about what is true and what is not. This body of ours is likea tree. It bears flowers and fruit. It also gives
shelter, air and happiness to others. If the very tree is destroyed, what would be the benefit? When one earns something, he has to keep a part of it for his own use; on the other hand, if he cuts the very root of the tree, will it ever sprout again? If you do not have your own interests in mind, you are going to be ruined. If you gift all that the
seeker demands, you are going to lose everything. On the otherhand, if you do not give anything, you will lose your good name. Hence, the wisest course is tokeep what you need and give some things to others. If you follow my Suggestion, you are going to be safe.
“In order to escape from death, for the benefit of cows and brahmins, to protect oneself when one?s life is at stake, and in other such situations, there is no harm in telling lies. It is not a sin and w e have the dharmic sanction for such a course of action.” This way the preceptor of Asuras advised Bali. He gave a number of
examples to prove his point.
Bali, who had taken Yajnadeeksha, thought for a while and said to his preceptor. “O revered one, you are a
grihastha. You have told me something which is according to dharma. But I have taken an oath. Just to preserve my wealth, I cannot go back on my words. It will not befit me, being the great Prahlada’s grandson. Mother earth has also said that she can tolerate anyone except those who tell lies. Further cheating a brahmin is a great sin. With this body which is transient, one should only do righteous acts. Dadhichi and Shibi, the great ones, gave up? their lives just to keep their word. While living one may earn great fame or precious things, but while departing no one takes
with him anything, not even kings or rakshasas, except the good or bad name he has earned.
“When we perform yajnas or yagas, we invoke Lord Vishnu. Now if that Vishnu did come asking for something, I would not consider anything a greater fortune than that. There is no one better qualified than Vishnu to receive the gift,” said Bali to Shukracharya.
Shukracharya was angry when his own disciple, refusing to listen to his advice, and preaching. He heaped a curse on him, saying,| “You are dull headed. You do not respect even your teacher. You are arrogant. You have not respected my words. Therefore you will lose all that yoy have,” he thundered.
Bali was not distracted or upset by Shukracharya?s anger or even by the curse he heaped on him. He and his wife gave arghya and padya to Vamana. Shukracharya again tried to prevent the king from gifting away the three steps of
land to the brahmachari.
Bali thought “While I am_ under yajnadeeksha, I cannot send one who has come asking for something, empty handed. If I do so, my relatives, my friends and I will go to hell. Therefore I am going to grant the brahmachari what he has asked for.” He washed the feet of the divine Vamana, took the water as thirtha, and sprinkled the holy water on his head. A t that time the Gods rained flowers on the place.
As Bali poured water o n Vamana’s hands as the last part of the rite of gifting the land, Vamana began to grow. He grew to the height of the sky. He placed his first step on the earth. It covered the earth, the sky, the directions and every thing in them became his. He placed the second step on heaven. There was no place to put the third step. The Lord?s radiance made Heaven, the Sun, the Moon and the stars dim and they paled.
When Vamana put forward his divine step towards Brahmaloka, Lord Brahma prostrated before the lord. He washed the lord?s foot with the holy water from his kamandala and worshipped him in the most appropriate manner. He prayed to the lord in great devotion. The water, with which he had washed the lord?s feet flowed down as the holy Ganga in all the three lokas, thus purifying them.
Then Thrivikrama became Vamana again. The Devas worshipped him and sang the praise of his greatness. A t that
moment, divine music and chanting of Vedas was heard from heaven, thus Signifying the triumph of the Lord.
Jambavantha, the chief o f bears, went about announcing to the world the victory celebration of the Lord. Bali?s army and all the Daithyas got scared. They were angry when they heard that the ‘magician’ Vishnu had cheated their king and taken away all his wealth. Their king had taken yajnadeeksha and he was the master on the yajna platform. Therefore, he could not talk anything against others. Therefore, they decided to face Vamana and fight against
him. This, they thought, would be their service to their king. Immediately they all rose as one man, took up their weapons and decided to face him. They disguised themselves as various kinds of animals such as elephants, dogs, camels, donkeys, rhinos and so on.
The Lord?s servants took up their weapons with a smile and got ready to face the Demons. The most important among them were Nanda, Jaya, Sunanda, Vijaya, Prabala, Bali, Kumuda, Garuda and Jayantha and each of them had the strength of crores of elephants. In a trice, thousands of Rakshasa warriors were killed. When Bali saw his forces suffer heavy losses, he remembered the curse heaped on him by Shukracharya.
He thought, “The same Kalapurusha, who was once the cause for uplifting the Rakshasas and destroying the Devas, has become our enemy. No one can face him, let alone defeat him.” He asked his soldiers to stop fighting. He consoled them saying that they would earn all that they had lost when God became well-disposed towards them.
All the Daithyas, who remained alive, fled to Pathala, to the underworld. Vishnu?s carrier, Garuda, understood his
master?s desire. Bali was not in a position to comply with his promise completely as yet; so:Garuda made him prisoner with his varunapasha. There was commotion all round.
Bali, who had lost everything, was quite composed and put on a detached appearance just like a lotus leaf.
Vamana had measured the three worlds with his two steps. Where should he place the third step? He took objections saying that since there was no place to put his third step, it meant that Bali?s promise would be broken. Bali, who had not experienced misery until then, said, “O great one, I have not refused to comply with my words. I do not feel sad for having lost my wealth. I am not frightened of poverty, the Varuna pasha or hell, but I am scared of earning a bad name, of dishonour.
“O most revered among gods, place your third step on my head.” He bent his head with a smile. Lord Vishnu was happy and said. “You are most fortunate, ask for any boon, it will be granted.”
Bali did not ask for anything in return for his gift. Vamana was very happy and said, “O great king, you go to the Suthala world, where you do not need to fear anyone. You perform yajnas and your heart?s desires will be fulfilled. You are going to be the emperor of the Daithyas. If you do not follow my advice, the Devas will bind you with nagapasha. Devendra is | m y cousin. You have taken away all he had; now return everything to him. You are
going to be the Indra of the nether world and enjoy the position of Indra for a long. time. Give up your hatred towards Devendra,” Vamana advised Bali.
Bali folded his hands and said, “O great Lord, what am I going to get in the nether world? What should I eat there?”
The Lord made all arrangements for a comfortable life for Bali in the new place of his sojourn and said, ?You will get all the gifts given to undeserving brahmins at shradha ceremonies, the fruits of study without following brahmacharya, yajna performed without giving dakshina, homas performed without the presence of ritwijas,
gifts given without shraddha and havis offered in homas without samskara. The
benefit of all these will be yours hereafter.”
“I accept what you have given me, O Lord” So saying Bali entered the nether world. Vamana blessed Bali. He took upon himself the responsibility of guarding the main gate of Bali?s palace constantly.
This incident enhanced Bali?s fame. He did not give up truth even under trying circumstances. He did not listen to his people in this regard. He did not get worried when his own preceptor cursed him. He was unmoved when he realised that he had lost everything. Even Lord Narayana showered encomiums on him for his honesty and truthfulness. He attained Suthala loka which the Devas could not Step into. I n future, during the Suvarna
Manvanthara, he would become Devendra. Those who live i n Suthalaloka are free from mental and bodily diseases, laziness, tiredness, shame or any kind o f pain.
Bali is immortal
Ashwathamaa Balirvyaaso Hanumaanscha Vibhishanali |
Kripah Parashuramascha Sapthaithe chiranjeevinah !!
Every year during Deepavali, we remember emperor Bali on the first day of the brighter half of the moon i n the month of Karthika. We invoke him, worship him in a grand manner and then say good bye to him.
Emperor Bali is the greatest among the brave, the most revered among the honest, the best among daanis and he occupies the top position among the devotees of Lord Narayana. Let this great man’s divine qualities be our model for ever.