Vamana Avatar of Vishnu
When the Lord arrived in Aditi’s womb, Brahma prayed to Him. By Brahma’s prayers, the unborn God appeared before Aditi. Shukdev says, ” O Parikshit, on the twelfth day of the waxing phase of Bhadrapada month (corresponding to September) Lord tok birth in Abhijit Muhurta. Everywhere, everybody celebrated the arrival of God with joy. The gods showered flowers on Him. The God had arrived in Vamana (dwarf) form. His continence appearance caused tremendous joy for the sages. During Upnayan consecration of Lord, the ruling deity of the Gayatri mantra, Savitri (an epithet for Surya) preached Him the hymn. Guru gave him Yagyopavit, Kashyapa gave neck-kerchief, the earth gave black buck skin, Chandra gave scepter, Mother gave loin cloth, the sky gave umbrella, Brahma gave Kamandalu (coconut shell bowl) Saptrishi gave kush (sacred grass) while Goddess Saraswati presented God with a string of Rosaries. Yakshraj (king of Yakshas) Kubera gave him the alms bowl and mother Annapurnna gave him alms. Thus everyone payed due respect to God in Vamana (dwarf) incarnation who was radiating with divine glory.
Lord Vamana was intimated that the king Bali was performing many Ashvamegha Yagyas with Bhrigu Brahmans. He at once left for the Yagya site, at a place named Bhrigu Kachch on the banks of the river Narmada. As soon as Lord Vamana reached the site, all the sages, hosts and others present there became dull before the radiance of God. They felt as if Surya himself had arisen there. Everyone stood up to welcome God. Host Bali offered Him the best seat and washed His feet with affection. Then Bali requested God for his service.
Demanding three steps of land by Vamana: King Bali requested, “O Brahmin, now tell me how I can serve you. You are the tangible representation of the penance of Brahmarishis. By your arrival, all my ancestors are saved, my clan is blessed, my Yagya has succeeded. Ask me whatever you wish. I am ready to give you your desired object.”
Hearing the pious talk of the king Bali, Lord Vamana blessed him and said, “O king, no one have been impatient and frugal in your clan. Reputation of your grandfather Prahlada is still alive. You great grandfather Hiranykashipu had chased the illusionary Vishnu who had hid in your great grandfather’s heart itself. When the infuriated Hiranykashipu could not find Vishnu anywhere in all the three worlds, he presumed that Vishnu had died because of his fear alone.”
“O king” continued Lord Vamana, ” You are excellent among the religious people. O demon king, you can fulfill any great desire. But I demand only as much land as could be covered in three steps of mine. I need nothing else.” King Bali said, ” O Batu, (dwarf Brahmin) you talk like aged persons but your mind is childish. I am the ruler of all the three worlds, and you are asking for three steps of land only, you can still ask for anything else. Lord Vamana replied,” O king, greedy ones are not sated even if they get whole of the earth. But I don’t want more than my requirement.” King Bali agreed to donate Vamana the Land as per his demands and picked up the water pot to make resolution.
When Guru Shukracharya, saw that Bali had agreed to donate land, he tried to persuade him, “O Bali, this Vamana is none other than indestructible Lord Vishnu. He has taken incarnation of Vamana as a son of Aditi, Kashyapa’s wife, in the interest of the gods. Unknowingly you have made a promise to fulfil His desire. But He will snatch everything from you and hand it over to Indra. This illusionary Batu will measure whole of your empire in all the three worlds with his two steps, so you will not be able to keep your promise also. Hence, show your inability to make donation as per His demand, send Him back.”
Measuring of Earth’s heaven by Vamana: Shukdev says, “Parikshit with, politeness king Bali asserted to his teacher, ” Gurudev, your words are true. But I am the grandson of great Prahlada. Now I cannot reverse my promise. No religion is greater than truth. I’m not afraid of any calamity except of deceiving a Brahmin.” When, Shukracharya saw that his disciple Bali was determined to violate his dictate, he cursed, ” O king, soon you will be devoid of the wealth you have been enjoying.”
But despite having been cursed by his teacher, Bali stayed firm to his promise. Worshipping Vamana formally, he took some water on his palm and made the promise to donate land. As soon as Bali made the promise, Lord Vamana assumed a gigantic appearance and measured Bali’s entire empire in his steps. In first He measured the whole of the earth. In the next He measured the heaven. The second step itself reached Satyaloka, where Brahma had once washed Lord’s feet and kept the water, in a Kamandalu (a bowl of coconut shell) that came on earth later as the river Ganges. Now there was no room for God to put His third step. Lord ridiculed Bali for not keeping his promise fully, “Your everything is mine now, but your promise is still incomplete.
Shukdev says Lord ridiculed Bali but he remained unmoved with patience. He said: ‘O Lord, I keep my promise fully, you put your third step on my head. I don’t want a blemish on my reputation.’ Lord said: ‘I snatch all the wealth from people who are bestowed with my grace. They then become an inseparable devotee of me, free from every blemish.’ Thus Lord Vishnu gave Bali the empire of Sutal Loka (hades) that was even richer than the heaven and said: ‘I will protect you there from all the obstacles.’ Your hundredth Ashvamudh Yagya shall be completed. In due course of time you shall be the king of the heaven.’ This way, without fighting a battle, Lord took the empire of heaven from the demons and gave it to His brother Indra.