Vamana Avatar – Part 3 – Bali fulfills his promise


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Angered at Bali not heeding to his warnings, Sukracharya cursed him – Since you are impudent enough to disobey my order, you will very soon be bereft of all your opulence and wealth.

Undaunted by this curse, Bali proceeded to wash Vamana’s feet and fulfill the promise made to him. Vamana then started increasing in size until everything in the universe was within his body, including the earth, the planetary systems, the sky, the directions, the black holes, the seas, the oceans, the birds, the beasts, humans, the devas and the asuras.

Manifesting himself in this manner, Vamana covered the entire surface of the earth with his first footstep and the heavenly planets with his second step.

Angered by the fact that their king was defeated by Lord Vishnu in the form of a young brahmachari, the asuras started fighting with the devas. Noticing this Bali expressly forbade them from doing so.

Vamana then addressed Bali You have promised me three steps of land, but I have occupied the entire universe with just two steps. Now, tell me, where do I place my third step? Because you have been unable to give charity as per your promise, the rule is that you should go down to live in the hellish planets for some time.

Undaunted by the young brahmachari’s words, Bali told him I cannot allow my promise to be false. Please, therefore, place your third footstep on my head.

I don’t fear being deprived of all my possessions, living in a hellish planet or being punished by you as much as I fear being defamed for being called a liar.

Pleased with Bali’s magnanimity and his devotion to being truthful, Vamana then asks him to go live in peace for the rest of his days in the planet Sutala unencumbered by the travails and troubles of being the asura king. Thus, Lord Vishnu delivered the proprietorship of the heavenly planets to Indra and fulfilled the promise that he had made to Aditi, the mother of the devas.


Vamana Avatar – Part 2 – Bali meets Vamana


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Aggrieved with the plight of her sons, the demigods, Aditi, the wife of Kasyapa Muni performed severe penance and practiced austerities with the goal of pleasing the Supreme Personality of God-head. Pleased with her devotion to him, the Supreme Personality of God-head promised to become her son to protect her other sons. He was then born in the form of Vamana, a brahmana dwarf, a brahmachari. During the sacred thread ceremony of Vamanadeva, he was presented with a begging bowl by Kubera, the lord of the yakshas.

Vamana then proceeded to the place where Bali was performing his sacrifices and yagna. Holding in his hands, the rod of a brahmachari, a wooden umbrella and a pot full of water, he entered the arena where the ashwamedha sacrifice was being held. Although he was just a young brahmana boy wearing a belt of straw, a sacred thread, an upper garment of deerskin with matted locks of hair, he generated such radiance and effulgence that everybody in the arena stood up to welcome him there.

Bali then offered him a seat and worshipped him by washing his feet. Being aware of the prevalent religious principles, he also placed his head on the feet of the young brahmachari.

Bali addressed him thus – O son of a brahmana, it appears that you have come here to ask me something. Therefore, whatever you want from me shall be given to you. This is my promise to you.

Pleased with the asura king’s benevolence, Vamana replied O king, I ask you only three paces of land to the measurement of my steps.

When Bali intervened and requested the brahmachari to ask for a more significant offering, Vamana replied O King, even the entire three worlds will not satisfy a person whose senses are uncontrolled. If I were not satisfied with three paces of land then I would surely not be satisfied if you gave me seven islands and more.

Sukracharya who by now suspected that there was more to this young brahmachari than met the eye, took Bali aside and told him – This is the Supreme Personality of God-head, incarnate as the son of Kasyapa Muni and Aditi. He has now appeared here to fulfill the interests of the demigods, and your promise to him has the possibility of bringing great harm to our asura brethren.

Understanding the full import of his spiritual guru’s words, Bali then replied stating that he had made a promise to the young brahmachari and intended to fulfill it, at whatever cost. Being the grandson of Prahlada, how could he go back on his promise to a young brahmana and be accused of being untruthful.

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Vamana Avatar – Part 1 – Bali defeats Indra


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After the churning of the celestial ocean in which Lord Vishnu helped the devas obtain the Amrit, the nectar of immortality all for themselves, the asuras were enraged at this turn of events. They took up arms against the devas and attacked them on the shores of the ocean itself. Led by their commander Maharaja Bali (grandson of Prahlada), the asuras fought valiantly but the devas, who were enthused and enlivened after drinking the nectar managed to parry their attacks bravely.

Bali attacked Indra with all his best weapons and used various techniques of warfare to try and overpower the commander of the devas. Enraged by Bali’s attempts at sorcery and magical techniques to defeat him, Indra used his famed Vajra, the thunderbolt to render the asura commander unconscious, and left him for dead on the battlefield.

It was Sukracharya, a descendant of Bhrigu Muni who resuscitated Bali and nurtured him back to health. Overcome with gratitude for this gesture, Bali became a disciple of Sukracharya and served him with great faith. Pleased with his devotion and faith to his master, the holy men in the ashram suggested that Bali perform the Visvajit yagna, which would help him achieve his ultimate desire of defeating Indra.

When the sacrifice was performed, Bali received a celestial chariot, magical horses, weapons, and an entire army from the sacrificial fire. After offering his thanks and obeisance to his master and the assembled holy men, Bali then marched towards the capital of Indra. He gathered his entire army outside the capital and attacked it from all directions.

Noticing Bali’s renewed strength and disturbed by the same, Indra then approached his spiritual master Brihaspati and asked him the source of Bali’s newfound energy, enthusiasm and vigor. Brihaspati then told Indra about how Bali had managed to please the descendants of Bhrigu Muni and as a result was now equipped with supreme spiritual power, the likes of which could be overcome only by the Supreme Personality of God-head.

Brihaspati then advised Indra that a time would come when Bali would insult brahmanas which would immediately render all the benedictions that he had received from them inconsequential. However, until such a time it would be appropriate for the demi gods to leave the capital and go somewhere else. Taking the advice of their spiritual master, Indra and the demi gods then left their heavenly kingdom and scattered.

Bali, now with the satisfaction of having defeated his nemesis Indra, proceeded to perform one hundred ashwamedha sacrifices.

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