Story of Bhagwan Vaman and Bali
Asuras were defeated by Devas. Asuras took shelter of Guru Shukracharya. With the help of Shukracharya, Asuras started gaining strength. The defeated king Bali Asura took much care of sages and gained strength. Shukaracharya suggested him to perform Vishvajeet Yajna. By doing Vishvajeet Yajna, Bali got Sarvajit chariot.
Bali defeated Devas and grabbed the kingdom of heaven. Bali sat on the throne of Indra. Guru Shukracharya thought, in case Bali performs one hundred Ashwamegh Yajna, he would be king of heaven for ever. King Bhrigukatch performed Ashwamegh Yajna for Bali.
Devas started trembling and came to Guru Brehaspati. Guru Brehaspati advised them that in case Bali insults Brahmin from Brigu generation, he would be destroyed.
Aditi, the mother of Devas was much disturbed. On enquiry, she told everything to Kashyap rishi. Kashyap rishi advised her to do fast of Payovrat which comes in Phalgun month. She did Payovrat. In the dream, she saw four armed Narayana. Narayana told her during the dream, in case she meditates him as four armed, he would take birth as son. Both husband and wife meditated on Narayana intensely. On twelfth day of Shukla paksh in month of Bhadrapad, Vaman incarnation of Narayana appeared in afternoon. This period was seventh Manvantara and Shraddhadeva who is the son of Vivasvan, was the Manu.
(As per Hindu scriptures, each Manvantara is created and ruled by a specific Manu, who in turn is created by Brahma. Manu creates the world and its entire species during that period of time. Each Manvantara lasts during the lifetime of a Manu. Fourteen Manus and their respective Manvantaras constitute one Kalpa or a ‘Day of Brahma. Thereafter, at the end of each Kalpa, there is a period of dissolution called as Pralaya having equivalent perid as that of Kalpa.)
At the time of birth, Vaman first appeared in four armed form of Narayana to exhibit it to Kashyap and Aditi. Later, he took the form Vaman. Vaman ji appeared at the age of seven years directly. Hence, it was decided to perform Yajnopavita ceremony. After Yajnopavita samskar, the boy gets right to education of Vedas. After the ceremony of Yajnopavita, Vaman was given one asana (sitting mat), one kamandal (gourd), string of beads, begging bowl and loincloth. Guru Brahespati gave sermons to Vaman.
Vaman ji went to Parvati mata for begging. Parvati mata gave him alms which he offered to Guru ji. Guru ji told him that alms are very less and asked him to go to Bali raja who would be performing Ashvamegh Yajna on the bank of Narmada river. Vaman ji reached in Yajna pavilion. Vaman ji was having divine shine on his face. A group of rishis was present in the pavilion. They wondered to see the divine shine on the face of Vaman ji, whether he is son of sun. Prime priest, Shukaracharya welcomed Vaman ji. All Brahmins welcomed him. Raja Bali thought that he had served so many Brahmins but never seen such a Brahmin. He brought Vaman ji in the palace and made him to sit on throne. Then Bali asked the queen to arrange materials for worship.
The name of Bali’s wife was Vidhyavali and his daughter’s name was Ratanmala. Ratanmala was much impressed with the beauty of Vaman ji. She thought that mother of Vaman must be very lucky. She developed fondness and desire to feed him her breast milk. But later, after seeing his courage, she desired to kill him. In future life, she was Putna who tried to feed milk for killing Shri Krishna.
Vidhyavali was pouring water on the feet of Vaman ji and Bali raja was cleaning them. Bali raja said that he is fortunate to clean the feet and by doing this he has been purified. Bali further said that his ancestors have also got salvation today. Bali saluted Vaman ji repeatedly and said to him that his parents would be fortunate. Bali said, he desired to offer all his belongings and proceed to forest for Bhajans of almighty.
Vaman ji thought that he has in fact come to take everything from him. Vaman ji started praising his ancestors. Vaman ji said, his grandfather, Prahlad was a great bhakta and nobody was or would be like him. His bhakti was so intense that almighty came out of the pillar. Vaman ji further said, his father, King Virochan was very generous. When Indra came in the form of a Brahmin to king Virochan and told him that his age is expiring & after his death, his wife would be widowed. Indra begged for duration of life which was granted by his father. Vaman ji told Bali that his great grandfather was also very brave.
Bali wondered, Vaman ji appears of the age of 7 – 8 years but talking about his ancestors. He asked, whether he has seen them. Vaman ji asked how he can see them. Vaman ji told, he has learned the stories from his elders. Vaman ji praised Bali also and said, he is also very powerful, strong and generous like his ancestors. On hearing the praise of his ancestors and him, Bali asked Vaman ji to demand anything. Vaman ji said to him that he is not greedy and require only three steps of land. Bali asked Vaman ji to take much more. He could take three villages. Everybody knows about his generosity. After taking alms from him, if one takes alms from other, it would be his insult. It would be embarrassing for him to offer three steps of land. Vaman ji said to Raja that he is right in saying this. It was not surprising. But one should think before asking. Greed increases greed and contentment increases contentment. Vaman ji said, he did not require more. Vaman ji continued to say, he thought to have three steps of land to do Sandhya and by donating this, he would also get virtues.
Bali was elated and thought his land would be used for Sandhya by the holy Brahmin. He thought the Brahmin is very renunciant. Bali agreed to resolve and donate three steps of land. But Guru Shukracharya understood that the Brahmin is not an ordinary Brahmin. He told Bali not to be so prompt. Shukracharya told Bali, Narayana himself has come in the form of Vaman to accomplish the task of Devas. He would measure the entire kingdom in two steps. There would be no land left for third step. Hence, he would have to go into Patala. Think before taking the resolve. Vaman would grab entire thing. Bali asked Shukracharya, what he should do. Shukracharya said, donate but measure the land with his own feet. In case, one resolved for donation and not donate, he would go to hell. Donate only twenty percent. Bali said, he has resolved and in case of denial, he would be punished for untruthfulness. Shukracharya told him that in case of trouble, untruthfulness is forgiven. He should deny his resolve.
Bali said that he is Vaishnav. Earlier, he was thinking one Brahmin has come for alms but now he has understood that Narayana himself has come then he would prefer to donate entire thing. He would not break his resolve. His main deity is Vishnu Bhagwan. He would donate entire belongings in the feet of Vishnu ji. The world would praise him. Shukracharya told Bali, for third step, there would not be any land left and third feet would be kept on his head. This would send him in hell. Bali said, he is not afraid of hell. After committing sins, it is bad to go to hell but by offering everything to the almighty, going to hell would be good. Bali further said, he has born in the family of Prahlad. He is vaishnav. After donating to almighty, he would become god and god would have to stay with him in hell.
Bali said Shukracharya that during the puja, he always made him to resolve and donate all actions to Narayana. Here, Narayana himself has come, how he can deny. He requested Shukracharya to make him to resolve for the donation. Shukracharya denied making him resolve. Vaman ji said to Bali, in case of his family priest denied making him resolve, he could do so. Bali raja agreed for this. Vaman ji started to make Bali resolve. Shukracharya could not bear this and entered in subtle form in the groove of water vessel to interrupt flow of water. Vaman ji understood the manipulation of Shukracharya. He pricked a straw into the groove of water vessel which split one eye of Shukracharya. Shukracharya preferred to move from there.
Vaman ji measured entire land in one step. In second step, he measured Brahmaloka. There was no place for third step. Asura got angry and shouted for fight but Bali asked them to keep calm. Vaman ji asked Bali to keep his resolve. Vidhyavali said to Vaman ji that her husband wanted him to donate out of pride. Nobody can donate anything to Narayana as entire things belong to him. Then he told her husband, Bali, this body is made of earth and ask Narayana to keep his feet on his head. Bali then asked Vaman ji to keep his third step on his head. He begged pardon and said, he is offering whatever actually belongs to him. His minute pride eliminated.
By the time, Prahalad ji came there. He said to Narayana that he has taken Indra post from his grandson and left him without wealth. Narayana said, he withdraws wealth as a mercy on him. Wealth brings pride. When Bali became pride less, almighty said to him that he has donated everything and hence he has become his debtor. Indra has been given the kingdom of heaven and he has been given kingdom of Patala. Further, he would be watchman in his kingdom on the doors. Bali said, kingdom of Patala is better than kingdom of Indra.
Vaman ji became watchman in Patala. Once, Ravana came to fight with Bali. Vaman ji said, he would have to fight with him as he is servant to Bali. They fought. Vaman ji pushed Ravana with his foot to the bank of the ocean.
In Vaikuntha, Lakshmi ji was worried about the whereabouts of Narayana. One day, Narada ji visited Vaikuntha. Lakshmi ji asked the whereabouts of her husband. Narada ji informed her that Narayana is watchman in the Patala, the kingdom of Bali. Lakshmi ji in form of Brahmin’s wife went to Patala and said to Bali that she is his sister as per dharma. She did not have brother. Bali became happy. He saluted her. He always missed that he did not have sister. On the full moon in Shravana month, Lakshmi ji tied Rakhi to Bali. Bali said to Lakshmi ji that he should offer something in return. Lakshmi ji felt hesitant. Bali told, she should ask which is not available in her house. Lakshmi ji asked for watchman. Bali enquired whether he is her relative. Lakshmi ji said, he is her everything. Lakshmi ji alongwith Narayana went to Vaikuntha on full moon of Shravana month.
Shrimad Bhagwat Mahapuran by Shri Ramchandra Keshav Dongra ji Maharaj