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The story of Bali and Lord Vaaman


Bali was son of Virochan. He was also called Mahabali for the bravery. After his father's death, he became king. He was brilliant and brave and thus defeated the deities and drove them out from their abodes. Very soon, all the three worlds came under his control. He was a virtuous king and so were his subjects. During his reign, every corner in his kingdom thrived with wealth and religious activities. As a result, the whole world became devoid of sin, and thus peaceful.

After being defeated by Bali, Indra went to Meru Mountain where his mother Aditi lived and narrated the woeful tale of the deities' defeat. Aditi started a severe penance along with her sons to propitiate lord Vishnu. Pleased by their penance, Lord Vishnu agreed to take birth as Aditi's son and restore Swargaloga for Gods.

Meanwhile Bali saw his demon citizens slowly becoming devoid of radiance and power though they were good and trustworthy. He enquired about the reasons from his grandfather, Prahlad who was living in a hermitage as a recluse in forest. Prahlada have convinced Bali that these signs went to prove the inevitable emergence of the deities as a result of Aditi’s penance and Hari’s resolve to protect them.

Bali curiously asked Prahlad- "Who is this Hari, the tormentor of the demons?"

These words angered Prahlad and in sudden anger Prahlad cursed Bali.

Bali felt sorry for hurting Prahlad's feelings. He said- "Dear grandfather! My intelligence has been overshadowed by my arrogant attitude. You have done the right thing by cursing me. I am not scared of losing all my prosperity and splendor but your anger is unbearable for me."

Bali requested Prahlad to enlighten him on the duties of a king and on the virtuous deeds which would enable him in attaining Dharma, Arth, Kama and Moksha. Prahlad advised Bali to rule in a just manner and for the benediction of the world. He also advised Bali to engage himself in the service of all so that they remain loyal to him. Prahlad said-"Virtuosity increases when people unwaveringly follow their Dharma. Increase in virtuosity helps a king to rule without any problem."

Bali agreed with his grandfather and become still more virtuous and benevolent after this incidence. Bali also decided to start An Aswamedha Yagna in Kurukshetra, a hundred such Yagna will entitle one as the Indra.

Shukracharya started making preparations for the Yagya and initiated both Bali and his wife- Vindhyavali into the rituals. After that, a horse was let loose according to the tradition. The demon Tarkaaksh followed that horse. The Ashwamedha Yagya continued for three months

Lord Vishnu born to Aditi as Vaaman got initiated into vedic studies by Sage Bharadwaj then proceeded towards the place where King Bali was performing his oblation. Lord Vaaman was in the appearance of a young hermit. Though he was of diminutive size, yet each of his steps were enough to shake the earth. The shaking and trembling of earth surprised Bali and he enquired about this strange happening to Shukracharya. He was also surprised by the fact that Agni was not accepting the offerings. Shukracharya, after contemplating for a while on this matter, came to know about Vaaman's incarnation. He informed Bali that Vaaman was on his way to the Yagna shala and his each step was causing turbulence on the earth. Bali was pleased that he would get an opportunity to see the Almighty God whom the sages contemplate upon. He was proud of his good fortune that the lord was paying him a visit. Shukracharya being aware of the reason for Vaaman's arrival warned Bali against making any promise to him.

Bali replied-"How can I refuse if the Almighty God demands anything from me? I am willing to face any hardship to safeguard my benevolent image. I don't mind if the deities get benefited by my actions. Even if the lord is coming with the intention of killing me, I am not scared as that is how I would attain salvation. Come what may, I am not going to abandon my charitable nature."

As the conversation between Shukracharya and Bali continued, suddenly, Lord Vaaman arrived at the site. Vaaman's radiance subdued the power of all demons present there. Lord Vaaman being impressed by the grandeur of Vaaman's Yagya complimented him for organising such a magnificent Yagya. Bali eulogised and worshipped his esteemed guest. He requested Vaaman to reveal the reason of his arrival and promised that his wishes would be fulfilled. Lord Vaaman smiled and told him that he needed a small piece of land measured by three steps for the performance of Yagya. Bali was surprised by this demand and requested him to ask for more land but Lord Vaaman told him that he needed only that much land.

Bali agreed and took a vow to donate a piece of land measured by three steps. Hardly had Bali taken his vow, when suddenly Lord Vaaman expanded his size. His first step covered the whole earth. By his two successive steps, he covered the two worlds. This way, Bali was forced to donate all the three worlds according to his vow

He blessed Bali by saying- "You would enjoy a long life till the end of this present Kalpa. You would hold the post of Indra till the arrival of Saavarni Manavantar”. Thus Bali was awarded the staus of Indra by just one Aswamedha yagna. Then Vishnu made Indra, the king of all the three worlds and sent Bali to the nether world named Sutal for a temporal stay till the Indra of that age to complete his term.

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