Vaidya N. Sundaram sundaram at ECN.PURDUE.EDU
Mon Jul 6 09:32:48 CDT 1998

On Mon, 6 Jul 1998, Jaldhar H. Vyas wrote:
> Vaman rupa asked him for enough land to cover three steps.  Looking at
> the little legs of the boy in front of him, Bali burst out laughing and
> urged him to ask for more.  But Bhagavan was adamant so Bali granted the
> strange request.  Immediately, Bhagavan grew to collossal size.  With one
> stride he covered the Earth and with a second, the heavens.  Laughingly he
> asked Bali "I have covered everything and still have one step to go.
> Where shall I put it?"  This btw is why one of His names is Vikram or
> Trivikram.  "Who takes (three) wide steps." Bali realized who he was
> dealing with and immediately offered up his own head for the third step.
> This is the sign of true nobility.  When he was left with nothing Bali
> gave up his own head rather than break his word.  Bhagavan took the third
> step and crushed Bali back down to Naraka again.

 It is an undeniable fact that Bali was a great Bhagavata himself. It is
said that one of the reasons Lord Vishnu assumed the form of a Vamana (a
dwarf like) is that he showed that in front of Bhagavatas he is but like a
dwarf. He could have very well assumed the form of a pious Brahman or any
thing He wished!!

 That said, it is also said that Bali wife Vindhyavali is also a great
devotee herself. After Bali offered puja to the Vamana, she did her puja.
The lord in Guruvayur today, spoke to Naraayan Namoobdri and said that the
water she offered at His feet cool His feet even today!!

 It is also said that Bali knew very well who the Vamana was and His
purpose. That is why even in spite of SukrAcharyar (Bali's Guru) objecting
to Bali giving land to the Vamana, Bali does so.

> Pleased with this display of devotion, Bhagavan went to visit Bali and
> offered him a wish. Bali replied "As I provided the third step, I request
> that you together with your wife Lakshmiji should come and live with me
> one third of the year.  Bhagavan agreed and since then we have observed
> the Chaturmas vrata.  During this tme, Bhagavan is considered to be
> asleep.  Thus the start of Chaturmas is called Devashayini Ekadashi and
> the day Bhagavan wakes up and Chaturmas ends is called Devaprabodhini
> Ekadashi.

 Interestingly, there are two other versions of the end. One is that, Lord
Vishnu accepts Bali's inability to fulfill his promise of giving three
steps of land. Hence, Lord Vishnu is now the debtor. (Remember, Bali not
being able to fulfill his promise makes him a debtor!) Then, He creates a
new realm, that of Patala, and makes Bali the ruler. And that He may
absolve himself of the debts (the debts he assumed from Bali), Lord Vishnu
said that he would stand guard at Bali's doorsteps, all of Vaivashwata
manvantaram, and that if during the current manvantaram, the Vaivashwata
manvantaram, one wishes to see Lord Vishnu, they can find Him, not in
Vaikuntam, but in Patalam, at Bali's door.

 The other version is that, Bali wanted to make sure that Indra handles
his people with mercy. So he comes out of Patalam everyday to check on the
welfare of his subjects (one day for the Devas/Asuras is one year for us).
This is the reason people of Kerala celebrate Onam, a show of wealth and
happiness, that Bali may be satisfied that his subjects are still happy.

> Whomsoever will hear this story of the great Bhakta Bali and practice the
> Chaturmas vrata will have the blessings of Vishnu Bhagavan forever.

                      Vaidya N. Sundaram
 Kandavar Vindilar      : Those who have seen (Brahman) have not spoken
  Vindavar Kandilar     :   those who speak (about It) have not seen (It)
    satyakAma, satyasaMkalpa, Apatsakha, kAkutsa, shrIman nArAyaNa
        puruShottaMa, shrI ranganAtha, mama nAtha, namostute.

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