Vamana Avatar – 4

Bali did not feel bad that his guru Sukacarya had lost an eye while trying to stop him from extending alms to the Lord. Instead he was elated that he was going to fulfil his dharma. Now it was time for Vamana to pace the land.

From his present avatar of a dwarf, he started increasing in size and grew and grew and grew until his body contained the entire universe. All the people who were present there could see everything (including the planetary systems of the universe, the sky, the earth, the directions, all the important manifestations of the earth like mountains, seas, oceans, birds, humans and beasts and even the demi-gods and the other beings who reside in the higher lokas of the universe, the gross material elements, the senses, the sense objects, the mind, the intelligence and the false ego) within the Supreme Being.

Being in this form, He took his first step and covered the entire universe. He covered the entire surface of the Prithvi with his step, the sky with his body and all the directions with his extended arms. Then he paced in his next step and covered the entire planetary systems of the cosmos. From the Bhu loka, the legs extended till the Satyaloka , passing through Maharloka, Janaloka and Tapoloka. Brahma who was seated in his position was amazed to see one leg suddenly coming out of nowhere. Immediately he realized whose leg it was – for he knew that only one entity could measure the entire universe. The effulgence of Satyaloka and all its residents dimmed by the effulgence emanating from the toe nail of the leg that appeared.  Lord Brahma offered his prayers and paid his obeisance by washing the lotus feet with the holy water from his kamandal. This water poured down, purifying all it touched and reached Earth as Ganges.

King Bali now realized that there was no place for the third step and hence he would fail in his promise to the Brahmacari. So he asked Vamana to place the third step on his head. Vamanadeva knew that Bali had to be punished for not fulfilling his promise. At the same time, He was also happy with the truthfulness and integrity of Bali. So he placed his feet on Bali’s head and sent him down to Sutala loka, showered all the necessary benedictions and made him the owner of the loka. Since Lord Vamana was very pleased with Bali, He graciously offered his disc to protect Bali Maharajah and also promised to remain with him in Sutalaloka as the doorman! This was something that even the demi-gods could not achieve. Furthermore when the time of Savarni Manu comes, Bali would become the head of the heavenly planets or Indra!

We will see about the significance of this avatar in the next post.

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