» Vamana

Vamana

Vamana

The Dwarf Incarnation.

Wearing a belt made of munja straw, an upper garment of deerskin and a sacred thread and carrying in His hands a danda, an umbrella and a waterpot (kamandalu), Lord Vamanadeva appeared in the sacrificial arena of Maharaja Bali. Because of His transcendentally effulgent presence, all the priests were diminished in their prowess, and thus they all stood from their seats and offered prayers to Lord Vamanadeva. Then Bali Maharaja inquired of Lord Vamanadeva’s welfare and requested the Lord to ask him for money, jewels or anything He might desire.

When Bali Maharaja, thinking Vamanadeva to be the son of a brahmana, told Him to ask for anything He liked, Lord Vamanadeva praised Hiranyakasipu and Hiranyaksa for their heroic activities, and after thus praising the family in which Bali Maharaja had been born, He begged the King for three paces of land.

Bali Maharaja agreed to give this land in charity, since this was very insignificant, but Sukracarya, who could understand that Vamanadeva was Visnu, the friend of the demigods, forbade Bali Maharaja to give this land. Sukracarya advised Bali Maharaja to withdraw his promise.

Bali Maharaja thought it improper to withdraw his promise to the brahmacari. To lie or fail to honor a promise given to a brahmacari is never proper, for lying is the most sinful activity. Bali Maharaja thought that even if this brahmacari, Vamanadeva, were Lord Visnu, if the Lord accepted his charity and then again arrested him, Bali Maharaja would not envy Him. Considering all these points, Bali Maharaja finally gave in charity everything he possessed.

Lord Vamanadeva then immediately extended Himself into a universal body. The Lord gradually covered the entire surface of the world, and by extending His body He covered the entire sky. With His hands He covered all directions, and with His second footstep He covered the entire upper planetary system. Therefore there was no vacant place where He could take His third footstep.

With the second step the Supreme Personality of Godhead reached the topmost planet of the universe, Brahmaloka, which He diminished in beauty by the effulgence of His toenails. Thus Lord Brahma, accompanied by great sages like Marici and the predominating deities of all the higher planets, offered humble prayers and worship to the Lord. They washed the Lord’s feet and worshiped Him with all paraphernalia.

Bali Maharaja was extremely truthful. Being unable to keep his promise, he was very much afraid, for he knew that one who has deviated from truthfulness is insignificant in the eyes of society. He decided to give his head in charity as the place for Visnu’s third step. Bali Maharaja also considered how great personalities give up their family relationships and material possessions to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Indeed, they sometimes even sacrifice their lives for the satisfaction of the Lord, just to become His personal servants. Accordingly, by following in the footsteps of previous acaryas and devotees, Bali Maharaja perceived himself successful.

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