Updated: Jun 28
Vamana was the 1st human avatar of Lord Vishnu who incarnated himself as a brahmin boy to end the rule of the great demon Mahabali. Bali was the grandson of Prahalad, who was one of the biggest Vishnu devotees. Lord Vishnu had saved Prahalad from his father Hirankashyap in his Narasimha avatar. Bali like his grandfather was a Vishnu devotee as well. However, the mighty ruler of Patal Lok , Bali had become greedy for more power and wanted to rule all the three worlds (Heaven, Earth, and the Underworld). He decided to meditate upon Lord Brahma. After pleasing Brahma with his penance he became invincible and grew stronger than Gods as well. He decided to attack the Planet of Heaven and conquer the kingdom of heaven from Indra.
Indra was defeated in the battle and hence the Gods lost their kingdom and became homeless. Indra was the son of sage Kashyap and Aditi. When Aditi heard of her son's defeat, she was devastated. After consulting with her husband she began meditating upon Lord Vishnu. Vishnu was pleased with her worship and decided to visit her. Aditi asked Vishnu to be born as her son. She wanted Vishnu to take back the kingdom of Heaven and Earth and return to the Gods. Vishnu granted her wish.
Soon Vishnu was born to Aditi and Kashyap. After his birth, he changed his form into a small brahmin boy. The boy was very small in size like a dwarf. He then decided to visit Bali.
Bali, though being a demon was a very righteous king. The kingdoms prospered under his leadership. He was very kind to his subject and ensured no one returned empty-handed from his court. When Lord Vishnu as Vamana (Brahmin boy) was about to enter Bali's court, Bali was busy performing a powerful Yagya to gain more power. The rituals of this Yagya were taking place under the guidance of his teacher Shukracharya. As soon as Vamana entered the court, the whole place was illuminated with divine bright light. Bali knew that the Brahmin boy was special and not some ordinary Brahmin. He invited Vamana with due respect and made him seated on a special seat. He then asked Vamana to express his desire. He announced that whatever the Brahmin boy shall ask from him, shall be given to him. On hearing, this Vamana said that he didn't desire much and only wanted a strip of land long enough to hold his three steps. Bali agreed to this.
Now this was a strange request and sage Shukracharya realized that this boy was none other than the Supreme Vishnu. He warned Bali stating that Lord Vishnu himself was here as Vamana to take away his kingdom. Bali, on the other hand, was a demon of his words. He told Shukracharya that since he has already agreed to grant the wish, he cannot fall back.
In the next few moments, Vamana started to grow in size, and very soon he was limitless touching the endless sky. With his 1st step he covered the whole of Earth. With his 2nd step, he walked through the entire heaven. Now there was no place left for his 3rd step. He then asked Bali where should he place his third step as there was no place left.
Bali bowed down before the Lord and asked him to place his third step on his head as that was the only place he owned now. Granting Bali's request Lord Vishnu placed his foot on Bali's head hence pushing him down to Patal Lok (Underworld). After this the kingdom of Heaven and Earth was given back to the Gods.
Lord Vishnu was still pleased with Bali as he was a good demon. He decided to bless Bali and asked him to wish for a boon. Bali being a worshipper of Vishnu like his grandfather asked Vishnu to stay with him in Patal Lok. Bali wanted to worship Vishnu every day. Lord Vishnu granted his wish and left Vaikunta to stay with him.
While Lord Vishnu was away from Vaikunta, Goddess Lakshmi started missing her consort. She decided to disguise herself as an ordinary woman and visit Patal Lok. When Bali met her and asked what does she want, Lakshmi said that she wanted to stay in Patal Lok as she had no other place to go. Bali, the good king asked Lakshmi to stay in his palace. He also said that like a brother he shall always protect her virtue. With Lakshmi's presence, Bali's kingdom became prosperous and filled with fortune.
One day Bali found Lakshmi worshiping for his long life. He was so pleased with her that he asked what does she want in return. Lakshmi asked Bali to return her husband. Bali was confused and that is when Goddess Lakshmi came back to her original form and said that she wanted Vishnu back in Vaikunta. Bali realized his mistake and let Lord Vishnu and Lakshmi go back to their planet. It is believed that the festival of Raksha Bandhan started with Goddess Lakshmi tieing the sacred thread of protection on brother Bali's hand. Art Credit: DeviantArt Follow us
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