Bhagavad Saptaha (XXIII)

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Bali Maharaj captures the three worlds
            Once upon a time saint Durvasha goes to the abode of the Lord. The Lord gives him His prasadi mala (graceful garland). Durvasha accepting it goes straightaway to Indradev, Indra feeds Durvasha with tasty preparations and Durvasha suspends that garland at the neck of Indra. Indradev further garlands it to his affectionate carrier Oirabat (his carrier elephant) and Oirabat with its trunk throws it down and tramples it. At this Durvasha gets angry and curses Indra “Lakhi brastha habe” your Laksmi or wealth will be vitiated, you will be deprived of wealth of three worlds and as a result Maharaj Bali confiscates Indra’s heaven.
            The demons become ruler of heaven. At that time Lord aiming the demigods causes them to perform samudra manthan (churning of the ocean). Making Basuki naag (snake) the rope and Mandrachal Mountain the pole, starts churning the ocean. But from the ocean, leave alone nectar, terrible poison starts flowing out, which later on Debadideb Bhagavan Shankar drinks hence his name came to be Nilkantha (blue throat as his throat turned blue out of poison). After that, as churning continues, Kamdhenu gavi (cow that grants all desire) is produced, and the demigods presents it to the rishis. After cow, a nice bow and later on Lakshmi devi personally ascends from the ocean, she garlands and welcomes Sriman Narayana as her husband. At the end Bhagavan Dhanantvari (excellent physician) appears with a pot of nectar which the demons snatches and goes away. At that time Lord Vishnu takes the form of Mohini (an exquisitely bewitching figure of a woman to delude the demons) and by gestures, deportment and deceit let the demigods drink that nectar. Shankar Bhagavan comes to see the Mohini form of the Lord and He was also bewildered for sometime seeing her beauty. The demigods after drinking the nectar became proud, arrogant and greedy and the more or less devotion which they used to had towards God that also has been destroyed. The nectar in the form of Name, the nectar in the form of pastimes of Paramatma, no other nectar can activate nearby it. The capability and efficiency which is there in the name of Krishna, Govinda, in this entire world or in the three worlds there is no object and subject comparable to it.
            Prahlad Maharaj’s grandson Bali Maharaj, king of the demons was also a great saint and his name is there in Bhagavad as one of the twelve mahajanas (virtuous man). Bali Maharaj goes and falls down at the feet of his guru Sukracharya and says, guruji we are defeated in the hands of demigods and now we could not even kill them as they drank the nectar and became immortal. Now can’t we even defeat them?
            Sukracharya says, rajan if you really want to defeat the demigods who had drank the nectar than take three things in life (1) go-seva (serving the cows) (2) guru-seva (3) sadhu seva (serving the saints and ascetics).
            One day with the blessings Sukracharya Maharaj Bali attacks heaven and conquers not only heaven, but all the three worlds and becomes their ruler.
             Aditi wife of Kasyapa muni is the mother of Indra and all other demigods. As Bali had conquered the entire three worlds and as her sons became homeless Aditi became very much disappointed. Seeing her condition Bhagavan Kashyapa enquires, devi nowadays you seem to be quite disinterested, what is the reason. Mother Aditi says my dear husband my sons the demigods lost their kingdom in the hands of King Bali and they keep on hiding here and there in the forest. Not only heaven but all the three worlds are under the captive of King Bali and this is root cause of my disappointment. Although I do not desire to harm others neither do I wish to kill, but my dear husband if such a son gets birth in our house who can return back Indra his lost kingdom, than only I could have achieved mental peace. Today my sons and their wives are suffering so much troubles how can I, being a mother tolerate this. Bhagavan Kashyapa consoles devamata Aditi and says, who is whose son, who is whose father and mother, illusion is the only reason which creates the situation for miseries and happiness.
            Devi I and mine, this is the cause of sufferings, to liberate from this is ever cheerfulness. Mother Aditi says, this is the thing, if you happen to be a mother then you could have realized how a mother feels when her sons are unhappy. Bhagavan Kashyapa then asks, tell me actually what do you want. I want such a son to take birth in my house who can recover back the three worlds of the demigods and hands it over to them.
            Bhagavan Kashyap says, I have told you about a brata (penance) which is of twelve days, this brata is preserved fortnightly with devotedness and its name is Payobrata. This brata is maintained from pratipada (first lunar day of the month) to ekadasi (eleventh day of the fortnight).
            Rising up very early in the morning, paying obeisance to the Lord one has to sing hymns of Jagyeswar Bhagavan (Lord of religious sacrifices, Vishnu). This hymn, if you chant daily than the Lord will appear as your son. See, devotedness is the power, so in your general and religious activities devotedness is essential. Prabhu dwells on faith; faith is the residence of the Lord so faith has to be firm. Mother Aditi with great devotedness, respect and faith begins to observe this brata.
            Seeing the severe penance of Mother Aditi Lord Vishnu appears and says, mother, I know about the crucial danger of your son Indra alongwith other demigods, I will appear in your house taking the form of your son and remove this great difficulty. On the other side all the demigods tearfully approaches Lord Vishnu and says, Prabho serious trouble had fallen upon us, king of demons Bali had overpowered all the three worlds from us.
            The Lord says; my dear devas please hear, at present Bali’s gurukirpa (mercy of guru) is very strong and if a disciple obtains mercy of guru than it is impossible to stop him. Although I am God, but still if I fight with Bali now, than Bali will win and I will be defeated, Bali is at present unconquerable. As you have approached Me, your mother Aditi had also performed severe penance and I had also given my word to her that I myself will take the form of Bamana (dwarf), in the house of Mother Aditi and approach King Bali, lay my hands and beg the three worlds from him and handover it to you. Winning over Bali in a battle is not possible even for Me. So the demigods request the Lord to do the needful.
            It is to be remembered that the month of bhadra (fifth month of Bengali calendar from middle of Aug to middle of Sep) is the best among all other months and our Lord Sri Krishna, Sri Radha everybody took birth in this month only. Balaramji also incarnated in this month and Lord Bamana also appears in the month of bhadra. Sri Sukdev Maharaj also made Maharaj Parikhit hear this Srimad Bhagavattam in the month of bhadra. In the dwadashi tithi (eleventh day of lunar month), Sukla pakha (bright fortnight) of the month of bhadra right at 12’o clock to fulfill the job of demigods Sri Narayana appears in the house of Devamata (mother of demigods) Aditi. “All glories to Bamana Bhagavan”.
            Sri Bamana Bhagavan has tiny foot, tiny hands, small lotus face, neck is like a conch, thin waist, stomach size is only four fingers, lips are red as bimba fruit and a very little mouth. All demigods arrive at the house of Mother Aditi to welcome and pay obeisance in the feet of Lord Bamana. Mother Aditi wears kaupin (small piece of lion cloth) to Lord Bamana, guru of demigods Brihaspati wears Him the holy thread. The master of multitude direction presents Him an umbrella and Brahma gives Him kamandalu (water pot). Sapta rishi (the seven great ancient sages) provides him kusha (dry grass) wears Him kharam (wooden sandals) and Umadevi, herself annapurna (filled with rice stuff) presents Him a begging bowl.
            Lord Radha Krishna manifests in the form of Bamana and the demigods sings various hymns and worships Him. Whatever Bamana receives in the form of alms, He use to surrender it to His guru like other children of brahmanas. Oneday when He comes to hand over the alms He received, Brihaspati the guru of demigods says, my beloved disciple, go to King Bali, beg the three worlds from him and give it to me, than only I will be pleased, I don’t want these insignificant alms.
            Lord Bamana says, you are gurubar, whatever you say is to be obeyed, had to be done and thus straightaway arrives at Bali Maharaj’s yajnasala (sacrificial arena). Now one thing is remarkable here, that is, a person whom I have not seen earlier, about whom I don’t know anything, had never heard of Him, but still my head bows down in front of Him, surely that Person must have some divine powers in Him. When the Lord arrives in the yajnamandap of Bali Maharaj, the word Bamana means one whose figure is equivalent to 52 fingers (bahana anguli), Maharaj Bali who was having a seat besides his guru Sukracharya, observing from a distance the glow of Bamana Bhagavan become astonished and respectfully asks his gurudeb, Guruji I feel that in my yajnamandap Sungod himself is coming. Sukracharya says rajan, even if it may not happen to be Sungod than positively Moongod, such a beauty I also have never seen in my life. In this way as the conversation is going on between the guru and his disciple, Lord Bamandev arrives in front of Maharaj Bali. Seeing Lord Bamandev, Bali Maharaj stands up, and in a very affectionate way welcome Him.
            Visualizing the beauty of Bamanadev Bali Maharaj becomes overwhelmed with emotion, his voice stuns and his eyes explode. In one hand of Bamana Bhagavan there is rudrakhya mala (string of beads) presented by Devi Saraswati and in the other hand is the begging bowl. The umbrella is in His armpit and wooden sandals in His feet and nothing else, witnessing such a beautiful sanyasi Bali Maharaj gets extremely pleased. With all other members of his family he greets and welcomes Bamandev and further says, today I became blessed, a mahatapaswi (great ascetic), tejashwi (lustrous) sanyasi had arrived in my place of sacrifice. I think, holding all the power and glow of austere practices of an ascetic, You have appeared here taking the form of an arya (noble birth) to make my yajnamandap absolutely pure and auspicious. Today I am so fortunate that what will I say, today my pitragaan (ancestors) are satisfied, my lineage becomes pure and today my yajna becomes successful.   

Pastimes of Lord Bamandev
            Bali Maharaj bows down his head and pays obeisance in the feet of Bamanadev. Bamandev thinks to take something from someone; something has to be shown, because without seeing anything, nobody will give anything. Prabhu Bamandev is going on chanting in His beads and calmly keeps standing, Bali Maharaj asks, where is Your asrama, means where do you stay dwijabar (twice born), where does Your father and mother resides?
            As Lord Bamana is silent Bali Maharaj gestures his guru Sukracharya, why is this Bramhachary silent. The acharya say, before He completes His chanting how He can speak. Hearing this, the respect of Bali Maharaj increases further more, such a bhajananandi (one who enjoys praying), such a saint has arrived in my yajnasala, today  my yajna has been truly fulfilled. Falling down at the feet of Bamandev Bali Maharaj says, please order me how can I serve You, I wish to hear from your auspicious mouth how can I satisfy You.
            Should I present two or four thousand cows, or should I give You a golden palace as donation. You are not yet married so should I give you the best daughter of a brahmana, hey tapaswi kindly reveal Your speech, atleast You say something. Hey sanyasi don’t think that I just utter, but I will definitely fulfill it by my deeds, just after I saw You, I feel like, to surrender everything at Your feet, such a short stature brahmana, such a spiritual radiance, such a divine nature, I never had such a feeling after seeing anybody in my whole life. Tell me what can I do for you? Lord Bamandev thinks, Maharaj Bali is very pleased towards Me, now Bamandev completes His chanting, then wearing the beads in His necks says, your great grandfather Hiranyakashipu has been a great munificent and also was your grandfather Prahlad, your father Birochan gave away even his span of life, means sacrificed his life for Indra, so hearing about bestowal from you is nothing strange, but the hesitation is, I cannot fulfill your wish as I am a self-abnegator, never receive a single paisa from anybody. But you have to take something, Bali Maharaj insists. Why should I take anything from anybody, only one body, my umbrella saves me from sunshine and rain, to drink water I had this kamandalu (water pot) and to beg I have this pot, else I do not have any obstinate demand rajan, what should I ask tell Me. Maharaj Bali falls down at His feet and requests, please accept something. Bamandev says, rajan I have fallen into great difficulty, if I don’t take something than you get hurt, and if I take than then my religious observance breaks. So I am thinking to do something that does not break my observance as well as you do not get hurt. rajan you do one thing; you grant Me three steps of land (tripada bhumi), I am not taking more so my regulation does not break, but since I am taking something which you are giving so your wish is also fulfilled. Bali Maharaj laughs and says, one thing I tell your sanyasi, You are truly bamana (dwarf) You don’t know how to ask, only three steps of land! You are asking from a trilokanatha (owner of three worlds) like me, only this much alms, so it is said bamaner buddhi (intelligence of a dwarf). Lord Bamandev says to take as much as I need, than only can I save Brahmatej (spiritual power) otherwise not – a greedy brahmana does not have any spiritual radiance. Bali Maharaj says, so let it be done as per Your wish, measure and take three steps from the place where You are. The Lord says, rajan as you wish to bestow everything, you are a great donor, but you do not properly know about daan dharma (religion of bestowal). If you want to donate something to a brahmana or any other righteous person than first take sankalpa (to take a solemn vow), go and bring water in this kamandalu and pour it in My hands and perform sankalpa. For such a little gift why is sankalpa required? No, no without sankalpa no object can be donated neither received. The guru of demons Sukracharya is now ascertaining, a brahmana child, why is He so much interested in sankalpa, surely there must be something confusing, because sankalpa means signing an agreement, means final registration and if sankalpa is made once, than it cannot be denied anymore. Sukracharya caught hold Bali Maharaj’s hand, takes him aside and says, don’t get into His conspiracy rajan, He is oneself Vishnu, to fulfill the job of demigods, He took the form of a dwarf and came here. He took birth in the womb of Aditi, if you pledge three steps land to Him than, I am truly saying by His two steps he will take away the three worlds and for the third step nothing more will be there for you to confer. So fold your hands and say, I am incapable to donate at present, but my wish remains, now You please leave and it will be beneficial for both of us.
            Bali says, gurubar, what are you saying, after so much entreaties, I have made Him agree to take three steps land and now how I can deny it. Sukracharya says, not deny tell Him that no such proposal took place. Maharaj Bali says, guruji why are you inspiring me to tell a lie? Sukracharya says, my dear son there is no sin in speaking lie in eight places. Sukracharya is very nicely advising Bali Maharaj that in eight places you can utter lies, there is no offence. To speak a lie to conceal something from ones wife is not an offence, there is no sin in a lie said to ridicule, joke, in an amusing performance, in the activities of marriage, to falsely praise the husband or a wife. When one’s total possession is leaving or one’s livelihood is going to be destroyed, under such circumstances if by uttering a lie one can save it, than it is not sinful. If somebody’s life is at stake, the lie spoken to save himself is not an offence. To save the cow and to save one’s own religion if somebody has to speak a lie than also it is not sinful. Now your wealth, properties, your total possession is on the verge of destruction, at this time of crucial danger if you speak a lie, in that also there will be no offence.
            Bali Maharaj says, then there is laddu (sweet balls) in my both hands, if He is really God than I have no objection to confer him the three worlds because I am the donor and He is the beggar, means my hands will remain up and His hands down, and if He is not God, a general brahamana then He cannot take a hair breath more land than his three steps. In the Vishnu Purana it is mentioned that Sukracharya unable to convince his disciple takes a subtle form and enters into the kamandalu of Bamandev so that the water required to perform sankalpa does not fall in His hands. Now when Bamandev sees that water is not coming out from the kamandalu He pulls out a dry grass from his mat to clean the small pipe and as He inserts the grass in the hole of kamandalu it hurts Sukracharya’s eyes and he becomes blind.
            The significance of this event is - one who is a guru, he should not have two vision, because two vision means difference, disagreement. A guru or a sadhu should not have vedabhed darshan (discriminating philosophy)h, but here Sukracharya curses Bali Maharaj to descent and goes away.
            King Bali now becomes unworried and requests Bamandev to take away three steps of land from anywhere He likes. The Lords takes a gigantic form, He makes Himself crores of Km. tall, Bali Maharaj raises his head but could not see Bamandev auspicious face anymore. Now this vast Prabho keeps His one step in the lower world, and stretches the next step so long that all the three worlds came under His step. Going beyond the three worlds the step of the Lord reaches Brahmaloka (abode of Brahma). Brahma at that time washes His feet and fills his kamandalu with that feet washed water and the water of Ganga is that Lord’s feet washed water. The two steps of Bamandev took away the three worlds. The demons prepares to attack the Lord, but Bali Maharaj says, don’t do any harm to Him, He is my Prabho, let Him do as He wish, nobody will say anything. Lord by His two steps takes away the three worlds and stands in front of Bali and says, Bali you have promised me three steps; now tell me where I shall keep my third step. A person who is unable to keep his promise is entitled to be punished and so Lords instructs Garuda to bind Bali Maharaj and throw him to hell. King Bali gets bounded.
            Sukdevji describes, what a strange sight Parikhit you see – the Lord says, Maharaj Bali, tell Me where I shall keep my third step, Bali says dear Lord please tell me one thing, who is greater wealth or owner of wealth. Lord says owner is greater, hundred times greater. Then Bali says uptill now you have only measured my wealth, but the owner of wealth is still left, so I offer my head unto You, please place Your third step upon it. I am not afraid of hell, but the reason of my fear is, the word which I had given to a brahmana, that should not become untrue.
            Acharya Sukdev says, so the Lord places His feet upon Maharaj Bali’s head. Tears begin to roll out from Bali’s eyes, so many things have been plundered, but there is not a slightest anger in the mind of King Bali. In the meantime Bali’s wife arrives and pours water in Lord’s feet and pays obeisance.
            With folded hands she prays, Lord this samsara is entirely a pastime sport of Yours, it is the greatest mistake of a living entity that it thinks it as his own and tries to become the owner of it. You have done the right thing to seize the three worlds from my husband. Bali’s grandfather Maharaj Prahlad appears there, he says, Prabho You are the one who had made Bali the ruler of three worlds and You Yourself is now taking it away from him, but this is also Your greatest mercy. This giving and taking away, these are all Your mercy. Brahmaji releases Bali Maharaj and prays to the Lord. The Lords says, Prahlad, your grandson Bali is a more intelligent and a greater devotee than you and so I bestow the kingdom of Sutala to him, further if he has more hope and desires than that also I will fulfill. Bali says, Bamandev Bhagavan I don’t want anything; I just wish that whenever I come out of my palace, I can have a darshan of Yours at the entrance. The Lord says, so you want to make Me to be your doorkeeper, ok that will be done, I will ever remain standing at the door of yours and thus till today in the 72 doors of Bali Maharaj Lord Bamandev remains ever existing. to be continued
(A part of the Summary of Srimad Bhagavattam translated from the diary of Sri Gurudeb)
           


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