His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
A few days ago we celebrated Lord Vamandev's appearance day.
Vamandev was a son of Aditi and Kasyap Rishi. Actually, Aditi was very sad because all of her sons, Indra and others, had left the heaven because of the torturing of the demons (asuras), that is why Vamandev came to her womb and appeared in this way.
On the other side, there was Bali Maharaj. Bali Maharaj started a big fire sacrifice and declared, "So many brahmans will come, and I will give some daksin (donation) to them all. I will give whatever they ask for."
Vamandev was very short. He took an umbrella and walked first—all the brahmans walked behind Him and all they could see was an umbrella walking in front of them—and that umbrella was going so fast that they had to run behind it, but still they could not catch up with it! When Vamandev came to the place of Bali Maharaj's fire sacrifice, everybody could see He had so much teja (luster), He looked so extraordinary and exalted; on the other hand, the fire of the sacrifice was very low and small...
Bali Maharaj spoke to Vamandev with folded palms,
"You are a vatu-vaman, You have come to ask me for something..."
"Yes, I want something," answered Vamandev.
"What do you want? Tell me, I can give you anything you want. I can give you Jambudwip, if you want.
"I am a brahman, so it is not good to ask for so many things. I want only something small from you..."
"What is it?"
"All I want is tripad-bhumi, three steps of land."
"Oh, I see. You are a small vaman, and You are also asking for small things... Ask for something more, I can give you heaven, I can give you Jambudwip."
"If I ask for Jambudwip today, tomorrow I will ask for heaven. This is how people are: today they ask for one thing, tomorrow they ask for more things, the day after for something more, and so on. It is not good for a brahman. Some small things are better. Do you promise to Me that you will give Me three steps of land?"
"Yes, I will give it to You," promised Bali Maharaj.
Sukracharya, the Guru of Bali Maharaj was there. He said to Bali Maharaj, "You do not know who He is! He is the Lord Himself! The Lord has come to protect all demigods, and it is the Lord Himself asking you for three steps of land! If you give it to Him, He will take away everything, and you will have nothing left. You will then have nothing to give to others as donation. Even you yourself will not be able to stay in any place—you will stay without a house, a room, or anything else. Do not give it to Him! Take back your promise!" Bali Maharaj replied, "No, I have promised this brahman three steps of land, and I will give it to Him." Sukracharya insisted, "Do not do that! Do not give it! He is the Lord Himself!" but Bali Maharaj did not listen to him, "If He is the Lord, then it is even better—if I give Him something, I can serve the Lord. He is the best Person. And if He is just a brahman, then if He takes three steps of land, what is the problem for me?"
Then, Bali Maharaj took a kamandal (waterpot) in his left hand and was about to pour water as an offering to the brahman, but the water did not come out of it. Sukracharya wanted to stop this donation to the Lord by all means, so by his yoga-bal (mystic powers) he got inside the kamandal and prevented the water from coming out. Bali Maharaj simply took a stick from a broom and poked a hole in the pot. As Sukracharya, his Guru, was inside, his eyes became blind.
(We can understand from this that those who obstruct service of the Lord get anga-hani (অঙ্গহানি, suffer a loss of a limb)—they lose their leg, their hand, or their eyes. This is said in the scriptures.)
So, because he was going to stop the service of the Lord, Sukracharya become blind and after that became known as "blind Sukra."
Then, with the words, "Om Vishnu, Om Vishnu," Bali Maharaj gave the donation to Vamandev. After that, Vamandev began to expand and became very big—with one leg He took this martya world (mortal world, including patal, the hellish planets), and with the other leg svarga (the heaven). Everybody was surprised, "What has happened? A small vatu-vaman, but He has become so big and with His two steps He has captured the whole brahmanda (universe)!"
"Bali, you must keep your promise! I have only got two steps of land..." said Vamanadev to the king.
"Prabhu, I have nothing more to give, You have taken everything! What more can I give You?" said Bali Maharaj.
"Are you sure you have nothing more to give? Do you remember something more perhaps?"
"No, Prabhu, You have taken everything. I have nothing left."
Then, Bali Maharaj's very clever wife Vindhyavali came close to his ear and whispered, "You have forgotten something. You have given everything, but you have not given yourself. Now you must give yourself to the Lord."
"Oh, I forgot!" said Bali Maharaj quickly, "I have not given myself to You!"
Then, Bali Maharaj paid a full obeisance at the lotus feet of Vamandev and said, "Prabhu, now I am giving You myself." At this moment, from the navel of Vamandev there appeared a leg (nabhi-padma), and Vamandev put that leg on the head of Bali Maharaj. Vamandev was very happy and said, "Before I was taking from you, and you were giving to Me, but now I am going to give you something and you must take it. What would you like to get?" Bali Maharaj replied, "Prabhu, I do not want anything, You have already gave me Your mercy." So, Bali Maharaj said, "I am giving you Sutalpuri (Sutal planet), you can stay there with Prahlad Maharaj, and I will be a security guard there."
So, you can understand that if you serve the Lord with full surrender, Krishna will give you everything. That is the pastime that we tell on Vamandev's appearance day...
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