இந்திரா சௌந்தர்ராஜன் - ஓவியம்: ம.செ Author: Indira Soundarrajan.  Images: M.S

Posted Date : 06:00 (04/12/2018) December 4, 2018.   Sakthi Vikatan

The Story of Vamanar and Bali 



Nīlivaṉam Mahaṛṣi continued the narration of the story of Vāmaṉa Avatar. 1
Mahābali: “All of the sacrificial offerings meant for Asuras are going to Vāmaṉa Mūrthy. The gang of Asuras entitled for the offerings was clamorous. Mahābali was jittery and asked guru Śukrāchāriar, “Why is it happening like this?” 2

The Guru closed his eyes, immersed himself in deep meditation, realized the arrival of Srīmahāviṣṇu in the person of Vāmaṉa and was in shock! 3
Guru Śukrachāriar: “Mahābali! It is all the handiwork of the Snake-bed-Sleeper (Viṣṇu). His Amsa (fragment) is coming to you. The test for the high ideal of the sacrifice has begun. You must be attentive in your transactions with him. There is no need to do anything further.” 4
Bali: That Mahavishnu is coming on my account. Wonderful! The world seeks him. He comes seeking me, which by itself is a cause for my pride. Let him come! He had no fear in his mind about the snake-bed-Sleeper. His mistake was regarding his arrival with arrogance and conceit. ‘Hey, Bali! Don’t be overjoyed. You know nothing about Viṣṇu. He is Māmāyaṉ (greatest illusionist or duplicitous Conjuror). He is on his way in the guise of a Brahmana to receive the sacrificial offering. Be warned. 5
Bali: O Guru! What is there to exercise caution? This gives me great pleasure, honor, and pride. He is the proud creator of the universe, many worlds, and all the life forms. He comes to one of his creations (Bali) with outstretched begging hands. Who is bigger, better and loftier: The receiver or the donor?” 6
Mahābali’s egoism made him ask such questions? 7
Guru Śukrāchāriar: “Stop there, Bali! Your ego will destroy you.” 8
Bali: What do you say, Guru? You interpret my bravery as ego. After all these years, does the erstwhile non-existent ego has taken hold of me now?” 9


Guru: ‘You, Ignoramus! That is the way the ego manifests. There is no time to explore your ego now. All your attention should rest with the sacrifice.’ 10
Bali: ‘Where is the doubt about it? At the same time, Viṣṇu in the incarnation of Vāmaṉa coming as a beggar is part of the sacrifice. If I deny its role in the sacrifice, the sacrifice will be a failure.’ 11
Guru: ‘Yes, it is true. There is no use talking to you anymore. Be patient and act according to circumstances. Do your duty.’ Saying such words, Śukrachāriar stepped aside. 12
Vāmaṉaṉ entered the Hall of Sacrifice. 13
Holding an umbrella made of the screw pine leaves, carrying the Kamandalam, and coming like a column of splendor with the Bhū Mandalam in a swoon, the participants and the visitors seeing the child were unconscious of themselves for a second. 14
A sight never was seen before. The sight of all sights. 15
Bali: Welcome, the son of Āditi! My pathfinder! The unique Vedic Scholar! Your coming is equal to a thousand Vedic scholars. What a splendor. What a beauty! What a divinity! What a fragrance! You may ask me for anything with no hesitation. It must be for your personal use. Do not make me feel diminished. 16
Knowing in his mind of Śukrāchāriar’s warning, not forgetting his station as the great king, and observing all the proper protocols of the sacrifice, Mahābali finished talking to Vāmaṉaṉ. 17
Vāmaṉaṉ smiled! Because of it, all the life forms had goosebump. Mahābali also felt it. 18
Vāmaṉaṉ: ‘Mahābali! You spoke with great caution. Charity is part of this fire sacrifice. If not for it, I would not have made the trip. You also wouldn’t have spoken like it.’ 19
Bali: ‘It is true. You are the great Gem, never ever wont to come. That Great Gem will get alms from me. For me, there is no greater pride than that.’ 20
Vāmaṉaṉ: ‘Begging is not degradation. It is a stain on arrogance (self-control). 21
Bali: ‘I will subject myself to One who is the highest and never known to be low.’ Is it not the worthiest pride of all prides? 22
Vāmaṉaṉ: ‘You think keeping yourself as the center of things. What will happen to you, if you cannot give me what I ask from you? That is foremost on my mind.’ 23
Bali: O the Son of Āditi! There is no place for that eventuality if you ask me for what I have. 24
Vāmaṉaṉ: ‘Mahābali! Asking for what the donor does not have does not make One a good beggar.’ 25
Bali: ‘There you go! Ask me: country, city, house, cattle, deer horns, forest, fields… What is your pleasure? This world is my property. ‘26
When Mahābali made such an offer, Śukrachāriar cleared his throat. He looked at Mahābali, meaning to say ‘O Mahābali, you are the greatest and the most arrogant braggart. Do not run your mouth. Do not become the frog that went searching for the snake.’ Mahābali had no clue. Vamana fully knew of what transpired.
Śukrachāriar appeared as if he wanted to say something. Mahābali did not take the clue and ask his Guru whether he had anything to say. Mahābali took the Guru’s cues amiss and told Vāmaṉaṉ, ‘He (meaning Guru) was afraid whether you (Vāmaṉaṉ) may ask for something that I do not have, which may cause a deficiency to the fire sacrifice.’ 28
Vāmaṉaṉ: ‘That is the beauty and propriety of a good Guru. Don’t you have such a fear?’ 29
Bali to Vāmaṉaṉ: What now, the son of a Muni! Are you testing me? ‘30
Vāmaṉaṉ: ‘Testing! Narayana! I asked you simply.’ 31
Bali: ‘Whatever is your manner of asking, your entreaty gives me pride. As your receiving hand is lower and my donor's hand is higher, who will ever have such a stroke of luck?’ 32
As Mahābali said this, his chest heaved and expanded. Supreme arrogance danced on his face. 33
Vāmaṉaṉ: 'Nothing is holding us back! I will ask you, your luckiest yāsakam (alms). What I need is three feet of land: That too, my three-foot length of the land. That is it!' 34
Vāmaṉa’s demand of the alms in a small measure made Bali laugh aloud. Śukrachāriar was perplexed to realize Mahābali’s imminent entrapment in the big net cast by Vāmaṉaṉ. 35
Will Continue.