#Tattva_Bhagavatam, a special discourse based on the principles of Bhagavatam: 

Vamana Avatara


Salutations to the small one, salutations to the one who is smaller than everyone else. The one who is smaller than everyone else is greater than everyone else. There are sayings:
नमो महद्भ्य: क्षुल्लकेभ्यश्च नम: |
अणोरणीयान् महतो महीयान् |

To be like a dot in a dot, vast in the vast, it is only possible by Him. Only He has the potential to rise that high, if any topic can reach the end then His presence is there in it. Shankaracharya asks Vamana to make our mind free from attachment. This freedom leads us to salvation. He is someone who has conquered all of three worlds with His persistence, captured Bali, the strongest in all of the three worlds, only his appearance is small. Let’s reach out to Shankaracharya who remembers the Supreme. Because he has reached Him, hence if we reach out to him he’ll lead us to the Vamana. Who stands as the paramount example for the courtesy from Guru and the Lord? He was not a sage, a saint, yaksha, God or Gandharva. He was a demon, a great demon, a giant demon, his name was Bali. He didn’t get his name because of his physical strength. His real strength was something else, he lost and died in the battle field, hence his strength was not power, weapon or tactics. His first strength was courtesy of his Guru, the second strength was courtesy of the Lord. His Guru Shukracharaya saved him and brought him back to life. Anything is possible with blessings from Guru. Sometimes we seem dead inside even though we are alive. To rise from there we need something like this. Like phoenix bird. Such a story is Bali’s. He came back to life and didn’t forget the reason he survived. He worshipped his Guru and served him inevitably. He served him with all the possible deeds, offered him different offerings, dedicated all his property to his Guru. Then he reached a stage of his goal. This is his strength, strength of the Guru. Hence we should not judge anyone based on outer appearance, a noble man could be a demon inside. Indra’s case of spoiling Gautama – Ahalya’s marriage, when it rained heavily where Shri Krishna lived, Indra appeared to be a demon. In front of them Bali or his father Virochana and his father Prahlada all of them are great, thus, although they were born as demons it is not right to call them that. He is a mahatma who stood beyond defeat and death because of the kindness of the Guru. Because of this strength from the Guru his clan united and attacked the world of the Gods, the Gods fled without fighting back, their Guru adviced them to do so. Now he has attacked because of the strength of the Guru, nothing can be done when he has the strength from his Guru, hence right now disappearing and waiting for the right time is the wisest thing to do, their Guru suggested.

So Bali conquered the world of Gods and became Balindra. Bali could have been noble. But the ones around him were demons, bad deeds happened without his notice. They acted according to their intellect. To such mahatmas any kind of set back results in a good way. When you are on a noble path everything else in front of you will appear as noble,that could be poison or even death. Bali loved two things, Yajna and charity. Yajna mean sacrificing substances for the love of God. Charity is for the love of life. Don’t brand anyone as a bad person, look closely. Any charity given to a deserving life is submitted to the Lord. Hence this has two faces, direct to the Lord through Yajna, through life leading to the Lord is charity. Once he started a big Yajna. Such a Yajna which commenced in a place called Bhrugukaccha was so massive that there was no comparison. Hence the Lord of the lords had to attend it. Usually the Gods don’t attend the yajnas if they are faulty, they are not visible in the yajnas performed without any faults. But here the Lord of the lords himself had to arrive to ask for alms. Here Bali didn’t have the intention of playing games. Charity was at that level. Bali’s oath was that anyone receiving the bestowals from him should never receive any offerings again from anyone else. He gave away like that. During this, after Gods came and left, after the sages left, He came, the Lord of the lords. He came as a child, He came as a Brahmana. If He hadn’t come as a dwarf then it wouldn’t be wise. If the head becomes heavy one must bow, how can he not bow? The whole universe is only a part of Him, yet He came as a dwarf. All the Bhruguvamshi sages were awestruck witnessing His radiance. Bali rejoiced that a small vatu had come. It is common when you are in a top position. He bowed in front of Vamana. A Tapasvi is greater than the one in authority. When the one who is greater than everyone else came as the smallest one, Bali became smaller than Him and asked humbly what could he donate to Him. Vamana stood at the end in the queue of people who were receiving bestowals. If He stood in the beginning nothing would remain for the others. If a person who overeats sat at the beginning in the lunch line then people sitting further will not get sufficient food. The same thing here. When Vamana was invited to ask for offerings He asked for a small one, even we could have given Him that if He had asked. But how could He ask such a small offering to the owner of the three worlds? Bali wasn’t content. He wanted to give away something more, something greater. In Katopanishad there is a story of Nachiketa, his father was giving away weak and diseased cows as charity. Then Nachiketa asked his father, to whom will you give me away? Because only superior, loved things should be donated. We can see that such sons are born to such malacious fathers. Bali says, vatu, you are effulgent but you don’t have proper knowledge about business, listen to my suggestion, ask something that is enough to satisfy you for life. Whatever Vamana would ask it wouldn’t be sufficient, nothing would satisfy Him. Then when Bali started donating, he gave away everything and lost everything. At first he lost the ownership of the three worlds, but it was not unknowingly. He understood what was happening, but he didn’t step back. He lost everyone close to him, all the demons were furious as he lost everything. His wife wept. At last he lost the courtesy of his Guru. Shukracharaya intervened and asked him to stop even if he couldn’t keep his words. But the path his Guru showed him was more important to Bali than his words. Knowledge is the true Guru. Though Bali’s Guru had a sort of attachment, he didn’t have any. So he lost even him. He wouldn’t step back from his decision. The Guru also cursed him to lose all his wealth. He was not shaken by the warning that he would have nothing to offer as the third step and would have to land in hell for that. Everything of his was over in two steps. The Lord asked threateningly where was the third one. That is, he was not getting good words as reward even from the place where he was offering. Garuda came and arrested him by Varunapaasha. Prahlada came there then. Bali was very happy, but he could not provide hospitality to him. He worshipped him in mind. It is for this reason that Bali is great. These are not demonic traits, but are divine. Though the Guru’s support was withdrawn, it was only for the wealth. God’s grace was still there. We cannot obtain some things in life without sacrificing certain things. So it is better to lose some things. In this test of Bali, the compassionate Lord Brahma himself told enough of test. The pain is more when we lose something. Bali had lost everything, everything was empty, he had no power too. Enemies have captured him, while his own people have abandoned him. He underwent all the pain that a soul could suffer. His Guru, who had guided him back, has now cursed him. Still, he hasn’t left the truth. Bali told the Lord to keep his feet on his head. He meant that his head was Lord’s. “If everything else is yours, then this head too is yours”, he said. The other demons criticised him. But he told them words of wisdom “Why to fight? Leave it. The one who gave is the one who is taking back. No more unnecessary fights. Go somewhere far and lead your lives there”. This is the greatness of Bali. The Lord graced him “I shall not abandon you. I gave my feet to Bali, which is not reached even by the demigods. He should get back what he has lost. He will be the Indra for the coming Saavarni Manvantara. Until there, he will be in Sutala. A kingdom for him is already built there by Vishwakarma with the grandeur greater than that of heaven. No worries would touch him there”. The Lord granted him health and happiness. Bali got rid of all ailments. There is no laziness, no defeat for him thereafter. No obstruction shall bother him to achieve anything. My grace shall always be upon him”.

Indrasena is another name of Bali. The Lord said “Indrasena, go to Sutala with your remaining men. They have not abandoned you in difficult times. Even the lokapalakas (protectors of the world) can’t touch you. My chakra will look after the demons who stand against you. It is natural that our own men trouble us. But I will always be with you. I would be as a watchman at your door”. The Lord does the service of Bali! Who is Trivikrama now! What is special in the Lord becoming Trivikrama? But here, the devotee became Trivikrama. Bali had the true Trivikrama feel here. While Vamana grew to become Trivikrama, Bali grew to become Trivikrama in his mind. He had given himself after giving everything he had! Then he reached to the state of completeness in those three steps.

Let us feel the greatness of Trivikrama. We say those words which we say everyday “Everything is yours”. This is Bali’s thought. Even when his people stood against him, he told the same thing that everything is His and He is only taking it. We become hesitant while giving charity. We think whether to give fully or not. We should remember Bali then. First of all, what is there here which is ours? Everything is His. Those are the fortunate ones who offer everything to Him which apparently is His.
Let us also do that!
त्वदीयं वस्तु गोविन्द तुभ्यमेव समर्पये |

Picture courtesy: Internet

TattvaBhaagavatam a special discourse by Sri Sri RaghaveshwaraBharathi Mahaswamiji: full Video :

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