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LORD VAAMAN’S DEMANDS
Bali was pleased that he would get an opportunity to see the Almighty God whom the sages contemplate upon. He was proud of his good fortune that the lord was paying him a visit. Shukracharya aware of the reason for Vaaman’s arrival warned Bali against making any promise to him. Bali replied- “How can I refuse if the Almighty God demands anything from me? I am willing to face any hardship to safeguard my benevolent image. I don’t mind if the deities get benefited by my actions. Even if the lord is coming with the intention of killing me, I am not scared as that is how I would attain salvation. Come what may, I am not going to abandon my charitable nature.”
As the conversation between Shukracharya and Bali continued, suddenly, Lord Vaaman arrived at the site. Vaaman’s radiance subdued the power of all demons present there. Lord Vaaman being impressed by the grandeur of Vaaman’s Yagya complimented him for organising such a magnificent Yagya. Bali eulogised and worshipped his esteemed guest. He requested Vaaman to reveal the reason of his arrival and promised that his wishes would be fulfilled. Lord Vaaman smiled and told him that he needed a small piece of land measured by three steps for the performance of Yagya. Bali was surprised by this demand and requested him to ask for more land but Lord Vaaman told him that he needed only that much land.
Bali agreed and took a vow to donate a piece of land measured by three steps. Hardly had Bali taken his vow, when suddenly Lord Vaaman expanded his size. His first step covered the whole earth. By his two successive steps, he covered the two worlds. This way, Bali was forced to donate all the three worlds according to his vow. Lord Vishnu then made Indra, the king of all the three worlds and sent Bali to the nether world named Sutal. He blessed Bali by saying- “You would enjoy a long life till the end of this present Kalpa. You would hold the post of Indra till the arrival of Saavarni Manavantar. As long as you remain supportive of the Brahmins and the deities, you would enjoy all the pleasures of life. But if you go against their wishes then you would be fastened by Varun’s noose.” After saying this, Lord Vishnu disappeared.
LORD BRAHMA WORSHIPS LORD VAAMAN
Narad asked sage Pulastya as to where did Lord Vaaman go after disappearing from the oblation site. Pulastya replied- “Lord Vaaman went to Brahma loka mounted on his Garud. On seeing him, Lord Brahma gave a warm reception and after worshipping him asked about the reason for his sudden arrival. Lord Vaaman told him that he had sent Bali to Sutal loka for the welfare of the deities and so that they could get their share of the Yagya. Lord Brahma expressed his desire to see the giant form of Vishnu which he had taken while measuring all the three worlds. Lord Vishnu obliged him and showed his giant appearance. Lord Brahma was impressed and eulogised him. He requested Lord Vishnu to remain in Brahma loka in his appearance of Vaaman. Lord Vishnu had agreed to do this and remained there.
Pulastya says- After reaching the nether world, Bali got constructed a beautiful city made of diamonds and other precious stones. Vishwakarma had constructed an enormous sized altar in the central part of the city. The windows of Bali’s palace were well decorated with pearls. Bali lived there in luxury and by enjoying all the pleasures of life.
One day, while the demons were engaged in their sensual pleasures, suddenly the fearsome Sudarshan chakra entered Bali’s palace and after making the demons bereft of their radiance went back to Lord Vishnu. Bali was very worried and thought that only his grandfather Prahlad could help him out from this situation. On being remembered by Bali, Prahlad appeared before him. Bali requested him to describe the means which would be benedictory to him. Prahlad was pleasantly surprised by his change of heart and said- “At last, you have realised your mistake. Listen Bali! A man who takes refuge in Lord Vishnu and surrenders himself to his will becomes liberated from all the miseries and sorrows of life. A man who has accepted Lord Vishnu as his master need not fear from anything not even death. All the things which are visible in this universe are the various manifestations of Lord Vishnu himself. A devotee of Lord Vishnu does not have to go to hell and he becomes liberated from the cycles of birth and death.” This way, Prahlad described about the greatness of Lord Vishnu and his worship in great detail.
BALI’S QUERIES TO PRAHLAD
Bali enquired about the virtues which a man attains by the worship of Lord Vishnu. He also asked Prahlad about the worship and its rituals by which Lord Vishnu is pleased. Prahlad says- “Sages believe that the donations which are made with total devotion and in the name of Lord Vishnu exist forever. Lord Vishnu is extremely pleased if Malati, Shataavari, Champa, Juhi and Naagar flowers are offered to him. He is also pleased when the offerings of Bilva patra, Shami patra, Tamaal and Amaali patra are made to him. He is pleased when sesame seeds are donated during the Hindu month of Maagh. A person who gets a Vishnu temple constructed liberates his ancestors from their sins. Bali, you must get the Vishnu temple constructed and worship with complete devotion. You must try to please Lord Vishnu by making donations of cow, jewels, gold and land. If you engage yourself in such virtuous activities then you will certainly attain benediction.” After saying this, Prahlad disappeared.
After Prahlad’s departure, Bali followed his instructions faithfully and engaged himself in the worship of Lord Vishnu. He instructed Vishwakarma to construct a magnificent temple of Lord Vishnu and started worshipping Lord Vishnu accompanied by his wife. He used to clean the temple premises and offer the articles which were dear to Lord Vishnu. This way, Bali and his wife Vindhyavali engaged themselves in the worship of Lord Vishnu with complete devotion.
INDRA DOES PENANCE TO ATONE FOR HIS SINS
Pulastya says after being defeated by the demons Indra went to Brahma loka and narrated his woeful tale to him. Sage Kashyap- his father was also present there. Lord Brahma told Indra that he was reaping the fruits of his evil deeds. Sage Kashyap told him that his miseries were due to the sin acquired by the destruction of Diti’s foetus. Indra asked both of them, how his sins could be atoned. Lord Brahma advised him to take Shri Hari’s help.
Indra then went to the north of Kalinjar Mountain and started living in a hermitage situated on the bank of river Mahanadi. He did penance for one year. Pleased by his devotion, Lord Vishnu appeared and blessed him saying- “Your austere penance has liberated you from the sin of destroying Diti’s foetus and very soon, you will regain your kingdom.” After receiving the blessing, Indra went to Aditi’s hermitage and narrated the tale of his defeat at the hands of demons. Aditi knew that Indra would not have been defeated had Lord Vishnu been on his side during the battle. So, she went to Lord Vishnu and worshipped him with devotion. Lord Vishnu assured her that very soon, he would incarnate as her son and destroy the demons. Having said this, a part of Lord Vishnu’s effulgence entered into Aditi’s womb.
BALI ABUSES LORD VISHNU
After Lord Vishnu had established himself inside Aditi’s womb, the demons became devoid of their radiance. Bali was surprised by this sudden development and asked Prahlad about it. Prahlad went into deep meditation and saw Lord Vishnu manifesting in Aditi’s womb. After coming out from his meditative trance, he told Bali that the demons had lost their radiance due to Shri Hari who is about to take incarnation at the request of the deities.
The arrogant Bali made fun of Shri Hari by saying- “Who is this Shri Hari? We have many mighty warriors in our ranks who are more powerful than Vasudev.” Prahlad was a devotee of Shri Hari and he did not like the arrogant utterances of Bali. He cursed him by saying that very soon he would meet his downfall and lose his kingdom. After being cursed, Bali realised his mistake and begged for forgiveness. Prahlad too had calmed down by that time and said- “Even though Lord Vishnu is omnipresent, I cursed you being under the influence of my ignorance. My words will certainly become true but don’t lose heart. Go and take refuge in Shri Hari- the supreme protector. He will liberate you from all your sorrows.” After saying this, Prahlad went on his pilgrimage.
THE DEITIES RESTING DAYS
Lord Vishnu takes rest on Sheshnaag during the whole period of Uttaraayan, which begins just after the last day of the bright lunar phase in the Hindu month of Ashaadh is over. After he goes to sleep, all the deities, Gandharva, Devamaata etc. follow suit.
Narad requested Sage Pulastya to shed light on the days when the deities take rest. Sage Pulastya replied- “A devotee should consider the eleventh day of the Hindu month of Ashaadh Shukla Paksha, when the Sun enters the zodiac of Gemini as the day when Lord Vishnu goes to rest. A devotee should make a replica of Sheshnaag and after worshipping the idol of Lord Vishnu, lay him down to rest on the twelfth day. Kamadev is said to take rest on the thirteenth day on his bed made of Kadamb flowers. The Yakshaganas take rest on the fourteenth day of the Hindu month of Ashaadh Shukla Paksha. Their beds are made of yellow lotus. Lord Shiva is believed to take rest on Purnima. His bed is made of tiger skin.
BENEFITS OF STUDYING VAAMAN PURAAN
Study of Vaaman Puraan helps a man to enhance his knowledge and makes him free from all kinds of worldly attachments. It also increases his love and devotion towards the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu. There are ten characteristics evident in all the Puraans-
8 ) Manvantara.
Sarg deals with the descriptions of the origin of this universe. Visarg enlightens us as to how a living thing transforms itself from one species to another. Sthaan, Poshan, Uti and Vritti deal with the descriptions of various means which are employed by a man for his survival. Raksha describes about the various incarnations of Lord Vishnu which he takes for the protection of the humankind. Manvantara deals with the complete description of the history of the whole Manvantara period. Vansh describe about the lineage of all the kings including Lord Brahma. Upaashraya enlightens us on the real meaning of Brahma.
Pulastya says- “A man who listens to the divine tales of Vaaman Puraan attains to Vishnu loka after becoming free from all his sins. He attains the same virtues which a performer of Ashwamedha Yagya does. Even listening to one part of Vaaman Puraan bestows great virtues and equivalent to making pilgrimage of numerous sacred places. Narad, Vaaman Puraan is the 14th among all the 18 Puraans which describes about the majesty of Lord Vishnu.”
Five names of Lord Vishnu has been mentioned in Vaaman Puraan- Kaaran Vaaman, Narayan, Amitvikram, Shaargang chakra and Purushottam. A devotee who chants any of these sacred names of Lord Vishnu and makes salutation either by speech, thought or deed attains to Vishnu loka.