Dictionary Of Hindu Religion | Avataar
6th Avataar in Main Avataar and 17th Avataar in 24 Avataar
There has been a great Daitya King Mahaa Bali (Short form Maaveli). He was born in Kashyap's family. Kashyap -> Hiranyakashayp -> Prahlaad -> Virochan and Devaambaa -> Bali. Although there is no mention about the territory where he ruled except that he ruled all the three worlds and all his subjects were very happy and highly prosperous. Nobody told lies, there was no theft and in short it was a golden era. Although mostly all Daitya were the devotees of Shiv but Prahlaad was a great devotee of Vishnu. Vishnu had to take Avataar of Narasinh because of His Bhakt Prahlaad.
Devtaa and Daitya always fought. Sometimes Devtaa won, while at other times Daitya won. Once Daitya invaded Devtaa and defeated Indra, the Lord of Heavens. Daitya took control of his Heaven and Indra and other Devtaa had to leave their Heaven. At that time Raajaa Bali was their King. Indra and other Devtaa could not tolerate the defeat. Hence they approached Vishnu to help them to regain their kingdom. It also meant to stop the just rule of Bali because of which only he could succeed in defeating Indra. Although, during Bali's rule, people were very happy and there was neither theft nor any one spoke lies, even people lived without any anxieties, still Vishnu is generally said to be favoring the Devtaa. Further Vishnu might have thought that an Asur should not rule over Heaven and if Bali will rule there, there will be two Indra etc. Vishnu assured Devtaa that He will help them.
When Bali had won Heaven, he came to stay there. he liked it so much that he wanted to live there forever. He expressed his desire to his Guru Shukraachaarya. Shukraachaarya Jee said - "You will have to do 100 Ashwamedh Yagya first to live here permanently." So Bali decided to do 100 Ashwamedh Yagya. He started them and finished 99 Yagya. Now he was on his 100th Yagya. After this he would be the King of Heaven. There is condition in this Yagya among other conditions that no one should go empty hand from the Yagya doer's door.
On the other side, Devtaa's mother Aditi was also worried about her sons that they were defeated and had to leave their kingdom because of Daitya. So she requested Kashyap Jee to give her a son who could kill Daitya and regain her children's kingdom. Kashyap Jee advised her to do a Vrat to get a son like that from Vishnu. She did that got the Var from Vishnu that He Himself will appear in her house as her son and will help her children. On Bhaadrapad Shukla 11, Vishnu appeared as a dwarf boy of 52 finger height. 52 in Hindi is called Baavan, so since he was only 52 finger tall, He was known as Baavan (or Baaman or Vaaman) Avataar.
So according to His plan, Vishnu appeared as a dwarf boy in Kashyap's house and went to Bali's palace to ask him something. Bali's 100th Ashwamedh Yagya was on the verge of finishing, that this boy arrived on his door with His bowl. The givers were very happy to see that boy and informed Raajaa Bali about Him. Bali ordered them to immediately call the boy inside and asked Him what did He want. The boy told him that he wanted only three feet land to worship. Bali said to Him - "Do you know, whom you are asking for? I am the King of Tri-Lok. Ask something big - lots of money, lots of land, jewels, thousands of cows etc etc. I can give you so much that your 10 further generations will never have to ask anything more in their lifetime. Ask me something in which I should also feel pride to give it to you. What is this three feet land, you are asking for?" The boy said - "Mahaaraaj, I am a Brahmchaaree, I have no children. I need only three feet land so that I can worship there sitting quietly. I don't need anything more."
Bali said - "As you wish." and asked his servants to bring the water pot to read the Sankalp to give the boy three feet land. As he was about to read the Sankalp, the Daitya Guru, Sage Shukraachaaraya, knew the bad intentions of Devtaa and hence stopped Bali not to accept the request of that dwarf Braahman boy. Bali said to his Guru - "Hey Guru, I cannot take this sin on my head. If he is not Vishnu then I have nothing to lose, and if he is Vishnu then also I will not lose anything. In both ways my fame will spread around. If I gave Him his three feet land, and he is not Vishnu, it is nothing for me; and if I give him and he is Vishnu then I am giving to that who gives to everybody. I will be blessed that the giver of everything to everybody has come on my door to ask me something That is why, Hey Guru, in all ways I am at upper hand, so please do not stop me giving this to him." and he started to read the Sankalp.
Shukraachaarya Jee didn't like his ways, so he entered the spout of the pitcher to stop the flow of water which was necessary for Sankalp. Water stopped coming out. The boy understood, he said - "Water is not coming, I think something is obstructing it. let me open it." Saying this the boy used Darbhaa grass blade and pushed the obstacle back in the spout of the pot. This pierced one eye of Shukraachaarya and he . felt pain. With pain he moved from the spout and water started coming out and Bali completed the oath of giving away the Daan of three feet land asked by the boy. Once the oath was taken. Lord expanded His body. With His one foot He measured the Heavens and
Bali asked the Lord to allow him to come to the world and see his subjects and to know their welfare at least ones a year which the Lord granted. So on Onam day people of Kerala and even some from Tamilnaadu celebrate this day. Onam has now become a state festival. They wear new clothes and enjoy by playing to greet their erstwhile Mahaaraaj.
When Shukraachaarya Jee came to know about Saagar Manthan, he said - "One can get gems from Saagar Manthan, but how they will be distributed?" Indra said - "Our Guru Brihaspati has left this responsibility on you." Shukra said - "That is all right. So whatever will come out of Saagar Manthan, it will be distributed among Devtaa and Asur half and half. Do you agree?" Indra said - "Yes. I agree."
Shakti (might) is not the scale of justice; the scale of justice is Dharm only; and the might is only to protect justice. In this battle Bali was killed, Kaalnemi Raakshas was also killed - he was reborn as Kans in Dwaapar Yug. On the others side Shukra revived many Asur, including Raajaa Bali, with the help of his Sanjeevanee Vidyaa.
Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 04/12/13