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Raajaa Bali

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Raajaa Bali
See also Bhaagvat Puraan, 8/7;      Padm Puraan, 1/16;

Raajaa Bali as such is not the character or witness of Raamaayan or Mahaabhaarat, but his name is mentioned at several places as an example of a Daanee (donor) Bali. Skand Puraan, p 21 says that Bali is known as Indrasen also.

There have been many kings and sages whose names are famous for their Daan (charity, alms), such as:
(1) Maharshi Dadheechi - to give his bones to Indra to kill Vritraasur. He made Vajra out of those bones;
(2) Raajaa Shibi - to give his own flesh to save the life of a pigeon from a falcon;
(3) Raajaa Rantidev - who did not take any money from his royal treasury for himself or his family. Once he went hungry with his family for days together and when he got some food to eat Devtaa asked for it in some form or other and he gave it to them happily.
(4) Raajaa Harishchandra - who donated the whole Prithvi to Vishwaamitra and went to Kaashee with his family. Since the whole wealth was a little short, he sold his family to a Vaishya to work as maidservant and himself to a Dom (caretaker of the cremation ground) to pay off the remaining money. Later his son died and his wife brought his dead body to the same cremation ground where he himself was working. Since she didn't have any money for his Kafan (last cloth to be worn after the death), she brought his body naked. Harishchandra refused to accept it on the basis of the rules of cremation ground. His wife had to tear her half cloth to cover his naked body which made her half naked.

But still there are two very great Daanee's (charity giver, or donors) names are taken as an example in Hindu religious history - they are Raajaa Bali and Daanveer Karn. Karn is known as Daanveer Karn.

Raajaa Bali-the great charity giver
Raajaa Bali was in the lineage of Maharshi Kashyap and Prajaapati Daksh's daughter Diti. Diti had three sons - Hiranyakashyap, Hiranyaaksh and Vajraang. She had 49 sons more as Marud Gan to kill Indra but then later she gave them to Indra, so they joined Devtaa. Hiranyakashyap had five sons among whom the youngest one was Prahlaad because of whom Naaraayan appeared as Narasinh Bhagavaan and killed Hiranyakashyap. Prahlaad had 3 sons named Virochan, Kumbh and Nikumbh. Virochan's son was Raajaa Bali, and Bali's son was Baanaasur whose daughter Ushaa was married to Krishn's grandson Aniruddh. Because of Raajaa Bali Vishnu appeared as Vaaman Bhagavaan. At that time he was sent to live in Sutal Lok but later Raajaa Bali was promised to be given the status of Indra in coming 8th Manvantar. Skand Puraan, p 45 says that his wife's name was Vindhyaavalee.

Raajaa Bali was a very powerful Raakshas. Once he won Tri-Lok, so all Devtaa went to Vishnu and told their sad story. Vishnu consoled them and assured them to get their Swarg Lok back to them soon. After winning the Tri-Lok, he was doing the 100th Yagya conducted by Daitya Guru Shukraachaarya Jee to attain the Swarg permanently. On the other side Aditi (Devtaa's mother) was very sad seeing her children (Devtaa) out of Swarg Lok. So she also prayed Kashyap Jee to help her children. Kashyap Jee said - "Don't you worry at all. Bhagavaan Vishnu will incarnate in our house and everything will be all right."

Bhagavaan Vishnu incarnated as Vaaman Bhagvaan - in a form of a short Braahman boy, only 52 finger tall (that is why He was called Vaaman Baaman or Baavan - a Hindi word for 52) and got ready to go to Raajaa Bali's Yagya. He wore Rudraaksh necklace, yellow Dhotee (loin cloth), He had a water pot in one hand and a Dand (staff) in His other hand and started for the Yagya.

That day was the last day of Yagya, and many beggars were getting their desired things from Raajaa Bali and were blessing him in return of those things. When the Yagya was to end Raajaa Bali was about to perform the concluding ceremonies to complete the Yagya. He asked his people - "Is there anybody else who wants anything?" People checked around and said "No". So he started to performing the concluding ceremonies of that Yagya. The then a servant came and informed him about a Braahman boy was standing at the door. Bhagavaan Vaaman had arrived at his door and expressed His desire to get something from Raajaa Bali himself.

The gatekeepers saw the valor of the Braahman boy and kept looking at Him. On the request of the boy, they went to Raajaa Bali and told that a boy wanted something from him. Raajaa Bali said "Let Him come in." Concluding ceremonies were halted and the boy was called in. Every body got stunned to see Him. He was so graceful that people there were not able to look at Him properly still were not able to remove their eyes from His face. Raajaa Bali also kept looking at Him. He had never seen such a gracious Braahman boy before.

He respected Him, washed His feet, offered an Aasan to sit on, and asked Him - "O Braahman boy, Ask what do you want? You will get anything you wish for - money, clothes, gems, animals, land anything." The Braahman boy said - "I don't need all these things. I am a Sanyaasee Brahmchaaree Braahman boy, what I will do of these things. If you really want to give me anything I want only my three feet land for my worship." Raajaa Bali laughed and said - "O Braahman boy, Do you know who are you asking this donation from? I am Raajaa Bali. I can give you so much that even your ten generations will not be able to finish it. And you are asking me only your three feet land? Ask something substantial so that I can also feel honor in giving it to you."

Vaaman Bhagavaan said - "I don't need all these things, and I don't need more than that also, I am satisfied only with my three feet land for my worship. I am a Brahmchaaree Braahman boy so I will not have ten generations also. So, please if you can give me, give me only my three feet land." Raajaa Bali laughed again. He again tried to convince Him that He could ask more but Vaaman Bhagavaan was adamant only on His three feet land. Then Bali said - "All right boy, Be happy with your three feet land. What is three feet land for me measured by your such small feet." Saying this he took water in his hand to read the Sankalp (vow) for this donation. After that he asked Shukraachaarya Jee to do the proper rites for this donation.

The then Shukraachaarya came to know that He was not an ordinary Braahman boy. He was Vishnu Himself and he had cheated Raajaa Bali by asking only three feet land. So he immediately said to Bali - "Hey Raajan, Stop reading Sankalp. He is not an ordinary Braahman, He is Vishnu Himself and He has come here to help Devtaa and to get Tri-Lok back from you." Bali said - "Hey Guru, I have already started reading the Sankalp for this donation. I cannot take it back." But Guru Shukraachaarya Jee quoted several situations from scriptures when a Sankalp could be taken back. But Raajaa Bali didn't agree for it.

Bali said - "Otherwise also, nobody goes empty-handed from my door, therefore this Braahamn boy can also not go empty-handed from my house. If He has cheated me, that is His conscious. I have nothing to do with that. Thirdly, If He is Vishnu, then I am highly honored that even Vishnu who gives everything to everybody, today has come to my house to ask for something from me and I am able to give it to Him. This will be an example to the world that Bhagavaan Vishnu came to ask something from Raajaa Bali, and Raajaa Bali donated something to Bhagavaan Vishnu; and if he is an ordinary Braahman boy, then three feet land is nothing for me. So I cannot change my mind. You perform the rites for this donation."

When Raajaa Bali didn't listen to his Guru, he became furious. He gave Shaap to Bali that he would lose all his wealth soon, but Raajaa Bali didn't care for it. Shukraachaarya Jee also could not disobey Raajaa Bali, but when Bali was pouring water from the pot for the formal ceremony, he himself sat in the spout of that pot and stopped water to come out so that the ceremony could not be completed. Vishnu noticed it and saying this "What is inside it which is stopping water to come out?" He took a blade of Kush grass and inserted it in that spout. It pierced Shukraachaarya's one eye. Shukraachaarya Jee moved with pain and the water came out and the ceremony was completed. 

After the ceremony, Raajaa Bali stood in front of that Braahman boy folding his hands and prayed Him and requested Him to measure His desired three feet land anywhere. Now the Braahman boy expanded His body so much that His head touched the sky. Raajaa Bali now got convinced that He was indeed Vishnu in the form of the Braahman boy. He just stood admiring Bhagavaan still folding his hands. Bhagavaan lifted His one foot and measured Bhoo Lok (Prithvi or Earth) in His first foot land, then He lifted His second foot and measured Swarg Lok in His second foot land and His body covered the sky. Now He asked Bali - "Where should I put my third foot to measure my third foot land?"

Raajaa Bali had already made up his mind, he immediately lay down on his stomach [see Note below in green] and said to Bhagavaan - "All belong to you. You gave it to me, and you are taking it from me. My body is also yours, so it is there for you to measure your third foot land. Please measure your third foot land here." Bhagavaan got very happy to hear this from Bali.

Bhaagvat Puraan, 8/7 says that Bali offered his head to Bhagavaan to put His third foot. And since he offered his head to put His third foot, he was given the kingdom of Sutal Lok, till he will be Indra in Saavarni Manvantar (next Manvantar). Bhagavaan gave him even His own protection also to him.

Some give explanation that since Bali could not fulfill his promise of giving three feet land, that is why he was sent to Sutal Lok.

Bhagavaan blessed him and sent him to Sutal Lok to live because Bali lay down on the ground facing downward. Bhagavaan gave him the Vardaan that His Chakra (Divine disc) will always guard him. Prahlaad Jee also came there. Bhagavaan asked him also to go to Sutal Lok and live there and said - "You will daily see me there with my Gadaa and thus you will also be freed from your Karm bondage. Besides I will not kill anybody born in your lineage."

That is why when Raavan came to Raajaa Bali with the desire of the fight, he could not win him. Who could win Raajaa Bali whose city was guarded by Vishnu Himself.

Bali is said to have been bounded by Varun Paash by Garud as Vaaman could not place his foot anywhere in the Universe and Bali requested Vaaman place His foot on his own head. In the Bhaagvat Puraan, Brahma Jee requested Vaaman to release Bali. Bali was released from the Varun Paash and he bowed before Vishnu.
According to the Padm Puraan, Bali along with his kinsmen, friends and followers were bound.

Bali and Raavan
See    Raavan Meets Raajaa Bali

Bali's Children
Bali had three children - 1 son Baanaasur and 2 daughters - Ratnmaalaa and Vajrajwaalaa.

Raajaa Bali had 100 sons. Among them Baanaasur was his eldest son. He was a great devotee of Shiv Jee and had 1,000 arms. One time when Shiv Jee was dancing His Taandav Dance, he played instruments with all his 1,000 hands. Shiv Jee got very pleased with his devotion and asked him to ask for any Var. He said - "You please live here to guard my city." Shiv Jee said - "So be it" Because of that Var Shiv Jee and all other Devtaa etc also used to serve him.

Baanaasur was very proud of his 1,000 arms. Once he asked Shiv Jee - "I wish to fight with somebody, because my arms are itching for it." Shiv Jee said - "You will get opportunity to fight, do not worry." Later he had the opportunity to fight with Krishn. After the fight with Krishn in regard with his daughter Ushaa, Krishn cut his all arms leaving his four arms.

He had two daughters - one daughter was Ratnmaalaa. When Raajaa Bali was donating to Vaaman Bhagavaan, she was standing near them. So when she saw Vaaman Bhagavaan in Bali's Yagya Shaalaa, she was so much attracted to that child that she wished to have a son like Vaaman Bhagavaan and breastfeed Him. But when she saw His Viraat Swaroop, she hated Him so much that she wished "if I had a son like this I would have given Him poison through my breastfeed."  Later she was born as Pootanaa in Kans times in Dwaapar Yug. Bhagavaan fulfilled her both wishes - she breastfed to Krishn like a mother and gave poison also to Him through breastfeed. Thus Ratnmaalaa got Bhagavaan's mother's status and went to Vishnu's Lok after her death.

He had another daughter Vajrajwaalaa who was married to Kumbhkarn, Raavan's brother.

My Note
Why did Bali lie down on his stomach? - Is it because he could not face Vishnu? Or because he could not give Him His third foot land of which he was very proud of? Or he was indeed very embarrassed that he could not give even three such small feet land to a boy. No, not because of these, but still he was proud of that he was giving something to Vishnu. That is why he lay on his stomach.

Bali had composed a beautiful song "Hari Naam Mala Stotram" in the honor of Vishnu. Pandit Jasraj has a famous Bhajan by the name of "Om Namo Bhagavate Vaasudevaaya' which is this poem.



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Created by Sushma Gupta On 5/27/04
Modified on 06/02/13