YADA YADA HI DHARMASYA GLANIRBHAVATI BHARAT
ABHYUTHANAMDHARMASYA TADAMANAM SRAJAMYAHAM
Whenever Dharma is compromised and adharma is on the rise, Then, at those times I take form, that is I present myself to the people in my manifest form.
Lord Shree Krishna had said this as part of his narration of Bhagwat Gita to Arjun at the begin of the Kurukshetra war between the Pandavas and the Kauravas. This couplet appears in the fourth Chapter as the seventh shlok and confirmed Bhagvan Vishnu's commitment to preserve Dharma.
In ancient times There was a danav-putra who had prayed to Vishnu and for his well-being Vishnu had taken form as Narsingh and destroyed several other Danavas, including Prahlads Sister Holika and father Hiranyakasipu. All was going well and Lord Narsingh disappeared after he had restored Dharma and handed over the reins of the kingdom to Prahlad. Prahlad ruled well and all Devas were again esteblished in their respective roles. They now began to receive their portions of offerings made in yagya by holi-men.
But, Prahlad was from the Danav-yoni and had tendencies to fight the Devas despite himself being an ardent Bhakt of lord Vishnu. He even went to war with the worldly manifestation of Vishnu as Nara- Narayan. The war between them went on for thousand years and neither of them won. Then, at last Prahlad went to Vaikunthlok and approached Vishnu and queried him as to why he had not succeeded in his war. Vishnu advised him that Nar-Narayan were his own form and completelty indefeatable in a war of weapons. However, Prahlad could win them over by his bhakti and pooja.
Prahlad called Hiranyakashipu son Andhaak and asked him to take over the kingdom as he was leaving to complete his mission as advised by Vishnu. Then he went to Badrikashram where Nar- Narayan were in prayers and stood there with folded hands. He fell at their feet and expressed his deep and sincere regrets. Narayan was pleased and bestowed him with boons. In addition he made Prahlad free from old-age, death, undestroyable and free from corrosion of his soul. Prahlad retreated to his kingdom but refused to take back the running of affairs and formally installed Andhak as the king and he himself got down to doing Tapasya for Vishnu and welfare of all Gods.
Andhak was born without eyes but due to his being a Shiv-bhakta he had regained his eyes even before Vishnu had killed Hiranyakashipu. After taking over as the King he sat in Tapsya to his Lord Shiva and soon received boons that he would never be defeated by Devas, Nagas, Sidhas or any Rishi. He also got boons that he would never be burnt by fire, or harmed by water and other sources bodily . He installed Shukracharya- the Guru of all Danavas as his Rajpurohit. Thus fortified, he began to win over the Gods once again and took away the entire world from the Devas, thus depriving them of their rightful roles in the running of the world order. He also defeated other Rulers of the Earth and took away their kingdoms. He exiled both Devas and Kings into forests and began to rule the three worlds in his own style of Danav. Then he proceeded to Sumerugiri mountain with his great Army following him.
Meanwhile, Indra too was headed towards Sumerugiri on his mount of Airavat. He was accompanied by other Lokpal Devas on their respective mounts and followed up with vast armies of each Lokpal. Leading this army were the twelve Adityas, followed by the eight Vasus, thirteen Vishwadevas, sadhya, the twin Ashnin Kumars, Marudgana, Yaksha, Vidyadhar and others. The eleven Rudras brought up the rear of the entire assembly of forces. Both Armies were formidable and appeared to be undefeatable.
Soon they clashed and the scene turned into a gory flowing of streams of blood, floating dead Soldiers, and killed animal mounts. There were shouts of men as they attacked soldiers of the other side and there were screams from fallen soldiers who had been severely dismembered. Vultures patrolled the skies and wild animals feasted on the dead and the dying. The war lasted a long while. Initially, it looked as if neither side would win and both forces were fully enthusiastic about victory, but then the Devas began to weaken and once Indra was dismounted from his Airavat mount by an assault of Andhak the Devasena moral broke and they scattered and left the war arena.
The Asuras had won.
Hiranyakashipu was the Adipurush of the Asuras, much like Virat is the Adipurush of the worlds population. His son was Prahlad and from him came Virochana, and Virochanas son was Bali. These Asuras were religious and followed the order of Dharma and ensured that all their subjects followed the rightful Dharmic way of life, giving due respect to the Devas, performing Yagya and lived by their scripture dictated ways of life. Lakshmi devi was pleased and she blessed these generations with prosperity and wealth. Bali was as Powerful and strong as his predecessors and ruled the three worlds effectively.
Nonetheless, Bali was the King and Indra was unhappy about this, he wanted to get the reins back, when he could not find a way out he approached the Mother of Gods, Aditi, who lived on mount Meru and sought a solution from her. Aditi conceded that even if all the Devas got together, they still would not be able to win over Bali, and asssured him that she will consult with her husband, Rishi Kashyap- son of Rishi Marichi.
Hiranyakashipu, Prahlad, Virochan and now Bali were all very devoted Shiv-Bhakt and from Him they had received several boons that had added to their personal mights. Despite being Asuras they were staunch believers of Gods, hence they implemented Deva pooja, recitation of Vedas and other scriptures, performance of yagya and open other forms of worships to Gods. The Gods themselves too were happy as they dutifully received their respective shares of Yagya-offerings. The order of God worship prevailed andDharma was esteblished on all four feet. People of all Varnas and Ashrams followed duties as laid down in Hindu scriptures. The Kings also ruled their subjects in accordance with religeous sentiments and due compassion.
Amid smooth conduct of life in all worlds it was decided to Crown Bali as the King. After a huge ceremoney under auspecious griha dasha the coronation of Bali was accomplished and to celebrate the moment there was wild cheering from the Asura communities. The sound of this raucious cheering was heard by the Devas and by Indra in his holi city of Amarawati. Indra became even more agitated and unhappy to see Bali installed where he should have been. He rushed to Aditi and Kashyap.
Kashyap was also the Guru of all Gods and he decided that the matter can best be resolved by Brahma. The Gods formed a procession and they all reached Brahmalok where Brahmasabha was in progress. With Brahma in the centre Charaks sat in a big circle around him reciting the Vedas. As Kashyap, accompanied by the devas arrived, they were given seats in accordance with their respective positions in the Divine heirarchy. Then, Kashyap folded his hands and prayed to Brahma and narrated the problem faced by his children and the recent coronation of Bali as the King of the three Lokas. Brahma too, was aware of the crowning and had known it to be contrary to his plan for the worlds. He conceded that the Devas plea would come true eventually, but he had no solution how to procede. He suggested that they all approach Shree Vishnu and present him the problem and seek its redress.
Brahma brooded some more and suggested the Devas went to Vishnu and proceed to the Northern banks of Ksheersagar and assemble at a place called Amrit. He had seen with his divine powers that Vishnu had been performing tapasya there and would soon hear out the Devas. Brahma shared his strategy as to how they could seek the desired boon from Him. His plan was that all Devas will offer their prayers to Vishnu and the appeal to him to take birth in the worlds to get it rid of the Asuras. The Devas then bowed to Brahma and set course in the Northern direction loudly Chanting the name of Narayana.
At Amrit, they performed austerirties under guidence from Kashyap and waited for Vishnu to complete his Dhyan. Presently Visnu concluded his Tapasya and and addressed Kashyap and the Devas that he was pleased by their Pooja and would be happy to grant them any boon they had in their hearts. Kashyap spoke on behalf of all the Gods, ' O, Creater of all the worlds, if you are pleased with all of us, then, we all seek the favour that you be born as the younger brother of Indra from the womb of Aditi'. Aditi too fell at his feet and repeated every thing and prayed that the Lord be born to her as her son.
Vishnu was acutely aware of the problem and happily condescended to be so born and take care of the situation in the favour of the Devas. He promised that he will rid the earth of the Evil Asuras. He asked Kashyap and all devas to return to their abodes and await the moment of his incarnation. The assembly offered their final prayers and formed a procession to return back to the earth. They loudly Chanted Vishnu's name and praised his incarnations in the past.
Aditi proceeeded to a forest, which was later named after her as Aditivan and sat in meditation. She completely gave up food and drinks and prayed on to Vishnu in unbroken tapasya. Happy with her penance, one day Vishnu appeared and asked her to seek her boon. Aditi said, ' I pray to you as one who loves his bhaktajan and if you are really pleased with me grant me that my son Indra will regain his position as King of all Gods and his rightful kingdom will be delivered to him again. Presently the Asuras have userped his powers and position and have denied all yagyabhag that should come to him from all the yagyas done anywhere. Please, O God. have mercy on me and my son.'
Shree Vishnu smiled and said, 'Tatasthu'. Then he explained, 'As per your wish i grant you all that you wish for. Very soon, I will be born to you and Kashyap as your son with just one Kala (one sixteenthof his Divine powers) and kill all the Asuras and rid the Earth of all this unwanted weight. I will reinstall all the Vedic formats and religion as it should actually be. Now you conclude your Tapasya and return home.' Saying this Vishnu unmanifested right in front of her vision.
Later, the moment Shree Vishnu entered Aditi's womb the Asuras lost their energies and became weak and felt very listless. Bali was concerned with the events occuring around him and he consulted his Grandfather, Prahlad. Prahlad went into deep meditation and saw that God was about to incarnate soon from the womb of Aditi. He advised Bali and told him to ensure that every one in the Kingdom pray to Visnu with greater vigour to welcome the coming of the Creator to this world. Bali opposed this advise saying that most of the Asuras were endowed with great powers and they could certainly defeat any God, therefore, the advise to welcome the incarnation was not tenable. When Prahlad heard the argument he became agry and openly declared that the end of the Asura rule had arrived and that all Asuras will be banished ffrom the Earth. Bali realised his folly and profusely apologised and said that he will do anything to help the incarnation even at the cost of his own life. Prahlad tried to pacify him by saying that perhaps due to anger they were both overpowered by desire and their wisdom had been momentarily destroyed. Therefore, Bali should become a Vishnu Bhakt and pray not only for his well-being but also for the kalyan of the entire Asura jaati.
Soon, Aditi delivered a baby Boy And all the Gods flocked at Kashyaps cottage. The boy grew into a man, but as a stinted dwarf, instantly. (Those days children were born as mind-children and were replicas of their father with all his knowledge and learnings, the birth from the union of Mother and Father came much later in the way we see todays child births). All the Gods gifted their special powers to the Baby after Brahma completed the birth-rituals and named him Vaman. The gifts of physical possessions such as asan (seat), Dand (Staff), Kamandal (vessal), Vastra (clothings) and so on were also given by the Devas.
Bali was performing his daily yagya and was surprised to see that what ever offerings he made were not accepted by Agni. He queried his Guru, Shukracharya. The Guru thought for a moment and announced that the very God Bali was praying to was actully coming to the yagya. Bali was emotionally overwhelmed and happy that his Ishta-Deva was about to grant him darshan. He began to chant the mantras loudly and began to cry.
Shukracharya told Bali that as per scriptures the yagya offerings should go to the Gods but he had stopped that and the offerings were now shared among the asuras.If Shree Vishnu asked for even the smallest favour then it would be better that Bali denied it to him. But Bali was known in the three Lokas as the biggest giver of Daan and gifts to poor people, therefore he did not see any logic in what Shukracharya had to advise. He concluded that when he gave great gifts to people who did not even ask for it then how could he deny gifts to the very God he was praying to. He stated that there could be no bigger honour for him when God asked and he dutifully obliged. He was sure in his mind that a small gift to God will beget larger boons for the entire asura community.
Soon, Vamandev appeared at the yagya site in dwarf appearance. Bali and all Asuras fell at his feet and Vishnu, in the form of Vaman, blessed all the participants which was composed of Rishis, Munis, Gandharvas, asura and so on. Vishnu accepted the yagya offerings. Bali got up and offered arghya (water to wash hands with) and pleaded, ' I am grateful that you have come to my yagya and I offer you vast amounts of Gold, jewels, elephants, horses, maid servants, cows, clothes and huge village tracts'. Vaman smiled and said, O! Asura, I have no need for your offerings and I shall be pleased if you can grant me just that much land which I cover in my three strides'.
As Bali poured water on his palm to confirm the giving of the plea for three stride land, Vaman dev grew into his form of Virat. All present around saw him in his form of God with four arms supporting shankh, chakra, gada and padma flower. The sun and the moon were his two eyes, the sky formed the head, the earth became his two feet, Pishach people became his foot digits (toes). His entire body was an amalgamation of Vishwadevas, sadhyas, apsaras and so on. All stars and planets were like pores of his skin. In fact all manifest objects appeared somewher or the other part of his brilliant body shining as the power of a thousand Suns.
All the Asuras who were present at the yagya and all those who were not present there got dissolve into this majestic body, only Bali remained. Vaman smiled and said, ' I have covered the three lokas in my two strides, now tell me where I can palce the third'. Bali did not hesitate, he lay down at his feet and said, 'Please put the third step on my head'. Vaman obliged and with his weight Bali was pushed through the earth right down to Patal loka.
Vaman-Dev now assumed the Vishnu form and said that he was pleased with Bali for his undetered bhakti and yagya offerings. Therefore, in a future Kalpa, Bali will be born and assume the role of Indra of that four yuga cycle. He will then be King of all Gods. Till then Bali would continue to reside in Patal-loka and be the indisputed king of Asuras.
Saying this Vishnu vanished.