Dispossessed of his heavenly kingdom, Indra came to the
hermitage of Aditi Devi situated at the bottom of the Meru Mountain. Aditi
was the mother of Indra. Aditi took pity on her children. Kashyapa, the father of the Devas, was also moved
by their condition. All of them together came to Brahma. Brahma said, "Devas,
worship Vishnu. Let Kashyapa and Aditi also worship Vishnu and please Vishnu
by their tapas and pray to Vishnu that he is born as their son. Only Vishnu can
vanquish Bali and bless you."
|HERMITAGE OF ADITI AND
Kashyapa and Aditi went to perform tapas to please Vishnu. Aditi's
tapas were extraordinary. Lord Narayana appeared before her and said, "Mother of the
Devas, I shall grant your request. Ask what you want."
Aditi said, "O Lord of Gods, there is nothing that you do not know. The
Danavas have occupied the kingdom of my son Indra with the help of Bali. They
have taken away all the powers from my children. You gave my son Indra his position
as the Lord of the Devas. I grieve that my children have lost their kingdom and
power. But I grieve more because the Danavas have transgressed your law and have
been behaving with pride and insolence. It pains me to see that you too are doing
nothing to set matters right. You should be born as my son
and defeat Bali. Go to the assistance of the defeated Devas and help restore
the heavenly kingdom to the Devas."
Vishnu said, "What you ask is right and proper. But Bali is righteous and
truthful. We fought against his wicked predecessors in war and used force to
defeat them. It is not possible to do so with Bali. Therefore we have to use
some indirect method. I shall take my birth as Vamana and
your son." This
comforted Aditi. The Devas were satisfied now and bided time engaged in tapas.
|VISHNU AND ADITI
Years had rolled after Bali started performing the 'Ashwamedha'
horse sacrifices. Ninety-nine sacrifices had been successfully completed one
after another. They were preparing for the hundredth sacrifice, which they had
planned on a grand scale. On completion of this sacrifice Bali would earn
the merit to be permanently installed as Indra. The Danavas
who were righteous in the beginning had become vain and insolent. They threatened people who were
still worshipping Devas, saying, "Our
king Bali is now Indra. We Danavas are the rulers and lords over the three worlds.
None need worship Devas now."
There were unexpected calamities on the earth now. There were earthquakes
at some places. At some other places rivers overflowed and swept away villages.
At yet other places fires broke out and caused great damage. Unable to understand
why such things took place, Bali came to Prahlada and asked, "What
is the cause for these eruptions and calamities? Are they caused by the magical
powers of the Devas ?".
Prahlada who was a devotee of Vishnu was capable of seeing into the past and
future with his divine wisdom. He entered into a deep trance and understood the
cause of it all. He said, "Vishnu has taken birth in
the world in order to defeat and humble the insolent Danavas who are drunk with
power. These calamities
betoken greater calamities awaiting the Danavas." Hearing these words, Bali
became angry. With blood-shot eyes he turned to Prahlada and
we to be afraid of the Devas? Each warrior among us is capable of carrying the
whole earth on his shoulders. When that is our strength, what
can one Vishnu do to us?".
Prahlada also became angry and chastised Bali thus, "You
fool, you are too bold to speak ill of Sri Hari, the eternal lawgiver and protector. You have spoken
thus knowing well that I am a devotee of Sri Hari. Very
soon you will lose your kingdom and will be banished from earth."
King Bali realized his error. in fact Bali was not an enemy of Sri Hari. He had
lost control over his tongue on account of his pride of valor. Regretting his
conduct, he became humble. Tears of sorrow appeared in his eyes and he was unable
to speak. He fell at the feet of Prahlada and begging forgiveness he said, "Be
kind and merciful. You have rightly cursed me for my insolent words. I do not
feel sorry if I lose my kingdom. I may get it back some how. But where can I
get a guru like you? I am more in sorrow because my speech has hurt your feelings."
Prahlada was moved to pity. He lifted his grandson and said, "Child,
I spoke in anger and cursed you. Who can avoid Fate? Do not regret. Place full
faith in SriHari and complete the Ashwamedha sacrifice. Let your fame be eternal."