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Vamana Avatar Home -› Hindu Trinity -› The Preserver -› Vishnu -› Vamana Avatar
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Banasura pleading for his father
Banasura became unhappy seeing his father's condition. He addressed Vamanamurthy and said, "Lord of the World, my father gave you what you asked in charity. He has not offended you in any way. You asked for three paces of land in the guise of a short ascetic. Is it fair for you to measure the land with your extra-ordinary feet now? My father has given away the whole of his empire to you. What is left with him now to give you further? You who should have been impartial, have taken sides with the Devas and have done injustice to us."

Vamana replied, "Banasura, it is I who received the gift and I have measured the land only with my feet and not with any one else's. Hear my argument against your charge of my partiality to Devas. I gave Shaker, the husband of Shachidevi, the status and power of Indra and arranged for proper functioning of the system of worlds. Bali had to be punished for removing Indra from his position before the expiry of his tenure."

Then Vamana turned to Bali and said, "O King Bali, this is only a test of your vow to give charity. You did not hesitate to give what I asked even in the middle of your difficulties. You never regretted your charity even though I claimed all your empire. You never felt unhappy when you were bound to your vow. You did not feel sorry even though your kith and kin deserted you. Though Shukracharya cursed you, you did not give up your truthfulness. Who has your patience? You have earned a higher place than the Devas by your fame. Be immortal. Now ask me for any boon that you want."

Vamana placing the final step on the head of bali
Bali said, "O Lord of the World, I am not pained at being defeated by you. The pride of insolence is bad. You have taught Danavas swollen with insolence a good lesson. I can tolerate all this but not the disgrace of having to eat my words as one, who could not fulfill his vow to give charity. Please place your third step on my head and be pleased to accept it in fulfillment of my promised gift." Vamana agreed to Bali's request. Having received Sri Hari's foot on his head, Bali was discharged of his debt. People who witnessed this shouted, "King of devotees, soldier of charity, emperor Bali, honored the world." Tears of joy flowed down their eyes.

Vamana gave the three worlds he had received as gift to Indra. The Devas praised Vamana in their happiness and Bali for his charity. Vamana addressed Bali in the presence of all and said, "Danavendra, I give you the Kingdom of Sutala in the underworld. I shall give you one more boon. I shall protect your fort as Janardana and keep watch over your fort and defeat your enemies. You may ask one more boon." Bali said, "O Lord, as the protector of my fort you have given me the privilege of seeing you every day. For such a privilege even Rudra, Brahma and Lakshmi are not entitled. What else is there for me to ask? But since you want me to ask for a boon, I do so. Though I go to Sutala in the underworld, I cannot forget the subjects of my erstwhile kingdom on earth. Therefore let me be blessed to see the happiness of my subjects at least once a year." Vamana granted his request and said, "The auspicious day on which you gave me charity will be celebrated as a festival on earth every year in future. On that day the whole earth will be the kingdom of Bali. People will worship you during day and light lamps at night as a symbol of their ideals and joy."

Having spoken thus, Vamana departed with Brahma. Pious Bali went to Sutala along with Prahalad and other kith and kin. He constructed a beautiful temple there for Janardana. Sri Hari took his stand as Janardana, as the guardian and protector of Bali's fort and palace.

The pious king Bali pleased the Lord of the World by his act of charity and became endeared to the world by that act and his kingdom on earth became a land of plenty on account of his charity. God waspleased by his act and became the guardian and protector of Bali's palace.

The day on which Bali gave charity to Vamanamurthy fell on the first day of the bright fortnight of Kartika, the month during which the Festival of Lights is celebrated. The next day after the Festival of Lights, celebrated on the New Moon day in the month of Ashwayuja,is called Balipadyami'. Hindus celebrate the day as a sacred festival. It is believed that gifts given on that day are dear to Bali and God. Men and women smear their bodies with oil and bathe, and wear new clothes on that day. In the central hall of every home, they draw beautiful figures with powder of rice in different colors and worship Bali and his wife Vindhyavali. They build seven forts out of clay or cowdung and worship king Bali. At night the thresholds of every home and temple are lighted with lamps in rows. Bali's kingdom is remembered and people shout with joy, "Let the ideal kingdom of Bali dawn at the earliest on earth."

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