The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words

This page describes Subjugation of Bali which is chapter 18 of the English translation of the Skanda Purana, the largest of the eighteen Mahapuranas, preserving the ancient Indian society and Hindu traditions in an encyclopedic format, detailling on topics such as dharma (virtous lifestyle), cosmogony (creation of the universe), mythology (itihasa), genealogy (vamsha) etc. This is the eighteenth chapter of the Vastrapatha-kshetra-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 18 - Subjugation of Bali

The King said:

1. Tell me in detail what Vāmana did after he reached the great holy place Vastrāpatha.

Sārasvata said:

2. O best King, having bathed in the water of Svarṇarekhā, and having devoutly and properly worshipped Bhava, Vāmana took his abode in front of Bhava.

3. He sat on an excellent seat in a lonely, spotless place, free from thorns and bones, and covered with hide of black antelope.

4. The strong-minded and steady, best Brāhmaṇa, taking to the Padmāsana position, and making his neck firm, and looking at his straight nose, remained steady.

5. He gave up the anxiety about his house, place, wife and wealth, also the trickery resorted to by Vīṣṇu, took to silence, and controlled his senses.

6. He did not take food; controlled his anger; gave up the bonds of the worldly existence. Holdng [Holding?] his arms in the Padmāsana posture, having closed his eyes a little, the Brāhmaṇa knowing the mind to be very fickle, made it steady in the heart.

7. In due order, due to practice he made separate and united the winds called Prāṇa (the first of the five life-winds). Apāna (the life-wind in the body which goes downwards and out of the anus), Vyāna (the vital air that is diffused through the whole body), Udāna (the vital air rising up the throat and entering the head), Samāna (the vital air having its seat in the cavity of the navel and essential to digestion).

8. Thus having it (i.e. mind) fixed in the heart, and collecting it in all joints, and bringing it in the seat of Brahman, he united it with Brahman.

9. When the external wind is taken in and the body is filled with it, it is known as Pūraka. I shall explain Recaka.

10. O King, when the internal wind goes out in due order it is known as Recaka. When it is suspended it would be Kumbhaka.

11. When the followers of Yoga know the twenty-five principles, they are freed from all sins even committed during seven births.

The King said:

12. What are the principles? What is the soul? Which is to be known by the followers of Yoga? (Please) tell (me). How would one, in whom knowledge has risen, be endowed with Yoga?

The Lord said:

13. Prakṛti (the original source of the material world), then Buddhi (intellect), then Ahaṃkāra (ego sense) that originated from it, the five Tanmātras (i.e. the group of the five subtle and primary elements—this is the eightfold Prakṛti.

14. Just five organs of perception, and five organs of action (came up). Know the eleventh to be the Manas (mind), and five great elements.

15. In the Sāmkhya (system of Philosophy) the group of the sixteen is told in detail. These are the twenty-four principles, and the Puruṣa (the soul) is the twenty-fifth.

16. He is called ‘Dehi’ (the soul) in the body, and it perceives the supreme soul. They recognize the highest soul as sixth beyond twenty.

17-18. The kinds of posture etc., that are what should be always known first. Those who see in their hearts a light resembling the flame of a lamp should be called ‘yogins’ in whom knowledge has risen, by the wise. First old age wears out and the diseases perish far away.

19. He, when all his sins have weakened, then obtains death. If the yogin knows himself then there exists (i.e. is born) no dead person in the world.

20. Then having restrained the doors (i.e. outlets) he releases the ten breaths. The life of yogins passes away after having destroyed the sins. They obtain such wealth of the (supernormal) qualities like being minute etc. in Śiva’s abode.

21. With (the help of) this path of meditation a man sees Bhava. Everything thought of by mind is secured by seeing Bhava.

22. When the Brāhmaṇa Vāmana was thus near Bhava, he saw Nārada, descended from the sky.

Vāmana said:

23. O great sage, are you alright? What brings you here? O great sage, I salute you; in the three worlds you are just Brāhmaṇa.

Nārada said:

24. I have arrived from Heaven. What shall I say to you about my well-being?

25. The day of Brahmā is completed by the goings and comings of the Lord of the day. The night appears at the end of the day. The deities perish at night.

26. What can be said about the world of the mortals, where (beings) die everyday! The sky is full of smoke. Gods have gone to Bali’s house.

27. The seven celebate Brāhmaṇa-sages went there. So also Hāhīhūhī [?Hāhāhūhū=Hāhā and Hūhū?], Tumbaru, Nārada, Parvata went there.

28. The bevy of celestial nymphs, the Gandharvas reached the house of Bali. Bali himself performed the sacrifice calculated to remove (the effects of) a portent.

29. I am going there only to witness the sacrifice in Bali’s house. Bali has performed nine hundred and ninety-nine sacrifices—just short of a thousand by (only) one (sacrifice).

30. On the completion of this (last) sacrifice the entire world will belong to the demons. This is some excellence set in the performance of the sacrifice. I shall myself give to the Brāhmaṇas whatever is asked for by anyone.

31-32. Even though I am warded off, I shall give. Let my words be true. If, being solicited, I shall not give myself, my wife, kingdom, dear sons, let my sacrifice be in vain. By these words there arose a severe pain in my head. After having taken a vow, how will my sacrifice be complete?

33. I do not see a means to break it. I am roaming in the three worlds. Knowing you to bring about destruction, I have approached you

34. Act now in such a way that the sacrifice will not be completed.

Vāmana said:

35. O great sage, listen to my words. What power do I have (now)? Who am I? Why should I do it? The gods have arrived at the sacrifice.

36. All the sages, Brāhmaṇas (have arrived). How will (the sacrifice) be fruitless? O Brāhmaṇa sage, O lord of sacred learning, listen to my other words.

37. You do not have a wife, nor sons; why do you have such a nature? You do not have happiness without war, nor do you have happiness without quarrel.

38-39. Controversy of this or that type is always dear to you. Bath, prayers, repeating names of deities, sacrifices, offerings to dead ancestors and deities—Nārada does these in a different way; Brāhmaṇas do these in another way. I too have curiosity. O great sage, speak quickly.

Nārada said:

40. O Vāmana, listen. At the end of the Night when the Padma Kalpa had ended, the universe was pervaded with water. There was nothing else.

41. The god of gods, lies in water. He is called Nārāyaṇa. He is Brahmā; He is Śiva. There is no difference among them.

42-43. When they become separate, they are the Triad of gods. To fashion the Varāha Kalpa, the three became separate at that time as Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Hara, full of (the qualities) passion, goodness and ignorance (respectively). Brahmā creates the world thus, and Viṣṇu looks after it.

44. Hara withdraws all the three worlds along with the moving and unmoving (objects). Having started like this the chief of gods sat on an excellent seat on the Kailāsa mountain. They consult one another.

45. Of the three who is the excellent god; who is the senior-most; who is superior in virtues? There is no fourth one who knows it at once. The three have remained (like this).

46. From them a light that had become united, rose in the sky. Endowed with the measure of time that orb of the sun moves (in the sky).

47. Between Hara and Brahmā, a dispute came up as: “I am the greatest”, “I am the greatest”—O lord, from the mouth of them who were disputing angrily (like this), I was born.

48-49. O god, how do you not know what Brahmā had said at that time? Formerly your ten incarnations like the Fish, the Tortoise decided to sport, and were warded off by Rudra, (saying) “Quarrel does not become you” Viṣṇu did (i.e. said) just like that to the ten incarnations.

50. O best Brāhmaṇa, at the beginning of the Kalpa I was born from the mouth of Brahmā. Since my birth was from quarrel, I am fond of quarrel.

51. At the beginning of the Kalpa, while creating (the world) Brahmā Himself thought: “O Han, how should I, the follower of the Vedānta (philosophy), fashion the world?

52. “I do not know the lost Vedas. (I do not know) where the Vedas have gone. I do not know even about the earth—whether it is at its place or has gone down.

53. “I do not have the strength now to go into the water. By means of the ten incarnations you have to protect the world.

54. “In the water in the great river you will be an aquatic animal. Bringing the Vedas quickly you please give them to me.”

55. (Taking) the great form of a Fish in the water, God (Viṣṇu) formerly brought and gave the Vedas to Brahmā. (Brahmā said:) “Again taking up the form of a tortoise you will hold the Mandāra (mountain).”

56. Brahmā spoke to Viṣṇu like this: “Lakṣmī will choose you (as her husband). Formerly I have seen your wonderful act at the time of the churning of the ocean.

57. “When the earth reached the Nether world it was not at all seen. It was not seen when a place was made for the universe.”

58. Being impelled by Brahmā himself to take up the form of the Pig, He took up the form of the great Boar and went below the earth.”

59. Taking up the earth with the tip of His fang, He took it to its proper place, collecting it from below.

60. The third incarnation of Viṣṇu also is charming, by which he sustained the earth along with the mountains.

61-62. I am telling the fourth (incarnation) viz. Narasiṃha, the very fearful one. Ādityas are the sons of Aditi; the demon Hiraṇyakaśipu and the very strong Hiraṇyākṣa are the two sons of Diti. All gods have stayed in Heaven, and the demons and fiends in the Nether region.

63. The demon Hiraṇyakaśipu ruled in the Nether region. Gods and demons put Manu’s descendants on the surface of the earth.

64. O Brāhmaṇa, having broken that arrangement Hiraṇyakaśipu, having overcome the Lord of gods ruled over the earth.

65. Having seized the earth with seven islands and desiring to capture Amarāvatī, he enjoyed being honoured by his sons and grandsons.

66. The dull one harasses his sons led by Prahlāda. What the sons were being taught Prahlāda also recited that.

67. Due to his being taught that he had pain. The demon did not care for the gods.

68. Brahmā, the Lord, being pleased by his penance, granted him a boon. O best of gods, he had no death from gods and men.

69-70. “If at all death is to take place in my case, it should be from none. I shall die not on the earth, being torn by the nails of him, Viṣṇu, partly lion and partly man”, “It will be so”—Saying these words, Brahmā was astonished.

71. When some time he was going, he had a great battle. (He thought:) “What will the gods do to me? What have I to do with Viṣṇu?

72. “I should always be offered an oblation in sacrifices. What will Rudra do to me? When such was the state Prahlāda praised that Hari.

73. He recollected that Hari only, due to whom his death was to take place. Though he was warded off he cried: “Hari! Hari!”

74. “I shall always remember that Viṣṇu, who has four arms, who holds a conch, a mace, a sword, who wears a yellow garment, who is marked with the Kaustubha (gem), who is the only chief of the world, (and) who gives salvation when just remembered.”

75. Agitated by these words the demon ordered (other) demons: “Get that wicked one killed by an elephant, serpent, water or fire.”

Prahlāda said:

76. O demon, Viṣṇu is even in an elephant; Viṣṇu is even in a serpent; Viṣṇu is also in water; Viṣṇu is also in fire. O demon, Viṣṇu exists in you, and in me as well. Even the group of the demons is not without Viṣṇu.

77-78. When, though being murdered, he did not meet with death, the chest of Hiraṇyakaśipu burnt with the fire of anger. Then to teach the son, and placing him in front of himself, he, started striking the son with harsh words: “Fie upon you that you are praising Nārāyaṇa, my enemy.

79. “With aṇ excellent sword I shall cut off your head like a flower. I am Viṣṇu, I am Brahmā, Rudra, Indra. Speak out the boon (you want).

80. “O child, leaving your own father, whom else are you praising?”

81-82. When the boy did not recite (his father’s name), nor did he praise his own father, the father struck him with a stick and urged him. “O (my) disciple, utter one word, and give me, my fee, so that my master will be pleased, and will give me ample wealth.” (?obscure)

Prahlāda said:

83-84a. O Preceptor, first strike me, (then) I shall do as you tell me. I shall praise Viṣṇu, who has created and nourished this peaceful world. May that Viṣṇu favour me!

84b. Viṣṇu is Brahmā; Viṣṇu is Hara; Viṣṇu is Indra, Vāyu, Yama and Fire.

85. He is the principles like Prakṛti, with Puruṣa as the twenty-fifth. He exists in my father’s body, preceptor’s body, so also in my body.

86. Knowing this how shall I praise the wicked man that is mortal!

The Preceptor said:

87. O disciple, who is the meanest among men? O mean one, birth etc. and death. While dying why not praise your father (and praise) Hari?

Prahlāda said:

88. He, who does not utter the letters ‘Hari’, at the time of his meal, at bed (-time), in a vehicle (while travelling), in fever, while spitting, in fight, is the meanest man.

89. Fools remember their mother, and the mean-minded their father in (the time of) fear, in a royal family, in a war, (while suffering from) a disease, while in union with a woman, in a forest, in weakness, in renunciation, at the time of death, lying on the ground.

90. I have no mother, no father, no kinsmen. I have none else but Hari; do what is proper.

91. Angered by such words, the demon rose to kill him. Then the mother came (there) and stood in front of the son.

92. Brothers, kinsmen, sister (all) said: “Do not utter (the name of) Hari. O child, united with me, you mother, this your sister, these (your) brothers, these (your) kinsmen, you will live for many years.”

Prahlāda said:

93. Who is my mother? Who is my sister? Who are my brothers? Who is my father? O my mother, listen. Relatives are those with whom you always live.

94. That mother, whose urine, faeces, I drank profusely while in the womb, is indeed a hell. I can’t say any more.

95. Another man like you, in whose heart Hari does not exist, has not been created by Viśvakarmā (the architect of gods).

96-97a. I think, certainly he, being gratified, will drink urine for ten months. If brothers were brothers even in the womb, how will the poor mother stop them from fighting?

97b. One’s relative, an old one among the kinsmen, become a learned man among strangers.

98. When one does not come or go, why is it called a family? Binding of the family leads us to hell.

99. My mother is someone different. The father is someone different. Brothers also are (different). The sister knowing relation with kinsmen would obtain salvation.

100. Our mother is Prakṛti (Nature). Buddhi (Intellect) is said to be the sister. From that Ahaṃkāra (Ego) is produced which is referred as I.

101. The five subtle elements (Tanmātras) born together with ‘I’ are my brothers. This is our origin. My relative (svajana) is vikāra (modification).

102. The one that holds these together is Puruṣa, the twenty-fifth (principle). He is my father in this my body. He is the Highest Soul, Hari dwelling in this body.

103. If in the mind he is reflected on, He, Hari, is seen in the heart. His position, having the wealth with the qualities like becoming atomic iṇ size etc. is produced.

104. The kingdom liked by you where Viṣṇu, Brahmā, or Rudra, or Wind or Fire is not worshipped, is like a blade of grass for me.

105. He, who is actually seen, moves without a support. He alone is the revered Viṣṇu, (so also) these that stay in the sky.

106. All planets, so also these constellation that exist (in the sky), are tied to Dhruva. All of them, do not fall on the surface of the earth because of the word (i.e. order) of Viṣṇu.

107. He Himself has laid down the end of all (objects) at a (fixed) time. Thinking like this I have no fear of death.

108. At the end of these words uttered by him, his father, striking him with his foot (i.e. kicking him) said: “Where is he (i.e. Viṣṇu)? I shall first kill Him; then (I shall) kill you, talking (well) about Han.

Prahlāda said:

109. The elements like the earth etc. are just Lord Hari. He is on ground, in water. The entire world is full of Viṣṇu.

110. Hari remains in grass, wood, house, ground, material. He is known by means of the yoga of knowledge. Can He be seen by (mere physical) eyes?

111. He goes to Brahmā’s abode; he goes to the bottom of the earth. In a moment he wanders on the surface of the earth. He inhales fragrance; he, Viṣṇu, fashions everything. He hears, knows (everything).

112. Thus addressed, he, giving up natural compassion, got up from his throne, and girding the loins firmly, drawing out his bright sword,

113. (and) striking him with the end of a plank spoke to him unbearable words: “Now remember Viṣṇu; otherwise your head with bright earrings will fall down like a ripe fruit from a tree.

114-115. “Or else show that Viṣṇu coming out of this pillar.” Giving up fear Prahlāda sat down on the ground in the Padmāsana position to raise his neck, and restraining his breath, and meditating upon Hari in his mind remained ready to die.

116. O Lord, I saw from the sky a wonder on the earth. A garland of flowers fell around Prahlāda’s neck of its own accord.

117. What did the people not do that pervaded the sky? People agitated by noise quickly fell asunder due to the sound.

118. The earth went to the Nether world; the sky met the earth. Cut off by the stroke of the sword, will a head fall on the ground?

119. Just then a lion’s terrible roar came out from the pillar. All demons fainted due to that sound.

120. The sword and shield fell from Hiraṇyakaśipu’s hand. He did not know what this was.

121. When he got up he just saw Hari. Below was the man, and above was a fearful lion.

122. Its mouth was fearful due to the fangs, and it was as if it were licking the sky, The body was bright, and its tail impeded its head.

123. A sound issued if from the great throat, as it from cloud, a deep sigh raising the tips of the hair, unbearable to be seen by gods and demons.

124. Seeing Narasiṃha he again fell on the gound [ground?]. He holding him with his profuse hair hurled him in the sky.

125. Whirling him a hundred times he threw him on the ground. Due to his having had a boon from Brahmā the Lord of demons did not die.

126-128. At that time Hari was loudly recollected by gods present in the heaven. Bringing the demon on his knee and observing after seeing his chest, He heard the words of victory uttered by the Yakṣas and gods. Making His arms, marked with a lotus, ready, he pierced the chest of the demon marked with the stroke of the thunderbolt, and weakened with strokes of bones, with His nails resembling kunda flowers.

129. When his chest was pierced the Lord of demons fell down dead. Then the three worlds with the mobile and the immobile became joyful.

130-131. O Keśava, through your favour I was also satisfied, when the three cities were burnt by Śaṅkara’s favour, and when Hiraṇyākṣa was destroyed at the (proper) time. Now I am not content. Where should I go? What should I do?

132. There are Kṣatriyas on the earth. They do not fight with one another. O Lord, how is it that the gods do not fight with the demons?

133. Now Bali has occupied the three worlds with the mobile and the immobile. I do not know what your fifth incarnation will do. O Janārdana, this is the time to control Bali. Show it.

Sārasvata said:

134. Having heard all this, Vāmaṇa said to the sage:

Vāmana said:

135. O Nārada, listen to what happened when Hiraṇyakaśipu was killed. Prahlāda, the great devotee of Viṣṇu, the demon-king, was made the king.

136-137. He ruled over the earth for many years. I was remembering the former enmity of the demons; I do not see the enmity of him who was ruling. Having produced many sons he ruled over a vast kingdom.

138. Bali was born from Virocana. When he was just a child, he remembered Hari through some means.

139. Leaving his kingdom and his dear sons, he went to mountain-peaks. Janārdana made his body to last till the end of the Kalpa.

140. For the kingdom, there was a great discussion among many demons and fiends: ‘Who would be our king?’

Nārada said:

141-142a.The sons and grandsons of Hiraṇyākṣa, who were stronger, like Virocana and others, so also the strong Vṛṣaparvan, approached for the kingdom.

142b-143. Indra, Kubera, Varuṇa, Vāyu, Sūrya, Anala, Yama, did not resemble the demon in strength, appearance, forgiveness etc. They were superior to the demons in qualities like generosity, and in respect of progeny.

144. Being instructed by Śukra, they fought with one another. The demons (also) remembered the wickedness (of gods at the time) of snatching the nectar.

145. “Why do the gods give the nectar that remained after a portion of it the gods drunk”. Saying, “This is not our (share)”, and getting ready they fought with one another.

146. Our war will never cease, since many demons and fiends were intent on doing one thing only.

147. Gods, having drunk nectar, have become immortal, and are victorious. Tell me the reason why Viṣṇu is strongest in battle among gods, demons, fiends, Gandharvas, reptiles and evil spirits.

Vāmana said:

148-149. Janārdana is without birth and death. He is the doer, the protector, the one that takes away. He is alone, is the god Śiva and he is the one called Brahman. O King, when, in the world, the job of one comes up, the three, taking up his body, do the work of (bringing about) death. Since Viṣṇu is the giver of boons, the entire universe is in his hand. Therefore he is stronger, and none else is like that.

150. Viṣṇu is ready for protection. What is the use of other physical eyes? And all gods like Indra, work for Viṣṇu.

151. Having fashioned the creation Brahmā-Hara remained in Kailāsa. Gods cannot (control) Viṣṇu. They move in the three worlds

152. When in this world someone behaves in an adverse way Janārdana, having come (there) destroys him.

153. O Nārada, do not make your mind waver or make it unkind. I shall tell that divine tale, which removes all sin.

154. When, formerly the demons were quarrelling for the kingdom, Prahlāda himself came (there) and settled the differences.

155. He was endowed with all (auspicious) signs, had a long life, and was stronger. He performed sacrifices, was always delighted, had many sons, and was extremely difficult to conquer.

156. He, who knew Viṣṇu difficult to be conquered, did not fight with gods. He did not have death in war, He gave everything as present to Brāhmaṇas.

157. He never deceived himself in any way. Among all his sons and grandsons he shone with grandeur.

158. Śukra consecrated him (saying): “He will be your king”. Saying “The preceptor is the authority” he went wherefrom he had come.

159. The demons and fiends together did like that. The sons, grandsons like Virocana themselves went.

160. With (proper) information, all were noticed individually by the preceptor. The virtues mentioned by Prahlāda did not exist in Virocana.

161. They were not seen in other demons, Vṛṣaparvan also was not like that. O sage, the sons like Bali were seen, Śukra, having observed all, found more merits in Bali.

162. Seeing more merits in Bali’s person, he reported them to the demons. O demons, Bali is superior in qualities; how would the task be done by me?

163. Due to some lucky coincidence, Bali will be Indra. The son would be as the father is in the world.

164. Certainly the grandson becomes like (the grandfather) if not the son; and Prahlāda is a great devotee, a follower of Viṣṇu, and dear to Viṣṇu.

165. Therefore, certain qualities of Hiraṇyakaśipu (are) found in Virocana. O demons, if the elder (i.e.) Virocana, is enthroned, (then) Narasiiñha will certainly come and kill (him).

166. Virocana, too, afraid of death, gave up the kingdom. All virtues of Prahlāda exist in Bali’s person.

167. Having made an agreement, they enthroned Bali, (thinking) he, who is Prahlāda, is Viṣṇu, and he, who is Viṣṇu, is Bali himself.

168. Therefore, gods made him their friend, and quarrel was avoided. The gods and demons made complete unity (among themselves) in Bali’s kingdom.

169. Hearing his words, the king of gods came to my house. Vālakhilyas (divine personages of the size of a thumb) came; I was cursed (and) made a dwarf.

170. Having pleased them I said: “Free me from the curse” They said: (They will do so) after the capture of Bali.

171. “You will also have joy in the battle, and Bali will perform a sacrifice.” There was no restraint to gods; all came to the sacrifice.

172. He offers me a sacrifice, who would kill him. I became a dwarf.

Nārada was full of joy.

173. All this is topsy turvy in my mind. Yet I shall do everything on a grand scale in due order.

Nārada said:

174. O Lord of gods, (please) favour me. I have a curiosity for war. My father had formerly told me: “A war will take place when in a battle Kṣatriyas are killed by a Brāhmaṇa.

175. “You are born as a Brāhmaṇa; whom will you fight?” Vāmana laughed and said: “Your (words) will be true.”

176. “Being born as the son of Jamadagni, and having Maheśvara as my preceptor, I shall kill Kārtavīrya, along with many Kṣatriyas.

177. “On the Kurukṣetra I shall make five deep lakes of blood. Then I shall gratify my sires and grandsires.

178. “I shall make (it) a holy place; you will come there. There will be a great curiosity for the war. It will be dear to you.

179. “When the Kṣatriyas will again seize the earth from the Brāhmaṇas, I shall then kill them and will again give (them) the earth.

180. “Repeatedly conquering the earth I shall give it (to the Brāhmaṇas) twenty-one times. Disgusted with fighting I shall renounce weapons. I shall divert myself in charming forests, on peaks of mountains.

181-182. The very powerful Rāvaṇa will rule over laṅkā. When he will have the name ‘Trailokyakaṇṭaka’ (Thom to the three worlds), then Daśaratha’s son Rāma, who increased the joy of Kauśalyā will think: “I shall be with my brothers. I shall enter the sacrificial pavillion.

183. “Having beaten up Tāḍakā, and taking Subāhu to the sacrifīce-haH, I shall go for the self-choice marriage of Sītā.

184. “Having broken Śiva’s bow, I shall marry Sītā. Abandoning the kingdom, I shall go to the forest (and stay) in the forest for fourteen years.

185. “I shall first be grieved by the pain due to Sītā’s being kidnapped. I shall render that demoness bereft of nose and ears, in the forest.

186. “After having killed fourteen thousand demons like Triśirā, Khara and Dūṣaṇa, I shall kill Mārīca, who will be in the guise of a deer.

187-188. “With my wife kidnapped and after having cremated the vulture Jaṭāyu, I shall go (to Sugrīva). Making friendship with Sugrīva, and killing Vālin, I shall restrain the sea with (the help of) the monkeys led by Nala. I shall besiege Laṅkā, and kill demons.

189-190a. “Having, in the battle, killed Kumbhakarṇa and then Meghanāda, and having killed the demon Rāvaṇa in the presence of all demons I shall give Laṅkā, the divine creation, to Bibhīṣaṇa.

190b. “Having come back to Ayodhyā again, and ruling the kingdom void of troublesome elements,

191. the strange acts of Kāla and Durvāsas I shall go to Amarāvatī with my brothers, after handing over the kingdom to my son.

192. “When the Dvāpara age will arrive, the earth will be burdened by many Kṣatriyas and will not be able (to bear the burden) and will be on the verge of going to the nether world.

193-194. “At that time the great demon Kaṃsa would be ruling over Mathurā. Śiśupāla, Jarāsandha, the great demon Kālanemi, (Kings) Pauṇḍraka, Vāsudeva, the great demon-king Bāṇa, equipped with elephants, swift horses, will be killed by me, O sage.

195. “In the Kali age clouds would have scanty water, and cows would have little milk. There will be no ghee (contents) in milk, and no truth among people.

196. “People would be kilted by thieves and harassed by diseases. Though reduced to the plight of waging war they would not go to a preceptor.

197. “Small rivers, flowing westwards would get dry in Kārttika. No vow like Ekādaśī would be (observed), and no Caturdaśī that falls in the dark half (of the month).

198. “No man recognised, even a hero, in his own house. Everything will be affected by poverty, bereft of bath, prayer etc. In Kaliyuga, what did not take place in the former three yugas, will take place.

199. “A son would abandon his father, mother and would wait upon his wife. None would be (looked upon as) an elder or a relative. Nobody would Serve anyone else.

200. “As Kali would spread over the earth, people would be of the same type.

201. “Everything would be affected by Mlecchaas (non-Āryans) and would be without bath or prayers. I shall be well known as the Brāhmaṇa Kalki.

202. “With Yājñavalkya as ray family priest, I, having cut off the Mlecchas, would perform a sacrifice with profuse gold (as the gift to Brāhmaṇas) as expiation.

203. “I shall have incarnations and there will take place fights among them. Now deities will not wage war with Bali.

204. “That Lord of demons offers sacrifices to me. Bali will not be killed by me. He takes a vow to give away all his belongings in a great sacrifice.”

Sārasvata said:

205. Saying so, the god, having dismissed Nārada, went to see the sacrifice performed by Bali, with the mission of gods in view.

206. Vāmana went to the city and visited every house. Going to the house of Brāhmaṇas, he asked for a meal.

207. The Brāhmaṇa Vāmana, intent on bathing everyday and on Vedic studies, obtained alms and a meal in a Brāhmaṇa’s house.

208. Moving his broad waist, he, surrounded by people, went to path crossings and charming temples.

209. He, of broad shoulders and large chin, moved his large head; he danced rhythmically and sang very charmingly.

210-21 la. Vāmana recited the four Vedas in the assembly of Brāhmaṇas. All the sons of Brāhmaṇas, as well as of the demons, waited upon the charming Vāmana day and night.

211b. Then all of them took Vāmana to the pavilion of the sacrifice.

212. You should certainly implore Bali in the cell of the demons. Then the great good of the country and the city (will follow).

213. Vāmana was requested by all the sons of demons and Brāhmaṇas: “O Vāmana, you should always stay in the city of the Lord of demons.”

Sārasvata said:

214. Saying “Let it be so” Vāmana entered the sacrificial pavillion. Then a great tumult caused by those that were at the door, arose.

215. He remained reciting the Vedas along with many Brāhmaṇas. Then a great sound (of the recitation) of the Vedas arose in the sacrificial pavilion.

216. First a demon entered (the pavilion). The demon (king) was informed: “O Lord, Vāmana, out of curiosity, has come at the (place of the) sacrifice to see you.

217-218. “He is sitting at the gate. Since Vāmana is coming to you all alone, he has no design. He has recited the four Vedas with one mouth.”

219. Being delighted, Bali said: “Bring him in, who is at the door. I shall worship that Lord of Brāhmaṇas, and will give him whatever is desired by him.

220. “I shall recollect the sentences from the Smṛtis, which my preceptor had spoken to me. Someone is worthy of the Veda, someone of penance.

221. “Whichever worthy recipient will arrive, will save me. When the sacrifice proceeds, I have to give Dakṣiṇā.

222. “Vāmana should not be questioned. Let my words be true.” Hearing this preceptor Śukra prevented Bali.

Śukra said:

223. All Brāhmaṇas, that are pitiable, blind, poor, deaf, dwarf, hunch-backed, sick, rough should be honoured at the door.

224. Vāmana should be worshipped at the door with golden, silver garments. The birth of the four is useless; so also the gift of the sixteen kinds is in vain.

225. The birth of sonless persons, so also of those who are expelled from the religious fold, and of those who eat food cooked by others, who are fondly attached to other’s wives, is useless.

226. One desiring good should not give wealth (in charity) which is earned unjustly, so also gift given to a non-Brāhmaṇa, so also to one who has fallen after having ascended (the course of morality).

227-229. The sixteen gifts are useless to a Brāhmaṇa: not performing Sandhyā, to one who has ceased to be a Brāhmaṇa, to one that is fallen, to a thief also, to one displeasing one’s preceptors, to one who has turned away from his father and mother, to one who is a Brāhmaṇa in name only, to one who is the husband of a Śūdra woman, to one who sells the Vedas, to one who is ungrateful, to a Brāhmaṇa who conducts religious ceremonies for all classes, to one who is completely subdued by a woman, so also to a snake-catcher; so also gifts given to attendants: these gifts of sixteen kinds are in vain.

Sārasvata said:

230. In the meanwhile, Bali said: “O preceptor, (please) do not say so. Whosoever studies Vedas is Viṣṇu that has come to me. When a learned Brāhmaṇa has come to (one’s) house, no delay should be done. He should be honoured by standing (before him), by (respectful) words, and by washing his feet.”

231-233a. “A householder should offer him a meal according to his capacity. If Vāmana goes out of the (sacrificial) pavilion without being honoured, then the sacrifice in which (even) everything is given as a gift is useless.”

233b. In the meanwhile Vāmana was brought into the vicinity of Bali.

234. From within the body of Vāmana, the image of Viṣṇu was shining like the golden sun, when Bali, the king of demons, saw him arriving.

235. Getting up he went up to Vāmana and said, “I am fortunate and blessed to have the presence of Viṣṇu-like Brāhmaṇa in my yajña.”

236. Conducting him to the elevated ground meant for the sacrificial ritual Bali respectfully received him, made him to sip water[1] from the palms, presented to him flowers and perfumes, put the (auspicious) mark on his forehead and offered him the seat of presiding Brāhmaṇa at the Yajña.

237. Then Bali offered him sandal, a garland, cow and Madhuparka (a mixture containing quantities of five ingredients like milk, honey, curd, clarified butter, and cow’s urine etc.). When Vāmana acknowledged the smell of the same mixture, Bali welcomed him.

238-240. After his welcome by Bali, the Brāhmaṇa blessed him. Bali in turn asked, “O best Brāhmaṇa! What can I give you? For me, a demon on earth, it is a trivial matter.” The Brāhmaṇa said, “Give me a piece of land measuring three steps only for my dwelling. I will build a hut on it to impart knowledge to the disciples”. Bali said, “I have already given you the land as per your stipulation”, to which Vāmana replied as having already accepted.

241. Śukrācārya said: “Do not give him the piece of land as he is the same old Viṣṇu.” Glad to know this, Bali said, “Then who else could be a greater ascetic than him to deserve this gift of mine?”

242. Then adopting an upright posture Bali took Akṣata (whole rice grains) along with the sacred grass Kuśa in his right hand. Śukrācārya then pronounced the invocation without dropping the water from his palm.

243-245. Then all the sages, priests and other members in the assembly including Bali’s wife, sons and his kith and kin became amazed at the sight as to why water was not dropped from the palm after the very act of giving and receiving of the gift. Water was taken in the palm of Vāmana for the sake of truth and knowledge. A gift given by words of mouth, if not carried out into action, will, as per law, drop the priest into hell and nothing will extricate him from this.

246-248. Śukrācārya told the demon king Bali, “This Vāmana is really Viṣṇu. Fortunately he has arrived in your house and I do not know what good or bad is he going to do”. Then Bali, the performer of the yajña, told Śukrācārya, “O Venerable preceptor Śukrācārya! Listen attentively to what I say. At the time of my giving the gift, the priests and the Brāhmaṇas have been heard as saying that I am as powerful as the water gift-giver Indra. This Brāhmaṇa, the receiver of gift, is like Viṣṇu. The Sun-God, himself is the heavenly substance. So why should I not gift for the sake of my love for Lord Viṣṇu?”

249. Having said so, King Bali put water into the palm of Vāmana as a means of invocation. Soon after having said how could this happen, Śukrācārya stepped out of the pavilion.

250-252. In the meantime, the Brāhmaṇa Vāmana also became like King Bali. Accepting the three steps of land offered by King Bali both of them became pleased in the pavilion of yajña which the heavenly beings and others happened to see. Then assuming the body of the four-armed Viṣṇu, Vāmana began to increase in size and shape.

252. Nārada arrived at the same time and expressed in wonder, “O Bali! How could you do this!” He also began to dance with pleasure along with the disciples.

253-254. Along with wife Bali said, “O Sir! accept your sacrificial fee. What have I not got today when Viṣṇu is accepting gift from me! Having walked one and a half steps on the earth, Viṣṇu is asking for only three steps of land. However, as per duty I have tried to satisfy him.” (sārdha-kramakṣayam; obscure) 255-258. Seeing the Vāmana increasing in size, the Brāhmaṇas, the sages and the demons spoke among themselves that the God was rising to the sky. The heavenly beings and the sages said, “O heavenly soul, O unending one, O imperishable one, O Viṣṇu, Victory to you! Victory to you in the form of Turtle, the bearer of the earth! Our homage to you, the Earth-bearer Boar and the Man-lion! We bow down before you, the son of Jamadagni, Rāma, and to you in the form of Lakṣmaṇa. Victory to you, O Lord Kṛṣṇa, O Lord of the universe, O son of Devakī. We bow down to you, O Buddha, O Kṛṣṇa, O one Kalkin.”

259. Sārasvata said, “Wandering in the sky, Nārada was engrossed in hymns of praise. The Yogīs like Sanaka etc. were also singing hymns in praise of Janārdana.”

260. Thus Vāmana was seen rising to the sky in front of Bali. Raising their faces, all looked up towards the Sun in the sky.

261. Rising high up, Vāmana was seen in the shape of an umbrella and then the Sun appeared shining like a jewel on his head.

262. The demons saw the Sun-god appearing like an auspicious mark on the forehead of the God and like an earring on the person of the still rising Viṣṇu.

263. The Sun was appearing like the suspended jewel Kaustubha on the chest of Viṣṇu, still growing in size, while all the other Divinities viz. Indra, Rudra, Vasus etc. were present in the sky.

264-265. Now Viṣṇu had increased himself to such a height that he had risen beyond the sky. Indra had put a garland around his neck. There were tremors in the entire earth and in the solar system in the sky. Anticipating with fear as to what was going to happen, the demons were looking at the Sun.

266. Like a Lotus on the orb of his navel, the Sun was shining like an ornament on his waist belt. Growing in size in this way Viṣṇu measured and accepted two steps of land.

267. Now that the entire universe had been measured and exhausted, no scope was left over for the third step. It thus appeared that the creator of the universe deserved punishment or Brahmā had transformed itself in the form of punishment.

268. It appeared that gods, demons, Gandharvas, Nāgas and Sarpas and demons all were worshipping the feet of Viṣṇu and uttering hymns in praise.

269. The Heavenly Musicians (Gandharvas) were singing, treating it as a punishment befallen as a matter of moral duty or it could be the punishment of Gods’ own creation like the pervading light.

270. In any case, the Gods have won the earth and they have created their punishment by bringing Gaṅgā on earth as their flagstaff. In this way, the three steps of Viṣṇu are certainly the action with an eye to punishment.

271. It appeared, as if Hari had thrown up the universe on the head with a jerk and this leg had come out tearing apart the head of universe.

272. The working and momentum of the universe derived from that force is called by the name ‘Virāṭ’ and that which is the seed of all is said to be Paramātman (the supreme soul).

273. ‘That’ from which the ‘Whole’ with its ‘parts’ is born is there before your feet. Having pierced the universe you should not have come out.

274. By your feet, the universe has been cleft open and with its contraction it is getting worn out and injured.

275. On account of its breaking and subsequentally due to the broken parts coming together streams of water have originated in the three worlds. That is how, while originating from the feet of Viṣṇu, Gaṅgā is flowing from the summit.

276. The river purifying the three worlds was borne by Śiva (on his head). This heavenly river said to be Gaṅgā in the material world is also worshipped in the heavenly world.

277. This Gaṅgā has also gone to the nether world. Hence it is called Tripathagā (one flowing in three paths). All sins get destroyed by simply remembering it.

278. The fruits of Aśvamedha Yajña (horse sacrifice) accrued to humans by a simple sight of it. Sins of seven past lives get destroyed by taking a bath in it.

279. A man who after taking bath in the river Gaṅgā worships Viṣṇu and Śiva, attains the highest world of Viṣṇu after crossing over the world of Indra.

280. A self-controlled man, despite bearing the body, obtains knowledge of reality and liberaton [liberation?] by drinking the waters of Gaṅgā and following it up with a single day’s fast for Viṣṇu.

281. The detached ones free from attachment for the place of their birth, having pure nature and striving in Sattva-guṇa attain the highest status (i.e. liberation) cutting off the bond of the world.

Footnotes and references:


As a purificatory rite.

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