by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes Dialogue between Sarasvata and Bhoja which is chapter 19 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 nineteenth chapter of the Vastrapatha-kshetra-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.
King (Bhoja) said:
1. Tell me what did the great Viṣṇu do after taking the sacrificial fee in this manner? I have a great curiosity.
2. After the hymns of praises sung by the heavenly beings for the land-receiver Viṣṇu, he expelled King Bali from the ritual of Yajña. This way the Yajña came to an end after the receipt of sacrificial fee.
3-4. With the third step of the God remaining unfulfilled, the God opened his mouth and with the lower lip slightly twitching told King Bali, “With debts unrepaid, bondage becomes dreadful. Hence, you better fulfill my third step or else get tied up to my fetters.”
5-11. Hearing these words of Viṣṇu, Bāṇa, the son of Bali came in front and asked Vāmana, the cosmic-formed one: “Having assumed the body of dwarf and having asked for three steps of land, how could you be of such a cosmic (massive) form? O Lord of the world! If you desire to ask for the third step of land, assume the form of dwarf. Bali, the king of demons, will certainly give the third step. Gifts can only be given to the form of Vāmana whose feet Bali has washed and not to this being of cosmic form. You have created this cosmos and King Bali lives in this cosmos. One endowed with great power and prominence does not take things by force. O Lord of the world! If you consider this world as your own, then regarding this demon king as having lost honour for turning away from devotion towards you expel him by tying a rope around his neck. Who can stop you? If a master of cows employs another cowherd for protection of his cows then the earlier cowherd cannot do anything.”
12. After having been told like this by the son of Bali, Viṣṇu, the first creator of this world, said:
13-17. “O boy! I am making you hear the answer together with the reasons to what you have said at this time. O Bāṇa! Your father at the very first instance said that he would give me three steps of land and I gave him the measures for the same. Is it that your father Bali does not understand that measure? I have asked for three steps of land for the good of this Bali. Hence, your father will dwell in the sixth of the Seven Lower Worlds (i.ed the ‘Sutala world’ for one Kalpa (i.e.) till the time of the duration of the material world. O Bāṇa! After the age of this Manu will usher in the age of other Sāvaṇṅka [Sāvarṇika?] Manu and your father Bali will be crowned as Indra.”
18. After saying this to Bali’s son, God Vāmana came near Bali and said in a sweet tone.
The God said:
19. O demon king! Enter the sixth of the seven Nether worlds for not giving the full sacrificial fee in the Yajña. In that nether world named ‘Sutala’ live free from diseases.
20. O Lord! How can I have a sight of your feet and worship them while staying with happiness in the Sutala world?
The gracious God said:
21-26. O demon king! I always remain in your heart. Hence, you have the occasion to obtain my sight as I will always remain near you. There will be another auspicious festival of Indra. It will have lights at every step. In this festival the healthy and hefty and well-dressed as well as the best of the kings will honour and adore you with offerings of light and flowers. This festival will be auspicious for the earth and will be called by your name. You will remain happy for years together by this. Those who will worship and adore you with resolute mind and devotion will also continue to be happy.
27-28. Having said so, Viṣṇu gave shelter to demon-king Bali along with his wife in the Sutala World and having taken the land came in haste to the abode of Indra served by divine beings. Having given the Heaven to Indra and making the gods get the enjoyment of glory, Viṣṇu, the Lord of the world disappeared from sight when the kings were watching.
29-31. Having taken away the kingdom of Bali and engaging Indra in it, Viṣṇu outsted the demons from there and made the inhabitants of Hell settle there. The Gods were very pleased with the restraining of Bali. Then God Vāmana made his mood lighter for the residents.
32. You have narrated the sacred, the sin-destroying and auspicious birth story of Vāmana, by listening to and singing which, the sins get destroyed and goodness arises.
34. Then King Bhoja resumed the journey to Vastrāpatha along with family members as per established practice. There having made his life fruitful he left for the ultimate place,
i.e. the World of Viṣṇu at the end.
35-36. I have described the Vastrāpatha region which is a part of the Prabhāsa-kṣestra. Whoever listens to these auspicious words or reads them goes to the World of God Viṣṇu. As the sins get washed away by a bath in Gaṅgā, similarly by listening to the stones in the Purāṇa, sins get washed away.
37. I have narrated this secret story to you. Those turned away from devotion to Viṣṇu should not hear it. Sin also occurs by even hearing of it by a Brāhmaṇa-censerer a heinous sinner, one hostile to one’s perceptor [preceptor?] and one ever thinking of committing sins.
38-40. A human being who reads it thoughtfully gets his faith firmly fixed upon Śiva and Śrīkṛṣṇa. By that faith a man gets everything. Hence, cows, land, gold, wealth and ornaments should be given to the narrator of this Purāṇa. One who narrates this is poor by one’s own self. All the desires of heart get accomplished by reading and hearing it thrice.