|VAMANA - THE DWARF ASCETIC
The fifth incarnation of Vishnu,
is usually represented as a dwarf (Vamana) holding a water-pot
in one hand and an umbrella in the other. He wears
a ring of KUSHA grass on his third finger and occasionally
carries a book. He has long hair; he wears ear ornaments and
covers his body with a deerskin or loincloth. In his first
four incarnations Vishnu appears in either an animal form
or in a half-human half-animal form. The later incarnations
starting from Vamana are all in human form. The first of them,
Vamana, is perhaps significantly a dwarf, thus symbolizing
the underdeveloped stage of mankind.
After the death of Hiranyakashipu, the king of Danavas (Asuras),
Prahalad became the king over the earthly kingdom. He had
a son, Virochana. Devamba was the wife of Virochana. Bali
was the son of Virochana and Devamba.
Since Bali grew up as a child often playing on the lap of
Prahalad, he was very loving and respectable towards his grandfather.
Prahalad taught him all the virtues and made him an adept
in the Vedas and the art of warfare. He became the foremost
among the Danava warriors; and appropriate to the name 'Bali',
he was the strongest among them.
|VAMANA - THE DWARF ASCETIC
Bali married Vindhyavali, the daughter
of a saint. Prahalad made him the crown Prince ('Yuvaraja').
After he became the yuvaraja, Bali thought, "Devas have caused
fright among the Danavas by constantly hating them and fighting
them. I must earn merit and proficiency in all respects, equal
to that of Devas. Then we can get rid of fear. To attain this
I shall perform tapas (austerities) and win the blessings
of Brahma." He resolved to put his idea into action and went
to forest to perform austerity.
Bali settled for his tapas at a suitable place in the forest
where none lived. Till Brahma appeared before him, Bali gave
up food and drink; neither did wind nor rain scare him. Pleased
by Bali's rigorous tapas, Brahma appeared before him. Bali
pleaded thus: "O Lord, I do not ask anything for my personal
benefit. But the Danavas have been rendered weak because of
their fear of Devas. Grant me the boon of immortality and
the strength of Indra." Brahma granted his prayer. Armed with
the gifts he got from Brahma, Bali returned to the capital.
Soon after Bali returned from the forest after
his tapas, which had given him great power, Prahalad wanted
to install him as king. But Bali wanted his grandfather
to rule over the world for some more time. But after a few
years Prahalad convinced Bali to accept the responsibility
of kingship. Bali however, agreed to this
only on condition that his grandfather should stay in the
capital. On the day of Bali's coronation, many kings
came to the capital with previous gifts. It was celebrated
with grandeur and joy. The Gandharva, Yaksha,
Siddha and Daitya kings gave Bali gifts and expressed their
desire to have him as their friend.
|BALI - THE ASURA KING
Prahalad, Shukracharya (guru
of the Asuras), Shambara and other elderly wise men helped
Bali to improve the state of affairs in his empire by making
necessary laws for the administration of the empire. Bali
implemented the laws framed by his advisers to provide enough
food and shelter and to give necessary facilities to ensure
happiness of his subjects. The ascetics (rishis) who had gone
to forests and mountains to practice austerities returned
to their way of life and to perform sacrifices in hermitages
without the fear of Danavas. Every one was able to devote
him to the performance of religious rites without fear. Peace and plenty prevailed everywhere.