After hearing the instructive advice of Śukrācārya, Bali Mahārāja became contemplative. Because it is the duty of a householder to maintain the principles of religion, economic development and sense gratification, Bali Mahārāja thought it improper to withdraw his promise to the brahmacārī. To lie or fail to honor a promise given to a brahmacārī is never proper, for lying is the most sinful activity. Everyone should be afraid of the sinful reactions to lying, for mother earth cannot even bear the weight of a sinful liar. The spreading of a kingdom or empire is temporary; if there is no benefit for the general public, such expansion has no value. Previously, all the great kings and emperors expanded their kingdoms with a regard for the welfare of the people in general. Indeed, while engaged in such activities for the benefit of the general public, eminent men sometimes even sacrificed their lives. It is said that one who is glorious in his activities is always living and never dies. Therefore, fame should be the aim of life, and even if one becomes poverty-stricken for the sake of a good reputation, that is not a loss. Bali Mahārāja thought that even if this brahmacārī, Vāmanadeva, were Lord Viṣṇu, if the Lord accepted his charity and then again arrested him, Bali Mahārāja would not envy Him. Considering all these points, Bali Mahārāja finally gave in charity everything he possessed.
Lord Vāmanadeva then immediately extended Himself into a universal body. By the mercy of Lord Vāmanadeva, Bali Mahārāja could see that the Lord is all-pervading and that everything rests in His body. Bali Mahārāja could see Lord Vāmanadeva as the supreme Viṣṇu, wearing a helmet, yellow garments, the mark of Śrīvatsa, the Kaustubha jewel, a flower garland, and ornaments decorating His entire body. The Lord gradually covered the entire surface of the world, and by extending His body He covered the entire sky. With His hands He covered all directions, and with His second footstep He covered the entire upper planetary system. Therefore there was no vacant place where He could take His third footstep.
balir evaṁ gṛha-patiḥ
tūṣṇīṁ bhūtvā kṣaṇaṁ rājann
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; baliḥ—Bali Mahārāja; evam—thus; gṛha-patiḥ—the master of the household affairs, although guided by the priests; kula-ācāryeṇa—by the family ācārya or guide; bhāṣitaḥ—being thus addressed; tūṣṇīm—silent; bhūtvā—becoming; kṣaṇam—for a moment; rājan—O King (Mahārāja Parīkṣit); uvāca—said; avahitaḥ—after full deliberation; gurum—unto his spiritual master.
Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: O King Parīkṣit, when Bali Mahārāja was thus advised by his spiritual master, Śukrācārya, his family priest, he remained silent for some time, and then, after full deliberation, he replied to his spiritual master as follows.
Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura remarks that Bali Mahārāja remained silent at a critical point. How could he disobey the instruction of Śukrācārya, his spiritual master? It is the duty of such a sober personality as Bali Mahārāja to abide by the orders of his spiritual master immediately, as his spiritual master had advised. But Bali Mahārāja also considered that Śukrācārya was no longer to be accepted as a spiritual master, for he had deviated from the duty of a spiritual master. According to śāstra, the duty of the guru is to take the disciple back home, back to Godhead. If he is unable to do so and instead hinders the disciple in going back to Godhead, he should not be a guru. Gurur na sa syāt (Bhāg. 5.5.18). One should not become a guru if he cannot enable his disciple to advance in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The goal of life is to become a devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa so that one may be freed from the bondage of material existence (tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mam eti so ’rjuna [Bg. 4.9]). The spiritual master helps the disciple attain this stage by developing Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Now Śukrācārya has advised Bali Mahārāja to deny the promise to Vāmanadeva. Under the circumstances, therefore, Bali Mahārāja thought that there would be no fault if he disobeyed the order of his spiritual master. He deliberated on this point—should he refuse to accept the advise of his spiritual master, or should he independently do everything to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead? He took some time. Therefore it is said, tūṣṇīṁ bhūtvā kṣaṇaṁ rajann uvācāvahito gurum. After deliberating on this point, he decided that Lord Viṣṇu should be pleased in all circumstances, even at the risk of ignoring the guru’s advice to the contrary.
Anyone who is supposed to be a guru but who goes against the principle of viṣṇu-bhakti cannot be accepted as guru. If one has falsely accepted such a guru, one should reject him. Such a guru is described as follows (Mahābhārata, Udyoga 179.25):
Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī has advised that such a useless guru, a family priest acting as guru, should be given up, and that the proper, bona-fide guru should be accepted.
“A scholarly brāhmaṇa expert in all subjects of Vedic knowledge is unfit to become a spiritual master without being a Vaiṣṇava, but if a person born in a family of a lower caste is a Vaiṣṇava, he can become a spiritual master.” (Padma Purāṇa)
satyaṁ bhagavatā proktaṁ
dharmo ’yaṁ gṛhamedhinām
arthaṁ kāmaṁ yaśo vṛttiṁ
yo na bādheta karhicit
śrī-baliḥ uvāca—Bali Mahārāja said; satyam—it is truth; bhagavatā—by Your Greatness; proktam—what has already been spoken; dharmaḥ—a religious principle; ayam—that is; gṛhamedhinām—especially for the householders; artham—economic development; kāmam—sense gratification; yaśaḥ vṛttim—reputation and means of livelihood; yaḥ—which religious principle; na—not; bādheta—hinders; karhicit—at any time.
Bali Mahārāja said: As you have already stated, the principle of religion that does not hinder one’s economic development, sense gratification, fame and means of livelihood is the real occupational duty of the householder. I also think that this religious principle is correct.
Bali Mahārāja’s grave answer to Śukrācārya is meaningful. Śukrācārya stressed that one’s material means of livelihood and one’s material reputation, sense gratification and economic development must continue properly. To see to this is the first duty of a man who is a householder, especially one who is interested in material affairs. If a religious principle does not affect one’s material condition, it is to be accepted. At the present time, in this age of Kali, this idea is extremely prominent. No one is prepared to accept any religious principle if it hampers material prosperity. Śukrācārya, being a person of this material world, did not know the principles of a devotee. A devotee is determined to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead to His full satisfaction. Anything that hampers such determination should certainly be rejected. This is the principle of bhakti. Ānukūlyasya saṅkalpaḥ prātikūlyasya varjanam (Cc. Madhya 22.100). To perform devotional service, one must accept only that which is favorable and reject that which is unfavorable. Bali Mahārāja had the opportunity to contribute everything he possessed to the lotus feet of Lord Vāmanadeva, but Śukrācārya was putting forward a material argument to hamper this process of devotional service. Under the circumstances, Bali Mahārāja decided that such hindrances should certainly be avoided. In other words, he decided immediately to reject the advice of Śukrācārya and go on with his duty. Thus he gave all his possessions to Lord Vāmanadeva.
sa cāhaṁ vitta-lobhena
pratyācakṣe kathaṁ dvijam
prāhrādiḥ kitavo yathā
saḥ—such a person as I am; ca—also; aham—I am; vitta-lobhena—for being allured by greed for money; pratyācakṣe—I shall cheat or say no when I have already said yes; katham—how; dvijam—especially to a brāhmaṇa; pratiśrutya—after already having promised; dadāmi—that I shall give; iti—thus; prāhrādiḥ—I who am famous as the grandson of Mahārāja Prahlāda; kitavaḥ—an ordinary cheater; yathā—just like.
I am the grandson of Mahārāja Prahlāda. How can I withdraw my promise because of greed for money when I have already said that I shall give this land? How can I behave like an ordinary cheater, especially toward a brāhmaṇa?
Bali Mahārāja had already been blessed by his grandfather Prahlāda Mahārāja. Therefore, he was a pure devotee, although born in a family of demons. There are two kinds of highly elevated devotees, called sādhana-siddha and kṛpā-siddha. Sādhana-siddha refers to one who has become a devotee by regular execution of the regulative principles mentioned in the śāstras, as ordered and directed by the spiritual master. If one regularly executes such devotional service, he will certainly attain perfection in due course of time. But there are other devotees, who may not have undergone all the required details of devotional service but who, by the special mercy of guru and Kṛṣṇa—the spiritual master and the Supreme Personality of Godhead—have immediately attained the perfection of pure devotional service. Examples of such devotees are the yajña-patnīs, Mahārāja Bali and Śukadeva Gosvāmī. The yajña-patnīs were the wives of ordinary brāhmaṇas engaged in fruitive activities. Although the brāhmaṇas were very learned and advanced in Vedic knowledge, they could not achieve the mercy of Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma, whereas their wives achieved complete perfection in devotional service, despite their being women. Similarly, Vairocani, Bali Mahārāja, received the mercy of Prahlāda Mahārāja, and by Prahlāda Mahārāja’s mercy he also received the mercy of Lord Viṣṇu, who appeared before him as a brahmacārī beggar. Thus Bali Mahārāja became a kṛpā-siddha because of the special mercy of both guru and Kṛṣṇa. Caitanya Mahāprabhu confirms this favor: guru-kṛṣṇa-prasāde pāya bhakti-latā-bīja (Cc. Madhya 19.151). Bali Mahārāja, by the grace of Prahlāda Mahārāja, got the seed of devotional service, and when that seed developed, he achieved the ultimate fruit of that service, namely love of Godhead (premā pum-artho mahān), immediately upon the appearance of Lord Vāmanadeva. Bali Mahārāja regularly maintained devotion for the Lord, and because he was purified, the Lord appeared before him. Because of unalloyed love for the Lord, he then immediately decided, “I shall give this little dwarf brāhmaṇa whatever He asks from me.” This is a sign of love. Thus Bali Mahārāja is understood to be one who received the highest perfection of devotional service by special mercy.
na hy asatyāt paro ’dharma
iti hovāca bhūr iyam
sarvaṁ soḍhum alaṁ manye
ṛte ’līka-paraṁ naram
na—not; hi—indeed; asatyāt—than compulsion to untruthfulness; paraḥ—more; adharmaḥ—irreligion; iti—thus; ha uvāca—indeed had spoken; bhūḥ—mother earth; iyam—this; sarvam—everything; soḍhum—to bear; alam—I am able; manye—although I think; ṛte—except; alīka-param—the most heinous liar; naram—a human being.
There is nothing more sinful than untruthfulness. Because of this, mother earth once said, “I can bear any heavy thing except a person who is a liar.”
On the surface of the earth there are many great mountains and oceans that are very heavy, and mother earth has no difficulty carrying them. But she feels very much overburdened when she carries even one person who is a liar. It is said that in Kali-yuga lying is a common affair: māyaiva vyāvahārike (Bhāg. 12.2.3). Even in the most common dealings, people are accustomed to speaking so many lies. No one is free from the sinful reactions of speaking lies. Under the circumstances, one can just imagine how this has overburdened the earth, and indeed the entire universe.
nāhaṁ bibhemi nirayān
na sthāna-cyavanān mṛtyor
na—not; aham—I; bibhemi—am afraid of; nirayāt—from a hellish condition of life; na—nor; adhanyāt—from a poverty-stricken condition; asukha-arṇavāt—nor from an ocean of distresses; na—nor; sthāna-cyavanāt—from falling from a position; mṛtyoḥ—nor from death; yathā—as; vipra-pralambhanāt—from the cheating of a brāhmaṇa.
I do not fear hell, poverty, an ocean of distress, falldown from my position or even death itself as much as I fear cheating a brāhmaṇa.
yad yad dhāsyati loke ’smin
tasya tyāge nimittaṁ kiṁ
vipras tuṣyen na tena cet
yat yat—whatsoever; hāsyati—will leave; loke—in the world; asmin—in this; samparetam—one who is already dead; dhana-ādikam—his wealth and riches; tasya—of such wealth; tyāge—in renunciation; nimittam—the purpose; kim—what is; vipraḥ—the brāhmaṇa who is confidentially Lord Viṣṇu; tuṣyet—must be pleased; na—is not; tena—by such (riches); cet—if there is a possibility.
My lord, you can also see that all the material opulences of this world are certainly separated from their possessor at death. Therefore, if the brāhmaṇa Vāmanadeva is not satisfied by whatever gifts one has given, why not please Him with the riches one is destined to lose at death?
The word vipra means brāhmaṇa, and at the same time “confidential.” Bali Mahārāja had confidentially decided to give the gift to Lord Vāmanadeva without discussion, but because such a decision would hurt the hearts of the asuras and his spiritual master, Śukrācārya, he spoke equivocally. Bali Mahārāja, as a pure devotee, had already decided to give all the land to Lord Viṣṇu.
śreyaḥ kurvanti bhūtānāṁ
ko vikalpo dharādiṣu
śreyaḥ—activities of the utmost importance; kurvanti—execute; bhūtānām—of the general mass of people; sādhavaḥ—the saintly persons; dustyaja—which are extremely hard to give up; asubhiḥ—by their lives; dadhyaṅ—Mahārāja Dadhīci; śibi—Mahārāja Śibi; prabhṛtayaḥ—and similar great personalities; kaḥ—what; vikalpaḥ—consideration; dharā-ādiṣu—in giving the land to the brāhmaṇa.
Dadhīci, Śibi and many other great personalities were willing to sacrifice even their lives for the benefit of the people in general. This is the evidence of history. So why not give up this insignificant land? What is the serious consideration against it?
Bali Mahārāja was prepared to give everything to Lord Viṣṇu, and Śukrācārya, being a professional priest, might have been anxiously waiting, doubting whether there had been any such instance in history in which one had given everything in charity. Bali Mahārāja, however, cited the tangible examples of Mahārāja Śibi and Mahārāja Dadhīci, who had given up their lives for the benefit of the general public. Certainly one has attachment for everything material, especially one’s land, but land and other possessions are forcibly taken away at the time of death, as stated in Bhagavad-gītā (mṛtyuḥ sarva-haraś cāham). The Lord personally appeared to Bali Mahārāja to take away everything he had, and thus he was so fortunate that he could see the Lord face to face. Nondevotees, however, cannot see the Lord face to face; to such persons the Lord appears as death and takes away all their possessions by force. Under the circumstances, why should we not part with our possessions and deliver them to Lord Viṣṇu for His satisfaction? Śrī Cāṇakya Paṇḍita says in this regard, san-nimitte varaṁ tyāgo vināśe niyate sati (Cāṇakya-śloka 36). Since our money and possessions do not last but will somehow or other be taken away, as long as they are in our possession it is better to use them for charity to a noble cause. Therefore Bali Mahārāja defied the order of his so-called spiritual master.
yair iyaṁ bubhuje brahman
teṣāṁ kālo ’grasīl lokān
na yaśo ’dhigataṁ bhuvi
yaiḥ—by whom; iyam—this world; bubhuje—was enjoyed; brahman—O best of the brāhmaṇas; daitya-indraiḥ—by great heroes and kings born in demoniac families; anivartibhiḥ—by those who were determined to fight, either to lay down their lives or to win victory; teṣām—of such persons; kālaḥ—the time factor; agrasīt—took away; lokān—all possessions, all objects of enjoyment; na—not; yaśaḥ—the reputation; adhigatam—achieved; bhuvi—in this world.
O best of the brāhmaṇas, certainly the great demoniac kings who were never reluctant to fight enjoyed this world, but in due course of time everything they had was taken away, except their reputation, by which they continue to exist. In other words, one should try to achieve a good reputation instead of anything else.
In this regard, Cāṇakya Paṇḍita (Cāṇakya-śloka 34) also says, āyuṣaḥ kṣaṇa eko ’pi na labhya svarṇa-koṭibhiḥ. The duration of one’s life is extremely short, but if in that short lifetime one can do something that enhances his good reputation, that may continue to exist for many millions of years. Bali Mahārāja therefore decided not to follow his spiritual master’s instruction that he deny his promise to Vāmanadeva; instead, he decided to give the land according to the promise and be everlastingly celebrated as one of the twelve mahājanas (balir vaiyāsakir vayam).
sulabhā yudhi viprarṣe
hy anivṛttās tanu-tyajaḥ
na tathā tīrtha āyāte
śraddhayā ye dhana-tyajaḥ
su-labhāḥ—very easily obtained; yudhi—in the battlefield; vipra-ṛṣe—O best of the brāhmaṇas; hi—indeed; anivṛttāḥ—not being afraid of fighting; tanu-tyajaḥ—and thus lay down their lives; na—not; tathā—as; tīrthe āyāte—on the arrival of a saintly person who creates holy places; śraddhayā—with faith and devotion; ye—those who; dhana-tyajaḥ—can give up their accumulated wealth.
O best of the brāhmaṇas, many men have laid down their lives on the battlefield, being unafraid of fighting, but rarely has one gotten the chance to give his accumulated wealth faithfully to a saintly person who creates holy places.
Many kṣatriyas have laid down their lives on the battlefield for their nations, but hardly a person can be found who has given up all his property and his accumulated wealth in charity to a person worthy of the gift. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (17.20):
“That gift which is given out of duty, at the proper time and place, to a worthy person, and without expectation of return is considered to be charity in the mode of goodness.” Thus charity given in the proper place is called sāttvika. And above this charity in goodness is transcendental charity, in which everything is sacrificed for the sake of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Vāmanadeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, had come to Bali Mahārāja for alms. How could one get such an opportunity to give charity? Therefore, Bali Mahārāja decided without hesitation to give the Lord whatever He wanted. One may get various opportunities to lay down his life on the battlefield, but such an opportunity as this is hardly ever obtained.
manasvinaḥ kāruṇikasya śobhanaṁ
yad arthi-kāmopanayena durgatiḥ
kutaḥ punar brahma-vidāṁ bhavādṛśāṁ
tato vaṭor asya dadāmi vāñchitam
manasvinaḥ—of persons who are greatly munificent; kāruṇikasya—of persons celebrated as very merciful; śobhanam—very auspicious; yat—that; arthi—of persons in need of money; kāma-upanayena—by satisfying; durgatiḥ—becoming poverty-stricken; kutaḥ—what; punaḥ—again (is to be said); brahma-vidām—of persons well versed in transcendental science (brahma-vidyā); bhavādṛśām—like your good self; tataḥ—therefore; vaṭoḥ—of the brahmacārī; asya—of this Vāmanadeva; dadāmi—I shall give; vāñchitam—whatever He wants.
By giving charity, a benevolent and merciful person undoubtedly becomes even more auspicious, especially when he gives charity to a person like your good self. Under the circumstances, I must give this little brahmacārī whatever charity He wants from me.
If one accepts a poverty-stricken position because of losing money in business, gambling, prostitution or intoxication, no one will praise him, but if one becomes poverty-stricken by giving all of his possessions in charity, he becomes adored all over the world. Aside from this, if a benevolent and merciful person exhibits his pride in becoming poverty-stricken by giving his possessions in charity for good causes, his poverty is a welcome and auspicious sign of a great personality. Bali Mahārāja decided that even though he would become poverty-stricken by giving everything to Vāmanadeva, this is what he would prefer.
yajanti yajñaṁ kratubhir yam ādṛtā
sa eva viṣṇur varado ’stu vā paro
dāsyāmy amuṣmai kṣitim īpsitāṁ mune
yajanti—worship; yajñam—who is the enjoyer of sacrifice; kratubhiḥ—by the different paraphernalia for sacrifice; yam—unto the Supreme Person; ādṛtāḥ—very respectfully; bhavantaḥ—all of you; āmnāya-vidhāna-kovidāḥ—great saintly persons fully aware of the Vedic principles of performing sacrifice; saḥ—that; eva—indeed; viṣṇuḥ—is Lord Viṣṇu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; varadaḥ—either He is prepared to give benedictions; astu—He becomes; vā—or; paraḥ—comes as an enemy; dāsyāmi—I shall give; amuṣmai—unto Him (unto Lord Viṣṇu, Vāmanadeva); kṣitim—the tract of land; īpsitām—whatever He has desired; mune—O great sage.
O great sage, great saintly persons like you, being completely aware of the Vedic principles for performing ritualistic ceremonies and yajñas, worship Lord Viṣṇu in all circumstances. Therefore, whether that same Lord Viṣṇu has come here to give me all benedictions or to punish me as an enemy, I must carry out His order and give Him the requested tract of land without hesitation.
As stated by Lord Śiva:
Although in the Vedas there are recommendations for worshiping many demigods, Lord Viṣṇu is the Supreme Person, and worship of Viṣṇu is the ultimate goal of life. The Vedic principles of the varṇāśrama institution are meant to organize society to prepare everyone to worship Lord Viṣṇu.
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Viṣṇu, is worshiped by the proper execution of prescribed duties in the system of varṇa and āśrama. There is no other way to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” (Viṣṇu Purāṇa 3.8.9) One must ultimately worship Lord Viṣṇu, and for that purpose the varṇāśrama system organizes society into brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas, vaiśyas, śūdras, brahmacārīs, gṛhasthas, vānaprasthas and sannyāsīs. Bali Mahārāja, having been perfectly educated in devotional service by his grandfather Prahlāda Mahārāja, knew how things are to be done. He was never to be misguided by anyone, even by a person who happened to be his so-called spiritual master. This is the sign of full surrender. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura said:
When one surrenders to Lord Viṣṇu, one must be prepared to abide by His orders in all circumstances, whether He kills one or gives one protection. Lord Viṣṇu must be worshiped in all circumstances.
yadyapy asāv adharmeṇa
māṁ badhnīyād anāgasam
tathāpy enaṁ na hiṁsiṣye
bhītaṁ brahma-tanuṁ ripum
yadyapi—although; asau—Lord Viṣṇu; adharmeṇa—crookedly, without reference to the straight way; mām—me; badhnīyāt—kills; anāgasam—although I am not sinful; tathāpi—still; enam—against Him; na—not; hiṁsiṣye—I shall take any retaliation; bhītam—because He is afraid; brahma-tanum—having assumed the form of a brāhmaṇa-brahmacārī; ripum—even though He is my enemy.
Although He is Viṣṇu Himself, out of fear He has covered Himself in the form of a brāhmaṇa to come to me begging. Under the circumstances, because He has assumed the form of a brāhmaṇa, even if He irreligiously arrests me or even kills me, I shall not retaliate, although He is my enemy.
If Lord Viṣṇu as He is had come to Bali Mahārāja and asked him to do something, Bali Mahārāja certainly would not have refused His request. But to enjoy a little humor between Himself and His devotee, the Lord covered Himself as a brāhmaṇa-brahmacārī and thus came to Bali Mahārāja to beg for only three feet of land.
eṣa vā uttamaśloko
na jihāsati yad yaśaḥ
hatvā maināṁ hared yuddhe
śayīta nihato mayā
eṣaḥ—this (brahmacārī); vā—either; uttama-ślokaḥ—is Lord Viṣṇu, who is worshiped by Vedic prayers; na—not; jihāsati—desires to give up; yat—because; yaśaḥ—perpetual fame; hatvā—after killing; mā—me; enām—all this land; haret—will take away; yuddhe—in the fight; śayīta—will lie down; nihataḥ—being killed; mayā—by me.
If this brāhmaṇa really is Lord Viṣṇu, who is worshiped by Vedic hymns, He would never give up His widespread reputation; either He would lie down having been killed by me, or He would kill me in a fight.
Bali Mahārāja’s statement that Viṣṇu would lie down having been killed is not the direct meaning, for Viṣṇu cannot be killed by anyone. Lord Viṣṇu can kill everyone, but He cannot be killed. Thus the real meaning of the words “lie down” is that Lord Viṣṇu would reside within the core of Bali Mahārāja’s heart. Lord Viṣṇu is defeated by a devotee through devotional service; otherwise, no one can defeat Lord Viṣṇu.
evam aśraddhitaṁ śiṣyam
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; evam—thus; aśraddhitam—who was not very respectful to the instruction of the spiritual master; śiṣyam—unto such a disciple; anādeśa-karam—who was not prepared to carry out the order of his spiritual master; guruḥ—the spiritual master (Śukrācārya); śaśāpa—cursed; daiva-prahitaḥ—being inspired by the Supreme Lord; satya-sandham—one who was fixed in his truthfulness; manasvinam—who was of a highly elevated character.
Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: Thereafter, the spiritual master, Śukrācārya, being inspired by the Supreme Lord, cursed his exalted disciple Bali Mahārāja, who was so magnanimous and fixed in truthfulness that instead of respecting his spiritual master’s instructions, he wanted to disobey his order.
The difference between the behavior of Bali Mahārāja and that of his spiritual master, Śukrācārya, was that Bali Mahārāja had already developed love of Godhead, whereas Śukrācārya, being merely a priest of routine rituals, had not. Thus Śukrācārya was never inspired by the Supreme Personality of Godhead to develop in devotional service. As stated by the Lord Himself in Bhagavad-gītā (10.10):
“To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.”
Devotees who actually engage in devotional service with faith and love are inspired by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Vaiṣṇavas are never concerned with ritualistic smārta-brāhmaṇas. Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī has therefore compiled Hari-bhakti-vilāsa to guide the Vaiṣṇavas, who never follow the smārta-viddhi. Although the Supreme Lord is situated in the core of everyone’s heart, unless one is a Vaiṣṇava, unless one is engaged in devotional service, one does not get sound advice by which to return home, back to Godhead. Such instructions are meant only for devotees. Therefore in this verse the word daiva-prahitaḥ, “being inspired by the Supreme Lord,” is important. Śukrācārya should have encouraged Bali Mahārāja to give everything to Lord Viṣṇu. This would have been a sign of love for the Supreme Lord. But he did not do so. On the contrary, he wanted to punish his devoted disciple by cursing him.
dṛḍhaṁ paṇḍita-māny ajñaḥ
stabdho ’sy asmad-upekṣayā
mac-chāsanātigo yas tvam
acirād bhraśyase śriyaḥ
dṛḍham—so firmly convinced or fixed in your decision; paṇḍita-mānī—considering yourself very learned; ajñaḥ—at the same time foolish; stabdhaḥ—impudent; asi—you have become; asmat—of us; upekṣayā—by disregarding; mat-śāsana-atigaḥ—surpassing the jurisdiction of my administration; yaḥ—such a person (as you); tvam—yourself; acirāt—very soon; bhraśyase—will fall down; śriyaḥ—from all opulence.
Although you have no knowledge, you have become a so-called learned person, and therefore you dare be so impudent as to disobey my order. Because of disobeying me, you shall very soon be bereft of all your opulence.
Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura says that Bali Mahārāja was not paṇḍita-mānī, or one who falsely assumes himself learned; rather, he was paṇḍita-mānya-jñaḥ, one who is so learned that all other learned persons worship him. Aid because he was so learned, he could disobey the order of his so-called spiritual master. He had no fear of any condition of material existence. Anyone cared for by Lord Viṣṇu does not need to care about anyone else. Thus Bali Mahārāja could never be bereft of all opulences. The opulences offered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead are not to be compared to the opulences obtained by karma-kāṇḍa. In other words, if a devotee becomes very opulent, it is to be understood that his opulence is a gift of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such opulence will never be vanquished, whereas the opulence achieved by one’s fruitive activity may be vanquished at any moment.
evaṁ śaptaḥ sva-guruṇā
satyān na calito mahān
vāmanāya dadāv enām
evam—in this way; śaptaḥ—being cursed; sva-guruṇā—by his own spiritual master; satyāt—from truthfulness; na—not; calitaḥ—who moved; mahān—the great personality; vāmanāya—unto Lord Vāmanadeva; dadau—gave in charity; enām—all the land; arcitvā—after worshiping; udaka-pūrvakam—preceded by offering of water.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: Even after being cursed in this way by his own spiritual master, Bali Mahārāja, being a great personality, never deviated from his determination. Therefore, according to custom, he first offered water to Vāmanadeva and then offered Him the gift of land he had promised.
āninye kalaśaṁ haimam
vindhyāvaliḥ—Vindhyāvali; tadā—at that time; āgatya—coming there; patnī—the wife of Mahārāja Bali; jālaka-mālinī—decorated with a necklace of pearls; āninye—caused to be brought; kalaśam—a waterpot; haimam—made of gold; avanejani-apām—with water for the sake of washing the Lord’s feet; bhṛtam—filled.
Bali Mahārāja’s wife, known as Vindhyāvali, who was decorated with a necklace of pearls, immediately came and had a large golden waterpot brought there, full of water with which to worship the Lord by washing His feet.
yajamānaḥ svayaṁ tasya
śrīmat pāda-yugaṁ mudā
tad apo viśva-pāvanīḥ
yajamānaḥ—the worshiper (Bali Mahārāja); svayam—personally; tasya—of Lord Vāmanadeva; śrīmat pāda-yugam—the most auspicious and beautiful pair of lotus feet; mudā—with great jubilation; avanijya—properly washing; avahat—took; mūrdhni—on his head; tat—that; apaḥ—water; viśva-pāvanīḥ—which gives liberation to the whole universe.
Bali Mahārāja, the worshiper of Lord Vāmanadeva, jubilantly washed the Lord’s lotus feet and then took the water on his head, for that water delivers the entire universe.
tadāsurendraṁ divi devatā-gaṇā
tat karma sarve ’pi gṛṇanta ārjavaṁ
prasūna-varṣair vavṛṣur mudānvitāḥ
tadā—at that time; asura-indram—unto the King of the demons, Bali Mahārāja; divi—in the higher planetary system; devatā-gaṇāḥ—the residents known as the demigods; gandharva—the Gandharvas; vidyādhara—the Vidyādharas; siddha—the residents of Siddhaloka; cāraṇāḥ—the residents of Cāraṇaloka; tat—that; karma—action; sarve api—all of them; gṛṇantaḥ—declaring; ārjavam—plain and simple; prasūna-varṣaiḥ—with a shower of flowers; vavṛṣuḥ—released; mudā-anvitāḥ—being very pleased with him.
At that time, the residents of the higher planetary system, namely the demigods, the Gandharvas, the Vidyādharas, the Siddhas and the Cāraṇas, all being very pleased by Bali Mahārāja’s simple, nonduplicitous act, praised his qualities and showered upon him millions of flowers.
Ārjavam—simplicity or freedom from duplicity—is a qualification of a brāhmaṇa and a Vaiṣṇava. A Vaiṣṇava automatically acquires all the qualities of a brāhmaṇa.
A Vaiṣṇava should possess the brahminical qualities such as satya, śama, dama, titikṣā and ārjava. There cannot be any duplicity in the character of a Vaiṣṇava. When Bali Mahārāja acted with unflinching faith and devotion unto the lotus feet of Lord Viṣṇu, this was very much appreciated by all the residents of the higher planetary system.
nedur muhur dundubhayaḥ sahasraśo
manasvinānena kṛtaṁ suduṣkaraṁ
vidvān adād yad ripave jagat-trayam
neduḥ—began to beat; muhuḥ—again and again; dundubhayaḥ—trumpets and kettledrums; sahasraśaḥ—by thousands and thousands; gandharva—the residents of Gandharvaloka; kimpūruṣa—the residents of Kimpuruṣaloka; kinnarāḥ—and the residents of Kinnaraloka; jaguḥ—began to sing and declare; manasvinā—by the most exalted personality; anena—by Bali Mahārāja; kṛtam—was done; su-duṣkaram—an extremely difficult task; vidvān—because of his being the most learned person; adāt—gave Him a gift; yat—that; ripave—unto the enemy, Lord Viṣṇu, who was siding with Bali Mahārāja’s enemies, the demigods; jagat-trayam—the three worlds.
The Gandharvas, the Kimpuruṣas and the Kinnaras sounded thousands and thousands of kettledrums and trumpets again and again, and they sang in great jubilation, declaring, “How exalted a person is Bali Mahārāja, and what a difficult task he has performed! Even though he knew that Lord Viṣṇu was on the side of his enemies, he nonetheless gave the Lord the entire three worlds in charity.”
tad vāmanaṁ rūpam avardhatādbhutaṁ
harer anantasya guṇa-trayātmakam
bhūḥ khaṁ diśo dyaur vivarāḥ payodhayas
tiryaṅ-nṛ-devā ṛṣayo yad-āsata
tat—that; vāmanam—incarnation of Lord Vāmana; rūpam—form; avardhata—began to increase more and more; adbhutam—certainly very wonderful; hareḥ—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; anantasya—of the unlimited; guṇa-traya-ātmakam—whose body is expanded by the material energy, consisting of three modes (goodness, passion and ignorance); bhūḥ—the land; kham—the sky; diśaḥ—all directions; dyauḥ—the planetary systems; vivarāḥ—different holes of the universe; payodhayaḥ—great seas and oceans; tiryak—lower animals, birds and beasts; nṛ—human beings; devāḥ—demigods; ṛṣayaḥ—great saintly persons; yat—wherein; āsata—lived.
The unlimited Supreme Personality of Godhead, who had assumed the form of Vāmana, then began increasing in size, acting in terms of the material energy, until everything in the universe was within His body, including the earth, the planetary systems, the sky, the directions, the various holes in the universe, the seas, the oceans, the birds, beasts, human beings, the demigods and the great saintly persons.
Bali Mahārāja wanted to give charity to Vāmanadeva, but the Lord expanded His body in such a way that He showed Bali Mahārāja that everything in the universe is already in His body. Actually, no one can give anything to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for He is full in everything. Sometimes we see a devotee offering Ganges water to the Ganges. After taking his bath in the Ganges, a devotee takes a palmful of water and offers it back to the Ganges. Actually, when one takes a palmful of water from the Ganges, the Ganges does not lose anything, and similarly if a devotee offers a palmful of water to the Ganges, the Ganges does not increase in any way. But by such an offering, the devotee becomes celebrated as a devotee of mother Ganges. Similarly, when we offer anything with devotion and faith, what we offer does not belong to us, nor does it enrich the opulence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But if one offers whatever he has in his possession, he becomes a recognized devotee. In this regard, the example is given that when one’s face is decorated with a garland and sandalwood pulp, the reflection of one’s face in a mirror automatically becomes beautiful. The original source of everything is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is our original source also. Therefore when the Supreme Personality of Godhead is decorated, the devotees and all living entities are decorated automatically.
kāye balis tasya mahā-vibhūteḥ
dadarśa viśvaṁ tri-guṇaṁ guṇātmake
kāye—in the body; baliḥ—Mahārāja Bali; tasya—of the Personality of Godhead; mahā-vibhūteḥ—of that person who is equipped with all wonderful opulences; saha-ṛtvik-ācārya-sadasyaḥ—with all the priests, ācāryas and members of the holy assembly; etat—this; dadarśa—saw; viśvam—the whole universe; tri-guṇam—made of three modes of material nature; guṇa-ātmake—in that which is the source of all such qualities; bhūta—with all the gross material elements; indriya—with the senses; artha—with the sense objects; āśaya—with mind, intelligence and false ego; jīva-yuktam—with all the living entities.
Bali Mahārāja, along with all the priests, ācāryas and members of the assembly, observed the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s universal body, which was full of six opulences. That body contained everything within the universe, including all the gross material elements, the senses, the sense objects, the mind, intelligence and false ego, the various kinds of living entities, and the actions and reactions of the three modes of material nature.
In Bhagavad-gītā, the Supreme Personality of Godhead says, ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate: [Bg. 10.8] Kṛṣṇa is the origin of everything. Vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti: [Bg. 7.19] Kṛṣṇa is everything. Mat-sthāni sarva-bhūtāni na cāhaṁ teṣv avasthitaḥ: everything rests in the body of the Lord, yet the Lord is not everywhere. Māyāvādī philosophers think that since the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth, has become everything, He has no separate existence. Their philosophy is called advaita-vāda. Actually, however, their philosophy is not correct. Here, Bali Mahārāja was the seer of the Personality of Godhead’s universal body, and that body was that which was seen. Thus there is dvaita-vāda; there are always two entities—the seer and the seen. The seer is a part of the whole, but he is not equal to the whole. The part of the whole, the seer, is also one with the whole, but since he is but a part, he cannot be the complete whole at any time. This acintya-bhedābheda—simultaneous oneness and difference—is the perfect philosophy propounded by Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
rasām acaṣṭāṅghri-tale ’tha pādayor
mahīṁ mahīdhrān puruṣasya jaṅghayoḥ
patattriṇo jānuni viśva-mūrter
ūrvor gaṇaṁ mārutam indrasenaḥ
rasām—the lower planetary system; acaṣṭa—observed; aṅghri-tale—beneath the feet, or on the sole; atha—thereafter; pādayoḥ—on the feet; mahīm—the surface of the land; mahīdhrān—the mountains; puruṣasya—of the giant Personality of Godhead; jaṅghayoḥ—on the calves; patattriṇaḥ—the flying living entities; jānuni—on the knees; viśva-mūrteḥ—of the form of the gigantic Lord; ūrvoḥ—on the thighs; gaṇam mārutam—varieties of air; indra-senaḥ—Bali Mahārāja, who had obtained the soldiers of King Indra and who was situated in the post of Indra.
Thereafter, Bali Mahārāja, who was occupying the seat of King Indra, could see the lower planetary systems, such as Rasātala, on the soles of the feet of the Lord’s universal form. He saw on the Lord’s feet the surface of the globe, on the surface of His calves all the mountains, on His knees the various birds, and on His thighs the varieties of air.
The universal situation is described herein in regard to the complete constitution of the Lord’s gigantic universal form. The study of this universal form begins from the sole. Above the soles are the feet, above the feet are the calves, above the calves are the knees, and above the knees are the thighs. Thus the parts of the universal body, one after another, are described herein. The knees are the place of birds, and above that are varieties of air. The birds can fly over the mountains, and above the birds are varieties of air.
sandhyāṁ vibhor vāsasi guhya aikṣat
prajāpatīñ jaghane ātma-mukhyān
nābhyāṁ nabhaḥ kukṣiṣu sapta-sindhūn
sandhyām—the evening twilight; vibhoḥ—of the Supreme; vāsasi—in the garment; guhye—on the private parts; aikṣat—he saw; prajāpatīn—the various Prajāpatis, who had given birth to all living entities; jaghane—on the hips; ātma-mukhyān—the confidential ministers of Bali Mahārāja; nābhyām—on the navel; nabhaḥ—the whole sky; kukṣiṣu—on the waist; sapta—seven; sindhūn—oceans; urukramasya—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who was acting wonderfully; urasi—on the bosom; ca—also; ṛkṣa-mālām—the clusters of stars.
Bali Mahārāja saw beneath the garments of the Lord, who acts wonderfully, the evening twilight. In the Lord’s private parts he saw the Prajāpatis, and in the round portion of the waist he saw himself with his confidential associates. In the Lord’s navel he saw the sky, on the Lord’s waist he saw the seven oceans, and on the Lord’s bosom he saw all the clusters of stars.
hṛdy aṅga dharmaṁ stanayor murārer
ṛtaṁ ca satyaṁ ca manasy athendum
śriyaṁ ca vakṣasy aravinda-hastāṁ
kaṇṭhe ca sāmāni samasta-rephān
indra-pradhānān amarān bhujeṣu
tat-karṇayoḥ kakubho dyauś ca mūrdhni
keśeṣu meghāñ chvasanaṁ nāsikāyām
akṣṇoś ca sūryaṁ vadane ca vahnim
vāṇyāṁ ca chandāṁsi rase jaleśaṁ
bhruvor niṣedhaṁ ca vidhiṁ ca pakṣmasu
ahaś ca rātriṁ ca parasya puṁso
manyuṁ lalāṭe ’dhara eva lobham
sparśe ca kāmaṁ nṛpa retasāmbhaḥ
pṛṣṭhe tv adharmaṁ kramaṇeṣu yajñam
chāyāsu mṛtyuṁ hasite ca māyāṁ
tanū-ruheṣv oṣadhi-jātayaś ca
nadīś ca nāḍīṣu śilā nakheṣu
buddhāv ajaṁ deva-gaṇān ṛṣīṁś ca
prāṇeṣu gātre sthira-jaṅgamāni
sarvāṇi bhūtāni dadarśa vīraḥ
hṛdi—within the heart; aṅga—my dear King Parīkṣit; dharmam—religion; stanayoḥ—on the bosom; murāreḥ—of Murāri, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; ṛtam—very pleasing words; ca—also; satyam—truthfulness; ca—also; manasi—in the mind; atha—thereafter; indum—the moon; śriyam—the goddess of fortune; ca—also; vakṣasi—on the chest; aravinda-hastām—who always carries a lotus flower in her hand; kaṇṭhe—on the neck; ca—also; sāmāni—all the Vedas (Sāma, Yajur, Ṛg and Atharva); samasta-rephān—all sound vibrations; indra-pradhānān—headed by King Indra; amarān—all the demigods; bhujeṣu—on the arms; tat-karṇayoḥ—on the ears; kakubhaḥ—all the directions; dyauḥ ca—the luminaries; mūrdhni—on the top of the head; keśeṣu—within the hair; meghān—the clouds; śvasanam—breathing air; nāsikāyām—on the nostrils; akṣṇoḥ ca—in the eyes; sūryam—the sun; vadane—in the mouth; ca—also; vahnim—fire; vāṇyām—in His speech; ca—also; chandāṁsi—the Vedic hymns; rase—in the tongue; jala-īśam—the demigod of the water; bhruvoḥ—on the eyebrows; niṣedham—warnings; ca—also; vidhim—regulative principles; ca—also; pakṣmasu—in the eyelids; ahaḥ ca—daytime; rātrim—night; ca—also; parasya—of the supreme; puṁsaḥ—of the person; manyum—anger; lalāṭe—on the forehead; adhare—on the lips; eva—indeed; lobham—greed; sparśe—in His touch; ca—also; kāmam—lusty desires; nṛpa—O King; retasā—by semen; ambhaḥ—water; pṛṣṭhe—on the back; tu—but; adharmam—irreligion; kramaṇeṣu—in the wonderful activities; yajñam—fire sacrifice; chāyāsu—in the shadows; mṛtyum—death; hasite—in His smiling; ca—also; māyām—the illusory energy; tanū-ruheṣu—in the hair on the body; oṣadhi-jātayaḥ—all species of drugs, herbs and plants; ca—and; nadīḥ—the rivers; ca—also; nāḍīṣu—in the veins; śilāḥ—stones; nakheṣu—in the nails; buddhau—in the intelligence; ajam—Lord Brahmā; deva-gaṇān—the demigods; ṛṣīn ca—and the great sages; prāṇeṣu—in the senses; gātre—in the body; sthira-jaṅgamāni—moving and stationary; sarvāṇi—all of them; bhūtāni—living entities; dadarśa—saw; vīraḥ—Bali Mahārāja.
My dear King, on the heart of Lord Murāri he saw religion; on the chest, both pleasing words and truthfulness; in the mind, the moon; on the bosom, the goddess of fortune, with a lotus flower in her hand; on the neck, all the Vedas and all sound vibrations; on the arms, all the demigods, headed by King Indra; in both ears, all the directions; on the head, the upper planetary systems; on the hair, the clouds; in the nostrils, the wind; on the eyes, the sun; and in the mouth, fire. From His words came all the Vedic mantras, on His tongue was the demigod of water, Varuṇadeva, on His eyebrows were the regulative principles, and on His eyelids were day and night. [When His eyes were open it was daytime, and when they were closed it was night.] On His forehead was anger, and on His lips was greed. O King, in His touch were lusty desires, in His semen were all the waters, on His back was irreligion, and in His wonderful activities or steps was the fire of sacrifice. On His shadow was death, in His smile was the illusory energy, and on the hairs of His body were all the drugs and herbs. In His veins were all the rivers, on His nails were all the stones, in His intelligence were Lord Brahmā, the demigods and the great saintly persons, and throughout His entire body and senses were all living entities, moving and stationary. Bali Mahārāja thus saw everything in the gigantic body of the Lord.
sarvātmanīdaṁ bhuvanaṁ nirīkṣya
sarve ’surāḥ kaśmalam āpur aṅga
sudarśanaṁ cakram asahya-tejo
dhanuś ca śārṅgaṁ stanayitnu-ghoṣam
sarva-ātmani—in the supreme whole, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; idam—this universe; bhuvanam—the three worlds; nirīkṣya—by observing; sarve—all; asurāḥ—the demons, the associates of Bali Mahārāja; kaśmalam—lamentation; āpuḥ—received; aṅga—O King; sudarśanam—named Sudarśana; cakram—the disc; asahya—unbearable; tejaḥ—the heat of which; dhanuḥ ca—and the bow; śārṅgam—named Śārṅga; stanayitnu—the resounding of assembled clouds; ghoṣam—sounding like.
O King, when all the demons, the followers of Mahārāja Bali, saw the universal form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who held everything within His body, when they saw in the Lord’s hand His disc, known as the Sudarśana cakra, which generates intolerable heat, and when they heard the tumultuous sound of His bow, all of these caused lamentation within their hearts.
parjanya-ghoṣo jalajaḥ pāñcajanyaḥ
kaumodakī viṣṇu-gadā tarasvinī
vidyādharo ’siḥ śata-candra-yuktas
tūṇottamāv akṣayasāyakau ca
parjanya-ghoṣaḥ—having a sound vibration like that of the clouds; jalajaḥ—the Lord’s conchshell; pāñcajanyaḥ—which is known as Pāñcajanya; kaumodakī—known by the name Kaumodakī; viṣṇu-gadā—the club of Lord Viṣṇu; tarasvinī—with great force; vidyādharaḥ—named Vidyādhara; asiḥ—the sword; śata-candra-yuktaḥ—with a shield decorated with hundreds of moons; tūṇa-uttamau—the best of quivers; akṣayasāyakau—named Akṣayasāyaka; ca—also.
The Lord’s conchshell, named Pāñcajanya, which made sounds like that of a cloud; the very forceful club named Kaumodakī; the sword named Vidyādhara, with a shield decorated with hundreds of moonlike spots; and also Akṣayasāyaka, the best of quivers—all of these appeared together to offer prayers to the Lord.
sunanda-mukhyā upatasthur īśaṁ
rarāja rājan bhagavān urukramaḥ
kṣitiṁ padaikena baler vicakrame
nabhaḥ śarīreṇa diśaś ca bāhubhiḥ
sunanda-mukhyāḥ—the associates of the Lord headed by Sunanda; upatasthuḥ—began to offer prayers; īśam—unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead; pārṣada-mukhyāḥ—other chiefs of the associates; saha-loka-pālāḥ—with the predominant deities of all the planets; sphurat-kirīṭa—with a brilliant helmet; aṅgada—bracelets; mīna-kuṇḍalaḥ—and earrings in the shape of fish; śrīvatsa—the hair named Śrīvatsa on His bosom; ratna-uttama—the best of jewels (Kaustubha); mekhalā—belt; ambaraiḥ—with yellow garments; madhu-vrata—of bees; srak—in which there was a garland; vanamālayā—by a flower garland; āvṛtaḥ—covered; rarāja—predominantly manifested; rājan—O King; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; urukramaḥ—who is prominent by His wonderful activities; kṣitim—the whole surface of the world; padā ekena—by one footstep; baleḥ—of Bali Mahārāja; vicakrame—covered; nabhaḥ—the sky; śarīreṇa—by His body; diśaḥ ca—and all directions; bāhubhiḥ—by His arms.
These associates, headed by Sunanda and other chief associates and accompanied by all the predominating deities of the various planets, offered prayers to the Lord, who wore a brilliant helmet, bracelets, and glittering earrings that resembled fish. On the Lord’s bosom were the lock of hair called Śrīvatsa and the transcendental jewel named Kaustubha. He wore a yellow garment, covered by a belt, and He was decorated by a flower garland, surrounded by bees. Manifesting Himself in this way, O King, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose activities are wonderful, covered the entire surface of the earth with one footstep, the sky with His body, and all directions with His arms.
One might argue, “Since Bali Mahārāja promised Vāmanadeva only the land occupied by His steps, why did Lord Vāmanadeva occupy the sky also?” In this regard, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī says that the steps include everything, downward and upward. When one stands up, he certainly occupies certain parts of the sky and certain portions of the earth below his feet. Thus there was nothing uncommon for the Supreme Personality of Godhead when He occupied the entire sky with His body.
padaṁ dvitīyaṁ kramatas triviṣṭapaṁ
na vai tṛtīyāya tadīyam aṇv api
urukramasyāṅghrir upary upary atho
mahar-janābhyāṁ tapasaḥ paraṁ gataḥ
padam—step; dvitīyam—second; kramataḥ—advancing; tri-viṣṭapam—all of the heavenly planets; na—not; vai—indeed; tṛtīyāya—for the third step; tadīyam—of the Lord; aṇu api—only a spot of land remained; urukramasya—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who performs uncommon activities; aṅghriḥ—steps occupying above and below; upari upari—higher and higher; atho—now; mahaḥ-janābhyām—than Maharloka and Janaloka; tapasaḥ—that Tapoloka; param—beyond that; gataḥ—approached.
As the Lord took His second step, He covered the heavenly planets. And not even a spot remained for the third step, for the Lord’s foot extended higher and higher, beyond Maharloka, Janaloka, Tapoloka and even Satyaloka.
When the Lord’s footstep exceeded the height of all the lokas, including Maharloka, Janaloka, Tapoloka and Satyaloka, His nails certainly pierced the covering of the universe. The universe is covered by the five material elements (bhūmir āpo ’nalo vāyuḥ kham). As stated in the śāstra, these elements are in layers, each ten times thicker than the previous one. Nonetheless, the nails of the Lord pierced through all these layers and made a hole penetrating into the spiritual world. From this hole, the water of the Ganges infiltrated into this material world, and therefore it is said, pada-nakha-nīra janita jana-pāvana (Daśāvatāra-stotra 5). Because the Lord kicked a hole in the covering of the universe, the water of the Ganges came into this material world to deliver all the fallen souls.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Eighth Canto, Twentieth Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “Bali Mahārāja Surrenders the Universe.”
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