With the second step the Supreme Personality of Godhead reached the topmost planet of the universe, Brahmaloka, which He diminished in beauty by the effulgence of His toenails. Thus Lord Brahmā, accompanied by great sages like Marīci and the predominating deities of all the higher planets, offered humble prayers and worship to the Lord. They washed the Lord’s feet and worshiped Him with all paraphernalia. Ṛkṣarāja, Jāmbavān, played his bugle to vibrate the glories of the Lord. When Bali Mahārāja was deprived of all his possessions, the demons were very angry. Although Bali Mahārāja warned them not to do so, they took up weapons against Lord Viṣṇu. All of them were defeated, however, by Lord Viṣṇu’s eternal associates, and, in accordance with Bali Mahārāja’s order, they all entered the lower planets of the universe. Understanding Lord Viṣṇu’s purpose, Garuḍa, the carrier of Lord Viṣṇu, immediately arrested Bali Mahārāja with the ropes of Varuṇa. When Bali Mahārāja was thus reduced to a helpless position, Lord Viṣṇu asked him for the third step of land. Because Lord Viṣṇu appreciated Bali Mahārāja’s determination and integrity, when Bali Mahārāja was unable to fulfill his promise, Lord Viṣṇu ascertained that the place for him would be the planet Sutala, which is better than the planets of heaven.
satyaṁ samīkṣyābja-bhavo nakhendubhir
hata-svadhāma-dyutir āvṛto ’bhyagāt
marīci-miśrā ṛṣayo bṛhad-vratāḥ
sanandanādyā nara-deva yoginaḥ
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; satyam—the planet Satyaloka; samīkṣya—by observing; abja-bhavaḥ—Lord Brahmā, who appeared on the lotus flower; nakha-indubhiḥ—by the effulgence of the nails; hata—having been reduced; sva-dhāma-dyutiḥ—the illumination of his own residence; āvṛtaḥ—being covered; abhyagāt—came; marīci-miśrāḥ—with sages like Marīci; ṛṣayaḥ—great saintly persons; bṛhat-vratāḥ—all of them absolutely brahmacārī; sanandana-ādyāḥ—like Sanaka, Sanātana, Sanandana and Sanat-kumāra; nara-deva—O King; yoginaḥ—greatly powerful mystics.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: When Lord Brahmā, who was born of a lotus flower, saw that the effulgence of his residence, Brahmaloka, had been reduced by the glaring effulgence from the toenails of Lord Vāmanadeva, he approached the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Lord Brahmā was accompanied by all the great sages, headed by Marīci, and by yogīs like Sanandana, but in the presence of that glaring effulgence, O King, even Lord Brahmā and his associates seemed insignificant.
vedopavedā niyamā yamānvitās
ye cāpare yoga-samīra-dīpita-
svāyambhuvaṁ dhāma gatā akarmakam
athāṅghraye pronnamitāya viṣṇor
upāharat padma-bhavo ’rhaṇodakam
samarcya bhaktyābhyagṛṇāc chuci-śravā
veda—the four Vedas (Sāma, Yajur, Ṛg and Atharva), the original knowledge given by the Supreme Personality of Godhead; upavedāḥ—the complementary and supplementary Vedic knowledge, like Āyur-veda and Dhanur-veda; niyamāḥ—regulative principles; yama—controlling processes; anvitāḥ—fully expert in such matters; tarka—logic; itihāsa—history; aṅga—Vedic education; purāṇa—old history recorded in the stories of the purāṇas; saṁhitāḥ—Vedic complementary studies like the Brahma-saṁhitā; ye—others; ca—also; apare—other than Lord Brahmā and his associates; yoga-samīra-dīpita—ignited by the air of mystic yoga practice; jñāna-agninā—by the fire of knowledge; randhita-karma-kalmaṣāḥ—those for whom all pollution of fruitive activities has been stopped; vavandire—offered their prayers; yat-smaraṇa-anubhāvataḥ—simply by meditating on whom; svāyambhuvam—of Lord Brahmā; dhāma—the residence; gatāḥ—had achieved; akarmakam—which cannot be achieved by fruitive activities; atha—thereupon; aṅghraye—unto the lotus feet; pronnamitāya—offered obeisances; viṣṇoḥ—of Lord Viṣṇu; upāharat—offered worship; padma-bhavaḥ—Lord Brahmā, who appeared from the lotus flower; arhaṇa-udakam—oblation by water; samarcya—worshiping; bhaktyā—in devotional service; abhyagṛṇāt—pleased him; śuci-śravāḥ—the most celebrated Vedic authority; yat-nābhi-paṅkeruha-sambhavaḥ svayam—Lord Brahmā, who personally appeared from the lotus in the navel of whom (the Personality of Godhead).
Among the great personalities who came to worship the lotus feet of the Lord were those who had attained perfection in self-control and regulative principles, as well as experts in logic, history, general education and the Vedic literature known as kalpe [dealing with old historical incidents]. Others were experts in the Vedic corollaries like Brahma-saṁhitā, all the other knowledge of the Vedas [Sāma, Yajur, Ṛg and Atharva], and also the supplementary Vedic knowledge [Āyur-veda, Dhanur-veda, etc.]. Others were those who had been freed of the reactions to fruitive activities by transcendental knowledge awakened by practice of yoga. And still others were those who had attained residence in Brahmaloka not by ordinary karma but by advanced Vedic knowledge. After devotedly worshiping the upraised lotus feet of the Supreme Lord with oblations of water, Lord Brahmā, who was born of the lotus emanating from Lord Viṣṇu’s navel, offered prayers to the Lord.
dhātuḥ kamaṇḍalu-jalaṁ tad urukramasya
svardhuny abhūn nabhasi sā patatī nimārṣṭi
loka-trayaṁ bhagavato viśadeva kīrtiḥ
dhātuḥ—of Lord Brahmā; kamaṇḍalu-jalam—water from the kamaṇḍalu; tat—that; urukramasya—of Lord Viṣṇu; pāda-avanejana-pavitratayā—because of washing the lotus feet of Lord Viṣṇu and thus being transcendentally pure; nara-indra—O King; svardhunī—the river named Svardhunī of the celestial world; abhūt—so became; nabhasi—in outer space; sā—that water; patatī—flowing down; nimārṣṭi—purifying; loka-trayam—the three worlds; bhagavataḥ—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; viśadā—so purified; iva—just like; kīrtiḥ—the fame or the glorious activities.
O King, the water from Lord Brahmā’s kamaṇḍalu washed the lotus feet of Lord Vāmanadeva, who is known as Urukrama, the wonderful actor. Thus that water became so pure that it was transformed into the water of the Ganges, which went flowing down from the sky, purifying the three worlds like the pure fame of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Here we understand that the Ganges began when the water from Lord Brahmā’s kamaṇḍalu washed the lotus feet of Lord Vāmanadeva. But in the Fifth Canto it is stated that the Ganges began when Vāmanadeva’s left foot pierced the covering of the universe so that the transcendental water of the Causal Ocean leaked through. And elsewhere it is also stated that Lord Nārāyaṇa appeared as the water of the Ganges. The water of the Ganges, therefore, is a combination of three transcendental waters, and thus the Ganges is able to purify the three worlds. This is the description given by Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura.
sānugā balim ājahruḥ
brahma-ādayaḥ—great personalities, headed by Lord Brahmā; loka-nāthāḥ—the predominating deities of various planets; sva-nāthāya—unto their supreme master; samādṛtāḥ—with great respect; sa-anugāḥ—with their respective followers; balim—different paraphernalia of worship; ājahruḥ—collected; saṅkṣipta-ātma-vibhūtaye—unto the Lord, who had expanded His personal opulence but had now reduced His size to the Vāmana form.
Lord Brahmā and all the predominating deities of the various planetary systems began to worship Lord Vāmanadeva, their supreme master, who had reduced Himself from His all-pervading form to His original form. They collected all the ingredients and paraphernalia for this worship.
Vāmanadeva first expanded Himself to the universal form and then reduced Himself to the original Vāmana-rūpa. Thus He acted exactly like Lord Kṛṣṇa, who, at the request of Arjuna, first showed His universal form and later resumed His original form as Kṛṣṇa. The Lord can assume any form He likes, but His original form is that of Kṛṣṇa (kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam). According to the capacity of the devotee, the Lord assumes various forms so that the devotee can handle Him. This is His causeless mercy. When Lord Vāmanadeva resumed His original form, Lord Brahmā and his associates collected various paraphernalia for worship with which to please Him.
toyaiḥ samarhaṇaiḥ sragbhir
dhūpair dīpaiḥ surabhibhir
stavanair jaya-śabdaiś ca
toyaiḥ—by water required for washing the lotus feet and bathing; samarhaṇaiḥ—by pādya, arghya and other such items for worshiping the Lord; sragbhiḥ—by flower garlands; divya-gandha-anulepanaiḥ—by many kinds of pulp, like sandalwood and aguru, to smear upon the body of Lord Vāmanadeva; dhūpaiḥ—by incense; dīpaiḥ—by lamps; surabhibhiḥ—all of them extremely fragrant; lāja—by fried paddies; akṣata—by unbroken grains; phala—by fruits; aṅkuraiḥ—by roots and sprouts; stavanaiḥ—by offering prayers; jaya-śabdaiḥ—by saying “jaya, jaya”; ca—also; tat-vīrya-mahimā-aṅkitaiḥ—which indicated the glorious activities of the Lord; nṛtya-vāditra-gītaiḥ ca—by dancing, playing various musical instruments, and singing songs; śaṅkha—of vibrating conchshells; dundubhi—of the beating on kettledrums; niḥsvanaiḥ—by the sound vibrations.
They worshiped the Lord by offering fragrant flowers, water, pādya and arghya, sandalwood pulp and aguru pulp, incense, lamps, fused rice, unbroken grains, fruits, roots and sprouts. While so doing, they offered prayers indicating the glorious activities of the Lord and shouted “Jaya! Jaya!” They also danced, played instruments, sang, sounded conchshells and beat kettledrums, in this way worshiping the Lord.
jāmbavān ṛkṣa-rājas tu
vijayaṁ dikṣu sarvāsu
jāmbavān—who was named Jāmbavān; ṛkṣa-rājaḥ tu—the king in the form of a bear also; bherī-śabdaiḥ—by sounding the bugle; manaḥ-javaḥ—in mental ecstasy; vijayam—victory; dikṣu—in all directions; sarvāsu—everywhere; mahā-utsavam—festival; aghoṣayat—declared.
Jāmbavān, king of the bears, also joined in the ceremony. Sounding his bugle in all directions, he declared a great festival for Lord Vāmanadeva’s victory.
mahīṁ sarvāṁ hṛtāṁ dṛṣṭvā
ūcuḥ sva-bhartur asurā
mahīm—land; sarvām—all; hṛtām—lost; dṛṣṭvā—after seeing; tri-pada-vyāja-yācñayā—by simply asking three steps of land; ūcuḥ—said; sva-bhartuḥ—of their master; asurāḥ—the demons; dīkṣitasya—of Bali Mahārāja, who was so determined in the sacrifice; ati—very much; amarṣitāḥ—for whom the function was unbearable.
When the demoniac followers of Mahārāja Bali saw that their master, who had been determined in performing sacrifice, had lost all his possessions to Vāmanadeva, who had taken them away on the plea of begging three paces of land, they were very angry and spoke as follows.
na vāyaṁ brahma-bandhur
viṣṇur māyāvināṁ varaḥ
na—not; vā—either; ayam—this; brahma-bandhuḥ—Vāmanadeva, in the form of a brāhmaṇa; viṣṇuḥ—He is Lord Viṣṇu Himself; māyāvinām—of all cheaters; varaḥ—the greatest; dvija-rūpa—by assuming the form of a brāhmaṇa; praticchannaḥ—is disguised for the purpose of cheating; deva-kāryam—the interest of the demigods; cikīrṣati—He is trying for.
“This Vāmana is certainly not a brāhmaṇa but the best of cheaters, Lord Viṣṇu. Assuming the form of a brāhmaṇa, He has covered His own form, and thus He is working for the interests of the demigods.
sarvasvaṁ no hṛtaṁ bhartur
anena—by Him; yācamānena—who is in the position of a beggar; śatruṇā—by the enemy; vaṭu-rūpiṇā—in the form of a brahmacārī; sarvasvam—everything; naḥ—our; hṛtam—has been taken away; bhartuḥ—of our master; nyasta—had been given up; daṇḍasya—of whom the power of giving punishment; barhiṣi—because of taking the vow of a ritualistic ceremony.
“Our lord, Bali Mahārāja, because of his position in performing the yajña, has given up the power to punish. Taking advantage of this, our eternal enemy, Viṣṇu, dressed in the form of a brahmacārī beggar, has taken away all his possessions.
nānṛtaṁ bhāṣituṁ śakyaṁ
satya-vratasya—of Mahārāja Bali, who is fixed in truthfulness; satatam—always; dīkṣitasya—of he who was initiated into performing yajña; viśeṣataḥ—specifically; na—not; anṛtam—untruth; bhāṣitum—to speak; śakyam—is able; brahmaṇyasya—to the brahminical culture, or to the brāhmaṇa; dayā-vataḥ—of he who is always kind.
“Our lord, Bali Mahārāja, is always fixed in truthfulness, and this is especially so at present, since he has been initiated into performing a sacrifice. He is always kind and merciful toward the brāhmaṇas, and he cannot at any time speak lies.
tasmād asya vadho dharmo
bhartuḥ śuśrūṣaṇaṁ ca naḥ
ity āyudhāni jagṛhur
tasmāt—therefore; asya—of this brahmacārī Vāmana; vadhaḥ—the killing; dharmaḥ—is our duty; bhartuḥ—of our master; śuśrūṣaṇam ca—and it is the way of serving; naḥ—our; iti—thus; āyudhāni—all kinds of weapons; jagṛhuḥ—they took up; baleḥ—of Bali Mahārāja; anucara—followers; asurāḥ—all the demons.
“Therefore it is our duty to kill this Vāmanadeva, Lord Viṣṇu. It is our religious principle and the way to serve our master.” After making this decision, the demoniac followers of Mahārāja Bali took up their various weapons with a view to killing Vāmanadeva.
te sarve vāmanaṁ hantuṁ
anicchanto bale rājan
te—the demons; sarve—all of them; vāmanam—Lord Vāmanadeva; hantum—to kill; śūla—tridents; paṭṭiśa—lances; pāṇayaḥ—all taking in hand; anicchantaḥ—against the will; baleḥ—of Bali Mahārāja; rājan—O King; prādravan—they pushed forward; jāta-manyavaḥ—aggravated by usual anger.
O King, the demons, aggravated by their usual anger, took their lances and tridents in hand, and against the will of Bali Mahārāja they pushed forward to kill Lord Vāmanadeva.
tān abhidravato dṛṣṭvā
tān—them; abhidravataḥ—thus going forward; dṛṣṭvā—seeing; ditija-anīka-pān—the soldiers of the demons; nṛpa—O King; prahasya—smiling; anucarāḥ—the associates; viṣṇoḥ—of Lord Viṣṇu; pratyaṣedhan—forbade; udāyudhāḥ—taking up their weapons.
O King, when the associates of Lord Viṣṇu saw the soldiers of the demons coming forward in violence, they smiled. Taking up their weapons, they forbade the demons to continue their attempt.
nandaḥ sunando ’tha jayo
vijayaḥ prabalo balaḥ
kumudaḥ kumudākṣaś ca
jayantaḥ śrutadevaś ca
puṣpadanto ’tha sātvataḥ
camūṁ te jaghnur āsurīm
nandaḥ sunandaḥ—the associates of Lord Viṣṇu such as Nanda and Sunanda; atha—in this way; jayaḥ vijayaḥ prabalaḥ balaḥ kumudaḥ kumudākṣaḥ ca viṣvaksenaḥ—as well as Jaya, Vijaya, Prabala, Bala, Kumada, Kumudākṣa and Viṣvaksena; patattri-rāṭ—Garuḍa, the king of the birds; jayantaḥ śrutadevaḥ ca puṣpadantaḥ atha sātvataḥ—Jayanta, Śrutadeva, Puṣpadanta and Sātvata; sarve—all of them; nāga-ayuta-prāṇāḥ—as powerful as ten thousand elephants; camūm—the soldiers of the demons; te—they; jaghnuḥ—killed; āsurīm—demoniac.
Nanda, Sunanda, Jaya, Vijaya, Prabala, Bala, Kumuda, Kumudākṣa, Viṣvaksena, Patattrirāṭ [Garuḍa], Jayanta, Śrutadeva, Puṣpadanta and Sātvata were all associates of Lord Viṣṇu. They were as powerful as ten thousand elephants, and now they began killing the soldiers of the demons.
hanyamānān svakān dṛṣṭvā
vārayām āsa saṁrabdhān
hanyamānān—being killed; svakān—his own soldiers; dṛṣṭvā—after seeing; puruṣa-anucaraiḥ—by the associates of the Supreme Person; baliḥ—Bali Mahārāja; vārayām āsa—forbade; saṁrabdhān—even though they were very angry; kāvya-śāpam—the curse given by Śukrācārya; anusmaran—remembering.
When Bali Mahārāja saw that his own soldiers were being killed by the associates of Lord Viṣṇu, he remembered the curse of Śukrācārya and forbade his soldiers to continue fighting.
he vipracitte he rāho
he neme śrūyatāṁ vacaḥ
mā yudhyata nivartadhvaṁ
na naḥ kālo ’yam artha-kṛt
he vipracitte—O Vipracitti; he rāho—O Rāhu; he neme—O Nemi; śrūyatām—kindly hear; vacaḥ—my words; mā—do not; yudhyata—fight; nivartadhvam—stop this fighting; na—not; naḥ—our; kālaḥ—favorable time; ayam—this; artha-kṛt—which can give us success.
O Vipracitti, O Rāhu, O Nemi, please hear my words! Don’t fight. Stop immediately, for the present time is not in our favor.
yaḥ prabhuḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ
taṁ nātivartituṁ daityāḥ
pauruṣair īśvaraḥ pumān
yaḥ prabhuḥ—that Supreme Person, the master; sarva-bhūtānām—of all living entities; sukha-duḥkha-upapattaye—for administering happiness and distress; tam—Him; na—not; ativartitum—to overcome; daityāḥ—O demons; pauruṣaiḥ—by human endeavors; īśvaraḥ—the supreme controller; pumān—a person.
O Daityas, by human efforts no one can supersede the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who can bring happiness and distress to all living entities.
yo no bhavāya prāg āsīd
sa eva bhagavān adya
yaḥ—the time factor, which represents the Supreme Personality of Godhead; naḥ—of us; bhavāya—for the improvement; prāk—formerly; āsīt—was situated; abhavāya—for the defeat; diva-okasām—of the demigods; saḥ—that time factor; eva—indeed; bhagavān—the representative of the Supreme Person; adya—today; vartate—is existing; tat-viparyayam—just the opposite of our favor.
The supreme time factor, which represents the Supreme Person, was previously in our favor and not in favor of the demigods, but now that same time factor is against us.
balena sacivair buddhyā
sāmādibhir upāyaiś ca
kālaṁ nātyeti vai janaḥ
balena—by material power; sacivaiḥ—by the counsel of ministers; buddhyā—by intelligence; durgaiḥ—by fortresses; mantra-auṣadha-ādibhiḥ—by mystic chanting or the influence of drugs and herbs; sāma-ādibhiḥ—by diplomacy and other such means; upāyaiḥ ca—by similar other attempts; kālam—the time factor, representing the Supreme Lord; na—never; atyeti—can overcome; vai—indeed; janaḥ—any person.
No one can surpass the time representation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead by material power, by the counsel of ministers, by intelligence, by diplomacy, by fortresses, by mystic mantras, by drugs, by herbs or by any other means.
bhavadbhir nirjitā hy ete
bahuśo ’nucarā hareḥ
daivenarddhais ta evādya
yudhi jitvā nadanti naḥ
bhavadbhiḥ—by all of you demons; nirjitāḥ—have been defeated; hi—indeed; ete—all these soldiers of the demigods; bahuśaḥ—in great number; anucarāḥ—followers; hareḥ—of Lord Viṣṇu; daivena—by providence; ṛddhaiḥ—whose opulence was increased; te—they (the demigods); eva—indeed; adya—today; yudhi—in the fight; jitvā—defeating; nadanti—are vibrating in jubilation; naḥ—us.
Previously, being empowered by providence, you defeated a great number of such followers of Lord Viṣṇu. But today those same followers, having defeated us, are roaring in jubilation like lions.
Bhagavad-gītā mentions five causes of defeat or victory. Of these five, daiva (providence) is the most powerful (na ca daivāt paraṁ balam). Bali Mahārāja knew the secret of how he had formerly been victorious because providence was in his favor. Now, since that same providence was not in his favor, there was no possibility of his victory. Thus he very intelligently forbade his associates to fight.
etān vayaṁ vijeṣyāmo
yadi daivaṁ prasīdati
tasmāt kālaṁ pratīkṣadhvaṁ
yo no ’rthatvāya kalpate
etān—all these soldiers of the demigods; vayam—we; vijeṣyāmaḥ—shall gain victory over them; yadi—if; daivam—providence; prasīdati—is in favor; tasmāt—therefore; kālam—that favorable time; pratīkṣadhvam—wait until; yaḥ—which; naḥ—our; arthatvāya kalpate—should be considered in our favor.
Unless providence is in our favor, we shall not be able to gain victory. Therefore we must wait for that favorable time when our defeating them will be possible.
patyur nigaditaṁ śrutvā
rasāṁ nirviviśū rājan
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; patyuḥ—of their master (Bali Mahārāja); nigaditam—what had been thus described; śrutvā—after hearing; daitya-dānava-yūtha-pāḥ—the leaders of the Daityas and demons; rasām—the lower regions of the universe; nirviviśūḥ—entered; rājan—O King; viṣṇu-pārṣada—by the associates of Lord Viṣṇu; tāḍitāḥ—driven.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: O King, in accordance with the order of their master, Bali Mahārāja, all the chiefs of the demons and the Daityas entered the lower regions of the universe, to which they were driven by the soldiers of Viṣṇu.
atha tārkṣya-suto jñātvā
babandha vāruṇaiḥ pāśair
baliṁ sūtye ’hani kratau
atha—thereafter; tārkṣya-sutaḥ—Garuḍa; jñātvā—knowing; virāṭ—the king of birds; prabhu-cikīrṣitam—the desire of Lord Viṣṇu as Vāmanadeva; babandha—arrested; vāruṇaiḥ—belonging to Varuṇa; pāśaiḥ—by the ropes; balim—Bali; sūtye—when soma-rasa is taken; ahani—on the day; kratau—at the time of sacrifice.
Thereafter, on the day of soma-pāna, after the sacrifice was finished, Garuḍa, king of the birds, understanding the desire of his master, arrested Bali Mahārāja with the ropes of Varuṇa.
Garuḍa, the constant companion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, knows the confidential part of the Lord’s desire. Bali Mahārāja’s tolerance and devotion were undoubtedly superexcellent. Garuḍa arrested Bali Mahārāja to show the entire universe the greatness of the King’s tolerance.
hāhākāro mahān āsīd
rodasyoḥ sarvato diśam
hāhā-kāraḥ—a tumultuous roar of lamentation; mahān—great; āsīt—there was; rodasyoḥ—in both the lower and upper planetary systems; sarvataḥ—everywhere; diśam—all directions; nigṛhyamāṇe—because of being suppressed; asura-patau—when Bali Mahārāja, the King of the demons; viṣṇunā—by Lord Viṣṇu; prabhaviṣṇunā—who is the most powerful everywhere.
When Bali Mahārāja was thus arrested by Lord Viṣṇu, who is the most powerful, there was a great roar of lamentation in all directions throughout the upper and lower planetary systems of the universe.
taṁ baddhaṁ vāruṇaiḥ pāśair
bhagavān āha vāmanaḥ
tam—unto him; baddham—who was so arrested; vāruṇaiḥ pāśaiḥ—by the ropes of Varuṇa; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; āha—said; vāmanaḥ—Vāmanadeva; naṣṭa-śriyam—unto Bali Mahārāja, who had lost his bodily luster; sthira-prajñam—but was all the same determined in his decision; udāra-yaśasam—the most magnanimous and celebrated; nṛpa—O King.
O King, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vāmanadeva, then spoke to Bali Mahārāja, the most liberal and celebrated personality whom He had arrested with the ropes of Varuṇa. Bali Mahārāja had lost all bodily luster, but he was nonetheless fixed in his determination.
When one is bereft of all his possessions, he is certainly reduced in bodily luster. But although Bali Mahārāja had lost everything, he was fixed in his determination to satisfy Vāmanadeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In Bhagavad-gītā, such a person is called sthita-prajña. A pure devotee is never deviated from the service of the Lord, despite all difficulties and impediments offered by the illusory energy. Generally men who have wealth and opulence are famous, but Bali Mahārāja became famous for all time by being deprived of all his possessions. This is the special mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead toward His devotees. The Lord says, yasyāham anugṛhṇāmi hariṣye tad-dhanaṁ śanaiḥ. As the first installment of His special favor, the Lord takes away all the possessions of His devotee. A devotee, however, is never disturbed by such a loss. He continues his service, and the Lord amply rewards him, beyond the expectations of any common man.
padāni trīṇi dattāni
bhūmer mahyaṁ tvayāsura
dvābhyāṁ krāntā mahī sarvā
padāni—footsteps; trīṇi—three; dattāni—have been given; bhūmeḥ—of land; mahyam—unto Me; tvayā—by you; asura—O King of the demons; dvābhyām—by two steps; krāntā—have been occupied; mahī—all the land; sarvā—completely; tṛtīyam—for the third step; upakalpaya—now find the means.
O King of the demons, you have promised to give Me three steps of land, but I have occupied the entire universe with two steps. Now think about where I should put My third.
yāvat tapaty asau gobhir
yāvad induḥ sahoḍubhiḥ
yāvad varṣati parjanyas
tāvatī bhūr iyaṁ tava
yāvat—as far as; tapati—is shining; asau—the sun; gobhiḥ—by the sunshine; yāvat—as long or as far as; induḥ—the moon; saha-uḍubhiḥ—with the luminaries or stars; yāvat—as far as; varṣati—are pouring rain; parjanyaḥ—the clouds; tāvatī—to that much distance; bhūḥ—land; iyam—this; tava—in your possession.
As far as the sun and moon shine with the stars and as far as the clouds pour rain, all the land throughout the universe is in your possession.
bhūrlokaḥ khaṁ diśas tanoḥ
svarlokas te dvitīyena
paśyatas te svam ātmanā
padā ekena—by one step only; mayā—by Me; ākrāntaḥ—have been covered; bhūrlokaḥ—the entire planetary system known as Bhūrloka; kham—the sky; diśaḥ—and all directions; tanoḥ—by My body; svarlokaḥ—the upper planetary system; te—in your possession; dvitīyena—by the second step; paśyataḥ te—while you were seeing; svam—your own; ātmanā—by Myself.
Of these possessions, with one step I have occupied Bhūrloka, and with My body I have occupied the entire sky and all directions. And in your presence, with My second step, I have occupied the upper planetary system.
According to the Vedic description of the planetary system, all the planets move from east to west. The sun, the moon and five other planets, such as Mars and Jupiter, orbit one above another. Vāmanadeva, however, expanding His body and extending His steps, occupied the entire planetary system.
pratiśrutam adātus te
niraye vāsa iṣyate
viśa tvaṁ nirayaṁ tasmād
pratiśrutam—what had been promised; adātuḥ—who could not give; te—of you; niraye—in hell; vāsaḥ—residence; iṣyate—prescribed; viśa—now enter; tvam—yourself; nirayam—the hellish planet; tasmāt—therefore; guruṇā—by your spiritual master; ca—also; anumoditaḥ—approved.
Because you have been unable to give charity according to your promise, the rule is that you should go down to live in the hellish planets. Therefore, in accordance with the order of Śukrācārya, your spiritual master, now go down and live there.
It is said:
“Devotees solely engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nārāyaṇa, never fear any condition of life. For them the heavenly planets, liberation and the hellish planets are all the same, for such devotees are interested only in the service of the Lord.” (Bhāg. 6.12.28) A devotee engaged in the service of Nārāyaṇa is always in equilibrium. A devotee actually lives transcendentally. Although he may appear to have gone to hell or heaven, he does not live in either place; rather, he always lives in Vaikuṇṭha (sa guṇān samatītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate [Bg. 14.26]). Vāmanadeva asked Bali Mahārāja to go to the hellish planets, apparently just to show the entire universe how tolerant he was, and Bali Mahārāja did not hesitate to carry out the order. A devotee does not live alone. Of course, everyone lives with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but because the devotee is engaged in His service, he actually does not live in any material condition. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura says, kīṭa janma hao yathā tuyā dāsa. Thus he prays to take birth as an insignificant insect in the association of devotees. Because devotees are engaged in the service of the Lord, anyone who lives with them also lives in Vaikuṇṭha.
vṛthā manorathas tasya
dūraḥ svargaḥ pataty adhaḥ
yo ’rthinaṁ vipralambhate
vṛthā—without any good result; manorathaḥ—mental concoction; tasya—of him; dūraḥ—far away; svargaḥ—elevation to the higher planetary system; patati—falls down; adhaḥ—to a hellish condition of life; pratiśrutasya—things promised; adānena—being unable to give; yaḥ—anyone who; arthinam—a beggar; vipralambhate—cheats.
Far from being elevated to the heavenly planets or fulfilling one’s desire, one who does not properly give a beggar what he has promised falls down to a hellish condition of life.
tad vyalīka-phalaṁ bhuṅkṣva
nirayaṁ katicit samāḥ
vipralabdhaḥ—now I am cheated; dadāmi—I promise I shall give you; iti—thus; tvayā—by you; aham—I am; ca—also; āḍhya-māninā—by being very proud of your opulence; tat—therefore; vyalīka-phalam—as a result of cheating; bhuṅkṣva—you enjoy; nirayam—in hellish life; katicit—a few; samāḥ—years.
Being falsely proud of your possessions, you promised to give Me land, but you could not fulfill your promise. Therefore, because your promise was false, you must live for a few years in hellish life.
The false prestige of thinking “I am very rich, and I possess such vast property” is another side of material life. Everything belongs to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and no one else possesses anything. This is the real fact. Īśāvāsyam idaṁ samaṁ yat kiñca jagatyāṁ jagat. Bali Mahārāja was undoubtedly the most exalted devotee, whereas previously he had maintained a misunderstanding due to false prestige. By the supreme will of the Lord, he now had to go to the hellish planets, but because he went there by the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he lived there more opulently than one could expect to live in the planets of heaven. A devotee always lives with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, engaging in His service, and therefore he is always transcendental to hellish or heavenly residences.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Eighth Canto, Twenty-first Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “Bali Mahārāja Arrested by the Lord”
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