Chapter Twenty-two
Bali Mahārāja Surrenders His Life
The summary of this Twenty-second Chapter is as follows. The Supreme Personality of Godhead was pleased by the behavior of Bali Mahārāja. Thus the Lord placed him on the planet Sutala, and there, after bestowing benedictions upon him, the Lord agreed to become his doorman.
Bali Mahārāja was extremely truthful. Being unable to keep his promise, he was very much afraid, for he knew that one who has deviated from truthfulness is insignificant in the eyes of society. An exalted person can suffer the consequences of hellish life, but he is very much afraid of being defamed for deviation from the truth. Bali Mahārāja agreed with great pleasure to accept the punishment awarded him by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In Bali Mahārāja’s dynasty there were many asuras who because of their enmity toward Viṣṇu had achieved a destination more exalted than that of many mystic yogīs. Bali Mahārāja specifically remembered the determination of Prahlāda Mahārāja in devotional service. Considering all these points, he decided to give his head in charity as the place for Viṣṇu’s third step. Bali Mahārāja also considered how great personalities give up their family relationships and material possessions to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Indeed, they sometimes even sacrifice their lives for the satisfaction of the Lord, just to become His personal servants. Accordingly, by following in the footsteps of previous ācāryas and devotees, Bali Mahārāja perceived himself successful.
While Bali Mahārāja, having been arrested by the ropes of Varuṇa, was offering prayers to the Lord, his grandfather Prahlāda Mahārāja appeared there and described how the Supreme Personality of Godhead had delivered Bali Mahārāja by taking his possessions in a tricky way. While Prahlāda Mahārāja was present, Lord Brahmā and Bali’s wife, Vindhyāvali, described the supremacy of the Supreme Lord. Since Bali Mahārāja had given everything to the Lord, they prayed for his release. The Lord then described how a nondevotee’s possession of wealth is a danger whereas a devotee’s opulence is a benediction from the Lord. Then, being pleased with Bali Mahārāja, the Supreme Lord offered His disc to protect Bali Mahārāja and promised to remain with him.
śrī-śuka uvāca
evaṁ viprakṛto rājan
balir bhagavatāsuraḥ
bhidyamāno ’py abhinnātmā
pratyāhāviklavaṁ vacaḥ
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; evam—thus, as aforementioned; viprakṛtaḥ—having been put into difficulty; rājan—O King; baliḥMahārāja Bali; bhagavatā—by the Personality of Godhead Vāmanadeva; asuraḥ—the King of the asuras; bhidyamānaḥ api—although situated in this uncomfortable position; abhinna-ātmā—without being disturbed in body or mind; pratyāha—replied; aviklavam—undisturbed; vacaḥ—the following words.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: O King, although the Supreme Personality of Godhead was superficially seen to have acted mischievously toward Bali Mahārāja, Bali Mahārāja was fixed in his determination. Considering himself not to have fulfilled his promise, he spoke as follows.
śrī-balir uvāca
yady uttamaśloka bhavān mameritaṁ
vaco vyalīkaṁ sura-varya manyate
karomy ṛtaṁ tan na bhavet pralambhanaṁ
padaṁ tṛtīyaṁ kuru śīrṣṇi me nijam
śrī-baliḥ uvācaBali Mahārāja said; yadi—if; uttamaśloka—O Supreme Lord; bhavān—Your good self; mama—my; īritam—promised; vacaḥ—words; vyalīkam—false; sura-varya—O greatest of all suras (demigods); manyate—You think so; karomi—I shall make it; ṛtam—truth; tat—that (promise); na—not; bhavet—will become; pralambhanam—cheating; padam—step; tṛtīyam—the third; kuru—just do it; śīrṣṇi—on the head; me—my; nijam—Your lotus feet.
Bali Mahārāja said: O best Personality of Godhead, most worshipable for all the demigods, if You think that my promise has become false, I shall certainly rectify matters to make it truthful. I cannot allow my promise to be false. Please, therefore, place Your third lotus footstep on my head.
Bali Mahārāja could understand the pretense of Lord Vāmanadeva, who had taken the side of the demigods and come before him as a beggar. Although the Lord’s purpose was to cheat him, Bali Mahārāja took pleasure in understanding how the Lord will cheat His devotee to glorify the devotee’s position. It is said that God is good, and this is a fact. Whether He cheats or rewards, He is always good. Bali Mahārāja therefore addressed Him as Uttamaśloka. “Your Lordship,” he said, “You are always praised with the best of selected verses. On behalf of the demigods, You disguised Yourself to cheat me, saying that You wanted only three paces of land, but later You expanded Your body to such an extent that with two footsteps You covered the entire universe. Because You were working on behalf of Your devotees, You do not regard this as cheating. Never mind. I cannot be considered a devotee. Nonetheless, because although You are the husband of the goddess of fortune You have come to me to beg, I must satisfy You to the best of my ability. So please do not think that I wanted to cheat You; I must fulfill my promise. I still have my body. When I place my body for Your satisfaction, please put Your third step on my head.” Since the Lord had covered the entire universe with two steps, one might ask how Bali Mahārāja’s head could be sufficient for His third step? Bali Mahārāja, however, thought that the possessor of wealth must be greater than the possession. Therefore although the Lord had taken all his possessions, the head of Bali Mahārāja, the possessor, would provide adequate place for the Lord’s third step.
bibhemi nāhaṁ nirayāt pada-cyuto
na pāśa-bandhād vyasanād duratyayāt
naivārtha-kṛcchrād bhavato vinigrahād
asādhu-vādād bhṛśam udvije yathā
bibhemi—I do fear; na—not; aham—I; nirayāt—from a position in hell; pada-cyutaḥ—nor do I fear being deprived of my position; na—nor; pāśa-bandhāt—from being arrested by the ropes of Varuṇa; vyasanāt—nor from the distress; duratyayāt—which was unbearable for me; na—nor; eva—certainly; artha-kṛcchrāt—because of poverty, or scarcity of money; bhavataḥ—of Your Lordship; vinigrahāt—from the punishment I am now suffering; asādhu-vādāt—from defamation; bhṛśam—very much; udvije—I become anxious; yathā—as.
I do not fear being deprived of all my possessions, living in hellish life, being arrested for poverty by the ropes of Varuṇa or being punished by You as much as I fear defamation.
Although Bali Mahārāja fully surrendered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he could not tolerate being defamed for cheating a brāhmaṇa-brahmacārī, Being quite alert in regard to his reputation, he thought deeply about how to prevent being defamed. The Lord, therefore, gave him the good counsel to prevent defamation by offering his head. A Vaiṣṇava does not fear any punishment. Nārāyaṇa-parāḥ sarve na kutaścana bibhyati (Bhāg. 6.17.28).
puṁsāṁ ślāghyatamaṁ manye
daṇḍam arhattamārpitam
yaṁ na mātā pitā bhrātā
suhṛdaś cādiśanti hi
puṁsām—of men; ślāghya-tamam—the most exalted; manye—I consider; daṇḍam—punishment; arhattama-arpitam—given by You, the supreme worshipable Lord; yam—which; na—neither; mātā—mother; pitā—father; bhrātā—brother; suhṛdaḥ—friends; ca—also; ādiśanti—offer; hi—indeed.
Although a father, mother, brother or friend may sometimes punish one as a well-wisher, they never punish their subordinate like this. But because You are the most worshipable Lord, I regard the punishment You have given me as most exalted.
Punishment meted out by the Supreme Personality of Godhead is accepted by the devotee as the greatest mercy.
tat te ’nukampāṁ susamīkṣamāṇo
bhuñjāna evātma-kṛtaṁ vipākam
hṛd-vāg-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te
jīveta yo mukti-pade sa dāya-bhāk
“One who seeks Your compassion and thus tolerates all kinds of adverse conditions due to the karma of his past deeds, who engages always in Your devotional service with his mind, words and body, and who always offers obeisances to You is certainly a bona fide candidate for liberation.” (Bhāg. 10.14.8) A devotee knows that so-called punishment by the Supreme Personality of Godhead is only His favor to correct His devotee and bring him to the right path. Therefore the punishment awarded by the Supreme Personality of Godhead cannot be compared to even the greatest benefit awarded by one’s material father, mother, brother or friend.
tvaṁ nūnam asurāṇāṁ naḥ
parokṣaḥ paramo guruḥ
yo no ’neka-madāndhānāṁ
vibhraṁśaṁ cakṣur ādiśat
tvam—Your Lordship; nūnam—indeed; asurāṇām—of the demons; naḥ—as we are; parokṣaḥ—indirect; paramaḥ—the supreme; guruḥ—spiritual master; yaḥ—Your Lordship; naḥ—of us; aneka—many; mada-andhānām—blinded by material opulences; vibhraṁśam—destroying our false prestige; cakṣuḥ—the eye of knowledge; ādiśat—gave.
Since Your Lordship is indirectly the greatest well-wisher of us demons, You act for our best welfare by posing as if our enemy. Because demons like us always aspire for a position of false prestige, by chastising us You give us the eyes by which to see the right path.
Bali Mahārāja considered the Supreme Personality of Godhead a better friend to the demons than to the demigods. In the material world, the more one gets material possessions, the more he becomes blind to spiritual life. The demigods are devotees of the Lord for the sake of material possessions, but although the demons apparently do not have the Supreme Personality of Godhead on their side, He always acts as their well-wisher by depriving them of their positions of false prestige. By false prestige one is misguided, so the Supreme Lord takes away their position of false prestige as a special favor.
yasmin vairānubandhena
vyūḍhena vibudhetarāḥ
bahavo lebhire siddhiṁ
yām u haikānta-yoginaḥ
tenāhaṁ nigṛhīto ’smi
bhavatā bhūri-karmaṇā
baddhaś ca vāruṇaiḥ pāśair
nātivrīḍe na ca vyathe
yasmin—unto You; vaira-anubandhena—by continuously treating as an enemy; vyūḍhena—firmly fixed by such intelligence; vibudha-itarāḥ—the demons (those other than the demigods); bahavaḥ—many of them; lebhire—achieved; siddhim—perfection; yām—which; u ha—it is well known; ekānta-yoginaḥ—equal to the achievements of the greatly successful mystic yogīs; tena—therefore; aham—I; nigṛhītaḥ asmi—although I am being punished; bhavatā—by Your Lordship; bhūri-karmaṇā—who can do many wonderful things; baddhaḥ ca—I am arrested and bound; vāruṇaiḥ pāśaiḥ—by the ropes of Varuṇa; na ati-vrīḍe—I am not at all ashamed of this; na ca vyathe—nor am I suffering very much.
Many demons who were continuously inimical toward You finally achieved the perfection of great mystic yogīs. Your Lordship can perform one work to serve many purposes, and consequently, although You have punished me in many ways, I do not feel ashamed of having been arrested by the ropes of Varuṇa, nor do I feel aggrieved.
Bali Mahārāja appreciated the Lord’s mercy not only upon him but upon many other demons. Because this mercy is liberally distributed, the Supreme Lord is called all-merciful. Bali Mahārāja was indeed a fully surrendered devotee, but even some demons who were not at all devotees but merely enemies of the Lord attained the same exalted position achieved by many mystic yogīs. Thus Bali Mahārāja could understand that the Lord had some hidden purpose in punishing him. Consequently he was neither unhappy nor ashamed because of the awkward position in which he had been put by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
pitāmaho me bhavadīya-sammataḥ
prahrāda āviṣkṛta-sādhu-vādaḥ
bhavad-vipakṣeṇa vicitra-vaiśasaṁ
samprāpitas tvaṁ paramaḥ sva-pitrā
pitāmahaḥ—grandfather; me—my; bhavadīya-sammataḥ—approved by the devotees of Your Lordship; prahrādaḥPrahlāda Mahārāja; āviṣkṛta-sādhu-vādaḥ—famous, being celebrated everywhere as a devotee; bhavat-vipakṣeṇa—simply going against You; vicitra-vaiśasam—inventing different kinds of harassments; samprāpitaḥ—suffered; tvam—You; paramaḥ—the supreme shelter; sva-pitrā—by his own father.
My grandfather Prahlāda Mahārāja is famous, being recognized by all Your devotees. Although harassed in many ways by his father, Hiraṇyakaśipu, he still remained faithful, taking shelter at Your lotus feet.
A pure devotee like Prahlāda Mahārāja, although harassed circumstantially in many ways, never gives up the shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead to take shelter of anyone else. A pure devotee never complains against the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. A vivid example is Prahlāda Mahārāja. Examining the life of Prahlāda Mahārāja, we can see how severely he was harassed by his own father, Hiraṇyakaśipu, yet he did not divert his attention from the Lord even to the smallest extent. Bali Mahārāja, following in the footsteps of his grandfather Prahlāda Mahārāja, remained fixed in his devotion to the Lord, despite the Lord’s having punished him.
kim ātmanānena jahāti yo ’ntataḥ
kiṁ riktha-hāraiḥ svajanākhya-dasyubhiḥ
kiṁ jāyayā saṁsṛti-hetu-bhūtayā
martyasya gehaiḥ kim ihāyuṣo vyayaḥ
kim—what is the use; ātmanā anena—of this body; jahāti—gives up; yaḥ—which (body); antataḥ—at the end of life; kim—what is the use; riktha-hāraiḥ—the plunderers of wealth; svajana-ākhya-dasyubhiḥ—they who are actually plunderers but who pass by the name of relatives; kim—what is the use; jāyayā—of a wife; saṁsṛti-hetu-bhūtayā—who is the source of increasing material conditions; martyasya—of a person sure to die; gehaiḥ—of houses, family and community; kim—what is the use; iha—in which house; āyuṣaḥ—of the duration of life; vyayaḥ—simply wasting.
What is the use of the material body, which automatically leaves its owner at the end of life? And what is the use of all one’s family members, who are actually plunderers taking away money that is useful for the service of the Lord in spiritual opulence? What is the use of a wife? She is only the source of increasing material conditions. And what is the use of family, home, country and community? Attachment for them merely wastes the valuable energy of one’s lifetime.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, advises, sama-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja: “Give up all other varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me.” The common man does not appreciate such a statement by the Supreme Personality of Godhead because he thinks that during his lifetime his family, society, country, body and relatives are everything. Why should one give up any one of them and take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead? But from the behavior of great personalities like Prahlāda Mahārāja and Bali Mahārāja we understand that surrendering to the Lord is the right action for an intelligent person. Prahlāda Mahārāja took shelter of Viṣṇu against the will of his father. Similarly, Bali Mahārāja took shelter of Vāmanadeva against the will of his spiritual master, Śukrācārya, and all the leading demons. People may be surprised that devotees like Prahlāda Mahārāja and Bali Mahārāja could seek shelter of the side of the enemy, giving up the natural affinity for family, hearth and home. In this connection, Bali Mahārāja explains that the body, which is the center of all material activities, is also a foreign element. Even though we want to keep the body fit and helpful to our activities, the body cannot continue eternally. Although I am the soul, which is eternal, after using the body for some time I have to accept another body (tathā dehāntara-prāptiḥ), according to the laws of nature, unless I render some service with the body for advancement in devotional service. One should not use the body for any other purpose. One must know that if he uses the body for any other purpose he is simply wasting time, for as soon as the time is ripe, the soul will automatically leave the body.
We are very interested in society, friendship and love, but what are they? Those in the garb of friends and relatives merely plunder the hard-earned money of the bewildered soul. Everyone is affectionate toward his wife and is attached to her, but what is this wife? The wife is called strī, which means, “one who expands the material condition.” If a person lives without a wife, his material conditions are less extensive. As soon as one marries and is connected with a wife, his material necessities increase.
puṁsaḥ striyā mithunī-bhāvam etaṁ
tayor mitho hṛdaya-granthim āhuḥ
ato gṛha-kṣetra-sutāpta-vittair
janasya moho ’yam ahaṁ mameti
“The attraction between male and female is the basic principle of material existence. On the basis of this misconception, which ties together the hearts of the male and female, one becomes attracted to his body, home, property, children, relatives and wealth. In this way one increases life’s illusions and thinks in terms of ‘I and mine.’ ” (Bhāg. 5.5.8) Human life is meant for self-realization, not for increasing unwanted things. Actually, a wife increases unwanted things. One’s lifetime, one’s home and everything one has, if not properly used in the service of the Lord, are all sources of material conditions of perpetual suffering under the threefold miseries (adhyātmika, adhibhautika and adhidaivika). Unfortunately, there is no institution in human society for education on this subject. People are kept in darkness about the goal of life, and thus there is a continuous struggle for existence. We speak of “survival of the fittest,” but no one survives, for no one is free under material conditions.
itthaṁ sa niścitya pitāmaho mahān
agādha-bodho bhavataḥ pāda-padmam
dhruvaṁ prapede hy akutobhayaṁ janād
bhītaḥ svapakṣa-kṣapaṇasya sattama
ittham—because of this (as stated above); saḥ—he, Prahlāda Mahārāja; niścitya—definitely deciding on this point; pitāmahaḥ—my grandfather; mahān—the great devotee; agādha-bodhaḥ—my grandfather, who received unlimited knowledge because of his devotional service; bhavataḥ—of Your Lordship; pāda-padmam—the lotus feet; dhruvam—the infallible, eternal shelter; prapede—surrendered; hi—indeed; akutaḥ-bhayam—completely free of fear; janāt—from ordinary common people; bhītaḥ—being afraid; svapakṣa-kṣapaṇasya—of Your Lordship, who kill the demons on our own side; sat-tama—O best of the best.
My grandfather, the best of all men, who achieved unlimited knowledge and was worshipable for everyone, was afraid of the common men in this world. Being fully convinced of the substantiality afforded by shelter at Your lotus feet, He took shelter of Your lotus feet, against the will of his father and demoniac friends, who were killed by Your own self.
athāham apy ātma-ripos tavāntikaṁ
daivena nītaḥ prasabhaṁ tyājita-śrīḥ
idaṁ kṛtāntāntika-varti jīvitaṁ
yayādhruvaṁ stabdha-matir na budhyate
atha—therefore; aham—I; api—also; ātma-ripoḥ—who are the traditional enemy of the family; tava—of Your good self; antikam—the shelter; daivena—by providence; nītaḥ—brought in; prasabham—by force; tyājita—bereft of; śrīḥ—all opulence; idam—this philosophy of life; kṛta-anta-antika-varti—always given the facility for death; jīvitam—the duration of life; yayā—by such material opulence; adhruvam—as temporary; stabdha-matiḥ—such an unintelligent person; na budhyate—cannot understand.
Only by providence have I been forcibly brought under Your lotus feet and deprived of all my opulence. Because of the illusion created by temporary opulence, people in general, who live under material conditions, facing accidental death at every moment, do not understand that this life is temporary. Only by providence have I been saved from that condition.
Bali Mahārāja appreciated the actions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, although all the members of the demoniac families except Prahlāda Mahārāja and Bali Mahārāja considered Viṣṇu their eternal traditional enemy. As described by Bali Mahārāja, Lord Viṣṇu was actually not the enemy of the family but the best friend of the family. The principle of this friendship has already been stated. Yasyāham anugṛhnāmi hariṣye tad-dhanaṁ śanaiḥ: the Lord bestows special favor upon His devotee by taking away all his material opulences. Bali Mahārāja appreciated this behavior by the Lord. Therefore he said, daivena nītaḥ prasabhaṁ tyājita-śrīḥ: “It is to bring me to the right platform of eternal life that You have put me into these circumstances.”
Actually, everyone should fear the so-called society, friendship and love for which he works so hard all day and night. As indicated by Bali Mahārāja by the words janād bhītaḥ, every devotee in Kṛṣṇa consciousness should always be afraid of the common man engaged in pursuing material prosperity. Such a person is described as pramatta, a madman chasing the will-o’-the-wisp. Such men do not know that after a hard struggle for life one must change his body, with no certainty of what kind of body he will receive next. Those who are completely established in Kṛṣṇa conscious philosophy and who therefore understand the aim of life will never take to the activities of the materialistic dog race. But if a sincere devotee somehow does fall down, the Lord corrects him and saves him from gliding down to the darkest region of hellish life.
(Bhāg. 7.5.30)
The materialistic way of life is nothing but the repeated chewing of that which has already been chewed. Although there is no profit in such a life, people are enamored of it because of uncontrolled senses. Nūnaṁ pramattaḥ kurute vikarma [SB 5.5.4]. Because of uncontrolled senses, people fully engage in sinful activities by which they get a body full of suffering. Bali Mahārāja appreciated how the Lord had saved him from such a bewildered life of ignorance. He therefore said that his intelligence had been stunned. Stabdha-matir na budhyate. He could not understand how the Supreme Personality of Godhead favors His devotees by forcibly stopping their materialistic activities.
śrī-śuka uvāca
tasyetthaṁ bhāṣamāṇasya
prahrādo bhagavat-priyaḥ
ājagāma kuru-śreṣṭha
rākā-patir ivotthitaḥ
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; tasyaBali Mahārāja; ittham—in this way; bhāṣamāṇasya—while describing his fortunate position; prahrādaḥMahārāja Prahlāda, his grandfather; bhagavat-priyaḥ—the most favored devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; ājagāma—appeared there; kuru-śreṣṭha—O best of the Kurus, Mahārāja Parīkṣit; rākā-patiḥ—the moon; iva—like; utthitaḥ—having risen.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: O best of the Kurus, while Bali Mahārāja was describing his fortunate position in this way, the most dear devotee of the Lord, Prahlāda Mahārāja, appeared there, like the moon rising in the nighttime.
tam indra-senaḥ sva-pitāmahaṁ śriyā
virājamānaṁ nalināyatekṣaṇam
prāṁśuṁ piśaṅgāmbaram añjana-tviṣaṁ
pralamba-bāhuṁ śubhagarṣabham aikṣata
tam—that Prahlāda Mahārāja; indra-senaḥBali Mahārāja, who now possessed all the military force of Indra; sva-pitāmaham—unto his grandfather; śriyā—present with all beautiful features; virājamānam—standing there; nalina-āyata-īkṣaṇam—with eyes as broad as the petals of a lotus; prāṁśum—a very beautiful body; piśaṅga-ambaram—dressed in yellow garments; añjana-tviṣam—with his body resembling black ointment for the eyes; pralamba-bāhum—very long arms; śubhaga-ṛṣabham—the best of all auspicious persons; aikṣata—he saw.
Then Bali Mahārāja saw his grandfather Prahlāda Mahārāja, the most fortunate personality, whose dark body resembled black ointment for the eyes. His tall, elegant figure was dressed in yellow garments, he had long arms, and his beautiful eyes were like the petals of a lotus. He was very dear and pleasing to everyone.
tasmai balir vāruṇa-pāśa-yantritaḥ
samarhaṇaṁ nopajahāra pūrvavat
nanāma mūrdhnāśru-vilola-locanaḥ
sa-vrīḍa-nīcīna-mukho babhūva ha
tasmai—unto Prahlāda Mahārāja; baliḥBali Mahārāja; vāruṇa-pāśa-yantritaḥ—being bound by the ropes of Varuṇa; samarhaṇam—befitting respect; na—not; upajahāra—offered; pūrva-vat—like before; nanāma—he offered obeisances; mūrdhnā—with the head; aśru-vilola-locanaḥ—eyes inundated with tears; sa-vrīḍa—with shyness; nīcīna—downward; mukhaḥ—face; babhūva ha—he so became.
Being bound by the ropes of Varuṇa, Bali Mahārāja could not offer befitting respect to Prahlāda Mahārāja as he had before. Rather, he simply offered respectful obeisances with his head, his eyes being inundated with tears and his face lowered in shame.
Since Bali Mahārāja had been arrested by Lord Vāmanadeva, he was certainly to be considered an offender. Bali Mahārāja seriously felt that he was an offender to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Certainly Prahlāda Mahārāja would not like this. Therefore Bali Mahārāja was ashamed and hung his head.
sa tatra hāsīnam udīkṣya sat-patiṁ
hariṁ sunandādy-anugair upāsitam
upetya bhūmau śirasā mahā-manā
nanāma mūrdhnā pulakāśru-viklavaḥ
saḥPrahlāda Mahārāja; tatra—there; ha āsīnam—seated; udīkṣya—after seeing; sat-patim—the Supreme Personality of Godhead, master of the liberated souls; harim—Lord Hari; sunanda-ādi-anugaiḥ—by His followers, like Sunanda; upāsitam—being worshiped; upetya—reaching nearby; bhūmau—on the ground; śirasā—with his head (bowed down); mahā-manāḥ—the great devotee; nanāma—offered obeisances; mūrdhnā—with his head; pulaka-aśru-viklavaḥ—agitated by tears of jubilation.
When the great personality Prahlāda Mahārāja saw that the Supreme Lord was sitting there, surrounded and worshiped by His intimate associates like Sunanda, he was overwhelmed with tears of jubilation. Approaching the Lord and falling to the ground, he offered obeisances to the Lord with his head.
śrī-prahrāda uvāca
tvayaiva dattaṁ padam aindram ūrjitaṁ
hṛtaṁ tad evādya tathaiva śobhanam
manye mahān asya kṛto hy anugraho
vibhraṁśito yac chriya ātma-mohanāt
śrī-prahrādaḥ uvācaPrahlāda Mahārāja said; tvayā—by Your Lordship; eva—indeed; dattam—which had been given; padam—this position; aindram—of the King of heaven; ūrjitam—very, very great; hṛtam—has been taken away; tat—that; eva—indeed; adya—today; tathā—as; eva—indeed; śobhanam—beautiful; manye—I consider; mahān—very great; asya—of him (Bali Mahārāja); kṛtaḥ—has been done by You; hi—indeed; anugrahaḥ—mercy; vibhraṁśitaḥ—being bereft of; yat—because; śriyaḥ—from that opulence; ātma-mohanāt—which was covering the process of self-realization.
Prahlāda Mahārāja said: My Lord, it is Your Lordship who gave this Bali the very great opulence of the post of heavenly king, and now, today, it is You who have taken it all away. I think You have acted with equal beauty in both ways. Because his exalted position as King of heaven was putting him in the darkness of ignorance, You have done him a very merciful favor by taking away all his opulence.
As it is said, yasyāham anugṛhṇāmi hariṣye tad-dhanaṁ śanaiḥ (Bhāg. 10.88.8). It is by the mercy of the Lord that one gets all material opulence, but if such material opulence causes one to become puffed up and forget the process of self-realization, the Lord certainly takes all the opulence away. The Lord bestows mercy upon His devotee by helping him find out his constitutional position. For that purpose, the Lord is always ready to help the devotee in every way. But material opulence is sometimes dangerous because it diverts one’s attention to false prestige by giving one the impression that he is the owner and master of everything he surveys, although actually this is not the fact. To protect the devotee from such a misunderstanding, the Lord, showing special mercy, sometimes takes away his material possessions. Yasyāham anugṛhṇāmi hariṣye tad-dhanaṁ śanaiḥ.
yayā hi vidvān api muhyate yatas
tat ko vicaṣṭe gatim ātmano yathā
tasmai namas te jagad-īśvarāya vai
yayā—by which material opulence; hi—indeed; vidvān api—even a person fortunately advanced in education; muhyate—becomes bewildered; yataḥ—self-controlled; tat—that; kaḥ—who; vicaṣṭe—can search for; gatim—the progress; ātmanaḥ—of the self; yathā—properly; tasmai—unto Him; namaḥ—I offer my respectful obeisances; te—unto You; jagat-īśvarāya—unto the Lord of the universe; vai—indeed; nārāyaṇāya—unto His Lordship Nārāyaṇa; akhila-loka-sākṣiṇe—who are the witness of all creation.
Material opulence is so bewildering that it makes even a learned, self-controlled man forget to search for the goal of self-realization. But the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nārāyaṇa, the Lord of the universe, can see everything by His will. Therefore I offer my respectful obeisances unto Him.
The words ko vicaṣṭe gatim ātmano yathā indicate that when one is puffed up by the false prestige of possessing material opulence, he certainly neglects the goal of self-realization. This is the position of the modern world. Because of so-called scientific improvements in material opulence, people have entirely given up the path of self-realization. Practically no one is interested in God, one’s relationship with God or how one should act. Modern men have altogether forgotten such questions because they are mad for material possessions. If this kind of civilization continues, the time will soon come when the Supreme Personality of Godhead will take away all the material opulences. Then people will come to their senses.
śrī-śuka uvāca
tasyānuśṛṇvato rājan
prahrādasya kṛtāñjaleḥ
hiraṇyagarbho bhagavān
uvāca madhusūdanam
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; tasya—of Prahlāda Mahārāja; anuśṛṇvataḥ—so that he could hear; rājan—O King Parīkṣit; prahrādasya—of Prahlāda Mahārāja; kṛta-añjaleḥ—who was standing with folded hands; hiraṇyagarbhaḥ—Lord Brahmā; bhagavān—the most powerful; uvāca—said; madhusūdanam—unto Madhusūdana, the Personality of Godhead.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: O King Parīkṣit, Lord Brahmā then began to speak to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, within the hearing of Prahlāda Mahārāja, who stood nearby with folded hands.
baddhaṁ vīkṣya patiṁ sādhvī
tat-patnī bhaya-vihvalā
prāñjaliḥ praṇatopendraṁ
babhāṣe ’vāṅ-mukhī nṛpa
baddham—arrested; vīkṣya—seeing; patim—her husband; sādhvī—the chaste woman; tat-patnīBali Mahārāja’s wife; bhaya-vihvalā—being very disturbed by fear; prāñjaliḥ—with folded hands; praṇatā—having offered obeisances; upendram—unto Vāmanadeva; babhāṣe—addressed; avāk-mukhī—with face downward; nṛpa—O Mahārāja Parīkṣit.
But Bali Mahārāja’s chaste wife, afraid and aggrieved at seeing her husband arrested, immediately offered obeisances to Lord Vāmanadeva [Upendra]. She folded her hands and spoke as follows.
Although Lord Brahmā was speaking, he had to stop for a while because Bali Mahārāja’s wife, Vindhyāvali, who was very agitated and afraid, wanted to say something.
śrī-vindhyāvalir uvāca
krīḍārtham ātmana idaṁ tri-jagat kṛtaṁ te
svāmyaṁ tu tatra kudhiyo ’para īśa kuryuḥ
kartuḥ prabhos tava kim asyata āvahanti
tyakta-hriyas tvad-avaropita-kartṛ-vādāḥ
śrī-vindhyāvaliḥ uvāca—Vindhyāvali, the wife of Bali Mahārāja, said; krīḍā-artham—for the sake of pastimes; ātmanaḥ—of Yourself; idam—this; tri-jagat—the three worlds (this universe); kṛtam—was created; te—by You; svāmyam—proprietorship; tu—but; tatra—thereon; kudhiyaḥ—foolish rascals; apare—others; īśa—O my Lord; kuryuḥ—have established; kartuḥ—for the supreme creator; prabhoḥ—for the supreme maintainer; tava—for Your good self; kim—what; asyataḥ—for the supreme annihilator; āvahanti—they can offer; tyakta-hriyaḥ—shameless, without intelligence; tvat—by You; avaropita—falsely imposed because of a poor fund of knowledge; kartṛ-vādāḥ—the proprietorship of such foolish agnostics.
Śrīmatī Vindhyāvali said: O my Lord, You have created the entire universe for the enjoyment of Your personal pastimes, but foolish, unintelligent men have claimed proprietorship for material enjoyment. Certainly they are shameless agnostics. Falsely claiming proprietorship, they think they can give charity and enjoy. In such a condition, what good can they do for You, who are the independent creator, maintainer and annihilator of this universe?
Bali Mahārāja’s wife, who was most intelligent, supported the arrest of her husband and accused him of having no intelligence because he had claimed proprietorship of the property of the Lord. Such a claim is a sign of demoniac life. Although the demigods, who are officials appointed by the Lord for management, are attached to materialistic enjoyment, they never claim to be proprietors of the universe, for they know that the actual proprietor of everything is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is the qualification of the demigods. But the demons, instead of accepting the exclusive proprietorship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, claim the property of the universe for themselves through demarcations of nationalism. “This part is mine, and that part is yours,” they say. “This part I can give in charity, and this part I can keep for my enjoyment.” These are all demoniac conceptions. This is described in Bhagavad-gītā (16.13): idam adya mayā labdham imaṁ prāpsye manoratham. “Thus far I have acquired so much money and land. Now I have to add more and more. In this way I shall be the greatest proprietor of everything. Who can compete with me?” These are all demoniac conceptions.
Bali Mahārāja’s wife accused Bali Mahārāja by saying that although the Supreme Personality of Godhead had arrested him, showing him extraordinary mercy, and although Bali Mahārāja was offering his body to the Supreme Lord for the Lord’s third step, he was still in the darkness of ignorance. Actually the body did not belong to him, but because of his long-standing demoniac mentality he could not understand this. He thought that since he had been defamed for his inability to fulfill his promise of charity, and since the body belonged to him, he would free himself from defamation by offering his body. Actually, however, the body does not belong to anyone but the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by whom the body is given. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (18.61):
The Lord is situated in the core of everyone’s heart, and, according to the material desires of the living entity, the Lord offers a particular type of machine—the body—through the agency of the material energy. The body actually does not belong to the living entity; it belongs to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Under the circumstances, how could Bali Mahārāja claim that the body belonged to him?
Thus Vindhyāvali, Bali Mahārāja’s intelligent wife, prayed that her husband be released, by the Lord’s causeless mercy. Otherwise, Bali Mahārāja was nothing but a shameless demon, specifically described as tyakta-hriyas tvad-avaropita-kartṛ-vādāḥ, a foolish person claiming proprietorship over the property of the Supreme Person. In the present age, Kali-yuga, the number of such shameless men, who are agnostics disbelieving in the existence of God, has increased. Trying to defy the authority of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, so-called scientists, philosophers and politicians manufacture plans and schemes for the destruction of the world. They cannot do anything good for the world, and unfortunately, because of Kali-yuga, they have plunged the affairs of the world into mismanagement. Thus there is a great need for the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement for the benefit of innocent people who are being carried away by propaganda of such demons. If the present status quo is allowed to continue, people will certainly suffer more and more under the leadership of these demoniac agnostics.
bhūta-bhāvana bhūteśa
deva-deva jaganmaya
muñcainaṁ hṛta-sarvasvaṁ
nāyam arhati nigraham
śrī-brahmā uvāca—Lord Brahmā said; bhūta-bhāvana—O Supreme Being, well-wisher of everyone, who can cause one to flourish; bhūta-īśa—O master of everyone; deva-deva—O worshipable Deity of the demigods; jagat-maya—O all-pervading one; muñca—please release; enam—this poor Bali Mahārāja; hṛta-sarvasvam—now bereft of everything; na—not; ayam—such a poor man; arhati—deserves; nigraham—punishment.
Lord Brahmā said: O well-wisher and master of all living entities, O worshipable Deity of all the demigods, O all-pervading Personality of Godhead, now this man has been sufficiently punished, for You have taken everything. Now You can release him. He does not deserve to be punished more.
When Lord Brahmā saw that Prahlāda Mahārāja and Vindhyāvali had already approached the Lord to ask mercy for Bali Mahārāja, he joined them and recommended Bali Mahārāja’s release on the grounds of worldly calculations.
kṛtsnā te ’nena dattā bhūr
lokāḥ karmārjitāś ca ye
niveditaṁ ca sarvasvam
ātmāviklavayā dhiyā
kṛtsnāḥ—all; te—unto You; anena—by Bali Mahārāja; dattāḥ—have been given or returned; bhūḥ lokāḥ—all land and all planets; karma-arjitāḥ ca—whatever he achieved by his pious activities; ye—all of which; niveditam ca—have been offered to You; sarvasvam—everything he possessed; ātmā—even his body; aviklavayā—without hesitation; dhiyā—by such intelligence.
Bali Mahārāja had already offered everything to Your Lordship. Without hesitation, he has offered his land, the planets and whatever else he earned by his pious activities, including even his own body.
yat-pādayor aśaṭha-dhīḥ salilaṁ pradāya
dūrvāṅkurair api vidhāya satīṁ saparyām
apy uttamāṁ gatim asau bhajate tri-lokīṁ
dāśvān aviklava-manāḥ katham ārtim ṛcchet
yat-pādayoḥ—at the lotus feet of Your Lordship; aśaṭha-dhīḥ—a great-minded person who is without duplicity; salilam—water; pradāya—offering; dūrvā—with fully grown grass; aṅkuraiḥ—and with buds of flowers; api—although; vidhāya—offering; satīm—most exalted; saparyām—with worship; api—although; uttamām—the most highly elevated; gatim—destination; asau—such a worshiper; bhajate—deserves; tri-lokīm—the three worlds; dāśvān—giving to You; aviklava-manāḥ—without mental duplicity; katham—how; ārtim—the distressed condition of being arrested; ṛcchet—he deserves.
By offering even water, newly grown grass, or flower buds at Your lotus feet, those who maintain no mental duplicity can achieve the most exalted position within the spiritual world. This Bali Mahārāja, without duplicity, has now offered everything in the three worlds. How then can he deserve to suffer from arrest?
In Bhagavad-gītā (9.26) it is stated:
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is so kind that if an unsophisticated person, with devotion and without duplicity, offers at the lotus feet of the Lord a little water, a flower, a fruit or a leaf, the Lord accepts it. Then the devotee is promoted to Vaikuṇṭha, the spiritual world. Brahmā drew the Lord’s attention to this subject and requested that He release Bali Mahārāja, who was suffering, being bound by the ropes of Varuṇa, and who had already given everything, including the three worlds and whatever he possessed.
śrī-bhagavān uvāca
brahman yam anugṛhṇāmi
tad-viśo vidhunomy aham
yan-madaḥ puruṣaḥ stabdho
lokaṁ māṁ cāvamanyate
śrī-bhagavān uvāca—the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; brahman—O Lord Brahmā; yam—unto anyone to whom; anugṛhṇāmi—I show My mercy; tat—his; viśaḥ—material opulence or riches; vidhunomi—take away; aham—I; yat-madaḥ—having false prestige due to this money; puruṣaḥ—such a person; stabdhaḥ—being dull-minded; lokam—the three worlds; mām ca—unto Me also; avamanyate—derides.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Lord Brahmā, because of material opulence a foolish person becomes dull-witted and mad. Thus he has no respect for anyone within the three worlds and defies even My authority. To such a person I show special favor by first taking away all his possessions.
A civilization that has become godless because of material advancement in opulence is extremely dangerous. Because of great opulence, a materialist becomes so proud that he has no regard for anyone and even refuses to accept the authority of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The result of such a mentality is certainly very dangerous. To show special favor, the Lord sometimes makes an example of someone like Bali Mahārāja, who was now bereft of all his possessions.
yadā kadācij jīvātmā
saṁsaran nija-karmabhiḥ
nānā-yoniṣv anīśo ’yaṁ
pauruṣīṁ gatim āvrajet
yadā—when; kadācit—sometimes; jīva-ātmā—the living entity; saṁsaran—rotating in the cycle of birth and death; nija-karmabhiḥ—because of his own fruitive activities; nānā-yoniṣu—in different species of life; anīśaḥ—not independent (completely under the control of material nature); ayam—this living entity; pauruṣīm gatim—the situation of being human; āvrajet—wants to obtain.
While rotating in the cycle of birth and death again and again in different species because of his own fruitive activities, the dependent living entity, by good fortune, may happen to become a human being. This human birth is very rarely obtained.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is fully independent. Thus it is not always a fact that a living being’s loss of all opulence is a sign of the Supreme Lord’s mercy upon him. The Lord can act any way He likes. He may take away one’s opulence, or He may not. There are varieties of forms of life, and the Lord treats them according to the circumstances, as He chooses. Generally it is to be understood that the human form of life is one of great responsibility.
“The living entity in material nature follows the ways of life, enjoying the three modes of nature. This is due to his association with that material nature. Thus he meets with good and evil amongst various species.” (Bg. 13.22) After thus rotating through many, many forms of life in the cycle of birth and death, the living being gets a chance for a human form. Therefore every human being, especially one belonging to a civilized nation or culture, must be extremely responsible in his activities. He should not risk degradation in the next life. Because the body will change (tathā dehāntara-prāptir), we should be extremely careful. To see to the proper use of life is the purpose of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The foolish living entity declares freedom from all control, but factually he is not free; he is fully under the control of material nature. He must therefore be most careful and responsible in the activities of his life.
yady asya na bhavet stambhas
tatrāyaṁ mad-anugrahaḥ
janma—by birth in an aristocratic family; karma—by wonderful activities, pious activities; vayaḥ—by age, especially youth, when one is capable of doing many things; rūpa—by personal beauty, which attracts everyone; vidyā—by education; aiśvarya—by opulence; dhana—by wealth; ādibhiḥ—by other opulences also; yadi—if; asya—of the possessor; na—not; bhavet—there is; stambhaḥ—pride; tatra—in such a condition; ayam—a person; mat-anugrahaḥ—should be considered to have received My special mercy.
If a human being is born in an aristocratic family or a higher status of life, if he performs wonderful activities, if he is youthful, if he has personal beauty, a good education and good wealth, and if he is nonetheless not proud of his opulences, it is to be understood that he is especially favored by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
When in spite of possessing all these opulences a person is not proud, this means that he is fully aware that all his opulences are due to the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He therefore engages all his possessions in the service of the Lord. A devotee knows very well that everything, even his body, belongs to the Supreme Lord. If one lives perfectly in such Kṛṣṇa consciousness, it is to be understood that he is especially favored by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The conclusion is that one’s being deprived of his wealth is not to be considered the special mercy of the Lord. If one continues in his opulent position but does not become unnecessarily proud, falsely thinking that he is the proprietor of everything, this is the Lord’s special mercy.
janmādīnāṁ samantataḥ
hanta muhyen na mat-paraḥ
māna—of false prestige; stambha—because of this impudence; nimittānām—which are the causes; janma-ādīnām—such as birth in a high family; samantataḥ—taken together; sarva-śreyaḥ—for the supreme benefit of life; pratīpānām—which are impediments; hanta—also; muhyet—becomes bewildered; na—not; mat-paraḥ—My pure devotee.
Although aristocratic birth and other such opulences are impediments to advancement in devotional service because they are causes of false prestige and pride, these opulences never disturb a pure devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Devotees like Dhruva Mahārāja, who was given unlimited material opulence, have the special mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Once Kuvera wanted to give Dhruva Mahārāja a benediction, but although Dhruva Mahārāja could have asked him for any amount of material opulence, he instead begged Kuvera that he might continue his devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When a devotee is fixed in his devotional service, there is no need for the Lord to deprive him of his material opulences. The Supreme Personality of Godhead never takes away material opulences achieved because of devotional service, although He sometimes takes away opulences achieved by pious activities. He does this to make a devotee prideless or put him in a better position in devotional service. If a special devotee is meant for preaching but does not give up his family life or material opulences to take to the service of the Lord, the Lord surely takes away his material opulences and establishes him in devotional service. Thus the pure devotee becomes fully engaged in propagating Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
eṣa dānava-daityānām
agranīḥ kīrti-vardhanaḥ
ajaiṣīd ajayāṁ māyāṁ
sīdann api na muhyati
eṣaḥ—this Bali Mahārāja; dānava-daityānām—among the demons and unbelievers; agranīḥ—the foremost devotee; kīrti-vardhanaḥ—the most famous; ajaiṣīt—has already surpassed; ajayām—the insurmountable; māyām—material energy; sīdan—being bereft (of all material opulences); api—although; na—not; muhyati—is bewildered.
Bali Mahārāja has become the most famous among the demons and nonbelievers, for in spite of being bereft of all material opulences, he is fixed in his devotional service.
In this verse, the words sīdann api na muhyati are very important. A devotee is sometimes put into adversity while executing devotional service. In adversity, everyone laments and becomes aggrieved, but by the grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, a devotee, even in the worst condition, can understand that he is going through a severe examination by the Personality of Godhead. Bali Mahārāja passed all such examinations, as explained in the following verses.
TEXTS 29–30
kṣīṇa-rikthaś cyutaḥ sthānāt
kṣipto baddhaś ca śatrubhiḥ
jñātibhiś ca parityakto
yātanām anuyāpitaḥ
guruṇā bhartsitaḥ śapto
jahau satyaṁ na suvrataḥ
chalair ukto mayā dharmo
nāyaṁ tyajati satya-vāk
kṣīṇa-rikthaḥ—although bereft of all riches; cyutaḥ—fallen; sthānāt—from his superior position; kṣiptaḥ—forcefully thrown away; baddhaḥ ca—and forcefully bound; śatrubhiḥ—by his enemies; jñātibhiḥ ca—and by his family members or relatives; parityaktaḥ—deserted; yātanām—all kinds of suffering; anuyāpitaḥ—unusually severely suffered; guruṇā—by his spiritual master; bhartsitaḥ—rebuked; śaptaḥ—and cursed; jahau—gave up; satyam—truthfulness; na—not; su-vrataḥ—being fixed in his vow; chalaiḥ—pretentiously; uktaḥ—spoken; mayā—by Me; dharmaḥ—the religious principles; na—not; ayam—this Bali Mahārāja; tyajati—does give up; satya-vāk—being true to his word.
Although bereft of his riches, fallen from his original position, defeated and arrested by his enemies, rebuked and deserted by his relatives and friends, although suffering the pain of being bound and although rebuked and cursed by his spiritual master, Bali Mahārāja, being fixed in his vow, did not give up his truthfulness. It was certainly with pretension that I spoke about religious principles, but he did not give up religious principles, for he is true to his word.
Bali Mahārāja passed the severe test put before him by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is further proof of the Lord’s mercy toward His devotee. The Supreme Personality of Godhead sometimes puts a devotee to severe tests that are almost unbearable. One could hardly even live under the conditions forced upon Bali Mahārāja. That Bali Mahārāja endured all these severe tests and austerities is the mercy of the Supreme Lord. The Lord certainly appreciates the devotee’s forbearance, and it is recorded for the future glorification of the devotee. This was not an ordinary test. As described in this verse, hardly anyone could survive such a test, but for the future glorification of Bali Mahārāja, one of the mahājanas, the Supreme Personality of Godhead not only tested him but also gave him the strength to tolerate such adversity. The Lord is so kind to His devotee that when severely testing him the Lord gives him the necessary strength to be tolerant and continue to remain a glorious devotee.
eṣa me prāpitaḥ sthānaṁ
duṣprāpam amarair api
sāvarṇer antarasyāyaṁ
bhavitendro mad-āśrayaḥ
eṣaḥBali Mahārāja; me—by Me; prāpitaḥ—has achieved; sthānam—a place; duṣprāpam—extremely difficult to obtain; amaraiḥ api—even by the demigods; sāvarṇeḥ antarasya—during the period of the Manu known as Sāvarṇi; ayam—this Bali Mahārāja; bhavitā—will become; indraḥ—the lord of the heavenly planet; mat-āśrayaḥ—completely under My protection.
The Lord continued: Because of his great tolerance, I have given him a place not obtainable even by the demigods. He will become King of the heavenly planets during the period of the Manu known as Sāvarṇi.
This is the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Even if the Lord takes away a devotee’s material opulences, the Lord immediately offers him a position of which the demigods cannot even dream. There are many examples of this in the history of devotional service. One of them is the opulence of Sudāmā Vipra. Sudāmā Vipra suffered severe material scarcity, but he was not disturbed and did not deviate from devotional service. Thus he was ultimately given an exalted position by the mercy of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Here the word mad-āśrayaḥ is very significant. Because the Lord wanted to give Bali Mahārāja the exalted position of Indra, the demigods might naturally have been envious of him and might have fought to disturb his position. But the Supreme Personality of Godhead assured Bali Mahārāja that he would always remain under the Lord’s protection (mad-āśrayaḥ).
tāvat sutalam adhyāstāṁ
yad ādhayo vyādhayaś ca
klamas tandrā parābhavaḥ
nopasargā nivasatāṁ
sambhavanti mamekṣayā
tāvat—as long as you are not in the post of Lord Indra; sutalam—in the planet known as Sutala; adhyāstām—go live there and occupy the place; viśvakarma-vinirmitam—which is especially created by Viśvakarmā; yat—wherein; ādhayaḥ—miseries pertaining to the mind; vyādhayaḥ—miseries pertaining to the body; ca—also; klamaḥ—fatigue; tandrā—dizziness or laziness; parābhavaḥ—becoming defeated; na—not; upasargāḥ—symptoms of other disturbances; nivasatām—of those who live there; sambhavanti—become possible; mama—of Me; īkṣayā—by the special vigilance.
Until Bali Mahārāja achieves the position of King of heaven, he shall live on the planet Sutala, which was made by Viśvakarmā according to My order. Because it is especially protected by Me, it is free from mental and bodily miseries, fatigue, dizziness, defeat and all other disturbances. Bali Mahārāja, you may now go live there peacefully.
Viśvakarmā is the engineer or architect for the palatial buildings in the heavenly planets. Therefore, since he was engaged to construct the residential quarters of Bali Mahārāja, the buildings and palaces on the planet Sutala must at least equal those on the heavenly planets. A further advantage of this place designed for Bali Mahārāja was that he would not be disturbed by any outward calamity. Moreover, he would not be disturbed by mental or bodily miseries. These are all extraordinary features of the planet Sutala, where Bali Mahārāja would live.
In the Vedic literatures we find descriptions of many different planets where there are many, many palaces, hundreds and thousands of times better than those of which we have experience on this planet earth. When we speak of palaces, this naturally includes the idea of great cities and towns. Unfortunately, when modern scientists try to explore other planets they see nothing but rocks and sand. Of course, they may go on their frivolous excursions, but the students of the Vedic literature will never believe them or give them any credit for exploring other planets.
indrasena mahārāja
yāhi bho bhadram astu te
sutalaṁ svargibhiḥ prārthyaṁ
jñātibhiḥ parivāritaḥ
indrasena—O Mahārāja Bali; mahārāja—O King; yāhi—better go; bhoḥ—O King; bhadram—all auspiciousness; astu—let there be; te—unto you; sutalam—in the planet known as Sutala; svargibhiḥ—by the demigods; prārthyam—desirable; jñātibhiḥ—by your family members; parivāritaḥ—surrounded.
O Bali Mahārāja [Indrasena], now you may go to the planet Sutala, which is desired even by the demigods. Live there peacefully, surrounded by your friends and relatives. All good fortune unto you.
Bali Mahārāja was transferred from the heavenly planet to the planet Sutala, which is hundreds of times better than heaven, as indicated by the words svargibhiḥ prārthyam. When the Supreme Personality of Godhead deprives His devotee of material opulences, this does not mean that the Lord puts him into poverty; rather, the Lord promotes him to a higher position. The Supreme Personality of Godhead did not ask Bali Mahārāja to separate from his family; instead, the Lord allowed him to stay with his family members (jñātibhiḥ parivāritaḥ).
na tvām abhibhaviṣyanti
lokeśāḥ kim utāpare
tvac-chāsanātigān daityāṁś
cakraṁ me sūdayiṣyati
na—not; tvām—unto you; abhibhaviṣyanti—will be able to conquer; loka-īśāḥ—the predominating deities of the various planets; kim uta apare—what to speak of ordinary people; tvat-śāsana-atigān—who transgress your rulings; daityān—such demons; cakram—disc; me—My; sūdayiṣyati—will kill.
On the planet Sutala, not even the predominating deities of other planets, what to speak of ordinary people, will be able to conquer you. As far as the demons are concerned, if they transgress your rule, My disc will kill them.
rakṣiṣye sarvato ’haṁ tvāṁ
sānugaṁ saparicchadam
sadā sannihitaṁ vīra
tatra māṁ drakṣyate bhavān
rakṣiṣye—shall protect; sarvataḥ—in all respects; aham—I; tvām—you; sa-anugam—with your associates; sa-paricchadam—with your paraphernalia; sadā—always; sannihitam—situated nearby; vīra—O great hero; tatra—there, in your place; mām—Me; drakṣyate—will be able to see; bhavān—you.
O great hero, I shall always be with you and give you protection in all respects along with your associates and paraphernalia. Moreover, you will always be able to see Me there.
tatra dānava-daityānāṁ
saṅgāt te bhāva āsuraḥ
dṛṣṭvā mad-anubhāvaṁ vai
sadyaḥ kuṇṭho vinaṅkṣyati
tatra—in that place; dānava-daityānām—of the demons and the Dānavas; saṅgāt—because of the association; te—your; bhāvaḥ—mentality; āsuraḥ—demoniac; dṛṣṭvā—by observing; mat-anubhāvam—My superexcellent power; vai—indeed; sadyaḥ—immediately; kuṇṭhaḥ—anxiety; vinaṅkṣyati—will be destroyed.
Because there you will see My supreme prowess, your materialistic ideas and anxieties that have arisen from your association with the demons and Dānavas will immediately be vanquished.
The Lord assured Bali Mahārāja of all protection, and finally the Lord assured him of protection from the effects of bad association with the demons. Bali Mahārāja certainly became an exalted devotee, but he was somewhat anxious because his association was not purely devotional. The Supreme Personality of Godhead therefore assured him that his demoniac mentality would be annihilated. In other words, by the association of devotees, the demoniac mentality is vanquished.
satāṁ prasaṅgān mama vīrya-saṁvido
bhavanti hṛt-karṇa-rasāyanāḥ kathāḥ
(Bhāg. 3.25.25)
When a demon associates with devotees engaged in glorifying the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he gradually becomes a pure devotee.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Eighth Canto, Twenty-second Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “Bali Mahārāja Surrenders His Life.”

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