aho pranamaya krtah samudyamah
yal loka-palais tvad-anugraho ’marair
alabdha-purvo ’pasade ’sure ’rpitah
sri-balih uvaca—Bali Maharaja said; aho—alas; pranamaya—to offer my respectful obeisances; krtah—I did; samudyamah—only an endeavor; prapanna-bhakta-artha-vidhau—in the regulative principles observed by pure devotees; samahitah—is capable; yat—that; loka-palaih—by the leaders of various planets; tvat-anugrahah—Your causeless mercy; amaraih—by the demigods; alabdha-purvah—not achieved previously; apasade—unto a fallen person like me; asure—belonging to the asura community; arpitah—endowed.
Bali Maharaja said: What a wonderful effect there is in even attempting to offer respectful obeisances to You! I merely endeavored to offer You obeisances, but nonetheless the attempt was as successful as those of pure devotees. The causeless mercy You have shown to me, a fallen demon, was never achieved even by the demigods or the leaders of the various planets.
When Vamanadeva appeared before Bali Maharaja, Bali Maharaja immediately wanted to offer Him respectful obeisances, but he was unable to do so because of the presence of Sukracarya and other demoniac associates. The Lord is so merciful, however, that although Bali Maharaja did not actually offer obeisances but only endeavored to do so within his mind, the Supreme Personality of Godhead blessed him with more mercy than even the demigods could ever expect. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (2.40), svalpam apy asya dharmasya trayate mahato bhayat: “Even a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.” The Supreme Personality of Godhead is known as bhava-grahi janardana because He takes only the essence of a devotee’s attitude. If a devotee sincerely surrenders, the Lord, as the Supersoul in everyone’s heart, immediately understands this. Thus even though, externally, a devotee may not render full service, if he is internally sincere and serious the Lord welcomes his service nonetheless. Thus the Lord is known as bhava-grahi janardana because He takes the essence of one’s devotional mentality.
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