aho praṇāmāya kṛtaḥ samudyamaḥ
yal loka-pālais tvad-anugraho ’marair
alabdha-pūrvo ’pasade ’sure ’rpitaḥ
śrī-baliḥ uvāca—Bali Mahārāja said; aho—alas; praṇāmāya—to offer my respectful obeisances; kṛtaḥ—I did; samudyamaḥ—only an endeavor; prapanna-bhakta-artha-vidhau—in the regulative principles observed by pure devotees; samāhitaḥ—is capable; yat—that; loka-pālaiḥ—by the leaders of various planets; tvat-anugrahaḥ—Your causeless mercy; amaraiḥ—by the demigods; alabdha-pūrvaḥ—not achieved previously; apasade—unto a fallen person like me; asure—belonging to the asura community; arpitaḥ—endowed.
Bali Mahārāja 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 Vāmanadeva appeared before Bali Mahārāja, Bali Mahārāja immediately wanted to offer Him respectful obeisances, but he was unable to do so because of the presence of Śukrācārya and other demoniac associates. The Lord is so merciful, however, that although Bali Mahārāja 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-gītā (2.40), svalpam apy asya dharmasya trāyate mahato bhayāt: “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 bhāva-grāhī janārdana 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 bhāva-grāhī janārdana because He takes the essence of one’s devotional mentality.
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