Vaman lila


Lord's Vaman lila is celebrated three times a year.
1) Vaman Dwadashi - to mark the birth of Lord in his incarnation as Vaman (just before festival of Sanji)
2) Bali Prati-Pada - when Lord Vaman asks Bali Raja for "3 steps" and takes over his entire kingdom (sart of the Indian summer)
3) Prabodhini Ekadashi - when Lord Vaman emerges from the nether regions to resume his place in Vaikuntha (11 days after Divali)


Five lessons of Vaman vrutanta

1) No one can resist time – kala.
Not even a "guru". 

2) If you defend Dharma, Dharma will protect you.

3) Is your devotion to the Lord earnest ?

4) Be careful what you ask for, there is no such thing as a free lunch !
Rules of Karma even affect God Himself ! 

5) Even Charity / helping others can land you in trouble !!

 1) No one can stop TIME !

At a time when gurus had / have become synonymous with God and are seen to be even more powerful than God, it is important to remember what happened to Shukracharya during the Vaman lila of the Lord.

Shukracharya decided to intervene and stop the Lord from doing what He had already decided to do.  Kala, once it has decided to engage in an action, it is impossible to stop it.  The Lord told Arjun the same thing in S.M.B. Gita.  The Kala, once set on course, will achieve his aim and no one can stand in the path !  It is best to assist Kala, rather than resist it.

Shukracharya tried to resist not only Kala, but God Himself !  Thinking himself to be greater than God, he tried to stop Shri Vaman from completing His mission.  Not only did Shukacharya loose his eye, he lost his disciple.   In his anger, he cursed Bali to loose all he had.  He merely confirmed what the Lord had already planned.  Shukracharya simply acted as a conduit for the Lord’s will !

2) Dharmo Rakshati Rakshati :-

The Vaman charitra also tells us how sometimes, though you loose all, you win, and sometimes, though you win, you loose !

To preserve his dharma, Bali lost all that he had.
Dharma preserved him, as he has preserved Dharma.

Not only did he win the protection of the universal Lord, he is preserved in a luxurious kingdom till this cycle of time is complete and will be given the kingdom of heaven in the next eon. 

The Lord, to preserve the order of the universe, did great adharma, he robbed his donor of all he had ! 
Though the Lord achieved His aim, He lost.

Not only does He have to preserve Bali in this eon, He has to grant him eternally long life, preserve him during the maha-pralaya and gift him the kingdom of Heaven in the next eon !!

Having lost all, Bali did not loose his composure and as a result, he won.
Having won everything, the Lord has to repay many fold what He took and is set to guard Bali for a long, long time.

3) How “real is your “devotion” ?

Bali, thanks to his guru, knew the Lord had come to deprive him of all he had.  Yet, as a donor / king / a man engaged in a Yagna, he did what he had to – give a yachak his due. 

If a man approaches a king for protection, and gets nothing, the kingdom will suffer for sure ! 
As a donor, if he fails to give alms to the needy, his fame will suffer for sure ! 
As a man engaged in a yagna, if he fails to honour a Brahmin seeking alms, his yagna will suffer for sure. 
To preserve his various dharmas, Bali was willing to sacrifice himself.  His devotion to his duty was absolute.

Upon being told of the divine plan, Bali bowed low and thanked his guru for trusting him with the secretes of the divine.   “I have offered all I have to the Lord, time and again.  If He has come to ask for it in person, what greater joy can I have than to give it to Him !  It is His after all !!”

We all offer ourselves to God, Guru, wife, kids, parents, employer, country etc.  But, these are empty offerings !  When the crunch time come, will we be willing to actually, really offer ourselves ?  How much of “ourselves” do we offer to anyone ?  Only as much as we can  without too much loose to ourselves !  Even with God, we begrudge the 5 -10 minutes we do seva / puja / japa.  We can watch TV / films for hours and not feel the strain of it, but, if we have to sit for meditation/ religious ceremony / katha / spiritual lecture, we start to complain after 15 minutes !

Bali’s offering was real and absolute.  His “atma-nivedan” (offering of his very soul to the Lord) meant something concrete and real to him.   When the time came, he willingly, happily gave all he had to the Lord !

 4) Rules of Karma affect us all – equally !

Having asked for land large enough to carry out His religious observances (to be covered by 3 strides) the Lord assumed a universal form and took over everything Bali owned in just 2 strides !!  The king, crest fallen, had nothing more to give.  The Lord threatened him with dire consequences if he did not comply with this promise.  As saha-dharma-charini, Bali’s queen stepped in to help and suggested that Bali should offer his own self for the third step – surely, the ego / mind is greater than all that "it" owns !  The Lord, pleased with the reply, placed His foot on Bali’s head and thrust him into the nether regions, placing him in a kingdom specially created for him.

God, having deprived Bali of all he had, by stealth, has to repay him – many fold !

Rules of Karma are such that even God cannot escape them !

Ofcourse, if God so chooses, He can ignore the rules of Karma, but, to keep balance in the universe, the Lord obeys the rules He has made – as stated in SMB Gita, the Lord Himself voluntarily obeys these rules, so that others in the universe are not tempted to break them in imitation of His actions.

Besides, there is no such thing as a “free lunch”.  What ever you get, you have to pay for it – in some form or the other.  It is the eternal rule of Karma ! 

So, be-careful what you ask for, you might just get it !
But than, be ready and willing to pay for it too !!

5) Even Charity / helping others can land you in trouble !! God had no personal stake in this, but he did it for the benefit of Indra.  This was an act of "charity" - and yet, the laws of karma still bound the Lord to Bali ! 

Even for charity, know your karmic load, because there is no escaping it. 
Lord, through his action, teaches us that even charity should be done with an open eye on Karma and how it will affect us.
So don't ask for charity from others unless you are aware of the risks to your karmic bonds and damage to your fame.


Video of Vaman Dwadashi -

Rajbhog on Vaman Dwadashi -

Two articles on Vaman bhagwan in Gujarati - by Goswami Ghanshyamji and Kaminiben.

An article on Vaman > Virat


Bhagwat Shah

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