Bali Chakravarthy was a very powerful demon (daithya) king. He was the most famous king and there was peace and prosperity in his Kingdom. He became so powerful that the entire world was under his control. He then attacked Indra and pushed him out and occupied Indraloka (Heaven ruled by demi gods).
Bali Chakravarthy wanted to have the seat of Indra (Indra Padavi) permanently. As per his guru Shukracharya’s advice he started performing Ashwamedha Yaaga. He completed 99 Ashwamedha Yaagas. If he completes the 100th he will be eligible for the post of Indra.
Indra sought the help of Sri Mahavishnu to avoid him being dethroned by King Bali. Aditi, the mother of Indra, also performed Tapas to get back her son’s lost glory.
Lord Vishnu assured that he himself will come to rescue of Indra. For this divine mission, Lord Vishnu was born as Vamana, the dwarf. In this incarnation Vishnu was the son of Aditi.
Lord Vishnu grew up fast and got his upanayanam done and went to King Bali, where he was conducting the 100th Ashwamedha Yaaga.
On seeing the handsome face of Vamana in the Yaaga, Bali Chakravarthy came to Vamana and did Shastanga namaskara and prayed him to take some “daana” (gift) from him. He also told him that whatever Vamana demands, he will give.
He asked him whether Vamana would like to have land, elephants, horses, jewels, etc. For everything Vamana said “NO”.
Vamana also praised Bali Chakravarthi for his just rule and reminded him that his great grand father Prahlada was a great Vishnu bhakta, and also praised Hiranyakashipu-Hiranyaksha about their power and determination.
Finally Vamana demanded just three steps of land and He said He would like to measure it all by himself.
Vamana said he was satisfied with the three steps of land.
By that time, Bali Chakravarthi’s Guru Shukracharyaru realized that the little Brahmin is Vishnu. He told
Bali not to give the daana, as the gods had sent Vishnu to take away everything he has. Bali refused to hear his advice and said what more glory can I get than fulfilling Daana Dharma demanded Sri Hari Vishnu.
An angry Guru Shukracharya cursed him to lose everything.
Soon Bali Chakravarthi did the sankalpa and agreed to the three steps of land as asked by Vamana.
Soon, the short roopa of Vamana grew in size – so huge that it was impossible to describe in words – to be called as Trivikrama roopa.
With his first step, Vamana covered all of Earth. His second step covered all of the Sky. There was no place for the third step and King Bali offered his head.
Bali to Patalaloka or Underworld.
He was also given the boon that he will be allowed to rule the entire universe for one day in a year and on that day he can visit the earth, which is the Balipadyami day – the Kaarthika Shudda Padya.
(This is an edited version of an article contributed by Narahari Sumadhwa.)