Vishnu: Vamana and Parasurama

5.Vamana (the Dwarf)- 5th stage of sadhana:

The Demon King Bali became so powerful that he conquered all the planets and forced Indra the king of heaven out of his heavenly kingdom. The Devas prayed to Vishnu for help and to save them, Vishnu incarnated as a beautiful dwarf Vamana.

One day he came to the court of King Bali dressed as a Brahmana. It is customary for a king to give charity to a Brahmana. So Bali offered Vamana “whatever you want you can have “.

Vamana replied ” I don´t want anything, just a piece of land as measured by my three steps, that will satisfy me”. “But, I can give you a whole island”, urged Bali, “whoever takes charity from me should never have to ask for anything ever again.

Please take as much as you want”. “If I were not satisfied with just three paces of land”, responded Vamana, “I would not be satisfied with even the entire universe, If I got one island, I would want others.

It is better to be satisfied with whatever destiny brings for discontent can never bring happiness.”

When Bali´s guru heard Vamana´s words, he urgently warned Bali not to grant Vamana´s request as this was Vishnu himself in disguise. However, Bali could not go back on his word saying “how can I behave like an ordinary cheater, I have given my word and there is nothing worse than untruthfulness. Then turning to Vamana, he said “very well please take three steps of land”.

Suddenly Vamana began to grow in size. He grew and grew until he filled the entire universe. Everything was within his form – the earth, the sea, the birds, beast, human beings and the planets.

His feet were the surface of the earth, his breath was the wind, his hair was the clouds and his eyes were the sun. The lower planets were on the soles of his feet and the heavenly planets on his head. Then he took three steps.

With his first step, he covered the entire surface of the earth, with his second step he covered all the planets of heaven and his toe pierced the covering at the edge of the universe causing some of the surrounding waters of creation to pour in from outside leaving nowhere for his third step. “You promised me three steps”, he said to Bali, “I have covered everything in two. Now you must think about where I should put my third step.” Bali said “Please Lord, put your third footstep on my head.”

5th Stage of Sadhana – This stage is more of a reminder and warning to the devotee. Until and Unless he has overcome his pride and spiritual arrogance, he is caught by a great fall when he least expects it. The seekers must always be humble and continue to self-analyse and obey the Lord.

6. Parusurama – the warrior:

The world was once over-burdened with soldiers and kings who were always fighting one and another and creating disturbances, Vishnu incarnated as Parasurama to kill these fighting men. He killed the entire kshatriya (warrior) race armed with nothing more than an axe. Then he renounced fighting and went to the Himalayas to perform penance.

6th Stage of sadhana- Truly humble and sincere though a devotee may be, in the final stages of his spiritual journey, the seeker has to give battle to a horde of Rajasic traits. These elements to conquered include attachment, pride, lust, greed, anger, envy.