Srila Prabhupada lecture on Vamanadeva, The 15th Incarnation, Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.19, September 24, 1972, Los Angeles
Prabhupāda: (Govindam prayers playing, sings along) (leads singing of Jaya Rādhā-Mādhava) (prema-dhvani) Thank you very much.
Devotees: All glories to Śrīla Prabhupāda. (obeisances) (break)
Pradyumna: Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya.
Canto One, Chapter 3, text number 19. (leads chanting of verse) (Prabhupāda and devotees repeat)
- pañcadaśaṁ vāmanakaṁ
- kṛtvāgād adhvaraṁ baleḥ
- pada-trayaṁ yācamānaḥ
- pratyāditsus tri-piṣṭapam
- (SB 1.3.19)
Prabhupāda: Ladies. Ladies. (ladies chant) That’s all right. Word meaning.
pañcadaśam—the fifteenth in the line; vāmanakam—the dwarf brāhmin; kṛtvā—by assumption of; agāt—went; adhvaram—arena of sacrifice; baleḥ—of King Bali; pada–trayam—three steps only; yācamānaḥ—begging; pratyāditsuḥ—willing at heart to return; tri-piṣṭapam—the kingdom of the three planetary systems.
Translation: “In the fifteenth incarnation, the Lord assumed the form of a dwarf brāhmin, Vāmana, and visited the arena of sacrifice arranged by Mahārāja Bali. Although at heart He was willing to regain the kingdom of the three planetary systems, He simply asked for a donation of three steps of land.”
Prabhupāda: Hmm. So Vāmanadeva . . .
- chalayasi vikramaṇe balim adbhuta-vāmana
- keśava dhṛta-vāmana-śarīra jaya jagadīśa hare
- (Daśāvatāra Stotra 5)
So Bali Mahārāja, he was the grandson of Prahlāda Mahārāja. They were in the demon’s family. But in the demon’s family also, there is sometimes Prahlāda Mahārāja, Bali Mahārāja. Prahlāda and Bali, they are our ācāryas. There are twelve bona fide ācāryas. Balir vaiyāsakir vayam. The ācāryas are mentioned, dvādaśa-mahājanāḥ. Svayambhū. Svayambhū means Lord Brahmā.
(aside) Don’t make sound.
Svayambhū, Nārada. Nārada is also one of the authorities. They have been accepted at authority for understanding religious principles. Religious principle is not to be understood by . . . from a rascal, no, that anyone comes and says religious topics. No. We have to receive it from the authority.
So Bali Mahārāja is one of the authority. Out of the twelve authorities, first is Lord Brahmā; the next, Nārada; the next, Lord Śiva; then next, the Kumāras; then Kapiladeva; then Manu, Vaivasvata Manu; then Prahlāda Mahārāja; then Janaka Mahārāja, then Bhīṣmadeva; then Bali Mahārāja; then Śukadeva Gosvāmī; and then Yamarāja. It is stated in the śāstra that mahājano yena gataḥ panthāḥ (CC Madhya 17.186).
You cannot understand transcendental subject matter simply by dry speculation and argument. You cannot understand. Neither by reading Vedic literature. The conclusion is that you have to follow those who are authorities. Mahājano yena . . . dharmasya tattvaṁ nihitaṁ guhāyāṁ mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ (CC Madhya 17.186). Guhā. Guhā means the cave, mountain cave, and guhā means the heart. So suppose something is very valuable is there in the cave of the mountain, and you do not know how to search it out. But if you know somebody who knows it, if you follow him, that “He is going there, so I may also follow . . .”
So religious principles cannot be manufactured, neither it can be made by speculation. So actually, there cannot be many religion. The rascal theory that, “There are as many religious system as I can believe. You believe something, that’s all right. I believe something, that’s all right. He believes something, that’s all right,” no. It is not like that. Then everyone will believe like any nonsense thing, that becomes religion? No. Religion means dharmaṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītam (SB 6.3.19). Religion means the codes, the laws, given by God. That is religion.
Man cannot manufacture. I have several times explained. Just like law, state law. The state law can be given by the government. You cannot manufacture law. Nobody will care for your law. The state law is that “You must keep right your car. As soon as there is red light, you must stop.” If you violate, you will be punished, although it is very simple thing. Similarly, religion means the law of God. You cannot violate it. If you violate, then you will be punished. If you think that “This religious system is very stiff. Let me manufacture my own religion,” so that kind of religion is not accepted by the Vedic culture.
And when actually the real religion is violated . . . yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānir bhavati . . . (BG 4.7). Glāniḥ means violation. Tadātmānaṁ sṛjāmy aham. At that time the Supreme Lord or His representative comes to establish real religion. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā: dharma-saṁsthāpanārthāya sambhavāmi yuge yuge (BG 4.8). Dharma-saṁsthā . . . real religious principle. Real religious principle means to abide by the laws of the Supreme Lord, God. But they do not believe in God. Everyone is God. I am God, you are God, he is God, everyone is God. So whatever law you give yourself, that becomes your religion. This is going on.
So God is not so cheap that you become God, I become God, he becomes God. The śāstra says, kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam (SB 1.3.28). Īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ. God is Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Lord, the original God. Īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ sac-cid-ānanda (Bs. 5.1). God, Kṛṣṇa, also says in the Bhagavad-gītā, mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat (BG 7.7): “There is no superior authority than Me.”
The Vedānta-sūtra also says, janmādy asya yataḥ (SB 1.1.1): the original source of everything. Who is that original source? God. Who is that God? Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa says, ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate (BG 10.8): “I am the origin of everything.” Iti matvā bhajante māṁ budhā bhāva-samanvitāḥ. “Those who are budha . . .” Budha means one who knows, one who is in the knowledge. Bhāva-samanvitāḥ. Bhāva-samanvitāḥ, knowing everything in ecstasy, “Oh, here is God.” Budhā bhāva-samanvitāḥ.
- ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo
- mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate
- iti matvā bhajante māṁ
- budhā bhāva-samanvitāḥ
- (BG 10.8)
So everything is there. God is there. His name is there. His address is there. His law is there. Everything is there. But the rascals will not accept it. That is the position. Therefore we have to follow the mahājana. So Bali Mahārāja is one of the mahājana. How he became mahājana? Because he’s surrendering fully unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, this Vāmanadeva, incarnation of . . . keśava dhṛta-vāmana-rūpa.
So the incident is that Bali Mahārāja was very powerful, and he conquered the whole universe, even the demigods, all. So Viṣṇu is always in favor of the demigods because demigods, they are also devotees. The difference between sura and asura . . . asura means envious of the demigods. That is called asura. Sura-dviṣa. The another name of the asura, “Those who are envious of devotees.” That is only business.
There are two classes of men are always there. Sometimes one class is more in number, and other class is more in number. That is . . . but two classes. Dvau bhūta-sargau loke (BG 16.6). There are two classes of men, living entities. Daiva āsura eva ca. One is called daiva, demigods, and the other is called āsura.” So who is daiva? Viṣṇu-bhakto bhaved daiva: “Those who are devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Viṣṇu, they are called demigods, or Vaiṣṇava.” All Vaiṣṇavas are demigods. And those who are not . . . Āsuras tad viparyayaḥ. “Anyone opposite number, against Viṣṇu, they are all called asuras.”
So sometimes in asura’s family also, there are Vaiṣṇavas, by the grace of Nārada. Nārada makes . . . just like Prahlāda Mahārāja became a great devotee by the grace of Nārada, although he was born of a father, atheist father, Hiraṇyakaśipu. So Nārada Muni’s business is to travel all over the universe and make Vaiṣṇava. So this Bali Mahārāja, he conquered all over the universe, and the demigods were defeated. So Vāmanadeva, He also one of the considered demigods, Upendra.
So He went to Bali Mahārāja by a trick. Because Bali Mahārāja . . . Kṛṣṇa knows that Bali Mahārāja was the grandson of Prahlāda Mahārāja, and he was a great devotee at heart. He knew that. Īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe ‘rjuna tiṣṭhati (BG 18.61). Lord is situated in everyone’s heart. He knows everyone. So therefore, in order to return back the kingdoms taken from the demigods, He made a trick. He went there. Bali Mahārāja was performing a great sacrifice, Bali-dhare. So He went there and asked Bali Mahārāja, “Bali Mahārāja, you are performing such a great sacrifice. I am at your door. I am brāhmin. Will you kindly give Me some donation?” “Yes, why not? That is my . . . I will give you. Whatever You want, I will give You.”
So immediately his spiritual master, the demon’s spiritual master Śukrācārya . . . Śukrācārya means . . . Śukra means semina, seminal ācārya. Means . . . you do not know. In India, there is a class of men, they are called gurus, the professional guru, rather. So Śukrācārya. Śukrācārya, he was very learned scholar. He knew everything that, “Here Vāmanadeva, He is incarnation of Viṣṇu. He has come to cheat Bali. He will ask something, and then He will take everything from Bali.” He knew it. So sometimes cheating also done by the Supreme Lord for the sake of the devotee.
So this is not cheating. Just like father sometimes cheats a son. Suppose something is there, and two brothers, small children, they are fighting. One has taken, another is crying. So the one will not deliver to the other. So father says: “My dear child, will you kindly give me this?” So he gives to the father and he delivers to the other child. (laughter) You see?
So sometimes God has to do such cheating of affection. That is not cheating actually. But the cheating propensity is there in God. Otherwise where we get it? (laughter) But we use cheating for our personal sense gratification. But if you use that cheating propensity for Kṛṣṇa’s satisfaction, then it is all right. Manimiti kṛtaṁ pāpaṁ puṇyāyaiva kalpate.
So the Bali Mahārāja was cheated by . . . but he, being cheated, he became conqueror. So this Śukrācārya said to Bali Mahārāja, “Don’t promise to this Vāmana anything. He is Lord Viṣṇu. He has come to cheat you.” Bali Mahārāja became more enlightened: “Oh, He is Lord Viṣṇu? But you have taught me that everything should be given to Viṣṇu. So if Viṣṇu has come at my door, why you are asking not to make any promise?” So that means Śukrācārya were playing duplicity. He taught something, and now he’s saying another thing. Therefore Bali Mahārāja said that, “I cannot accept. I give up your company from this day,” that “You are checking me to offer everything to Viṣṇu? Oh, I do not want such spiritual master.”
So that means . . . that is the śāstric injunction, that anyone who is not a Viṣṇu devotee, or Vaiṣṇava, he cannot become guru. That is the injunction of the śāstra. Ṣaṭ-karma-nipuṇo vipro mantra-tantra-viśāradaḥ (Padma Purāṇa). A brāhmin, very learned, he knows his duties, brahminical duties, very well. Just like Śukrācārya. Ṣaṭ-karma-nipuṇaḥ.
Ṣaṭ-karma-nipuṇaḥ. Brāhmin have got six kinds of occupation: paṭhana-pāṭhana yajana-yājana dāna-pratigraha. Brāhmin should be very learned, he should teach others also Vedic knowledge, paṭhana-pāṭhana. Yajana-yājana. He must be a devotee or great worshiper, and he should teach others also how to worship. Yajana-yājana. Dāna-pratigraha. He will accept charity from others, and he will give in charity again to others. These are the six occupation of a brāhmin.
So śāstra says, ṣaṭ-karma-nipuṇo vipraḥ: “A brāhmin, well conversed with these duties of brahminical duties,” and mantra-tantra-viśāradaḥ, “And expert in studying the mantras, Vedic mantras, and tantra, other Vedic literature,” avaiṣṇavo gurur na sa syāt, “But if he is avaiṣṇava,” means he does not worship Lord Viṣṇu but other demigods, “Then he cannot become guru.” That is not allowed. You cannot become guru. Ṣaṭ-karma-nipuṇo vipro mantra . . .
So this Śukrācārya, he was against Viṣṇu. So Bali Mahārāja immediately rejected him. Therefore he became a mahājana, exemplary. Because you cannot give up your spiritual master. That is a great sin. Once accepted, the spiritual master takes responsibility for the disciple. And disciple also must be obedient to the spiritual master for life, for good. That is the relationship.
So if one rejects spiritual master, he becomes a great sinner, most sinful. So Bali Mahārāja rejected his spiritual master. That’s a great sin. But he rejected on śāstric ground, because he objected for Viṣṇu worship. Therefore such spiritual master should be rejected. Should be rejected. Therefore he became mahājana, authority.
Anyone who is obstruction to worship the Supreme Lord, he should be rejected immediately. That is bhakti. Ānukūlyasya saṅkalpa prātikūlyam varjanam. Anything favorable for advancement of Kṛṣṇa consciousness should be accepted; anything unfavorable, that should be rejected. This is śaraṇāgati. Ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānuśīlanam (CC Madhya 19.167).
We have to worship Kṛṣṇa, whatever is favorable. It is not that because the microphone is material, therefore I cannot use it. There are some so-called transcendentalists . . . why not? If I speak through the microphone, I can serve better Kṛṣṇa. Why shall I not accept it? So ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānuśīlanam: anything which is favorable for serving Kṛṣṇa, we shall accept. After all, everything belongs to Kṛṣṇa. Īśāvāsyam idaṁ sarvam (ISO 1). Nothing belongs to you. Simply we are thieves. We are using Kṛṣṇa’s property for our own sense gratification. Stena eva sa ucyate (BG 3.12). All thieves.
So just like this Bali Mahārāja, he conquered. So actually nothing belongs to Bali Mahārāja, but he thought . . . so Kṛṣṇa, to save him from this theft criminality, He approached him, “My dear Bali Mahārāja, will you kindly give Me three feet land?” So he, after rejecting his spiritual master, who opposed, he promised, “Yes, I shall give.”
So by one feet the whole lower portion of the universe was covered. The other feet, the upper portion of the universe was covered. Still, the third feet remained. So Vāmanadeva asked, “Now, Bali Mahārāja, all your possession is now covered by My two feet. Where is to keep the other feet?” Bali Mahārāja said: “Yes, there is place. You just put Your feet . . . foot on my head.”
So in this way Bali Mahārāja surrendered everything. Sarvātma-svāpateyam. He, personal property and the personal body, everything dedicated to Kṛṣṇa. He became mahājana. There are nine processes of bhakti:
- śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ
- smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam
- arcanaṁ vandanaṁ dāsyaṁ
- sakhyam ātma-nivedanam
- (SB 7.5.23)
So Bali Mahārāja dedicated ātma-nivedana, everything: his property, his personal body, everything. So in exchange, Vāmana, Lord Vāmana became his doorkeeper. So Vāmanadeva said: “My dear Bali Mahārāja, you are so great a devotee. So in return for your service, I shall remain always your doorkeeper.”
So by offering everything to Kṛṣṇa, nobody is loser. You must always remem . . . they are gainer, the best gainer. Because after all, everything belongs to Kṛṣṇa. Why should we foolishly say: “It is mine. It is mine”? Ahaṁ mameti (SB 5.5.8). Janasya moho ‘yam. This is called illusion. Nothing belongs to me, but I think that, “This is mine, this is mine, this is mine.” The whole world is going on like that. Ahaṁ mameti. “We are Americans,” “We are Indians,” “This belongs to me,” “That belongs to you.” We make such, I mean to say, shareholder. But shareholder for other’s property.
Everything belongs to God. Not only this world—there are many millions and millions of planets. Sarva-loka-maheśvaram. Loka means planet. Kṛṣṇa says, sarva-loka-maheśvaram. Bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ sarva-loka . . . (BG 5.29). He is the proprietor. But we are dividing: “This is American,” “This is Indian.” But how long you will remain American and Indian? Say, fifty years? Then if you are going to be a dog, then who is saving your country? This is going on. Nothing belongs to us.
Accept everything belongs to Kṛṣṇa, and we are all offspring of Kṛṣṇa. Everyone has got the right to father’s property, but not to encroach others’ property. Tena tyaktena bhuñjīthā mā gṛdhaḥ kasya svid dhanam (ISO 1). If people accept this philosophy, then the whole world becomes Vaikuṇṭha. There is no quarrel. There is no . . . everything becomes happy.
Thank you very much.
Devotees: All glories to Śrīla Prabhupāda. (devotees offer obeisances) (break) (end)