Lord Vamana and the Festival of Onam

Lord Vamana, one of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu

Vamana expanded in His stature and with one foot reached out over the entire skies. When He set His second step, the entire earth was transcended. He then enquired of Bali, “Where do I put My third step?” Emperor Bali replied, “Swami! You asked for just three footsteps of land. But, You covered the entire sky and Earth with just two steps. All my domain is already exhausted. You please bless me by putting Your third step on my head”. Vamana then placed his foot on Emperor Bali’s head and sent him down to the netherworld (Patala). You may have a doubt in this context as to how Bali could be pushed down to the netherworld by Vamana simply by placing His foot on Bali’s head. When the entire sky and earth could be covered with one step each, you can imagine how powerful and gigantic Vamana’s steps were! The third step was equally powerful and gigantic. Its impact could therefore push Emperor Bali down to the netherworld.

“Develop Broad-Mindedness and Live in Bliss”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 39, September 05, 2006, Prasanthi Nilayam

When Lord Vamana pushed Emperor Bali down to the netherworld, the people felt very unhappy thinking, “Oh, God! Our emperor is no longer with us; who will look after us from now on?” Emperor Bali then made a promise to his people that he would visit them every year on this day. That auspicious day of Emperor Bali’s visit to his kingdom every year is termed as ‘Onam’. He would visit his people on this day and bless them. Goodness will always yield good results.

“Develop Broad-Mindedness and Live in Bliss”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 39, September 05, 2006, Prasanthi Nilayam

Vamana was the very personification of the attractive magnetic field. Ratnamala, the daughter of Bali saw the young boy and developed a desire in her mind to have Him as her own child and fondle Him in various ways. But, in the meantime, as you know, Vamana had pushed Bali down into the Pataala (netherworld). This event turned her love towards Vamana into hatred and she felt that she could kill the child herself. 

The all-knowing Vamana noticed what was passing through the mind of Ratnamala and pronounced ‘Tathaasthu’ (May it be so!). God, since He is omnipresent, Sarvatah Paanipadam, Tat Sarvathokshi Shiromukham, Sarvatah Shrutimalloke Sarvamavrutya Tishthati (with hands, feet, eyes, heads, mouth and ears pervading everywhere, He permeates the entire universe). He is constantly pronouncing this blessing on all. Nothing escapes His attention. That is why we should always keep our minds filled with good thoughts. He told Ratnamala, “Mother, you first desired to breastfeed Me. But seeing your father’s downfall, your desire turned into hatred. You felt like feeding poison and killing Me. You will be born in Dwapara Yuga as Poothana and feed Me with poisonous milk, and you yourself will die”.

Therefore, it is essential for all of us to have constantly good thoughts as God is pronouncing blessing of fulfilment incessantly. In view of the ignorance of this reality, mankind fills its mind with many forms of evil thoughts.

“Happiness in Union with God”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 34, August 31, 2001, Prasanthi Nilayam


Source: Chapter 2, Sai Vani: Avatar on Avatar Purushas

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