Thursday, 30 June 2011

King Bali and Goddess Lakshmi

The tale of King Bali and Goddess Lakshmi epitomizes the pious bond of Raksha Bandhan. Their legend is a famous example of how dedicated siblings can be to each other. This mythological story reflects on the pure bond of Rakhi which is full of love, compassion, trust, faith and loyalty.

As per the legend, Demon King Bali, the grandson of Prahlada was a true devotee of Lord Vishnu. With the Lord's blessings,he had become invincible in the battle field and managed to defeat all Devas. The entire heaven, especially Lord Indra, became apprehensive about his increasing strength. At last, Lord Vishnu disguised as Vamana (dwarf), arrived on earth, to rescue Indra and other Devas from their plight. King Bali had the reputation of being a generous and good king. Using this quality, Vamana asked for space which could be covered in three sides.Surely a dwarf could not cover much ground, thought the King, and agreed to his request. At this point, the dwarf changed into Vishnu and his three strides covered the Earth, the Skies and the whole Universe. As a result, Bali was sent to nether lands.

But we all know, Gods are ever generous and cannot see their true devotees suffer. So Lord Vishnu decided to protect Bali and brought him back from nether land. Bali was promised divine protection and immortality till the next aeon, when he will be crowned Indra. Lord Vishnu disguised himself, as Bali's doorman, and protected him from all dangers.
As a result, Vainkuntha was devoid of the Lord and Goddess Lakshmi became restless. She descended on earth as a Brahmin woman in an attempt to bring back her love. She told Bali, that her husband has gone away for a long errand and she needed a place to stay. King Bali welcomed her full heartedly and protected her as his own sister. Since the arrival of the Brahmin woman, i.e. , the Goddess herself the entire household of Bali was suddenly blooming with happiness, wealth, and harvest. 
Finally, on the day of Purnima in the month of Shravana, Goddess Lakshmi tied a thread of colored cotton on Bali's wrist and prayed for protection and happiness. Touched by her sincerity, Bali granted her the wish to ask for anything. Immediately, Goddess Lakshmi pointed at the gatekeeper and requested Bali to return her husband. Confused, Bali asked how a mere guardian can be the husband of such a virtuous lady ! It was then, both Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi revealed their true identities. Bali, being a virtuous man and a protective brother, requested the Lord to go back to Vaikuntha with the Goddess. But to keep his promise, every year, the Lord came back for about four months during the monsoon season.
In order to commemorate Bali's devotion to the lord and his sister, the Goddess this festival is also known as Baleva. Since then, brothers all over the world follow the tradition of inviting their sisters for tying the thread of love and celebrating Raksha Bandhan.

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