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Bhagat Maalaa ~ Part VIII - The Story of Raja Bali

This is the story of Raja Bali as written by Bhai Gurdas Ji....

Introduction to the short stories

The short stories are a collection of stories taken from the Aadh Guru Granth Bhagat Mala, which have been translated into simple English. The purpose of translating these stories is to provide understanding and the significance of these stories when reciting Gurbaani.

The Sikh Gurus and other Bhagats within Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji have made references to the various saints and disciples who existed at the time of the Hindu deities. By no means are these stories a form of praise or worship of the Hindu deities, but they are used as a reference to purely develop the meaning of Gurbaani.

The stories taken from Hindu mythology provide examples from the lives of the disciples and saints as parallels to understand the power and greatness of the One Lord, the righteous practise of faith and Dharma and how one is emancipated from sin and misfortune through meditating upon the Primal Lord.  

~ Harjinder Singh Khalsa

The Story of Raja Bali

'sathajug thai maaniou shhaliou bal baavan bhaaeiou.'

'In the Golden Age of Sat Yuga, You were pleased to deceive Baal the king, in the form of a dwarf.'
(Bhatt Kal; GGSJ: Ang 1390

In the Golden Age of Satyug, a great king was born. His name was Raja Bali (also known as Mahabali). He was the grandson of the well renowned saint, Bhagat Prahlad. Raja Bali was the king of the Asurs (demons) and a disciple of Sukhracharya.

The Dwarf (26K)Raja Bali is famously known for fighting against the deities, particularly Indar, to secure their realms and kingdoms. He conquered the heaven and underworld, thus bringing the entire world under his rule. In order to maintain his control of the three worlds, he was advised by his guru to undertake an intense yagna (a ritual rite with a specific objective).

Having being banished from heaven and the underworld, Indar and many of the deities approached Vishnu. They begged Vishnu to help them and to restore the underworld and heaven back to them. Vishnu agreed to help them.

Vishnu incarnated himself into his fifth Avtar, as Vaman, a dwarf or a short statured Brahmin boy. During Raja Bali's yagna, Vishnu appeared before him reciting the Vedas. On seeing this, Raja Bali was pleased. Looking at the small Brahmin boy, Raja Bali said to him, "Dear child, you have recited the Vedas so beautifully. Speak; what do you wish for? Whatever you wish for, I will grant this to you."

Vaman smiled, "O great King Bali, please grant me some of your land."

"I am happy to give you a piece of my land. You can take as much land as you can cover with just 3 steps. If you do this, you take that piece of land," said the Raja.

Sukhracharya warned Raja Bali that this was a bad idea and he was being deceived by the Undeceivable Lord. The Asurs pleaded with the Raja to retract this boon, but Raja Bali ignored the pleas and granted the boon to Vaman.

Vaman expanded his body and grew to an immense size. Raja Bali was left astonished by the size of this Brahmin boy. With his first step, Vaman covered the entire earth. Vaman (25K)The second step, he covered the entire heaven. As Vaman was about to take his third step, Raja Bali could see that there was not enough room for Vaman to step. Raja Bali offered his back to make up a full third step.

Once again the Asurs tried to discourage the Raja from doing this, but with utmost humility, the Raja said, "All this land belongs to the Lord. If the Lord wishes to take this land back, then what right do I have to stop Him?"

Vaman stepped on the Raja's head and drowned him to the netherworld. Seeing his devotion, Vishnu returned to his godly form and blessed Raja Bali.

Raja Bali fell at the feet of Vishnu. "O Hari Narayan, having taken what belongs to you; please bless me with the opportunity to visit my people to ensure they are happy."

Vishnu blessed Raja Bali and declared him "Mahabali" and as the next Avtar of Indar in the next age to come.

Below is the story of Raja Bali as written by Bhai Gurdas Ji. Vaar 10, Pauri 3:

੩ : ਰਾਜਾ ਬਲਿ

ਬਲਿ ਰਾਜਾ ਘਰਿ ਆਪਣੈ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਬੈਠਾ ਜਗੁ ਕਰਾਵੈ।

Bali Raajaa Ghari Aapanai Andari Baitdaa Jagi Karaavai.

बलि राजा घरि आपणै अंदरि बैठा जगि करावै ।

Bali, the king, was busy in performing a yajna in his palace.

ਬਾਵਨ ਰੂਪੀ ਆਇਆ ਚਾਰਿ ਵੇਦ ਮੁਖਿ ਪਾਠ ਸੁਣਾਵੈ।

Baavan Roopee Aaiaa Chaari Vayd Moukhi Paatd Sounaavai.

बावन रूपी आइआ चारि वेद मुखि पाठ सुणावै ।

A low stature dwarf in the form of brahmin came there reciting all the four Vedas.

ਰਾਜੇ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਸਦਿਆ ਮੰਗ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਜੋ ਤੁਧੁ ਭਾਵੈ।

Raajay Andari Sadiaa Mangu Suaamee Jo Tudhu Bhaavai.

राजे अंदरि सदिआ मंगु सुआमी जो तुधु भावै ।

The king after calling him in asked him to demand anything he liked.

ਅਛਲੁ ਛਲਣਿ ਤੁਧੁ ਆਇਆ ਸੁਕ੍ਰ ਪੁਰੋਹਿਤੁ ਕਹਿ ਸਮਝਾਵੈ।

Achhalu Chhalani Tudhu Aaiaa Soukr Purohitu Kahi Samajhaavai.

अछलु छलणि तुधु आइआ सुक्र पुरोहितु कहि समझावै ।

Immediately priest Sukracharya made the king (Bali) understand that he (the beggar) is undeceivable God and He had came to delude him.

ਕਰਉ ਅਢਾਈ ਧਰਤਿ ਮੰਗਿ ਪਿਛਹੁ ਦੇ ਤ੍ਰਿਹੁ ਲੋਅ ਨ ਮਾਵੈ।

Karau Addhaaee Dharati Mangi Pichhahu Day Trihu Loa N Maavai.

करौ अढाई धरति मंगि पिछहु दे त्रिहु लोअ न मावै ।

The dwarf demanded two and half steps length of earth (which was granted by the king).

ਦੁਇ ਕਰਵਾਂ ਕਰਿ ਤਿੰਨ ਲੋਅ ਬਲਿ ਰਾਜਾ ਲੈ ਮਗਰੁ ਮਿਣਾਵੈ।

Dui Karavaan Kari Tinn Loa Bali Raajaa Lai Magaru Minaavai.

दुइ करवां करि तिंन लोअ बलि राजा लै मगरु मिणावै ।

Then the dwarf expanded his body so much that now the three worlds were insufficient for him.

ਬਲਿ ਛਲਿ ਆਪੁ ਛਲਾਇਅਨੁ ਹੋਇ ਦਇਆਲੁ ਮਿਲੈ ਗਲਿ ਲਾਵੈ।

Bali Chhali Aapu Chhalaaianu Hoi Daiaalu Milai Gali Laavai.

बलि छलि आपु छलाइअनु होइ दइआलु मिलै गलि लावै ।

Even knowing this deception Bali allowed himself to be deceived so, and seeing this Vishnu embraced him.

ਦਿਤਾ ਰਾਜੁ ਪਤਾਲ ਦਾ ਹੋਇ ਅਧੀਨੁ ਭਗਤਿ ਜਸੁ ਗਾਵੈ।

Ditaa Raaju Pataal Daa Hoi Adheenu Bhagati Jasu Gaavai.

दिता राजु पताल दा होइ अधीनु भगति जसु गावै ।

When he covered the three worlds in two steps, for third half-step king Bali offered his own back.

ਹੋਇ ਦਰਵਾਨ ਮਹਾਂ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਵੈ ॥੩॥

Hoi Daravaan Mahaan Soukhu Paavai ॥3॥

होइ दरवान महां सुखु पावै ॥३॥

Bali was given the kingdom of the netherworld where surrendering to God he engaged himself in the loving devotion of the Lord. Vishnu was delighted to be the doorkeeper of Bali.

Authors who mention Raja Bali in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji:

Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Ang 1344
Bhatt Kal, Ang 1390
Bhatt Gayandh, Ang 1402, 1403


Read the other stories in this Bhagat Maalaa series: 

Part I: Raja Ambrik
Part II: Bhagat Angra ji and Bhagat Bidar

Part III: Sri Dhru Bhagat & Sri Prahladh Bhagat ji

Part IV: The Story of Ajaamal
Part V: The Story of Bhagat Sudama

Part VI: The story of Gotam Muni & Ahalia

Part VII: The Story of Raja Janak

Harjinder Singh Khalsa

I have translated the stories from the Aadh Guru Granth Bhagat Maala into English & have worked on a number of other articles exploring Gurbaani, Sikh history and the Sikh Gurus. My mission is to spread and share the Divine Universal message contained within Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

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