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    rcscwc is offline Member
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    Vamana Avatara

    I have never been able to get a rational explanation why Vamana Avatara happened.

    Maharaja Bali was a Daitya, no doubt. But he was just and observed all the rules of Dharma. Before him, Prahalad too was a daitya king and was very, very dharmic. But he was not banished, Maharaja Bali was. Why, oh why?

    Vamana is a unique avatar. He was the first avatar to be born in a brahmin family, next was Parshurama. Vamana did not kill anyone, latter did.

    What was the crime of Maharaja Bali? As a Punjabi brahmin I believe, he was the maryada rajottam, an ideal king. Better kings are hard to find.

    I understand that Maharaja Bali has day of worship among S. Indians. My Keralaite neighbours celebrate his day with quite a fanfare. They were surprised to know that we too venerate him!!

    Can anyone remove my doubts?
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    RCSCWC,

    Puranas were written after 500 BC and majorly after 3rd century AD. No matter what the dating is, it might be a good idea to keep in mind that indians were imaginative writers.

    Some speculations are:

    1) The story of Bali being ousted by Vishnu in the guise of a dwarf brahmin was created during the Kadamba dynasty. Mayurasharma, a brahmin was the founder of the Kadamba dynasty. He created tall tales regarding his own origin, some examples are here: OurKarnataka.com: History of Karnataka: Kadambas of Banavasi Mayura Sharma (who took the name Mayura Varma) defeated (and exiled) the Brihad Banas.

    2) Historically, the Brihad Banas were a confederation of cheiftains who elected a monarch from themselves. So they were a 'democracy' of sorts. The terms Bana and Bali appear to have applied to all of the chieftains. One ruler named Vishnuvardhana IV, defeated a particular Bali. It is speculated that this Vishnuvardhana fashioned himself as an incarnation of Krishna and created the story of Bali's ouster.

    There are strange unclear links between brihad-charanam (brahacharanam) with the armies of brihad-banas. The brihadbanas supposedly considered themselves 'brahma-rayars'. It is said that Vishvanatha Nayak claimed to be descended from a bana chieftain and called himself a brahmin or a brahmakshatriya, but there is no conclusive proof for all of these yet (am in pursuit of the search though). It is also somewhat strange that the mukkanis claim to be doorkeepers of skanda and shiva shrines just as some banas.

    3) Not only in Kerala, a festival for Bali used to be common in Maharastra and Karnataka too (all along the west coast). While Bali was famous in north-west and west, his son Bana seems to have been popular in north-east india. There are some very vague and unclear links between the old Banas and the Banawali seals of Haryana. The banawali seals are supposedly associated with some old 'industries'. IMO, the Banas were a very large confederation of various tribes spread across India.

    4) Bali was the son of Indra and Aruni (who some claim to be Aditi)...Btw, Indra seems to have consorted anybody. Anyways, Bali was called Indrasena. Am told there is an entire list (perhaps concocted) to show that pandavas / kurus descended from Bali.

    5) Since the term Bali was applied to an entire group of people, there are quite a few characters also called Bali. Hanuman was also called maha-bali. Some say hanuman was called vrisha-kapi.

    6) Since Bali descended from Aruni, it is claimed that the balis and banas were supposedly adityas, not daityas. Perhaps they were defeated and demoted as daityas.

    All the above are speculations. All to be taken with an ounce of salt.

    Regards.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcscwc View Post
    I have never been able to get a rational explanation why Vamana Avatara happened.

    Maharaja Bali was a Daitya, no doubt. But he was just and observed all the rules of Dharma. Before him, Prahalad too was a daitya king and was very, very dharmic. But he was not banished, Maharaja Bali was. Why, oh why?

    Vamana is a unique avatar. He was the first avatar to be born in a brahmin family, next was Parshurama. Vamana did not kill anyone, latter did.

    What was the crime of Maharaja Bali? As a Punjabi brahmin I believe, he was the maryada rajottam, an ideal king. Better kings are hard to find.

    I understand that Maharaja Bali has day of worship among S. Indians. My Keralaite neighbours celebrate his day with quite a fanfare. They were surprised to know that we too venerate him!!

    Can anyone remove my doubts?
    The Mahabali legend in Kerala goes as follows:

    Bali was a just and the best king ruling the entire Malayalanadu. The very famous poem recited during the Onam festival states that during Mahabali (Maaveli, in slang Malayalam) all people were equals. All were happy, no cheating, no theft, no dishonesty at all.

    Maaveli wanted to become Indra and performed the rituals which would qualify him for that. The then reigning Indra was afraid and, he with the connivance of Vishnu, hatched the plot to dethrone Bali from the world itself. Sukracharya who was the Rajaguru of Bali (an asura) warned him when the dwarf brahmin came seeking "daan". Mahabali said whatever might happen, he would not violate the rules of the ritual which required that no brahmin is asked to go empty-handed. The daan becomes final only when the water is poured into the palm of the recipient, according to the sastras. So, Sukracharya took the form of an insect and blocked the snout of the "kindi" (a vessel used in old Kerala houses) from which Bali poured water. Vamana knew the trick and with a piece of hard "darbha" grass, poked the snout, thus making Sukracharya blind in one eye. Sukracharya, due to the pain, came out of the snout and the offer of daan was thus completed.

    Kerala people believe that the vanquished Mahabali asked for a boon from Vamana that he should be allowed to return to Kerala on the very day (Sravana star in the month of Simha) every year to see his beloved people. This day is celebrated all over Kerala as well as the Keralaite diaspora, irrespective of religion or caste. It is also the state festival.

    Historians and researchers hold the view that this is a memory of vedic aryan subjugation of native tribes in these parts of the country and the imposition of the caste system.

    There is also a view that this was an attempt, though milder and an initial one, to show that brahmins had the upper hand in a period during which there was intense fight for overlordship of the aryan community, between brahmins and kshatriyas. Since this initial resistance by brahmins did not bear sufficiently deasirable results for brahmins, the Parasurama legend came as the next one reflecting a phase in which brahmins became martial and vanquished kshatriyas, in the dim past.

    Subsequently, the kshatriyas and brahmins must have finalized a sort of ceasefire and mutual sharing of power; Rama signifies the same; a kshatriya being extolled as an avatar of Vishnu. There is also a yajurvedic stanza (I think) which means that the kshatriya is the best of God's creation and that is why, in a rajasuya sacrifice, even the brahmins sit at a level lower than the king's, or to the same sense.

    Later on, the need arose to pacify the vaisyas also from revolting and Krishna avatar was the legend which signifies that.
    Last edited by sangom; 15-11-2010 at 05:48 PM.
    श्रेयो भूयात् सकलजनानाम् ।
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    Quote Originally Posted by sangom View Post
    The Mahabali legend in Kerala goes as follows:

    Bali was a just and the best king ruling the entire Malayalanadu. The very famous poem recited during the Onam festival states that during Mahabali (Maaveli, in slang Malayalam) all people were equals. All were happy, no cheating, no theft, no dishonesty at all.

    Maaveli wanted to become Indra and performed the rituals which would qualify him for that. The then reigning Indra was afraid and, he with the connivance of Vishnu, hatched the plot to dethrone Bali from the world itself. Sukracharya who was the Rajaguru of Bali (an asura) warned him when the dwarf brahmin came seeking "daan". Mahabali said whatever might happen, he would not violate the rules of the ritual which required that no brahmin is asked to go empty-handed. The daan becomes final only when the water is poured into the palm of the recipient, according to the sastras. So, Sukracharya took the form of an insect and blocked the snout of the "kindi" (a vessel used in old Kerala houses) from which Bali poured water. Vamana knew the trick and with a piece of hard "darbha" grass, poked the snout, thus making Sukracharya blind in one eye. Sukracharya, due to the pain, came out of the snout and the offer of daan was thus completed.

    Kerala people believe that the vanquished Mahabali asked for a boon from Vamana that he should be allowed to return to Kerala on the very day (Sravana star in the month of Simha) every year to see his beloved people. This day is celebrated all over Kerala as well as the Keralaite diaspora, irrespective of religion or caste. It is also the state festival.

    Historians and researchers hold the view that this is a memory of vedic aryan subjugation of native tribes in these parts of the country and the imposition of the caste system.

    There is also a view that this was an attempt, though milder and an initial one, to show that brahmins had the upper hand in a period during which there was intense fight for overlordship of the aryan community, between brahmins and kshatriyas. Since this initial resistance by brahmins did not bear sufficiently deasirable results for brahmins, the Parasurama legend came as the next one reflecting a phase in which brahmins became martial and vanquished kshatriyas, in the dim past.

    Subsequently, the kshatriyas and brahmins must have finalized a sort of ceasefire and mutual sharing of power; Rama signifies the same; a kshatriya being extolled as an avatar of Vishnu. There is also a yajurvedic stanza (I think) which means that the kshatriya is the best of God's creation and that is why, in a rajasuya sacrifice, even the brahmins sit at a level lower than the king's, or to the same sense.

    Later on, the need arose to pacify the vaisyas also from revolting and Krishna avatar was the legend which signifies that.
    hi sangom sir,,

    in kerala the song on Onam like this.....MAAVELI NAADU VANIDUM KAALAM....MANUSHYA ELLARUM ONNU POLE....am i correct?


    regards
    tbs
    asato maa sadh gamayaa, tamaso maa jyotir
    gamayaa, mrityor maa amritham gamayaaa..
    om shanti, om shanti, om shanti...upanishad
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbs View Post
    hi sangom sir,,

    in kerala the song on Onam like this.....MAAVELI NAADU VANIDUM KAALAM....MANUSHYA ELLARUM ONNU POLE....am i correct?


    regards
    tbs
    Shri tbs,

    Yes, you are right. For the full "Onappaattu" and its meaning, pl.see:
    Maveli nadu vanidum kalam - Onam pattu |KochiGeek - Geek'in' allday
    श्रेयो भूयात् सकलजनानाम् ।
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    So avatars emerged as a part of mega-deal consequent on dispute resolution! Ergo, gods are not superior to humans.....
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    Quote Originally Posted by SwamiTaBra View Post
    So avatars emerged as a part of mega-deal consequent on dispute resolution! Ergo, gods are not superior to humans.....
    There may be powers superior to humans in the universe. But if one studies any religion in depth, without any preconceived ideas or biases, it will be seen that all the gods/deities are characters emanating from mere human imagination. People have been successfully brainwashed by religion shows its (religion's) power.
    श्रेयो भूयात् सकलजनानाम् ।
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    Quote Originally Posted by SwamiTaBra View Post
    So avatars emerged as a part of mega-deal consequent on dispute resolution! Ergo, gods are not superior to humans.....
    Well, perhaps not necessarily...

    Depiction of life as a form that moves from matsya (aquatic) state to koorma (semi-terrestrial) state is not part of any dispute resolution.

    As regards the dasavataras, the stories themselves do not seem entirely baseless....so i suppose they were real events (but ofcourse with a large dose of exageration for the 'cinema effect').

    These stories may also be family feuds for power. Vamana is considered brother of Indra and Bali is considered son of Indra. So it may have even been a fight over king-ship (perhaps bali and vamana both wanted to become king after indra).

    All thru the vedic period, we see this fight between asuras and devas. But both were once upon a time a single group that split away due to differences.

    We can't say the devas were kind to the brahmins. Indra went to great lengths to ensure power for himself, he even killed brahmins. Perhaps the vedic period represented the feud between the kshatriya and brahmins (with devas perhaps being the kshatriyas)...

    Regards.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sangom View Post
    Shri tbs,

    Yes, you are right. For the full "Onappaattu" and its meaning, pl.see:
    Maveli nadu vanidum kalam - Onam pattu |KochiGeek - Geek'in' allday
    hi sangom sir

    i still remember this song in my school days in palakkad during onam period.....with beautiful onam saddhya....ever green memories

    of palakkad agraharam life.....never come back again....thanks again....beautiful voice of the singer....

    regards
    tbs
    asato maa sadh gamayaa, tamaso maa jyotir
    gamayaa, mrityor maa amritham gamayaaa..
    om shanti, om shanti, om shanti...upanishad
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    Reply

    Quote Originally Posted by happyhindu View Post
    Well, perhaps not necessarily...

    Depiction of life as a form that moves from matsya (aquatic) state to koorma (semi-terrestrial) state is not part of any dispute resolution.

    As regards the dasavataras, the stories themselves do not seem entirely baseless....so i suppose they were real events (but ofcourse with a large dose of exageration for the 'cinema effect').

    These stories may also be family feuds for power. Vamana is considered brother of Indra and Bali is considered son of Indra. So it may have even been a fight over king-ship (perhaps bali and vamana both wanted to become king after indra).



    All thru the vedic period, we see this fight between asuras and devas. But both were once upon a time a single group that split away due to differences.

    We can't say the devas were kind to the brahmins. Indra went to great lengths to ensure power for himself, he even killed brahmins. Perhaps the vedic period represented the feud between the kshatriya and brahmins (with devas perhaps being the kshatriyas)...

    Regards.
    I just quipped. Things outside the ken of intellect rouses suspicion. A sceptic will remain a seeker till he realises the truth. It is perhaps for this reason humans yearn for expanding the mind's horizon failing which he wants to either discard or transcend the faculty altogether...

    Swami
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