The next time we catch ourselves on a typical “Why me?” mode, it will do us well to remember that we and we alone are the architects of our destiny. The little joys and sorrows that envelop us from time to time find their roots in our doings.
A story from the Vishnu Purana makes this point abundantly clear. Maha Vishnu quelled the pride and sovereignty of the Asura king Mahabali by measuring out the three paces of land across the heavens, earth and the head of the Asura king with his giant footsteps. Nevertheless, the lord was pleased with the truthfulness of Bali. He blessed him with the position of Indra, but not before the king paid for his misplaced pride.
Hence at the end of Vaamana Avatar, Maha Vishnu blessed Bali to be the uncontested ruler of the Asuras in Suthala, the nether region. The lord also identified the king to receive his energy from the negative activities of the people on earth. Bali would get the vibrations of all the gifts given to undeserving Brahmins during death ceremonies.
He would receive the fruits of studies of students who manage to skirt around the fringes of knowledge without following the associated disciplines. He would get the fruits of Yajnas performed without giving dakshina or the appropriate fee to the master of the ceremonies. The benefits of Homa performed without the presence of Ritwijas or the knowledgeable souls would reach Bali. The consequence of gifts given without earnestness would descend on the king. The offerings made to the gods without culture and faith would add to Bali’s kitty.
When one observes the inventory of lackluster responsibilities of Bali, it is easy to see that the lord disapproves of any action that is devoid of earnestness, discipline and Truth. Nevertheless the activity would be given some credit. Maha Vishnu made Bali realise that every activity would be reckoned with. The Asura king accepted the lord’s verdict unquestioningly, because he understood that he was being used as an instrument to cleanse the earth of mental and spiritual impurities. His new role also emphasised on the significance of integrity in any activity that is undertaken. It can never be too late for us to observe, evaluate and amend our actions accordingly.