Shukracharya, the guru of daityas, could not take it any longer. As the dwarf standing before his disciple, Raja Bali, insisted on having only three steps of land in donation, he recognised the little Brahmin for who He was.
Shukracharya whispered urgently into the king’s ears that the fellow was none other than Narayana Himself, out to cheat him of his entire domain. Though himself a Brahmin, Shukracharya was fully committed to the daitya cause and Raja Bali had always heeded to his wise counsel.
But, this time, to his dismay, the king said carelessly, ‘So be it!’ Bali too had his compelling reasons. He well knew Narayan’s might. His great grandfather Hrinyakashipu and great granduncle Hrinyaksh – both mighty warriors – were killed at Narayan’s hands. Now that the same Victor stood before Him like a beggar, he would happily grant him His request.
Suman K Sharma
The king asked his wife to bring the ritual spouted pot of water to take the sankalpa. That was the moment for Shukracharya. Seeing that his disciple had turned a deaf ear to him, he assumed a tiny form the size of a gnat and entered into the spout to block the flow of water from the pot.
Shukracharya thought that by this ploy he would be able to prevent the sacred pledge of offering from being made and thus stop the adamant king from ruining himself. But the wise guru had not reckoned with All-knowing Narayan.
Vaman Avatar bent down to earth, pulled out a druba straw and inserted it into the spout. The guru of the daityas came out in a huff,blinded in one eye. Raja Bali completed the ritual and Narayan took, in donation, what all the daitya King had got.
One must say that the ancients had a way of saying what needed to be said. Loyalty is good, but not blind loyalty that fails to see the whole picture. Shukracharya was the first to know that Vaman was Narayan Himself, come to dislodge Raja Bali from power. Like any other earthly counsellor, his reaction was to put the king on guard against the patent risk. In that, however, he saw only one side of the situation. The King, on the other hand, realised that he could not stand against such an adversary. If he had to lose, why not lose royally? So, he grandly acceded to Vaman’s request. Shukracharya failed at the spiritual level as well. The Deity Himself had come at his disciple’s doorstep, and he saw in Him only an enemy! Better for him then to turn a one-eyed guru. He had little use of the other, anyway.