Mahabali
Member of Chiranjivi
Mahabali (Maveli)
Mahabali serves Vamana, while a suspicious Shukra tries to stop him. Painting from Mankot, Jammu and Kashmir, c. 1700-25
AffiliationDaitya, Asura
Genealogy
ParentsVirochana (father), Vishalakshi (mother)
SpouseVindhyavali[a]
Children100 sons including Banasura, Namasu, Sahasika, and Shakuni
2 daughters Ratanamala/Yagyamala, and Vajrajvala (wife of Kumbhakarna)

Mahabali (IAST: Mahābalī), also known as Bali, Indrasenan, or Māveli, is a daitya king featured in Hinduism. He is the grandson of Prahlada, and a descendant of the sage Kashyapa. There are many versions of his legend, in ancient texts such as the Shatapatha Brahmana, Ramayana, Mahabharata, and several Puranas. According to Hindu literature, he was blessed to be one of the Chiranjivi, a group of seven immortals, by the Vamana avatar of Vishnu and reigns in the Sutaloka.[2][3][4]

It is believed that Mahabali will become the King of Svarga (heaven) in the next yuga. In Kerala, Mahabali is considered to be the noblest and most prosperous ruler, who transformed his kingdom into a heavenly place. His legend is a major part of the annual festival Onam in the state of Kerala, and it is celebrated in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh as Balipratipada, Balipadyami, or Bali padva (the third day of Deepavali and first day of Kartika month).[5][2][6][7]

Hinduism

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Vamana avatar of Lord Vishnu stomps on Bali's head, and sends him to Patala

Mahabali is described in early Hindu texts as a benevolent and generous king. He ruled without discrimination, and his people were honest, healthy, and happy under his rule.[8] Mahabali also temporarily possessed the amrita (nectar of eternal life) obtained by the asuras.[9] The amrita allowed his subjects to bring him back to life after his death in one of the wars between suras (devas) and asuras.[10][9] Mahabali was, thus, immune from death. After many wars, the invincible Bali had conquered heaven and earth. The suras (devas) approached Vishnu to save them from complete obliteration. Vishnu refused to join the war, or kill the benevolent king Mahabali. To restore the natural order, he incarnated as the dwarf Brahmin avatar, Vamana. While Mahabali was performing the ashvamedha sacrifice to celebrate his victories and giving away gifts to everyone, Vamana approached him and requested "three steps of land".[10][11] Mahabali granted him this gift, despite warnings from Shukra, who had realised Vamana's true identity. Vamana then metamorphosed into Vishnu's colossal trivikrama form, the first foot encompassing all of heaven in one step and the earth with the second foot. When rhetorically asked where he might take his promised third step, Mahabali accepted his fate and offered his own head. Some Hindu texts state that Mahabali was banished to patala (netherworld), some state he was dragged there by Garuda, in others he entered heaven with the touch of Vishnu, while another version states he became Chiranjivi (immortal).[10] Others even have Bali admitted into Vaikunta, which was an even higher place than the realm of the devas.[12]

According to Hindu mythology, Vishnu granted Bali a boon whereby he could return to his homeland once every year. The harvest festivals of Balipratipada and Onam are celebrated to mark his yearly homecoming.[2][6][13] Literature and inscriptions in Hindu temples suggest that these festivals, featuring colourful decorations, lighted lamps, gift giving, feasts and community events, have been popular in India for more than a millennium.[2][14] Bali is also featured in the Ramayana where Ravana tries to free him from Patala, but is unable to.[10]

Mahabhali had a wife named Vindhyavalli, who was also referred to as Ashrama. With her he had many sons, including the Shiva devotee Bana (Banasura) and Namasu (Prince Namuchi). It is believed that Vindhyavalli once saved Bana from the wrath of Krishna.[15]

Jainism

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King Mahabali is also found in the mythologies of Jainism. He is the sixth of nine Prativasudevas (Prati-narayanas, anti-heroes).[16] He is depicted as an evil king who schemed and attempted to rob Purusha's wife.[17] He is defeated and killed by Purusha. In Jain mythology, the antagonists to Mahabali are the two sons born to King Mahasiva (Mahasiras): Ananda (the sixth Baladeva) and Purusapundarika (the sixth Vasudeva).[17]

Mahabali is also mentioned in Jain inscriptions, where the patron compares the defeated evil opponents of the current king to Mahabali. For example, in the Girnar inscriptions of Gujarat dated to about 1231 CE (1288 Vikrama era), minister Vastupala of the Chaulukya dynasty is praised as a great king by Jains, and the inscriptions connect him to Mahabali because Vastupala gave much charity. Some excerpts from the inscriptions are:

In olden times Mahabali was pressed down by the foot of Vishnu, the enemy of the demons, from the earth; now the same is done by the hand of Vastupala,...[18]
O Vastupala, Mahabali has sent thee a message that he has been much pleased by hearing from Narada, who visits the three worlds, that though frequently solicited thou dost not extend thy anger to the needy,...[19]
By the famous minister Vastupala watering the earth with nectarial charities, the pride of Mahabali and Kalpataru has been greatly lowered...[20]
Let there be continuous salutation to holy Mahabali and Karna, whose charity though unseen has been the object of so much fame; consequently the people are worthy of worship, and the great minister Vastupala's charity which the people see with their eyes so great that even the world itself can scarcely contain it.[21]

Mahabali is a common name and found in other contexts. For example, in Jain history, Mahabali is the name of the son of Bahubali, who was given Bahubali's kingdom before Bahubali became a monk. [22]

Buddhism

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Bali appears in several Buddhist sutras, such as the Dānapāramitā Sūtra, the Ratnamegha Sūtra, and the Lotus Sutra; where he is seen among the audience who listens to the Buddha's discourses.

The Kāraṇḍavyūha Sūtra features an extensive dialogue between Bali and the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara that occurred during the life of the Buddha Viśvabhū. Bali relates his story of being imprisoned in the underworld by Nārāyaṇa. The asura king repents for his misdeeds and praises the qualities of Avalokiteśvara and the pure land Sukhāvatī. Avalokiteśvara bestows a prediction that Bali will someday become a fully awakended buddha named Śrī who will lead the asuras in the Dharma.

Bali offers Avalokiteśvara "strings of pearls worth a hundred thousand silver coins and diadems adorned with various jewels." Before leaving his abode, Avalokiteśvara gives a teaching about how humans must leave Jambudvīpa upon death and are subject to the punishments of King Yama in hell. He then tells Bali of the importance of cultivating merit in this life.[23]

Veneration

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For several Hindus in Kerala, Mahabali is remembered fondly as a great and benevolent king.

In Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana, several people believe that Mahabali was an ancient king.[24] Special puja is offered during the third day of Deepavali and first day of Kartika month, which they call, 'Bali padwa', ' Bali pratipada', 'Bali Padyami'. In coastal Karnataka, people offer a special dish to the being on a plate prepared by bamboo tree sticks, along with a lamp, and through the medium of a Tulu folklore song, request him to accept their offerings. People believe that on the third day of the festival, the king comes out of Patala for a day to see his kingdom.[25]

The town of Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu is also associated with him.[1]

In Hinduism in Thailand and Tai folk religion call him is Chao Krung Bhali (เจ้ากรุงพาลี). He is regarded as chief of deity serve as guardians of the earth. (พระภูมิเจ้าที่) deity guardians of the trees (รุกขเทวดา) and Tutelary deity. (เทพารักษ์) which deity these types same match with Grāmadevatā and Kuladevata in Hinduism., statue of his most important located in Ho kaew sal Phra bhum (หอแก้วศาลพระภูมิ) which is Spirit house for deity guardian of Grand Palace which is on the side of Phra Thinang Chai Chumpol but located in the area of the Inner royal Court (accommodation of Consort , concubine with daughter unmarried and woman attendant).,[26] Him will receive special worship during the old Thai new year festival (เทศกาลตรุษไทย) according Lunar calendar (around the end of the month March to early April) before the Songkran festival., by inviting statue of his with statue other in Spirit house for deity guardian Grand Palace., Come to worship with Siam Devadhiraj which was regarded as the chairman of chief deity guardian of Grand Palace.,which accompanying ceremony in Phra Thinang Phaisan Thaksin annually by Monarchy of Thailand or agent of Monarchy of Thailand.[27] As for the Tai folk religion He was generally worshiped together with deity serve as guardians of the earth., deity guardians of the trees and Tutelary deity. by his famous statue and Spirit house of him located in San Chao Krung Bhali (ศาลเจ้ากรุงพาลี) in Noen Phra sud district in Mueang Rayong district Rayong province which has been praised by indigenous people to be Tutelary deity guardian of community.[28][29][30][31]

Literature

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The Sapta Chiranjivi Stotram is a mantra that is featured in Hindu literature:

अश्वत्थामा बलिर्व्यासो हनुमांश्च विभीषण:।
कृप: परशुरामश्च सप्तैतै चिरञ्जीविन:॥
सप्तैतान् संस्मरेन्नित्यं मार्कण्डेयमथाष्टमम्।
जीवेद्वर्षशतं सोपि सर्वव्याधिविवर्जितः॥


aśvatthāmā balirvyāsō hanumāṁśca vibhīṣaṇaḥ।
kṛpaḥ paraśurāmaśca saptaitai cirañjīvinaḥ॥
saptaitān saṁsmarēnnityaṁ mārkaṇḍēyamathāṣṭamam।
jīvēdvarṣaśataṁ sopi sarvavyādhivivarjitaḥ॥

— Sapta Chiranjivi Stotram

The mantra states that the remembrance of the eight immortals (Ashwatthama, Mahabali, Vyasa, Hanuman, Vibhishana, Kripa, Parashurama, and Markandeya) offers one freedom from ailments and longevity.

See also

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Notes

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  1. ^ also known as Ashrama[1]

Citations

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  1. ^ a b Roshen Dalal (2010). Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin. pp. 229–230. ISBN 978-0-14-341421-6.
  2. ^ a b c d PV Kane (1958). History of Dharmasastra, Volume 5 Part 1. Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute. pp. 201–206.
  3. ^ Nanditha Kirshna (2009). Book of Vishnu. Penguin Books. pp. 58–59. ISBN 978-81-8475-865-8.
  4. ^ Narayan, R.K (1977). "Mahabali story". The Ramayana: a shortened modern prose version of the Indian epic. Penguin Classics. pp. 14–16. ISBN 978-0-14-018700-7.
  5. ^ "Bali Puja 2020 date: Bali Pratipada story and significance". The Times of India. 15 November 2020. ISSN 0971-8257. Retrieved 2 September 2023.
  6. ^ a b Constance A Jones (2011). J. Gordon Melton (ed.). Religious Celebrations: An Encyclopedia of Holidays, Festivals, Solemn Observances, and Spiritual Commemorations. ABC-CLIO. pp. 634, 900. ISBN 978-1-59884-205-0.
  7. ^ "Diwali Padwa, Bali Pratipada: See significance and date". The Economic Times. 27 October 2022. ISSN 0013-0389. Retrieved 2 September 2023.
  8. ^ "About Onam".
  9. ^ a b D Dennis Hudson (2008). The Body of God: An Emperor's Palace for Krishna in Eighth-Century Kanchipuram. Oxford University Press. pp. 163–174. ISBN 978-0-19-970902-1.
  10. ^ a b c d George M. Williams (2008). Handbook of Hindu Mythology. Oxford University Press. pp. 73–74. ISBN 978-0-19-533261-2.
  11. ^ D Dennis Hudson (2008). The Body of God: An Emperor's Palace for Krishna in Eighth-Century Kanchipuram. Oxford University Press. pp. 207–219. ISBN 978-0-19-970902-1.
  12. ^ George M. Williams (2008). Handbook of Hindu Mythology. Oxford University Press. p. 274. ISBN 978-0-19-533261-2.
  13. ^ Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam (ed.). India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 74.
  14. ^ A.M. Kurup (1977). "The Sociology of Onam". Indian Anthropologist. 7 (2): 95–110. JSTOR 41919319.
  15. ^ Dalal, Roshen (2010). Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin Books India. ISBN 978-0-14-341421-6.
  16. ^ von Glasenapp 1999, p. 288.
  17. ^ a b von Glasenapp 1999, p. 308.
  18. ^ Burgess 1885, p. 285.
  19. ^ Burgess 1885, p. 291.
  20. ^ Burgess 1885, p. 292.
  21. ^ Burgess 1885, p. 294.
  22. ^ Vijay K. Jain 2013, p. xi.
  23. ^ Roberts 2013.
  24. ^ "Bali Puja 2020 date: Bali Pratipada story and significance". The Times of India. 15 November 2020. ISSN 0971-8257. Retrieved 4 September 2023.
  25. ^ "Bali Pratipada to mark home coming of Mahabali". The Times of India. 4 November 2013. ISSN 0971-8257. Retrieved 5 September 2023.
  26. ^ "พระที่นั่งในสวนศิวาลัย".
  27. ^ "พระราชพิธีบวงสรวงพระสยามเทวาธิราช". silpathai.net. 29 July 2014. Retrieved 8 September 2023.
  28. ^ "โจรแสบขับกระบะลักรูปปั้น 'องค์เจ้ากรุงพาลี' อายุกว่า 40 ปี เผยก่อนสร้างมีคนฝันเห็นยักษ์". 7 February 2022.
  29. ^ "อุกอาจ! โจรบุกขโมยรูปปั้นองค์พระเจ้ากรุงพาลี ขนขึ้นกระบะหนีลอยนวล".
  30. ^ "วอนคนร้ายส่งคืนรูปปั้นเจ้ากรุงพาลี สิ่งศักดิ์สิทธิ์ที่ชาวบ้านนับถือศรัทธา จ.ระยอง".
  31. ^ "ล่าหัวขโมยอุ้ม "พระพุทธรูปกรุงพาลี" เจ้าของวอนขอคืน เผยอยู่คู่อพาร์ทเม้นมากว่า40 ปี". 7 February 2022.

References

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Preceded byVirochana Daityas unknown Succeeded byBanasura