Why did Lord went with Bali Maharaj as his `gatekeeper’ ?

Hare Krishna.

29th June, 2015. Gurgaon

Bali Maharaj, Vamana Deva

Some days back, after a class describing Krishna’s appearance as Vamana Deva, I had an interesting discussion with Shyamsundar Prabhuji on how Lord was more favourable to Bali maharaj than Indra, for whose apparent and immediate help Lord came as Vamana Deva. In the past I also had questions like what prompted Lord to go with Bali maharaj  as his ‘gatekeeper’ after this particular pastime, why does Krishna protects Indra even after so many offenses, what happens to the present Indra after Bali maharaj would take the post of Indra in the next manvantara and are there some other lessons from this sweet pastime. As the mystery unraveled I again saw how deep are Krishna’s unpredictable and wondrous pastimes.

The first clarity came due to the mercy of a senior Prabhuji, which I am sharing in brief.

First we read the two relevant verses from Srimad Bhagavatam.

tatra devāḥ sutapaso virajā amṛtaprabhāḥ

teṣāṁ virocana-suto balir indro bhaviṣyati  ( SB 8.13.12)


In the period of the eighth Manu, among the demigods will be the Sutapās, the Virajas and the Amṛtaprabhas. The king of the demigods, Indra, will be Bali Mahārāja, the son of Virocana.

eṣa vipra-balodarkaḥ sampraty ūrjita-vikramaḥ

teṣām evāpamānena sānubandho vinaṅkṣyati (SB 8.15.31)

Bali Mahārāja has now become extremely powerful because of the benedictions given him by the brāhmaṇas, but when he later insults the brāhmaṇas, he will be vanquished, along with his friends and assistants.

Srila Prabhupada writes in his purport that Bali Maharaja and Indra were enemies. Therefore, when Bṛhaspati, the spiritual master of the demigods, predicted that Bali Mahārāja would be vanquished when he insulted the brāhmaṇas by whose grace he had become so powerful, Bali Mahārāja’s enemies were naturally anxious to know when that opportune moment would come. To pacify King Indra, Bṛhaspati assured him that the time would certainly come, for Bṛhaspati could see that in the future Bali Mahārāja would defy the orders of Śukrācārya in order to pacify Lord Viṣṇu, Vāmanadeva. Of course, to advance in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one can take all risks. To please Vāmanadeva, Bali Mahārāja risked defying the orders of his spiritual master, Śukrācārya. Because of this, he would lose all his property, yet because of devotional service to the Lord, he would get more than he expected, and in the future, in the eighth manvantara, he would occupy the throne of Indra again.

Prabhuji explained that Bali Maharaj was banished to Sutala since he had disrespected his spiritual master, as predicted by Brahispatiji, and lost all his property and opulence which he had gained from Indra. However, since he had desire and he was under the shelter of the Supreme Lord, Lord promised to make him Indra. Present Indra is certainly sinful: there are so many references: disrespecting Brahispatiji, Supreme Lord etc. Therefore present Indra will be born in Asura family in next manvantara as Bali Maharaj and once he fully surrenders to Lord in next manvantara, he will go back to Godhead.

So why does Lord keep protecting Indra?

Prabhuji explained that Krishna keeps doing this to keep the sanctity of Indra as position not specifically Indra Deva who is very much falliable and as stated by Srila Prabhupada many times in his purports. Everybody has path to come back to Godhead and since he is serving Lord by doing his duties directed by Supreme Lord, it’s the mercy of Supreme Lord.

The conclusion of the above two verses is that Bali Maharaj will become Indra Deva (this doesn’t mean Bali Maharaj will be like current Indra, it means in next manvantara Indra’s position will be occupied by a pure devotee).

Prabhuji also cautioned us that while reading such pastimes we should not become disrespectful towards Indra, even though he is sinful, as he is surely more pure than us and Krishna consciousness teaches us to see everyone as part and parcel of Lord and take humble position. In heart we should not think anything negative about Indra Deva. We should state negatives only from learning perspective to others.

Hence once one become Lord’s pure devotee, Lord protects him from everything and is with him all the time. Brahaspatiji is very dear to Lord so He had to go to Sutala to protect Bali maharaj from all asuras and malefic of being in Sutala. Lord had committed to Bali Maharaj after his surrender, He will be always with him. Prabhuji mentioned that in one of the lecture HH Bhakti Charu swami had stated that Bali Maharaj had never taken Lord as gatekeeper of Sutala but as his protector as he was now aware that he is susceptible to falling and since he is now completely dependent on Krishna. Lord is protecting Bali Maharaj and would then take him to Godhead after his next avatara as Indra.

In one of the `Back to Godhead’ article, Sept/Oct 2008 issue, on the same topic,  HG Aja Govinda Prabhuji wrote:

‘We also learn from this pastime that the highest compassion of the Lord is His depriving His devotee of all material defenses so that the devotee can surrender unto Him unconditionally. The Lord does this to increase the devotees’ loving reliance upon Him, freeing them from dependence on their fleeting worldly powers.’

Prabhuji wrote at the end of his above mentioned article that ‘ The Lord often acts in unpredictably wondrous ways, but His pastimes always set the true dharma for the benefit of everyone. Vamanadeva’s recovering the heavens from Bali and delivering them to the demigods benefited both Indra and Bali. They both obtained their kingdoms, but also something of much higher value: deep trust and love for Vamanadeva, who fulfilled double roles as Indra’s younger brother and Bali’s protector.

This pastime also glorifies Bali Maharaja’s unwavering resolve to fulfill his vow in any circumstance. Bali Maharaja is one of the twelve great personalities (mahajanas) revered for their exclusive devotion to the Lord even in the most trying situations.’

Prabhuji wrote the entire pastime with all the back ground of how Prahlada maharaj renounced his throne and then how his son Virochana became the king and then why did his son, Bali maharaj, started fighting with demigods? It is all very interesting but too long to write it in this blog, but it’s a must read. Kindly read the same by clicking here.

This pastime also corroborate what we read in the last blog that Krishna’s actions are good for everyone, that Krishna always treat everyone equally and all His acts convey auspiciousness, with no malice towards anyone.

So simply due to a chance ‘discussion’ with a sincere devotee so many wonderful learning got unraveled.

All glories to the glorious pastimes of Vamana Deva.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.