Onam and the legend behind it

S Balakrishnan
Contd from last Saturday
The devas feared the consequences of this yagna and wanted to stop him. They prayed to Lord Vishnu for relief. Lord Vishnu took the Vamana avatar (dwarf form) and came to King Maveli seeking alms during the yagna. Maveli’s Guru Sukracharyar felt something was wrong with the dwarf. But despite Sukracharyar’s warning, Maveli welcomed the dwarf and agreed to give whatever was sought for. The dwarf said “I need just three foot measure of land”. The king felt slighted by this silly request; he told Vamana to ask for something richer and bigger. But Vamana stuck to his simple request of three foot measure of land. The king had to agree to this silly request. Upon acceding to the dwarf’s request, Lord Vishnu took His Vishawaroop and with one step measured the earth, with the other He measured the Heaven, and there was no place for the third measure. King Mahabali, the righteous one he was, immediately offered his head and he was pushed down to the netherworld by Lord Vishnu. The Trivikrama incarnation is called as Ulagu (World) Alantha (measured) Perumal (Vishnu/Narayana).
It is said that Guru Sukracharyar tried all his best to stop this misadventure of King Mahabali. The Guru even went to the extent of transforming himself as a beetle to block the mouth of ‘kamandal’ to stop the flow of water from it to give effect to the king’s offering to the dwarf. Unaware of his Guru’s efforts, the king poked the kamandal mouth with a dried grass which hurt one of Sukracharyar’s eyes. ‘You are doomed!’ the Guru must have helplessly shouted at King Mahabali.
But before going down to the underworld Mahabali sought one boon from Vamana-turned Trivikrama – to visit his kingdom once a year to see his citizens.
(To be contd)