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Meaning Of Bali

"A synonym for word Tyaaga' (sacrifice) is 'Bali'. The term 'Bali' has several meanings, such as: offering, dedication, sacrifice and a tax levy. What is meant by 'tax'? 'Bali' means that which has to be given as an offering in human life. But the ancients regarded 'Bali' as offering a living object as a sacrifice. This is not the proper meaning of 'Bali'. 'Bali' is the recognition of the Divinity in man." "God fills the tanks and rivers with water. He provides man with the life-giving oxygen in the air he breathes. The sun illumines the whole world by its light. What is the tax we pay for all these services? The offerings we make to God ('Arpitamu') is the tax. That has been called 'Bali'. One should not be frightened by the term 'Bali'. It means only offering one's self to the Divine." Sai Baba, SS. 10/95, p. 262

"Bali means tax. You pay taxes to the government for electricity, water, drainage, etc. What tax did Bali pay? He gave all his possessions, body, mind and soul to the Lord." Sai Baba. SS, 10/94, p. 271

"Bali is the symbol of sacrifice. He controlled everything by his spirit of sacrifice." Sai Baba. SS. 10/94, p. 270

What Does God Expect From Us?

"God does not ask for any offering of wealth or position. God is said to be pleased if a sincere devotee offers a leaf, a flower, a fruit or even water. What is this leaf? It is the body. The heart is the flower; the mind is the fruit. The water that is to be offered is that from the tears of joy shed by the devotee. This is what God expects from you. The Lord tells you, 'My dear man! The body does not belong to you. Who gave it to you? It is a precious gift from God. It is inert like a leaf." "The flower to be offered to God is a pure heart free from all taints and evil tendencies like lust, anger and pride. The fruit to be offered is a mind free from all bad thoughts and feelings. It should be filled with the sweet juice of goodness. The water that should be offered to God is the water that flows from the eyes out of joy in experiencing God." Sai Baba. SS. 10/95, p. 264

Bali Symbolizes Supreme Sacrifice

"Bali was an example of supreme sacrifice. He sacrificed all his possessions and himself too to God. Bali said: 'The hand of the Lord, which gives Abhaya (graceful benediction) to all, has been stretched to take something from me. The Lord's hand is below while my hand is above. This must be the fruit of my penance in several births. I am prepared for anything.' This was the spirit of Bali. Bali is the symbol of sacrifice. He controlled everything by his spirit of sacrifice." Sai Baba, SS. 10/94. p. 270

Shukracharya Symbolizes Selfishness

"Shukracharya's anger was growing because of his selfish motive that he should continue to be the preceptor of the Asuras. He did not want Bali to give the gift sought by Vamana as he was sure that the last vestige of power of the Asuras would be destroyed by Vamana." Sai Baba, SS. 10/94, p. 270

Symbolism Of lndra

"Indra is hailed as the chief of the gods. In the Purusha-sookta (of the Rig-Veda), it is said that out of the face of cosmic Purusha emerged Indra. Indra is one who is the Lord of the senses. In man, the mind is the master of the senses. No one can estimate the power of the mind. Brahmaastra and Vajrayudha are not more powerful than Ekaagrataa or concentration, which is mightier than any weapon. For this, sense control is essential. There is always a battle raging in the body between vice and virtue. Only the one that has Ekaagrataa can come out victorious." Sai Baba, SS. 10/94, p. 270

Symbolism Of The Battle Between Indra And Ball

"Bali is the symbol of sacrifice. He controlled everything by his spirit of sacrifice. The 'Gayatri Mantra' begins with the utterance: 'Bhur-Bhuvas-Swaha.' These represent the three worlds, which are in the body itself. 'Bhu' represents Prakriti or earth, which is the physical body. Mind is Bhuvarloka. Prajnana is Suvarloka. Body represents materialization as it is made up of the five physical elements. The mind is vibration and Prajnana is radiation. If you enquire into their inner significance, all the three are in your body itself. The battle between Bali and Indra represents the mind battling to control the senses. When mind is controlled, one attains Divinity. This is the spiritual state. Bali performed many sacrifices to attain this state. Sai Baba, SS. 10/94, pp.270 & 271

lnner Significance Of Vamana's Three-Step Measurement

"Bali gave all his possessions, body, mind and soul to the Lord. The Lord's first foot covered this world and the second foot covered the other world. How huge the Lord's feet should have been to cover the whole world? How can such a huge foot be kept on Ball's head for the third step of the land? The inner significance of this action is the Lord entered Ball's body, mind and soul. Once the ego or body consciousness is surrendered, there is no bar to one's realisation. It is the body consciousness that stands in the way and makes you forget God. Vamana opened Bali's eyes to help him realise the Divine. The imprisoned man has to be freed. Bali offered his body, mind and soul to the Lord." Sai Baba. SS. 10/94, p. 271

Significance Of Onam For The People Of Kerala

"Unwilling to forsake his subjects and, at the same time, unable to go back on his promise, Bali gave a pledge to the people that he would visit them once a year. This Onam day is the auspicious day of Bali's annual visit to the earth. It is the sacred day on which Emperor Bali returns to bless his people. In the month of Shravana, when the moon is nearest to the constellation Sravana, Bali said that he would make his appearance." Sai Baba. SS. 10/93, p. 257

"Kerala (a province in India) is a sacred land where Bali performed the action of supreme surrender to the Lord. He had a good relationship with his people and they loved him in turn, and kept faith in him. That is why Kerala is still prosperous. The Lord goes about freely in this land. Bali sought a boon from the Lord that he should visit Kerala every year, on this day of the month of Shravana. This day is celebrated as Onam by Keralites. They have been following this faithfully since ancient times. This day is considered most important for the people of Kerala. They prepare many dishes and eat together on this holy day." Sai Baba. SS. 10/94, p. 271

"Even now, despite the vicissitudes of history and occasional manifestation of atheistic tendencies, the Kerala people have remained pious and God-loving. You see devotees everywhere. When you watch the people going in and coming out of Padma-nabha Swami Temple, you see the depth of their devotion. The existence of opposing qualities is part of the nature." Sai Baba, SS. 10/97, p. 269

The Sacred Land Of Kerala Was Of Parashurama Kshetra

"Kerala is a land that has won the love of the Lord in a special way. In olden days, it was noted for its devotion and godliness. Kerala is also known as Parashurama Kshetra -the sacred land of Parashuram. How did it acquire that name? Parashuram is one of the Avatars of Vishnu. When Parashurama's father (Jamadagni) was beheaded by a Kshatriya (warrior) king, his mother Renuka, cried in anguish: 'Rama! Rama!' Parashurama, who was away from the Ashram, could ethereally hear the cries of his mother from afar and rushed home. He counted that his mother called his name twenty-one times. On reaching the Ashram, he saw his father's head severed from the body. The horrible crime had been committed by a K-artavirya's sons. Parashurama took a vow to wage a war against the vile Kshatriya (warriors) rulers twenty-one times and end their rule all over the earth. Parashurama accomplished his mission by defeating the Kshatriya rulers twenty-one times and came to his Ashram to pray to his ancestors for restoring his father's life. The sage Bharadwaja, to whose Gotra (lineage) Jamadagni belonged, appeared before Parashurama and restored Jamadagni to life by placing the head and body together.

After this Parashurama felt that the purpose of his advent had been achieved and as he had no desire to be a ruler, he made a gift of all the territories he had conquered to sage Kshyapa. He felt that having given away everything, it would not be right for him to remain on the land he had gifted. He decided to reclaim land from the sea and settle down on that territory for the rest of his life. It is this sea that is known as Parashuram Kshetra - also known as KERALA. He performed penance on a mountain called Mahesha, which is situated in Kerala.

Kerala is thus a land with sacred traditions. The ONAM festival occurs in an auspicious period. Kerala goes through three months of heavy rains before Onam. Nature wears a somber look. The skies are overcast and the sun is hardly visible during these three months. After the rains, the sun shines in all its glory and it is green everywhere. Nature rejoices at the time of Onam. The entire population is filled with joy, sharing the glory of nature and enjoying its fruits in abundance." Sai Baba. SS. 10/86, pp. 242 & 243


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From the book - Festivals at Prasanthi Nilayama - An Exposition by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba - Compiled and Edited by Suresh C Bhatnagar