[ Transcribed from lectures given by Sri Atmatattva Das ]
After the spitting happened, Ravana was thinking, “This is bad. My time has come. But I am Trilokeshvara, and I can conquer time. How I can conquer it I don’t know, but somehow it will happen. I am very powerful, and up till now everything has gone good. Why should it go bad?” Still his political mind was thinking, “I should take help from another king. Even if it is not necessary, if something happens then I can run to him at least. So which king should I take help from? These Devatas are useless, they are my servants. I don’t need to take help from them. Other demons? Well, no-one is as powerful as me. In our family, who is as powerful as me? Bali Maharaja! He is most powerful, and he is still living, because he was put down to the Sutala planet.”
Ravana knew that Bali Maharaja was there, and that he was a very charitably disposed person. He gave his whole kingdom to Vamana. “He came from a demon family, and I am also a demon, so we can shake hands and we can kill Ramacandra.”
He decided to go and see Bali Maharaja, so he went to the Sutala planet. At the entrance to the Sutala planet, there was Visnu, Vamanadeva with a club on His shoulder, and he was walking back and forward guarding the gate. Ravana came there, and he looked at Him. Ravana travels with his club and his sword. He said, “Who is this dwarf?” He came there and tried to get in the gate.
Vamanadeva put his club there, and said, “Mmm-mmm!” making a sound indicating no. He didn’t speak, he had taken a vow of silence.
Everything shook inside Ravana. Still he didn’t show it. “I will try another method,” he thought, and he became invisible. It was one of his perfections. But he was invisible only to the material eyes, not to Visnu. Again the club came. He became very small and tried to enter very quickly. Visnu put His foot on his body. Vamana was just standing there, and Ravana was screaming, “Aaargh!” and gasping for air. But because Visnu touched his body he became qualified to be killed by Ramacandra. Up till that time he had not been qualified. Because Vamana stepped on him, some Visnu-sambandha had come. “All right, your body is purified. Now Ramacandra’s arrow can come.” That is why Vamana kept his foot there. He could have crushed him, but He just held him there. Then He let him in.
Ravana increased his form and came before Bali Maharaja. As if nothing happened, he said, “I came to see you. There is no place in this world that I cannot go. I am Trilokeshvara.”
Bali Maharaja said, “But what about Vamanadeva in the gate? Didn’t He stop you?”
Ravana said, “If He stopped me how can I be here?”
Bali said, “He has stopped you and He has let you in.”
“How does he know?” Ravana thought.
Bali continued, “He must have stopped you, then He became merciful and let you in.”
Then Ravana said, “Who is He to become merciful on me?”
Bali said, “He is Visnu, the Supreme Lord!”
“Don’t say that again,” Ravana said. “I am the Supreme Lord!”
Bali said, “Oh, you are the Supreme Lord? Can I know why you are here?”
Ravana said, “I came for help.”
“Oh, this is a wonderful Supreme Lord,” Bali said. “He is the Supreme Lord, he has come for my help. I must be the Supreme Lord.”
Ravana said, “You are an elderly person, so don’t laugh at me. It’s not fair. Dharma-shastra says that you should not mock a younger person because he has less qualities than you.”
Bali said, “Oh, you still remember the dharma-shastras?”
Ravana said, “Why should I have forgotten it?”
Bali said, “If you have not forgotten it then why are you here?”
Ravana said, “I came to see you because you are my great great great great grandfather.”
Bali said, “I am your great great great great grandfather for so long, but you never came. Why did you suddenly come now?”
Ravana said, “Let’s forget all that. Look, one human being has landed in Sri Lanka with monkeys.”
Bali said, “A human being has landed in your country? How did he come?” Ravana said, “He crossed the ocean, or built a bridge they say.”
Bali Maharaja closed his eyes, and he smiled and said, “Oh! Isn’t He the son of Dasaratha.”
Ravana said, “Aarggh, yes! That’s him! That Iksvaku dynasty bunch of weaklings. Again and again I have controlled them, but still they have no shame and they continue to come and give trouble.”
Bali said, “What kind of monkeys has he got?” Ravana said, “Well one monkey came and burnt the Lanka city. Another one came and I couldn’t move his toe. The next one spat on my face.”
“Really?” Then he closed his eyes, and again he smiled. “Oh wonderful! And what did you decide Ravana? Did you decide to give back Sita?”
“How did you know?” Ravana said.
“That’s all right. I’m your great great great great grandfather, I know better that you. You must give back Sita.”
“No,” Ravana said. “I won’t do it. Why should I do it? It’s some monkeys only, some human beings.”
Bali said, “Yes some monkeys only! One burnt the whole city, another you couldn’t move his toe, and another spat on your face. Just some monkeys only. And these are just messengers who came without the intention of fighting. When they come with the intention of fighting, what will happen? Your brother is on their side, Vibhisana. This is a big point for you. Your brother, who knows everything about you is on the other side. At least if he is on the other side, you must not fight. As long as your brother is living, and he is on the other side. What a clever king you are. You are waging a war. He will tell everything about you!”
Ravana said, “Anyway, he’s one of those weaklings who are always crying Visnu! Visnu! He’s against the grain of our family. He’s become a demon.”
Bali Maharaja said, “All right, what do you want from me?”
Ravana said, “You must help me.”
Bali said, “How can I help you, such a religious person? After all, you just took somebody else’s wife. That’s all. It’s natural for a demon to do that. What is the complaint?”
Then Ravana became very happy and said, “See? You have intelligence. You understand me.”
“Yes, I understand you,” Bali said. “Anyway, you have come, you are in my kingdom, so I want to give you some gift before we talk politics. Don’t worry, I will help you. Let me give you a gift. You come with me.” He took him into a big maidang, open ground. It is mentioned that it was four yojanas, thirty-two miles. There was a big mountain with a diameter of thirty-two miles. It was nine yojanas, seventy-two miles high and thirty-two miles wide. And very nicely shaped, and it was solid gold, and on the side were diamonds bigger than Ravana’s face. They were nicely shaped.
Ravana said, “What a wonderful mountain. It’s made of gold with diamonds on it, and it’s all very nicely arranged. Who gave you this mountain?”
Bali said, “Who gave it to me is of no importance. I want to give it to you.”
Ravana’s eyes opened wide, and his mouth opened wide also. “You’re giving this to me? All of it, not just one diamond?”
Bali said, “All of it! This whole mountain!”
Ravana was thinking, “Why go back to Lanka? Forget Sita and Rama. Just take this mountain and go somewhere else, have a nice time.” Demons always make plans like this.
Bali said, “But I will only give it to you if you can lift it first.”
So Ravana was trying, but he could just barely get it off the ground. Ravana was very powerful, but he couldn’t lift this mountain of gold and diamonds. So Bali said, “Now step back a bit and take a better look at it. What does it look like?”
So Ravana said, “It looks something like an earring, an earring studded with many beautiful diamonds.”
So Bali said, “Yes, that’s right. This is the earring of Hiranyakasipu. During the fight between Hiranyakasipu and Lord Nrsimhadeva, this earring fell down here. In your previous birth you were Hiranyakasipu, and the Lord killed you. You were much more powerful than you are now. You can’t even pick up this earring that you used to wear. Now Visnu has come again, and He will surely kill you.” But even after that example, Ravana couldn’t understand. He left the kingdom of Bali.