thAll of you who have been wondering (everyone, I’m sure.) how a Hindu bastion such as Bali remains in the midst of the overwhelmingly Muslim and (somewhat) Christian populace as Indonesia, here’s the historical explanation. All true

Bali was a good king with a peaceful kingdom full of happy people. Vishnu saw this and appeared at his door as a guest, a dwarf, and was taken in as custom demanded. He proved an entertaining fellow, and Vishnu/dwarf and Bali had a good visit. When it came time to leave, Bali, as custom demanded, offered a boon. Vishnu said he’d like some land. How much? All I can cover in three strides. Bali argued that wasn’t enough, but the dwarf insisted, so Bali relented.

In an instant, Vishnu revealed himself as a god and became enormous. So enormous that he covered the entire earth in two strides. Now it was time for the third step, but there was no place for Vishnu to rest his foot, so Bali offered his head as a stepping stone. Which he should have known better because in Indian battles if your opponent steps on your head, you’re toast. Thus Bali became an underworld demon with only an island to his name.

Lessons? Why would Vishnu do this to a good king with a happy kingdom? Answer. The kingdom was too happy, too stable. The Hindu pantheon needs a balance of order and chaos. Perfect order is death. Bali’s kingdom was too happy, so had to be disrupted. Ordinarily one might expect that this would be a job for Shiva the destroyer, but these guys cross over into each other’s boundaries all the time. You never can tell which god will be after you or will help you. Keep praying.


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