The mythology tale involves Baliraja, an asura king who came to power after defeating gods and took over all three worlds. Yet he was a good ruler and devotee of Lord Vishnu. Bali’s close associates weren’t like him; they would constantly conspire against gods. Instead of a war, Vishnu wanted tactical means to handle the situation.
The perfect time arrived when Baliraja announced his Yajna (homa sacrifices) and promised to grant all the wishes to everyone who would ask during Yajna. Baliraja was very proud of his power and bragged about being rich every time. And it was time for Lord Vishnu’s fifth incarnation on the earth. He took the avatar of a dwarf brahmin named Vamana and came to Yajna. Seeing the brahmin Baliraja asked, “What do you want brahmin? I can give you everything you want”. Vamana calmly said, “I just want a piece of land where I can keep my three steps”.
Smiling and thinking about how much land a dwarf will need Baliraja agreed, and soon after that Vamana grew to enormous proportions. And then he asked, “Tell me, king, where I should keep my first step?” Confused Baliraja said, “Please place it in the limitless sky”
Again Vamana asked, “Where should I keep my second step?” The king replied, “The complete land belongs to me, keep your second step on land” Lastly Vamana said, “And now where?” Since the king had already promised, he couldn’t take his words back, kneeling he said, “Please place your third step on my head” as soon as Vamana placed his foot, he pushed the king into the hell. But the king pleased with all his dedication and also was a great devotee of Vishnu, Vamana granted him a boon.
Vamana said, “Baliraja you can return on earth once a year to be your people” And since then the fourth day of Diwali festival is celebrated as Balipratipada. Hindu mythology is full of such fascinating and inspirational tales!