The Hindu epic Ramayana has an interesting episode of the war between the monkey god Hanuman and the king of Kishkindha – Bali. This story teaches us many humanitarian lessons. No matter how strong a person becomes, no matter money much wealth he accumulates, he should never boast his strength and achievement. He mustn’t dominate over the weak rather help in uplifting them. Here’s the complete story as I recall –
Bali and Sugriva are considered children of Brahma. Bali had a boon absorbing half of the strength of his opponent in a war. Based on this boon, Bali had defeated some of the biggest warriors on the earth. He even defeated the king of Lanka – Ravana. After defeating Ravana, Bali tied Ravana in his tail and roamed across the planet for six months, before Ravana extended his willingness to be friends with Bali.
Bali, intoxicated with the overconfidence in his immense power, used to challenge other warriors, humans, and animals sporadically. One fine day, he was roaming in the forest as usual challenging people to fight with him. Hanuman was meditating in the same forest and was reciting the name of his adorable Lord Rama. Bali was hollering his lungs out which disrupted Hauman’s austerity. He told Bali “Your majesty, you are extremely powerful. No one can dare to accept your challenge and you know that then why are you screaming like this?“
Bali got infuriated by this. He couldn’t control his anger and he went ahead to challenged Hanuman. He did not stop there. He even challenged Lord Rama and asked Hanuman to summon Rama. Bali said “Hanuman! who the hell are you? Who is Rama? The only great warrior on the earth I know of is myself! Go, ask Rama to come and fight with me.“
Hanuman triggered Hanuman got his angriness was beyond control. Hanuman did not waste any more time talking or contemplating and accepted Bali’s challenge. It was then decided that there would be a fight between the two as soon as the sun rises the next day. The next day Hanuman was excited and got ready for the fight. He was leaving for the venue where the fight was scheduled when Bramha appeared suddenly. Bramha tried to convince Hanuman and requested him not to accept Bali’s challenge.
On this Hanuman said, “Lord! It was fine as long as Bali was challenging me, but then he dared to challenge Lord Rama! As Rama’s servant, I cannot forgive him and I must teach him a lesson!” When Brahma tried to explain, Hanumanji said – “If I step back now, what will the world say?” To this, Brahma said, “okay, you can go for the fight, but I would request you to carry only tenth of your power. Surrender the rest to your venerable Rama. Regain that power after you return from the fight.” Hanumanji agreed to the request of Brahma and took 10th of his total strength to fight Bali. According to the boon as soon as Hanuman stepped into the ground of fight, half of Hanuman’s power got transferred to Bali.
This triggered a tremendous movement in Bali’s body. He felt as if a monstrous wave of strength was constantly moving inside his body. In a few moments, Bali felt as if the veins of his body would burst and he would die. The power was maniacal! Brahma then appeared and told Bali that he considers himself the most powerful in the world, but his body was unable to handle even a tenth of Hanuman’s power. He also advised Bali to run away from Hanuman if he wanted to survive.
Bali seeing no other option agreed to Brahma’s instructions. Later he realized that Hanuman is much more powerful than he thought. He bowed down to Hanuman and said – “Despite the immense strength, Hanuman remains calm and continues to sing praises of Lord Rama. I’m not even equal to one strand of his hair and I dared to challenge him!
Hence, we must not be intoxicated by our achievements!