A Double Edged Sword
In Hindu trinity Vishnu is the Order maintaining a balance between Brahma and Siva. Whenever Brahma created a new world Siva the destroyer found some thing that upset him. He opened in anger his third eye to destroy it to cinders. It was the task of Vishnu to bring order out of Chaos.
Vishnu the upholder of Law thought the law could be written down so Brahmins anywhere on the earth could be guided to lead orderly lives.
Vishnu loved to hear Brahmins recite their hymns in Sanskrit and interpret laws.
One day the three gods were idling away.
Brahma heard a commotion. On the earth Brahmins were demanding preeminence in all things He heard on say,’ Only Brahmins can interpret law on the earth’. Brahma the creator was confused,’ Did I create it for only a particular set? I hate cliques.’
Siva heard him and said,’Say the word I will send my fire.’
Vishnu held his finger to his mouth. The two gods instantly kept silence. Vishnu listened closely to something that was going on below and said,’I must investigate.’ He changed himself into the form of an indigent Brahmin and went to Cherala. In the kingdom of Venadu where Mahabali ruled the kingdom people were making merry. What excited the curiosity of Vishnu was that the people were not Brahmins and yet they were as happy as gods.
Vishnu sidled up to one and asked if the people had laws. He asked what he meant by that. Vishnu the lawgiver was so shocked. He didn’t know if people could be happy without laws.
‘If you have quarrels how do you settle the dispute?’
‘We talk things face to face.’
Vishnu asked,’Without Law coming in between?’
‘Law is unnecessary since we take our Venerable king as our example’.
Vishnu was impressed. Vishnu in the same disguise went up the steps of the palace. King Mahabali and his consort were taking the air after lunch.
Seeing the guest the king came forward to receive him. He himself poured water for his feet and said,’please sit on the bench; it must have been quite a walk in the hot sun.’
The king effortlessly attended to his comfort while the queen called her attendants make ready for his food.
While the Brahmin was served the king and the queen sat near him and they plied him with food encouraging him to take his fill. Vishnu could not believe that a king who was not a Brahmin and yet could be as noble as gods.
‘This cannot be’ Vishnu said to himself.’These people have no laws;nor do they pray or sing hymns and pester the gods for anything.
The Brahmin said he was a stranger and he was amazed to hear they were all equal. The king nodded,’Yes we are all equal.’
‘No difference between man and woman?
King Mahabali answered,’Being man or woman can’t be helped. But in our conduct we seek only the good for both’.
Vishnu was so disappointed that there were those wo thought differently than he.
He pretended that he had no place to lay his head. ‘Grant me a boon O lord?’ The king asked him to speak up. The Brahmin asked the extent of land covered by three strides as his resting place..
The king smiled and said,’O Noble Brahmin, you ask too little.’
‘This will suffice.’
The king asked him to suit himself. The Brahmin took the first step and it covered the sky and the next spanned the water. And the third step covered the earth and down went King Mahabali under the gods foot. When Vishnu had ended his measure the kingdom of Venadu was gone and also everything on the earth.
Lord Vishnu brought back the Brahmins and said,’I can deal with people who appreciate laws.’
Moral: More than the fine print find out who is framing the laws and the purpose. There is more to it than meets the eye.