Legend has it that Mahabali, the ruler of the Asuras, was a wise king overthrown by his pride. When he took over the reins of the Asura kingdom, he was a wise and just man who ruled with love and benevolence. We don’t know how he managed it, but he also conquered the underworld and enslaved Heaven.

That Heaven, abode of the merry, mead-drinking Gods and dancing, elusive apsaras, should be ruled by a mere mortal was unacceptable to the immortals. And so the many Gods went to Vishnu, appealing to his sense of justice and asking him to intervene.

On the day that Mahabali began his yagna to maintain his rule over the three worlds, a Brahmin boy approached Mahabali and asked to be given a patch of land—he wasn’t greedy; he only wanted as much as his three steps could cover. Mahabali’s advisor advised against it, as all advisors do, but the king wouldn’t hear of it. He granted the boy his wish and stood staring aghast as the boy grew out of his disguise to take the form of Vishnu. With the first step, Vishnu covered the entire earth and the underworld; with the second, he reclaimed Heaven. Mahabali understood his mistake, and as Vishnu had already reclaimed everything in two steps and had nowhere to place his third, the king humbly offered his head to step on.

Mahabali was banished to the fires of the underworld, and the world was a happy place again.

Unlike him, i’m not greedy. I don’t want to own the world. I just want to travel it.

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