Ravan was famous for his great powers, strength, knowledge and learning of all the Vedas and the Sastras. Being blessed by boons given by Brahma Ji and Bhagwan Shiv, he won over the three worlds, controlled the planetary positions and conquered all the great warriors of the world, yet the presence of arrogance in him taught him lessons of defeat quite a few times in his life and one such lesson was taught by the great Vanar king Bali.
After conquering all the three worlds, Ravan rose to fame and pride grew in him. Rishi Narad decided to give him a taste of defeat and visited Ravan with a plan in mind. Ravan welcomed the travelling sage and asked him as to how his fame spread all over the world. Rishi Narad answered that although Ravan was powerful, there was one warrior who was even mightier than Ravan, and he was the Vanar warrior Bali. Ravan feels jealous and decides to fight Bali. He goes to Kishkinda and finds Bali engrossed in his morning prayers, Ravan decides to make fun of his appearance of a monkey and grabs Bali’s tail from behind. Bali well aware of Ravan’s intention, decides to teach him a lesson. As soon as Ravan grabbed Bali’s tail, Bali wrapped it around Ravan’s hands and flew off in the air. Ravan is shocked by this and tries hard to loosen his hands, but he fails totally in front of Bali’s strength and gets trailed behind caught in Bali’s tail.
As part of his daily routine, Bali then goes to all the four shores of the great Oceans to offer his prayers. Whenever Bali takes a dip in the Ocean, Ravan too gets submerged in the water. Ravan gets totally exhausted trailing with Bali’s tail. After returning to Kishkinda, Bali finally releases the bonds of Ravan and mocks him for his inability to release himself. Ravan feels humiliated that all his power is nothing in front of Bali. Ravan feels that such a powerful adversary should be made a friend and he seeks the friendship of Bali. Bali takes pity on Ravan and releases him of his bonds and accepts Ravan’s friendship.
While Ravan was taught a lesson by Bali, Bali was reminded of Dharma by Shri Ram. Both were powerful warriors and acquired great fame, but both succumbed to the arrows of Shri Ram, while one for his lust, one for forgetting his Dharma. The difference was Bali understood the real meaning of Dharma in his last moments and assigned Angad in his place to serve Shri Ram dutifully and became a devotee of Shri Ram which earned him respect as a warrior, but Ravan never understood what it truly meant to be a warrior and Ravan’s end teaches a lesson to never inculcate pride and arrogance in life which lead to downfall in spite of being powerful and knowledgeable.