The greatness of a lotus is it blooms in mud and dirt. This is a beautiful example that there might be good present even amongst the bad, and such goodness is always protected by the Almighty. The great king Bali Chakravarthy is one such virtuous person who shone with virtues of goodness, even though born as a demon. His greatest virtue was to never go back on his promise, and that which gave him eternal fame as the devotee of Bhagwan Vishnu.
Once during a conflict between the Devas and the demons, King Bali decided to gain supremacy over the Devas not with bloodshed and war, but by performing a Yagn. He starts a Yagn under the guidance of his Guru Shukracharya which would give him the supremacy over the Devas without any fight and the Devas would lose their power. Although King Bali was a righteous king, the Devas worry about his act, as it would disturb the entire Dharma of the worlds and they rush to Bhagwan Vishnu to save them.
Bhagwan Vishnu takes the form of a young Brahmin and goes to Bali Chakravarthy. The king is impressed at the divine radiance of the young Brahmin and asks the little one what he sought. The king offers him wealth and riches, yet the young Brahmin refuses all. When Bali Chakravarthy insists upon giving him whatever the young Brahmin asked for, the boy asks for three steps of land.
This shocks Rishi Shukracharya and he understands that the young one is none other than Bhagwan Vishnu. He stops Bali Chakravarthy and asks him to send the boy away. When Bali Chakravarthy asks for the reason, he reveals that that is all a plot by the Devas and the young Brahmin is Bhagwan Vishnu who has come to stop the Yagn.
Bali Chakravarthy smiles and then mentions to his guru that a promise or a word given is the most valuable thing ever and one cannot step back from it. King Bali mentions that even if it is likely to bring harm also he wouldn’t budge on going back, as it is against Dharma to break a word given. When Rishi Shukracharya says that this would lead to dire consequences too, the king mentions that when the Almighty himself has come to ask him for something, then the almighty would also protect him too.
With this, although knowing that Bhagwan Vishnu had come to protect the Devas and disturb the Yagna, the noble king thus keeps his word and donates the three steps of land. Assuming the Vamanavatara, Bhagwan Vishnu grows enormously in his size and places his two steps on the entire universe and the Earth. When he asks the king as to where to put his third step, King Bali bows down and asks him to step on his head. Bhagwan Vishnu gets immensely pleased with the sacrifice of Bali Chakravarthy and offers him his protection forever. Making Bali the king of the Patal Lok, Bhagwan Vishnu himself becomes Bali Chakravarthy’s gatekeeper.
The value of keeping a word might bring in initial difficulties, but the result proves to the one which is beneficial to self and the others too. With Bali Chakaravarhty keeping up his word, he becomes dear to Bhagwan Vishnu and at the same time stops the demons form taking undue advantage through him and saves Dharma, and forever became one of the most generous kings the world has ever known.