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The Sri Vaishnava sect has two sub-sects, Thenkalai and Vadakalai. Vadakalais follow the teachings of Vedanta Desikan, whereas Thenkalais follow the teachings of Pillai Lokacharya. My question is about Vedanta Desikan. The Yadavabhyudayam is an epic poem composed by Vedanta Desikan about the childhood of Krishna. I just found an interesting incident in this excerpt from the Yadavabhyudayam:

āghātavasmanamaraṇyabhāgedhāraṇyakaiśritadhenubhāvaiḥ ।
kenāpi tasyāpahṛtaṃ kirīṭaṃ pratyāran prekṣata patrinātha ॥
daityādvairocanāḍhyālabhujopanītaḥ ।
kṛṣṇasya maulī kṛtabahebūḍe nyastaḥ kirīṭo nibiḍīvabhūkha ॥

Garuda, bringing the crown of Sri Krishna, which had been taken away by some one, saw Sri Krishna, whose path was smelt by the Aranyakas assuming the form of cows in the forest. The crown of the Lord lying on the milky ocean was brought by Garuda from Bali, the son of Virochana and placed upon Sri Krishna's head adorned with peacock feather and became fit to it.

The translator says Garuda gave the crown to Krishna because he “was the same as Sri Narayana lying on the Milky ocean from whom the crown had been formerly stolen by Bali.” My question is, what scriptures describe the demon Mahabali stealing Vishnu’s crown, and Garuda retrieving the crown and giving it to Krishna?

Apparently there’s a similar story connected with the Cheluvanarayana Vishnu temple in Melkote, Karnataka, except with Mahabali replaced with his father Virochana. Here is what Wikipedia says:

Vairamudi, the diamond crown, was stolen from Sriman Narayana, when he was asleep at his abode in the Ksheera Sagara (Milky Ocean), by Virochana. Virochana was the king of demons and the son of Bhakta Prahlada. Garuda was asked by the lord's devotees to bring back the crown. Garuda went after Virochana to the nether world, fought with the demon king and flew back with the crown. According to the legend it is believed that Vairamudi lost its blue gem on the crest while Garuda was bringing it. The blue gem is believed to have fallen near Nachiar Koil, a temple town in Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu. The gem turned into a stream, called the Manimuttaru, which to this day flows in Thanjavur. On his way, he saw Bala Krishna playing with his friends in the mid day sun at Brindavana. Garuda protected the Bala Krishna from the sun by placing his wings as the shade & placed the crown on his head. The local legends of Melkote claim that Krishna presented [the] Cheluva Narayana [statue] with this crown.

But do either the Virochana version or the Mahabali version have a scriptural basis?

5

The Harivamsa Parva of the Mahabharata describes Virochana, not his son Mahabali, stealing Vairamudi which is later recovered by Garuda who gives it to Krishna:

As Vishnu was sleeping in the divine milk ocean, the residence of Varuna, Vishnu's crown was stolen by the Daitya, Virochana. A terrible battle was fought by Garuda for his preceptor with splendour, with the daitya and his followers for the crown, in the middle of the ocean. The best among the birds freed the crown of Vishnu, left the place and reached the sky, the residence of gods, quickly. After accomplishing the task, he saw his preceptor Vishnu on the (Gomantaka) mountain. Garuda was flying with the crown hanging from his beak, as if he was playing. He saw Vishnu in the form of a human being on the peak of the king of mountains, without any external activity, like a human being without a diadem. Garuda, the best among birds, seeing his condition, left the crown, from the sky, happily on Vishnu's head. That crown, as it fell, got fixed on the head of Upendra (Krishna) without tying. The crown on the head made Krishna sparkle, like the sun on the peak of Meru during the middle of the day.

Knowing that the crown was retrieved due to the work of the son of Vinata (Garuda), Krishna with a happy face, spoke these words to Balarama: I am eager to do the work of Devas. There is no doubt. The battle field is set for us on this mountain. Taking a divine form similar to Indra (Sakra), Virochana had taken away my crown while I was sleeping in the great ocean. The crown, taken away (by Virochana) in the form of a large fish was brought back by Garuda. Garuda has captured my crown which was lost while I was sleeping on the serpent (bed). (Harivamsa Parva, Canto 2, Chapter 41)

2

Yes there is story of Mahabali stealing crown from Shri Vishnu, this story is mentioned in Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya Chapter 16 written by Shri Madvacharya. Below is excerpt from Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya :

so.anantavIryaH paramo.abhayo.api nItyai gachchhanjAmadagnyaM dadarsha |
krIDArthameko.api tato.atidurgaM shrutvA gomantaM tatra yayau sahAgrajaH || 16.3||

He whose valour is high and reigns supreme, and he who although has no fear of anything, has diplomatically gone to parashuraama, and when parashuraama told that the mountain called gomantaka is impasable, kR^iShNa sportingly went to the mountain along with balaraama. [16-3]

tadA dugdhAbdhau saMsR^itisthaiH surAdyaiH pUjAM prAptuM sthAnameshhAM cha yogyam |
muktasthAnAdApa nArAyaNo.ajo balishchA.agAttatra sandrashhTumIsham || 16.4||

When kR^iShNa proceeded to Mt. gomantaka, shriiman naaraayaNa, whose wont is staying in a place called mukt sthaana, an abode of liberated souls in Milky Ocean, has come out of it and presented himself in a place called amukta sthaana in that Milky Ocean, whereat souls still lingering in karmic cycle will be present, in order to receive worship of deities and sages. And emperor bali has come there to see the Almighty. [16-4]

tatra asura aavesham amushhya vishhNuH sandarshayan supti hIno api nityam |
saMsuptavichchhashya udArakarmA saJNj~nAyai devAnAM mukhamIxyAprameyaH || 16.5||

Though viShNu is a sleepless entity he pretended to be in fast sleep when bali is going to enter that place. He who is an unknowble entity, and who does gracious deeds also set eyes on the deities present there, indicating that they too feign sleepiness along with him. This pretence of sleep is to make the aasuric shade of emperor bali known to the world. [16-5]

devAshcha tadbhAvavido.akhilAshcha nimIlitAxAH shayaneshhu shishyare |
tadA balistasya vishhNoH kirITa mAdAyAgAjjahasuH sarvadevAH || 16.6||

Knowing the idea of naaraayaNa, the deities too pretended to be in sleep by closing their eyes. Then bali entered and took away the crown of viShNu, making himself a laughing stock of all available there. [16-6]

nArAyaNe sarvadevaiH samete brahmAdibhirhAsamAne suparNaH |
gatvA pAtALaM yudhi jitvA baliM cha kirITamAdAyAbhyayAdyatra kR^ishhNaH || 16.7||

While gods along naaraayaNa are laughing at bali’s petty thievery, garutmanta, the eagle-vehicle of naaraayaNa, dashed to paataala, netherworld, and fought with bali, retrieved the crown, brought it to Mt. gomantaka and gave it to kR^iShNa. [16-7]

tattasya shIrshhNi pratimuchya natvA khagaH stutvA devadevaM ramesham |
smR^ita Agachchhetyeva visarjito.amunA yayau dugdhAbdhiM yatra nArAyaNo.asau || 16.8||

Placing that crown on the head of kR^iShNa, garuDa reverently eulogised him, and departed to the abode of naaraayaNa, namely Milky Ocean, saying that he would be present as and when kR^iShNa contemplates to summon him. [16-8]

kirITaM tatkR^ishhNamUrdhni pravishhTaM tattulyamAsIttasya rUpeshhvabhedAt |
tadichchhayA chaiva nArAyaNasya shIrshhNyapyAsIdyugapaddugdhavArdhau || 16.9||

Because of the non-difference between kR^iShNa and nārāyaNa that crown lent itself to the head of kR^iShNa, and simultaneously the same crown shone forth on the head of nārāyaNa also, just by the wish of nārāyaNa. [16-9]

This episode happens in Gomantaka mountain where Shri Krishna and Jarasandha battle takes place and in Harivamsha Vishnu Parva Chapter 41 it's the same narrative but Mahabali is replaced here by his son Virochana. Passage below is the excerpt from Vishnu Parva Chapter 41

tAbhyAmubhAbhyAM saMlApe vartamAne gR^ihe yathA |
vainateyastato.adhvAnamatichakrAma vegataH ||2-41-37

As they were talking to each other (comfortably) as though they were at home, the son of vinatA (garuDa) arrived there immediately with tremendous speed,

sa~NgrAmayuktatejasvI daityapraharaNA~NkitaH |
devatAnAM jayashlAghI divyasraganulepanaH ||2-41-38

ready for battle, with splendour, with the marks of the daitya's strikes and smears of divine pastes on his body, one who praises the victory of deva-s.

suptasya shayane divye kShIrode varuNAlaye |
viShNoH kirITaM daityena hR^itaM vairochanena vai ||2-41-39

As viShNu was sleeping in the divine milk ocean, the residence of varuNa, viShNu's crown was stolen by the daitya, vairochana.

tadarthastena sa~NgrAmaH kR^ito gurvarthamojasA |
kirITArthe samudrasya madhye daityagaNaiH saha ||2-41-40

A terrible battle was fought by garuDa for his preceptor with splendour, with the daitya and his followers for the crown, in the middle of the ocean.

mokShayitvA kirITaM tu vaiShNavaM patatAM varaH |
vyatyakramata vegena gaganaM devatAlayam ||2-41-41

The best among the birds freed the crown of viShNu, left the place and reached the sky, the residence of gods, quickly.

sa dadarsha guruM shaile viShNuM kAryAntarAgatam |
tena krIDAvalambena kirITena virAjatA ||2-41-42

After accomplishing the task, he saw his preceptor viShNu on the (gomantaka) mountain. garuDa was flying with the crown hanging from his beak, as if he was playing.

sa dR^iShTvA mAnuShaM viShNuM sailarAjashirogatam |
prakAshacheShTAnirmuktaM vimaulimiva mAnuSham ||2-41-43

He saw viShNu in the form of a human being on the peak of the king of mountains, without any external activity, like a human being without a diadem (see nIlakaNTha commentary).

abhij~nastasya bhAvAnAM garutmAnpatatAM varaH |
chikShepa khaM gato mauliM viShNoH shirasi hR^iShTavat ||2-41-44

garuDa, the best among birds, seeing his condition, left the crown, from the sky, happily on viShNu's head.

upendramUrdhni sA maulirapinaddhA ivApatat |
shirasaH sthAnanirmuktA kR^iShNaM chaivAnvashobhayat |
yathaiva merushikhare bhAnurmadhyaMdine yathA ||2-41-45

That crown, as it fell, got fixed on the head of upendra (kR^iShNa) without tying. The crown on the head made kR^iShNa sparkle, like the sun on the peak of meru during the middle of the day.

vainateyaprayogeNa viditvA maulimAgatAm |
kR^iShNaH prahR^IShTavadano rAmaM vachanamabravIt ||2-41-46

Knowing that the crown was retrieved due to the work of the son of vinata (garuDa), kR^iShNa with a happy face, spoke these words to balarAma:

tvarate khalu kAryArtho devatAnAM na saMshayaH |
yatheyamAvayoH shaile sa~NgrAmarachanA kR^itA ||2-41-47

(kR^iShNa said) I am eager to do the work of deva-s. There is no doubt. The battle field is set for us on this mountain.

vairochanena suptasya mama maulirmahodadhau |
shakrasya sadR^ishaM rUpaM divyamAsthAya sAgarAt ||2-41-48

Taking a divine form similar to indra (shakra), vairochana had taken away my crown while I was sleeping in the great ocean.

grAharUpeNa yo nIta AnIto.asau garutmatA |
mamAhishayanAnmaulirhR^itvA kShipto garutmatA ||2-41-49

The crown, taken away (by virochana) in the form of a large fish was brought back by garuDa. garuDa has captured my crown which was lost while I was sleeping on the serpent (bed)

Here slight variation between Harivamsha and Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya is in Harivamsha, Garuda fights with Virochana and Daityas in Milky Ocean (Sheera Sagara) itself whereas in MBTN (Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya) Garuda enters patalaloka and fights with Mahabali and brings crown to Shri Krishna. I hope I have answered your question.

  • 2
    Welcome to Hinduism SE, you should divide your answer in paragraphs to make it more readable and should use quoted text when writing quotes from Hindu scriptures. This will make the answer readable else people will find it difficult to read. – Aby Mar 25 at 3:31
  • 1
    Please split into paragraphs. This is not readable at the moment! Otherwise your answer will be flagged as low quality answer and could even be deleted! – Akshay S Mar 25 at 4:11
  • Thank You. I used quotes from Hindu Scriptures but did not know how to edit it. Thanks for informing me – Vashista Bhat Mar 25 at 10:48

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