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King Bali & Dasavatar

In Srimad Bhagavatam it gives a list of the avatars of Lord Krishna 
(first canto). We find that the Kurma avatar is described as the 11th 
incarnation, Nrsimha avatar is described as the 14th incarnation, and 
Vamana avatar is described as the 15th incarnation. Note that these 
numbers refer to the number of the lila avatar of the Lord, totalling 25. 
In the Srimad Bhagavatam it explains that in every Kalpa of Brahma the 
Lord descends in 25 lila-avatars (for complete list refer Bhagavata 
Purana canto 1 chapter 3). But we should also understand that thid8s list 
is a categorical list and not a chronalogical list. Every kalpa of Brahma 
25 categories of lila-avatars appear, so this list is just refering to 
the categorical list and not the chronalogical list. (The firstt(I/~ 
avatar in this kalpa also cannot be called the first avatar 
chronolognbically because in the previous kalpa all 25 avatars also 
descended so it is a circle, the Lords avatars are unlimited.)

But in this particular Kalpa of Brahma the sequence of the three 
concerning {_avatars (Nrsmha, Kurma, and Vamana) occured in the following
order: first Lord Nrsmha, then Lord Kurma, and then Lord Vamana.

The Bali refered to in the Kurma avatar is the same Bali as refered to in 
the Vamana avatar, and this is proven by the statements of the Bhagavata 

	te vairocanim asinam
	  guptam casura-yutha-paih
	sriya paramaya justam
	  jitasesam upagaman

(Bhagavata Purana, 8.6.29)

The significant word in this sloka is vairocanim. This word means the son 
of Virocana (who was the son of Prahlad Maharaja). In all the other{ 
slokas in this chapter refer to Bali Maharaja by name, where as this 
particular sloka refers to him by parentage, so it confirms that it is 
the same Bali maharaja as is mentioned in relation to Lord Vamanadeva.

In your message your message you mention that it would seem unlikely for 
the kurma avatar to come after the Narasimha avatar because Laksmidevi is 
mentioned in the Nrsimha avatar.

It is correct that Laksmi is mentioned in the Nrsimha avatar, but there 
is no contradiction present. Simply because Laksmi came from the milk 
ocean in the Kurma avatar, that does not mean that before that there was 
no Laksmi. Just as Narayana is eternal so also His consort is also 
eternal. Narayana is eternally present in the Vaikunthalokas in the 
spiritaul world and Laksmi is eternally serving him there.{ In the 
Brahma-samhita it says: laksmi-sahasra-sata-sambhrama-sevyamanam,
in the Vaikunthalokas there are thousands of Laksmis serving Narayana 
with great reverenca.

So Laksmi coming from the milk ocean is like the scorpian being born from 
the bag of rice. Sometimes you find that sccorpians are born out of a bag 
of rice, and less inteligent people may say that from the bag of rice the 
scorpians came. But an intelligent person knows that only from the laying 
of eggs in the rice the scorpians are coming, not from the bag of rice 
itself. So Laksmiji is not coming from the milk ocean, rather she is 
choosing to appear from the milk ocean. Previous to her appearance she 
existed and after her appearance she continues to exist eternallly. This 
is confirmed in the Bhagavata Purana in the same story you have mentioned.

In the story of the churning of the milk ocean we find that before the 
churning of the milk ocean the demigods prayed to Lord Narayana in 
svetadvipa and the Lord appeared to them to assist them in churning the 
ocean: (8.6.6)

	kaustubhabharanam laksmim@<
	  bibhratim vana-malinim

"The Lord is bedecked with flower garlands, His neck is bedecked with the 
kaustubha gem, and he carries with him the goddess of fortune, Laksmi."

The two significant words to note are kaustubhabharanam (meaning that His 
chest is decorated with the Kaustubha jewel) and laksmim.u!

This verse is spoken before the churning of the ocean of milk, and it 
describes what Lord Siva and Lord Brahma saw when they observed the 
Supreme Lord.

But later in 8.8.6 we find that after churning the ocean of milk, 
kaustubhakhyam abhud ratnam, "Ged8nerated thereafter from the great ocean 
was the celebrated Kaustubha jewel." Then, tasmin manau sprham cakre 
vakso- 'lankarane harih, "Lord Visnu, to decorate His chest, desired to 
possess it."

So first we see that the Lord already was having the Kaustubha jewel 
decorating his chest, then they churned the ocean and out came the 
Kaustubha jewel and he took it for decorating His chest. Next we find a 
similar case:

tatas cavirabhut saksac, chri rama bhagavat-para

"Then there appeared the goddess of fortune, Laksmi, who is absolutely 
dedicated to being enjoyed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead."

tasyah sriyas tri-jagato janako jananya
  vakso nivasam akarot paramam vibhuteh

This explains that the goddess of fortune, Laksmi, then made her 
residence on the chest of Lord Narayana. (8.8.25) So we see from this 
that Laksmi was on the chest of Narayana before the churning of the milk 
ocean, and when she appeared out of the milk oceanNB} she took residence 
on His chest. Not that before there was no Laksmi and since that time 
there is now Laksmi on Narayana's chest (like the T.T.D. in Tirupatti 
print in their booklets. i.e., after Laksmi came from Vaikuntha there was 
no one to cook for Lord Venkatesvara in Vainkuntha so he came here.) That 
is all nonsense. From the sastra we see that the Lord is eternally being 
served by thousands of goddesses of fortune, and He is eternally 
self-satisfied. As explained in this very same history of the churning of 
the milk ocean. It is mentioned that when Laksmi chose Narayana as her 
husband He had no need for her, He was not dependant. So in this way we 
should understand the transcendental nature of the Supreme Personality of 
Godhead Krishna, and factually come to the realization of His position as 
the Lord of all that exists. This is truly the perfection of knowledge. 
Lord Krishna is completely transcendental, He is not bound by material 
nature, and by surrendering to Him we can truly perfect our lives.

Sri Krishna Bhagavan ki jaya!

Jahnava-Nitai das

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