கொண்டானை அல்லால் கொடுத்தாரை யார் பழிப்பார்
மண் தா என இரந்து மாவலியை , ஒண் தாரை
நீர் அங்கை தோய நிமிர்ந்திலையே, நீள்விசும்பில்
ஆரம் கை தோய அடுத்து
Would anyone but blame
The one who received
Than the One
is a feeble translation of the first line of this pAsuram from Poigai aazhvAr's 'mudhal thiruvandhAdhi'.The rest of the lines talk about the how when Mahabali seals his promise with the ritual of water exchanging hands, the midget Vamana rose to the imposing form of Trivikrama, whose shoulders brushed with the heavens.
Why did Vishnu have to defeat Mahabali ? Where is the 'defeat' of evil, in this whole thing? Why resort to devious trickery to fool such a noble man?
Kamban, even puts a different spin on it. He says Mahabali was aware that the midget vAmana was the Lord himself. But still rebuffed his guru Sukracharya's warning.
நினைக்கிலை என் கை நிமிர்ந்திட வந்து
தனக்கியலா வகை தாழ்வது வாழ்வு-இல்
கனக்கரியானது கைத்தலம் என்றால்
'எனக்கிதன் மேல் நலம் யாது கொல்' என்றான்
You did not think this thus:
As my hands rise to give
If the hands that are
Unbecomingly cupped below
Are that of the Lord
Who is beyond Life and Death
What more can I ask?
What could have been the 'message' of the incarnation? Upon cursory reading it does appear that the Lord drops a few notches and Mahabali rises a few.The giver is magnanimous. The one who received and then has forgotten he received, is the one to be frowned upon.
I'll confess that the pretense of piety thus far is as far as I could get. But you actually needn't subscribe to the 'humility message' to enjoy this one.It was a pretext to write about the subtlety in Poigai AzhwAr's expression.