Bali Mahārāja said to Lord Vāmanadeva: O son of a brāhmaṇa, Your instructions are as good as those of learned and elderly persons. Nonetheless, You are a boy, and Your intelligence is insufficient. Thus You are not very prudent in regard to Your self-interest. I am able to give You an entire island because I am the proprietor of the three divisions of the universe. You have come to take something from me and have pleased me by Your sweet words, but You are asking only three paces of land. Therefore You are not very intelligent. O small boy, one who approaches me to beg something should not have to ask anything more, anywhere. Therefore, if You wish, You may ask from me as much land as will suffice to maintain You according to Your needs.
The Personality of Godhead said: O my dear King, even the entirety of whatever there may be within the three worlds to satisfy one’s senses cannot satisfy a person whose senses are uncontrolled. If I were not satisfied with three paces of land, then surely I would not be satisfied even with possessing one of the seven islands, consisting of nine varṣas. Even if I possessed one island, I would hope to get others. We have heard that although powerful kings like Mahārāja Pṛthu and Mahārāja Gaya achieved proprietorship over the seven dvīpas, they could not achieve satisfaction or find the end of their ambitions.
One should be satisfied with whatever he achieves by his previous destiny, for discontent can never bring happiness. A person who is not self-controlled will not be happy even with possessing the three worlds. Material existence causes discontent in regard to fulfilling one’s lusty desires and achieving more and more money. This is the cause for the continuation of material life, which is full of repeated birth and death. But one who is satisfied by that which is obtained by destiny is fit for liberation from this material existence.
A brāhmaṇa who is satisfied with whatever is providentially obtained is increasingly enlightened with spiritual power, but the spiritual potency of a dissatisfied brāhmaṇa decreases, as fire diminishes in potency when water is sprinkled upon it.
Therefore, O King, from you, the best of those who give charity, I ask only three paces of land. By such a gift I shall be very pleased, for the way of happiness is to be fully satisfied to receive that which is absolutely needed.
When the Supreme Personality of Godhead had thus spoken to Bali Mahārāja, Bali smiled and told Him, “All right. Take whatever You like.” To confirm his promise to give Vāmanadeva the desired land, he then took up his waterpot.