Legends indicate that in the first battle between Bali and Indra, Bali was not beheaded and that the Brahmin Sukracarya had used the “ “Mritra sanjeevani” (which can only be used on non-beheaded bodies) to revive him.
Also according to texts such as Abhinanda’s Rāmaćarita, Bali was yet to achieve Indra’s throne as a consequence of which, Bali was required to perform the Aswamedha Yagna (Historically performed by Indian royalty for increase in their kingdom). Bali was attempting to complete as many as Indra’s when Vamana intervened and demanded 3 strides of land as Bali’s offereing.
Brahma-Vaivarta Puranam also suggests that it was Lord Vishnu who exalted Bali to a position of power so as to curtail the pride of Indra. As mentioned in The Bhagavata Purana He (Vishnu) will take the kingdom away from Purandara (Lord Indra) and give it to Bali Maharaja.”
A beautiful song ‘Hari Naam Mala Stotram” was composed by King Mahabali in honor of Lord Vishnu. Pandit jasraj also had famous Bhajan by the name of ‘Om Namoh Bhagwate Vasudevaya’.
Traditions have it that a rat, who by coming in contact with a lamp in a Siva templed, made it burn brighter was reincarnated as Mahabali, the famous emperor. The legend states that Shiva promised his consort Paravati that whosoever would make this lamp burn brighter would be bestowed with the kingdom of the three worlds. As fate would have it, a rat approached it and in its its efforts to drink the ghee (melted butter), had the flame rekindled into its mouth and Lord Shiva on the insistence of Parvati kept his promise.