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Vamana Avatar of Lord Vishnu

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About Vamana

Vamana refers to the Vamana Avatar of Lord Vishnu, the God of protection and sustenance. The Sanskrit word ‘Vamana’ is a term used to refer to a ’dwarf’, and in this Avatar, the Lord appears as a virtual mendicant, who is young and also short in appearance.

Vamana

Significance of Vamana Avatar

As the protector of the worlds, Lord Vishnu himself takes incarnations on earth whenever the need arises, in order to quell evil, restore dharma, the righteousness and to establish goodwill. Vamana Avatar is one such sacred incarnation of the Lord and is regarded as the fifth of his ten famous incarnations. This was believed to have been taken in the epoch, Treta Yuga.

Vamana was a short-statured, celibate, Brahmin boy, with adorable divine features. The form can be termed somewhat deceptive, as Lord Vishnu assumed this manifestation to get the better of an upright but haughty demon called Maha Bali and put him in place, for restoring to the Devas, their rightful kingdom.

Legend of Vamana Avatar

Bhagavatha Puran narrates the interesting legend around Vamana incarnation. Once, the Asuras or the demons were ruled by a king called Bali, who was the grandson of the Vishnu-devotee Prahlada. Bali was basically principled and generous, though egoistic and arrogant. Guided by his Guru Shukraracharya, he did severe penance, attained tremendous boons, ran over the Earth, snatched the kingdom of the Devas from them and became the undisputed monarch of even the heavens. Bali thus became Maha Bali, the one of immense might. But, desirous of becoming all the more powerful and for bringing more and more land under his reign, he began performing 100 very powerful Yagyas, the sacrifices. Thus he started posing a serious threat to the Devas, whom, he had already dislodged from their land and positions. The God of the Devas was Indra, whose mother was Aditi, a very pious woman. Worried about the poor state and the vulnerable position that her son was in, she approached her husband, sage Kashyapa and on his advice, observed fervent austerities, propitiating Lord Vishnu. The Lord, pleased with her devotion agreed to her plea of saving her son and other Gods from oblivion and took birth as her own son, Vamana.

Vamana

Soon the young boy, with a sacred thread across his chest, loin cloth around the waist and holding an umbrella, walked into the site of Bali’s sacrifice. The glowing radiance of the Brahmachari made a deep impression in Bali who welcomed the boy with all the honours and promised to give him in charity, whatever he wanted. Sensing the opportunity, the Lord who had come as the dwarf Vamana, asked for only 3 paces of land, which he could measure with his own small feet. Though surprised, Bali agreed to this strange request, and made a promise. And Lo and behold! Immediately, the boy began growing immense in size and in no time, stood there in front of Bali as Trivikrama, in all his massive form. With one step he measured the earth and with the second he simply covered all the heavens. Bali realized who the stranger actually was, and though badly outwitted, he was still honest and graceful and bowed to the Lord, offering him, his own head for placing his third step on. Vamana did so and pushed Bali to the world below, thus restoring the heavens to the Devas. However, supremely pleased with Bali’s integrity and devotion, the Lord blessed him with immortality, and also agreed to his wish of being his well-wisher, protector and guardian, forever.

Vamana Worship

Bhagavatha Puran narrates the interesting legend around Vamana incarnation. Once, the Asuras or the demons were ruled by a king called Bali, who was the grandson of the Vishnu-devotee Prahlada. Bali was basically principled and generous, though egoistic and arrogant. Guided by his Guru Shukraracharya, he did severe penance, attained tremendous boons, ran over the Earth, snatched the kingdom of the Devas from them and became the undisputed monarch of even the heavens. Bali thus became Maha Bali, the one of immense might. But, desirous of becoming all the more powerful and for bringing more and more land under his reign, he began performing 100 very powerful Yagyas, the sacrifices. Thus he started posing a serious threat to the Devas, whom, he had already dislodged from their land and positions. The God of the Devas was Indra, whose mother was Aditi, a very pious woman. Worried about the poor state and the vulnerable position that her son was in, she approached her husband, sage Kashyapa and on his advice, observed fervent austerities, propitiating Lord Vishnu. The Lord, pleased with her devotion agreed to her plea of saving her son and other Gods from oblivion and took birth as her own son, Vamana.