Vamana Avatar of Lord Vishnu: 5th Incarnation of the Dashavatar

Ancient scripture has rich, dynamic, and unique mythological stories that leave you awe-struck while reading and learning about them. There are gods, demons, astras, shastras, challenges, wisdom, entrancing, intriguing, and thrilling never-heard-before stories. Vamana avatar, the 5th incarnation of Lord Vishnu, is one of the Dashavatar stories that hold a special place in Vedic Story. Vamana is a Sanskrit word meaning “dwarf.”

Significance of Lord Vamana Avatar

As the protector and sustainer of the world, Lord Vishnu took several incarnations on earth to defeat adharma, restore dharma, and continue living. Vamana avatar, the 5th incarnation of Lord Vishnu, is considered one of the sacred incarnations of the Lord and one of the ten famous incarnations. The avatar of Vamana was taken in Treta Yuga.

Depiction of the Vamana Avatar of Lord Vishnu, 5th Incarnation of the Dashavatar

Lord Vamana was a short-statured celibate Brahmin boy with soft and beautiful features. He took this form to get the better of an upright and put Maha Bali to Patala Lok and to restore the Devas to their kingdom.

Origin of the Vamana Avatar of Lord Vishnu

Rigveda, one of the four Vedas and Bhagavata Purana, narrates the Vamana avatar story. Rigveda is in a language called Vedic, which is an archaic form of the classical Sanskrit language. The fourth Veda Rig originated between 1500 and 1200 BCE in Akhand Bharat.

Vamana, the avatar of Lord Vishnu, is known as Trivikraman. He won the entire universe three steps from Demon King Maha Bali with only three steps.

Samudra Manthan and Vishwajeet Yagna

After the Samudra Manthan, Devas obtained Amrit, nectar, a divine drink that grants immortality from the churning of the ocean with the Asuras. The gods became extremely powerful and invincible.

Witnessing such a terrible state of demons, the Asura King Maha Bali, son of Virochana and grandson of the devotee of Lord Vishnu Prahlada, performed Vishwajeet Yagna. He consulted with Guru Shukracharya on how to defeat Indra, the Lord of Heaven.

Story of Maha Bali: Demon King of Patala

Demon King Maha Bali ruled the Asuras in Patala Lok. He was very generous and followed his dharma rightfully. However, he was egoistic and arrogant. Under the guidance of Guru Shukracharya, Bali did great penance and attained boons. He was disheartened by the defeat of the Asuras by the Devas on Samudra Manthan. Thus, he defeated Indra, the King of Heaven, snatched his kingdom, and became the undisputed monarch of Trilok.

After ruling the heavens, he was known as Maha Bali, the one of immense might, velour, and power.

However, he soon became desirous of growing his power and started to bring more land under his reign. Maha Bali performed 100 Yagnas or fire sacrifices. The sacrificed feared the gods.

Aditi, daughter of Daksh Prajapati, wife of Rishi Kashyapa, was a very respectful woman. She was the mother of Adityas, Indra, and other gods of heaven. Seeing her son’s pitiful state and vulnerable position, she approached her husband, Rishi Kashyapa. Kashyapa advised her to observe intense austerities for Lord Vishnu. 

Lord Vishnu, the protector and sustainer of the earth, was pleased with her pure devotion. He agreed to help her son and other devas. Sri Hari also blessed Aditi to become the mother of his incarnation as her son, Vamana.

Birth of Vamana Avatar of Lord Vishnu, 5th Incarnation of Dashavatar

After some time, Aditi, the wife of Rishi Kashyapa, gave birth to a boy, and they named him Vamana, a dwarf. He was the avatar of Lord Vishnu.

Soon, the boy with a sacred thread across his upper body, saffron cloth around his waist, and an umbrella decided to visit Bal’s Yagna, or sacrifice.

Daityaraj Bali and Guru Shukracharya welcomed the Brahmin boy Vamana. Maha Bali asked Vamana, “How can I help you, little Brahmin?” Vamana replied, “I have heard you are giving alms to Brahmins. So, I came. I do not desire any luxury or wealth. I am here to get the land that my three little steps can cover.”

The Asuras were present at the Yagna and laughed at Vamana for making such a naive request.

Surprised, Bali agreed to grant Vamana’s request. However, Shukracharya warned him that the young Brahmin was not ordinary. Lord Vishnu himself was an avatar of Vamana in disguise as a Brahmin boy. Maha Bali kept his promise and asked the boy to get his grant fulfilled.

Vamana started to grow enormous. He became colossal than the planet Earth.

Three Steps of the Vamana Avatar of Lord Vishnu

Vamana, the avatar of Lord Vishnu, took his first step and claimed the earth as his alms.

In his second step, he claimed ownership over Amravati or Heaven.

After that, Vamana asked Bali, “Where should I keep my third step? I already took over your possessions—Earth and Heaven. Now, there is no land left to put my third step.”

Shukracharya again reminded Bali not to allow him to take the third step. If he did fulfill Vamana’s request, he would lose everything he had gained.

Maha Bali addressed the Vamana avatar of Lord Vishnu, “As there is no land left, you can keep your third step on my head, Brahmin boy.”

On hearing such generous words from Bali, Lord Vishnu appeared in his original form, blessed him, and said, “Bali, I am pleased with your devotion. I am making you a king of Pataal Loka forever.” Maha Bali went to Pataal Loka, and Indra reclaimed his kingdom with the help of Lord Vishnu’s Vamana Avatar.

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