Vamana Avatar – 5th Avatar of Lord Vishnu

Dashavataram refers to the ten major avatars of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu incarnates from time to time on earth to eradicate evil forces and to restores dharma. The first avatar of the second age, Treta Yug was Vamana Avatar.

Born to Aditi and Kashyapa, Vamana was the first avatar of Yugaseem with anthropomorphic aspects. Vamana, the dwarf, is the 5th incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Twelfth of the Adityas, he is the younger version of Lord Indra and also recognized as Upendraplus Trivikrama.
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Vamana Avatar
Affilation5th Avatar of Vishnu
YugaTreta Yuga
JayantiBhadrapada, Shukla Paksha Ekadashi
FestivalOnam Balipratipada & Vamana Dwadashi
IconographyRound and small Salagrama stone

Story of Vamana Avatar

Vamana Avatar

The Bhagwat Purana describes that the Vamana Avatar appeared to restore the power of Lord Indra over heaven, which was taken by King Bali. Indra defeated the army of Daityaraj Bali and he was unable to accept his defeat, Bali approached Rishi Shukracharya and asked him to find ways to regain his powers.

Know why Lord Vishnu took the Vamana avatar

Shukracharya advised Bali to perform various Yagnas and attain his powers back. He accepted and performed the Yagnas under the supervision of the Rishi. Lord Indra was scared of Bali because he was regaining all his powers through Yagnas. Lord Indra then approached Vishnu and asked for help. Lord Vishnu responds “everything will fall into place soon. Keep calm”.
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The first human avatar of Vishnu

After a few days; The mother of Devas, Aditi, gave birth to a baby boy. She named him Vamana. Everyone in the heavens knew that it was Lord Vishnu. Days passed by and Vamana learned Bali was giving arms to the Brahmins. Now Vamana wanted to test Datyaraj Bali’s devotion towards the Brahmins.

Bali’s Donation of Three Feet

One day, Vamana posed as a Brahmin and visited the place where Shukracharya and Bali were performing Yajna. Bali received the Vamana as asked, “how can I help you?”. Vamana says “I have heard of you providing arms to my fellow Brahmins. But I don’t want those arms or anything of a similar kind. I just want the land that my Three Steps cover.” Everyone present was surprised and laughed at the request. 

Bali agreed to the request thinking of it as an innocent and naive desire by the young Brahmin boy. Vamana didn’t react much. And just kept looking at Bali. Bali asked to go ahead and take three steps as he pleased. Before Bali knew, Vamana started growing in size. Soon he was so large that he was even larger than planet earth itself. He took his first step and put it on Earth. He then took his second step and put it on Heaven. Vamana then says- “I have claimed the Earth and Heaven. There’s no place left. Where should I place my third step?”. To which Bali responds- “Since there’s nowhere else to put your third step, put it on my head.” Hearing these words of Bali, Lord Vishnu appeared in his true form and says “I bless you, Bali. From now onwards, you shall rule the Patal Lok forever.”

Bali accepts the blessings of Lord Vishnu and heads towards The Patal Lok. Indra and other Devas regained The Heavens because of this intervention of Lord Vishnu in the form of the Vamana Avatar.
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Message from Vamana Avatara

The purpose of Vamana avatar is to protect the devas who have been rendered homeless ever since Bali, having consolidated his powers, is reigning supreme over the three worlds. When once you shed your ego and surrender totally with devotion at the feet of the Supreme Lord there is nothing one can worry about and will get total protection.

Why is Onam celebrated

Bali was given a boon that granted him a chance to visit his people once during the year. Therefore, it is believed that King Bali visits his kingdom to see if his subjects are happy and content. Hence, people decorate their homes with Pookolam and take part in group activities such as VallamKali, Puli Kali, Kai Kottu Kali and prepare the Onam Sadhya.


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