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Om! Gam! Ganapathaye! Namaha!

Om! Sri Raghavendraya Namaha!

Om! Namo! Bhagavathe! Vasudevaya!
Om! Ham! Hanumathe Sri Rama Doothaya Namaha!



Sri Vamana Avathara was fifth in the line of Dasavatharas of Lord Sri Maha Vishnu.
This avathara took place during Treta Yuga before Sri Parashurama Avathara. Lord
Maha Vishnu took this avathara in order to suppress the arrogance, vanity and pride of
Emperor Bali (Bali Chakravarthi) and to restore the glory, power and authority of Lord
Indra over the Heaven who had lost his power and kingdom (Swarga) to King Bali. Sri
Vishnu Sahasra Nama Sthothra describes in sloka # 17 and 56, the Lord as Upendro
Vaamanah and Trivikramah.

Lord in this avathara was known as Vamana because he was dwarf in form at the
beginning. He was known as Trivikrama because he is the one who has conquered
the three worlds, Earth, Upper worlds and Nether worlds. He grew to a gigantic size
while suppressing the King Bali and conquered the Universe with just three paces of

his foot. He was also referred as Upendra as he was known to be the younger brother
of Indra. We find all the three names Trivikrama, Vamana and Upendra while reciting
24 Kesava Namas. An exclusive Purana named after Lord Vamana called Sri Vamana
Purana scripted by Lord and Sage Veda Vyasa forms part of 18 great Puranas called
Ashtadasa Puranas.

Lord Vamana was born as the son of Sage Kashyapa (Kashyapa Prajapathi) and his wife
Aditi in accordance to the penance done by the couple and prayers of Indra and other
Deities. He was born on Bhadrapada Sukla Dwadasi day under the star constellation
of Sravana Nakshatra. This day every year is celebrated as Vamana Jayanthi the day
on which Lord Sri Vamana was born. As soon as he was born He took no time in
attaining the boyhood becoming a Vatu (Brahmachari). Lord Brahma himself initiated
the Gayathri Manthra to Sri Vamana. His attire was that of a typical Brahmin
Brahmachari, wearing a Koupeena (Loin cloth), a sacred thread, holding a Chatthra
(Umbrella) in one hand and Dhanda/Kamandalu (stick and water jug) in the other, his
upper body covered with Deer skin, wearing a ring of Dharbha (Kusa grass) to his third

Significance of Three Steps

Lord Vamana went to King Maha Bali and asks for three steps of land measured by his
foot as charity. Initially Bali hesitated to donate just three paces of land as it is a
disgrace to his status and was guilty to give such charity. But later agreed, upon
insisting by Lord Vamana and promised to give three paces of land as charity
measured by Sri Vamana’s foot. When Maha Bali completed the ritual process of
donating the land, Lord Vamana assumed his cosmic form (Trivikrama), measured the
entire Earth including the nether worlds by his first step.

With his second step He measured the entire upper worlds. When his foot reached
the zenith it crossed the Sathya Loka where Lord Brahma stays. Seeing the foot of
Lord Maha Vishnu, Lord Brahma offered abhishekam and washed the Lord’s foot and
the water that fell from His foot sanctified the entire Universe. We find in the verses
of great composer and Saint Sri Annamacharya referring to the foot washed by Lord
Brahma (Brahma Kadigina Padamu) in one of his verses on Lord Sri Venkateswara.

When the entire Universe was conquered by just two paces of Lord Sri Maha Vishnu
(Vamana) there was no space left in the Universe to keep Vamana’s third pace.
When Lord Vamana asked Maha Bali the space to keep his third pace, all the pride and
vanity of Maha Bali had vanished and he had no hesitation in surrendering before the
Supreme Lord. Having realised the Supreme Reality, Bali readily offered his own head
to keep the Lord’s third step. Lord Vamana immediately placed his third pace (his

foot) on the head of Bali and sent him to the nether worlds. Thus the ahankara
(egoism) of Maha Bali was suppressed and Indra was restored with his kingdom.

Sri Vamana Avathara is the first Avathara where Lord Sri Maha Vishnu took complete
human form though dwarf at the beginning. The uniqueness of this Avathara is that
the Lord did not use any weapon. The only weapon he used was that of begging in
front of King Bali in accordance to the Brahmanic (Brahmachari) form he had
attained. The Lord did not kill the King Bali even though he was an Asura. He
conquered him in a Vedic way with his intelligence. Unlike other Avatharas, Vamana
Avathara was a Sattvik Avathara. Lord had to resort to this strategy due to the
promise he had made to his beloved devotee Prahlada not to kill any of his
descendants. Astrologically Jupiter (Guru) is said to be the Paramatma Amsa of
Vamana Avathara.

Message from Avathara

Hidden behind every Avathara of Paramatma there is a message/moral conveyed. In
this Sri Vamana Avathara the message is total surrender to the God however mighty
one may be. 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. This is what exactly has happened in case of Bali who had no other
alternative but to surrender to the Lord Trivikrama who had conquered the three

When King Bali surrendered in front of Lord Vamana with total devotion, the Lord was
very much pleased and gave him boons voluntarily without being asked by King Bali.
He not only made him the ruler of the nether world Suthala but also assured him that
He would always protect his kingdom. He also assured Bali that he would become the
Indra in the next Manvanthara. By the touch of Lord’s foot on the head of King Bali
all his sins got cleaned up, he became immortal (Chiranjeevi). This is what one
should understand that we should never ask for alms to the Supreme Lord. If you ask
you will get only what you had asked. It you don’t ask you will get everything that
you require.

The story of Bali also bring out the reality that, there is nothing permanent and
nothing to be taken for granted in this world be it wealth, beauty, power, status,
position or family and nothing belongs to anyone. Even the mighty have to fall on
one day or the other. We have several such historical examples that we are also
seeing in this modern world.

Story of King Bali
Focus of Sri Vamana Avathara falls on the story of King Bali. Popularly referred to as
Bali Chakravarthi or Maha Bali he was a Daitya (Asura) King in the lineage of Prahlada
(Bhaktha Prahlada). He was the grand son of Prahlada and son of Virochana.
Prahlada, his grand father was an ardent and coveted devotee of Lord Sri
ManNarayana for whose sake the Lord took the avathara of Lord Narasimha. Sage
Sukrachaarya (Daitya Guru) was his preceptor helping King Bali in all his endeavors.

Bali was a mighty and valorous Asura who had conquered all the three worlds
including Heaven and Indra had to surrender to him. He was very arrogant, proud
and egoistic. At the same time he was virtuous, an exemplary King dedicated to the
welfare of the people in his kingdom. He was also famous and known for his
charitable qualities. King Bali learned all the Shastras and obtained Vedic knowledge
under the guidance and supervision of his illustrious grand father Prahlada. During his
reign the country and the people were very prosperous. With the help of his preceptor
Maha Bali had conquered the three worlds and dethroned Indra from Heaven and
occupied Amaravathi the capital of Indra. Celebrating his successful expedition Maha
Bali was performing a great Yagna with the help of his Guru, Sage Sukrachaarya.

Lord Sri Maha Vishnu in his Vamana avathara mission enters the Yagnashala (sacred
fire place) as a Brahmachari, where Bali was performing Aswamedha yaga. Lord
Vamana after entering the Yagnashala asks King Maha Bali for three paces of land
measured by his foot as charity. When King Bali was in the process of fulfilling the
request of Vamana, Sage Sukrachaarya realizes that Vamana was none other than the
Supreme Lord Maha Vishnu himself. Sensing the trickery of Lord Vishnu, Sukrachaarya
advises and prevails upon King Bali to retract from his promise. But Bali refuses to
heed to his Guru’s words and insists upon going ahead with his promise to the Lord
Vamana. Due to this Bali had to face the curse at the hands of his own Guru Sage
Sukrachaarya who cursed him to lose his power and position. Prior to this on an
earlier occasion also Maha Bali had to receive the brunt from his own grand father
Prahlada for contesting the supremacy of Lord Maha Vishnu. Sukracharya’s curse had
added fuel to the fire.

Literally Bali means sacrifice. King Bali is a classic example of Aatmanivedanam,

complete surrender with devotion to the Supreme Lord and taking refuge in Him to
achieve the ultimate goal. Knowing from his preceptor that the one who has come
for charity is none other than Lord Sri Maha Vishnu and knowing fully well that he is
going to fail in keeping up his promise, Bali did not listen to his Guru and wanted to
proceed honouring his word. Bali was prepared for all consequences and felt that
there cannot be a better fortune and poorva janma sukrutha for him (in the position
of a giver to the Lord) than this, when the Lord himself has come and seeking charity
from him with stretched hands.

Bali is also an outstanding example of supreme sacrifice where he has sacrificed

everything he had, knowing fully well that he is going to lose his rulership on the
three worlds and that is going to ruin him. Bali did not deter from the curse given by
his preceptor since the offering is to the Supreme Lord who is the Supreme Preceptor.

Ultimately when King Bali fell short of fulfilling his promise given to Vamana, he
surrendered completely before the Supreme Lord for which he was amply rewarded
by the Lord for his virtues. He became the ruler of Suthala (Nether world) with Lord
himself protecting his kingdom, became immortal, and got identified as the future
Indra of the next Manvanthara period.

Festivals related to Vamana Avathara:

The day on which Lord Vamana was born is celebrated every year on Bhadrapada
Sukla Dwadasi Day as Vamana Jayanthi.

The sacred day on which King Bali gave charity to Lord Vamana is celebrated as Bali
Paadyami (Bali Prathipada) which occurs during Diwali festival on Kartheeka Sukla
Prathipada day.

Similarly, Onam a popular festival among Keralites is also connected to King Bali as it
is believed that King Bali would return to the Earth (Kerala) every year during Onam.
Kerala was said to be the capital of King Bali.

Temples of Vamana Avathara:

Some of the famous temples of Lord Vamana are,

Ulagalanda Perumal temple: It is a temple of Lord Sri Maha Vishnu in Trivikrama

roopa (Vamana Avathara). The statue is 35 ft. height and 24 ft. width. It is said
that during Vamana Avathara Lord Vishnu appeared to King Bali at this place. It is
also said that the Lord showed his Trivikrama roopa to Lord Aadisesha at this place.
This temple is located in Shiva Kanchi (Kaancheepuram) in Tamil Nadu state.

Thrikkara Temple: The only Vamana temple in Kerala near Cochin famous for Onam
festival. This place is said to have been the capital of King Bali.

Tirukoilur -Ulagalanda Perumal Temple: Situated in Tirukoilur in South Arcot district

of Tamil Nadu this temple is dedicated to Lord Trivikrama (Vamana).

Vamana Temple in Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh

Sri Krishnaarpanamasthu