Vamana Avatar – 5

We have seen about Vamana Avatar in the previous posts. So what’s the importance of the Avatar?

For starters – the all-pervading lord showed the world that he will do anything to protect those who surrender to him, by taking the form of a dwarf. Thus he is also called Raksha Vaamana. From Bali’s perspective, he surrendered to the lord at the end and Hari took the form of a watchman to protect Bali!

Next is the fact that the Supreme Being went begging. During Nrsimha Avatar, He promised Prahlaada that he will not harm any of his family members and descendants. So when Indra asked for help, he knew that he could not kill Bali since Bali was Prahlaada’s grandson. So he performed the lowly act of begging to complete what he could not complete by force-defeat bali. This shows that as the Paramatma, he will stoop to any level to protect us.

Also, the Lord who always likes to be identified with Goddess Lakshmi (that is why he is called Sreeman Narayanan – Lakshmi’s name always comes first) took the vamana avatar without any association with the Goddess – as a Brahmacari. It is said that He went to her and asked her to alight from her permanent place (the right side chest) so that he could go to Bali as a Brahmacari (This was because he was going to take everything away from Bali. But if Bali was seen by Lakshmi- he would get everything back due to Lakshmi Kadaksham!). But she refused the suggestion outright and made it clear that she will not forego her place and it was up to him to manage his business. So he used a vastram to cover her.

It is clear that this reincarnation was taken to tell everyone the significance of Saranagathi. If we leave everything to the lord and fall in his feet, he will do whatever it takes to fulfil our wishes and keep us safe even if it means that he is belittled in that process. One who helps others but expects something in return is a adhaman. One who helps others without expecting anything in return is a madhyaman. But the one who belittles himself and does not mind being dishonored while helping others is a Uthaman.

That is why we call him Uthaman.

We have seen about the lesser known Avatars in the Dashavatar series till now. From the nest post we will start seeing about some interesting stories in Krishna Avatar and Rama Avatar.( not the Avatars themselves, but some interesting stories that happened during their times on earth)

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Vamana Avatar – 4

Bali did not feel bad that his guru Sukacarya had lost an eye while trying to stop him from extending alms to the Lord. Instead he was elated that he was going to fulfil his dharma. Now it was time for Vamana to pace the land.

From his present avatar of a dwarf, he started increasing in size and grew and grew and grew until his body contained the entire universe. All the people who were present there could see everything (including the planetary systems of the universe, the sky, the earth, the directions, all the important manifestations of the earth like mountains, seas, oceans, birds, humans and beasts and even the demi-gods and the other beings who reside in the higher lokas of the universe, the gross material elements, the senses, the sense objects, the mind, the intelligence and the false ego) within the Supreme Being.

Being in this form, He took his first step and covered the entire universe. He covered the entire surface of the Prithvi with his step, the sky with his body and all the directions with his extended arms. Then he paced in his next step and covered the entire planetary systems of the cosmos. From the Bhu loka, the legs extended till the Satyaloka , passing through Maharloka, Janaloka and Tapoloka. Brahma who was seated in his position was amazed to see one leg suddenly coming out of nowhere. Immediately he realized whose leg it was – for he knew that only one entity could measure the entire universe. The effulgence of Satyaloka and all its residents dimmed by the effulgence emanating from the toe nail of the leg that appeared.  Lord Brahma offered his prayers and paid his obeisance by washing the lotus feet with the holy water from his kamandal. This water poured down, purifying all it touched and reached Earth as Ganges.

King Bali now realized that there was no place for the third step and hence he would fail in his promise to the Brahmacari. So he asked Vamana to place the third step on his head. Vamanadeva knew that Bali had to be punished for not fulfilling his promise. At the same time, He was also happy with the truthfulness and integrity of Bali. So he placed his feet on Bali’s head and sent him down to Sutala loka, showered all the necessary benedictions and made him the owner of the loka. Since Lord Vamana was very pleased with Bali, He graciously offered his disc to protect Bali Maharajah and also promised to remain with him in Sutalaloka as the doorman! This was something that even the demi-gods could not achieve. Furthermore when the time of Savarni Manu comes, Bali would become the head of the heavenly planets or Indra!

We will see about the significance of this avatar in the next post.

Vamana Avatar – 3

When Lord Vamana Deva asked for 3 paces of land, He did not do so without a prelude! First He praised all the brahmans who were guiding Bali on his Yagnas. Then he praised Bali’s ancestors HiranyaKasipu and Hiranyaksa who were actually Asuras killed by the Lord himself! Finally he showered praises on Prahalad who was Bali’s grandfather. After hearing all the praises, Bali got ready to grant Vamana his wish.  But Sukacarya stopped him and explained to him that the person who had come was none other than Lord Vishnu himself and that He had come at Indra’s behest to destroy all that Bali had rightfully earned.

But Bali was steadfast in his dharma that he had to fulfil his promise. Sukacarya tried his best to stop him by taking the form of a bee and hiding in the spout of the water jug so that water would not flow. But Lord Hari knew about it and poked him with a stick which resulted in the asura guru losing an eye.  Bali insisted by saying that if Lord Vishnu himself was seeking alms from him, He would give what the lord wanted because there was no greater glory for him. He added that just because he knew the true form of the brahman, he will not retract from his promise, as that would mean that the king had cheated a brahman which was against the dharma of a king. Therefore he decided that he would carry out his promise irrespective of whether the Lord killed him or showered all his benedictions on him.

The Lord always knew that Bali would fulfil his promise. He also knew what he would do with Bali, since he had promised Prahalada that he would not kill anyone from his family or any of his descendants. All that was left now was to execute his pre-conceived plan.

Now it was time for Lord Hari to pace the land with his steps.

He did it and How!

Vamana Avatar – 2

Once Lord Janardhana decided that He will take the avatar of Vamana and be born to Aditi and Kasyapa, He also decided that it would be on the auspicious moment of Sravana Dvadasi, the twelfth day of the bright fortnight of the month. Amidst the vibrations of the conchshells, drums, panavas and anakas, the Lord appeared in all his glory, fully decked with ornaments and weapons. Then in the presence of his parents, he took the form of a dwarf by seeing which both Kasyapa and Aditi were astonished. What a sight it would have been, to see Hari, transform himself into a dwarf from his ever existing form! All the great sages performed the birthday ceremony for Lord Ananta. Once he attained the right age, his parents performed the sacred thread ceremony for him during which Brhaspati, Mother Earth, Brahma, the seven great rishis and all the other deities honored him by their presence.

After the ceremony, He visited the northern part of the Narmada River called Bhṛgukaccha, where all the descendants of Bhrigu Maharishi were performing Yagnas. When he appeared in the Yagna area of King Bali, He was wearing a belt made of munja straw and the sacred thread. He also wore a deerskin cloth to cover the upper part of his body. He was carrying a danda, an umbrella and a Kamandalam in his hands. There was such a radiation of pure energy from him that all the descendants of Bhrigu Maharishi stood up and paid their obeisance to him, although they did not know who he was. His sheer presence made them see through his size.

Following the dharma of a King, Bali Maharaj received the Lord and washed Vamana’s feet first. Then Bali enquired on what he actually wanted. Lord Vishnu responded by saying that He wanted three paces of land. Bali was surprised at the request, as he had never seen anyone ask for so little. But then, true to his dharma he accepted the request from Vamana. As is the tradition, Bali took the water pot to seal his promise with water.  But he never knew that this act would cause great hard ships to his Guru Sukracarya.

So what’s the importance of Vamana Avatar in the Dashavatar series?  What does the Lord want to convey to us, the Jeevatmas through this incarnation of His? We will see in the coming posts.

Vamana Avatar – 1

We saw how The Supreme Being took Kurma Avatar and defeated King Bali to help the devas. True to the principle that in the cycle of Life, highs and lows come in measures depending on one’s Karma, Bali lost the war with devas which marked a low in his life.

After his defeat in the hands of the Devas, Bali lost all his luster and opulence and died. Sukracharya treated him and made him regain his powers and life.  After this, King Bali began to serve Sukracharya with great faith and devotion.  Happy with his devotion, Sukracharya and the other Brahmans who were the descendants of Bhrgu Muni engaged him in performing a yajna called Visvajit so that he could attain all that was needed to embark on an attack of Kind Indra and his kingdom.

At the end of the Yajna came a chariot which was covered with gold and silk, a flag marked with a lion, a bow, 2 quivers full of arrows and many yellow horses. Prahlada who was the grandfather of king Bali, gave him a garland made of eternal flowers.  His guru Sukracharya gave him a conch shell. Equipped with all these essentials, he reached the outskirts of indrapatna and waged a war. Indra on seeing Bali-and his army which contained a large number of soldiers and demon chiefs who were equal to Bali in strength and opulence-immediately realized that this battle could not be won by him. So he reached out to his guru, brhaspati, for counsel. Being the wise man he was, brhaspati asked him to go to Lord Hari and pray for help.  At the same time, all the demi-gods were asked to vacate and go to a distant place and be invisible till Indra could get help. With no one to defend, indrapatna soon became Bali’s.

After conquering Indra’s city, Bali engaged himself in doing one hundred asvamedha sacrifices. At the end of these sacrifices he became totally in control. Aditi-mother of the devas, realized that Bali could not be defeated and her sons could not gain whatever they lost. So she prayed to Lord Hari. He was very happy with her prayers and soon, agreed to be born to her and Kasyapa as their son. Thus started the Vamana Avatar.