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Vamana Parashurama: An Avataar of Vishnu


Most people, even Hindus do not know much about the Vamana Avataar, the fifth incarnation of Vishnu, and his first in the human form. In the series of evolution, this is an important step, captured and narrated by the generations many millenniums before the concept of evolution was introduced in modern science. May be there is a point where folklore precedes science ....


Most people, even Hindus do not know much about the Vamana Avataar, the fifth incarnation of Vishnu, and his first in the human form. In the series of evolution, this is an important step, captured and narrated by the generations many millenniums before the concept of evolution was introduced in modern science. May be there is a point where folklore precedes science ....


VAMANA is the fifth avataar or incarnation of Vishnu. Incidentally, it is first avataar in the human form, meaning that it was the first time, the Lord came to this world in the human form.

Vishnu - The Preserver

The three primary forms in which god is conceptualised in Hindu tradition are BRAHMA, the creator, VISHNU, the preserver and SHIVA, the destroyer. Together, they form the holy trinity.

VISHNU is the most revered form of the Lord in India, along with Lord Shiva. He is said to preserve the universe and all its entities including human beings and other forms of life on earth. Thus, he is said to be involved with most aspects of life and its preservation.

Incarnation – Form in Which Lord Visits Us

INCARNATION is an important aspect of Hindu religious philosophy. There is a firm belief that whenever there is too much of anarchy and destruction, whenever the human values are lost in the society, the Lord himself takes a mortal form and joins the world to get rid of the evil, save the world and create an example that the lesser mortals can follow. Vishnu is said to have done this nine times till date, since the beginning of life on earth, in the current cycle of the universe.

Vamana Avataar of Vishnu

KASHYAP was a great RISHI (scholar philosopher). He had two wives, ADITI and DITI. Their sons and their lineage came to be called Deva and Asura respectively. Often they struggled for dominance. Deva were more law abiding and fair, and worshipped the Lord, unlike asuras who were usually more violent. However, during the reign of King Bali, asuras grew stronger and also became dominant.

When demon king BALI became the king of the asuras, they became almost unassailable because Bali was devoid of any personal weaknesses. He was living examples of virtues, self discipline, fairness, knowledge and courage. He defeated all and conquered the Earth and the other worlds, thereby being called as MAHA BALI, or the great Bali. Subsequently, on the advice of his teacher, SHUKRACHRYA, he undertook a big worship, called ASHWAMEGHA YAGNA, in which he offered wealth to poor and the scholars.

Vishnu, the form of Lord that preserves, incarnated as VAMANA, the twelfth son of ADITI, who was of dwarf size. Vamana refers to 52, the size of his length in fingerbreadths. Vamana visited king Bali during the Aswamegha yagna. Bali's teacher, Shukracharya, realized that it is Lord Vishnu, and advised not to promise anything to Vamana. However, Bali had already committed himself to grant wishes by then, and refused to go back on his word.

Vamana asked Bali for land that he could cover by his three steps, and was granted his wish. Once his request was granted, he increased in proportions, became enormous and covered the Earth, as well as the other world in his two steps. Bali, realising he has been tricked by the Lord himself, surrendered all that he had won to the Lord. Since the lord's third step was still uncovered, so, to fulfil his promise, he offered his head. Vamana placed his third step on the head of Bali, sending him underground.

While Vamana is worshipped as an incarnation of Vishnu, Bali is also revered as a great and an honest king, who sacrificed everything to keep his promise.
 

POSTED BY V Kumar On 2012-10-28
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