Vamana ... An Avataar Of Vishnu

Vamana is considered the fifth avatar of Vishnu, one of the three forms of the almighty Lord of Universe, the one responsible for preserving, protecting and maintaining the world and all life therein. It is his first human avatar and also the first in Treta Yug or Second Era. Vaman, son of Aditi, begged three steps of land from King Bali of Asuras, and when granted, rose in giant proportions, and covered Earth and other worlds in only two steps, putting the third on Bali’s head.
Vamana ... An Avataar of Vishnu
Source - Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AEmperor_Mahabali_with_Vamana_avatar_of_Vishnu.jpg)

Most people, even Hindus do not know much about the Vamana Avatar, 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 avatar or incarnation of Vishnu. Incidentally, it is first avatar 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 conceptualized in the most popular form of Hindu tradition are BRAHMA, the creator, VISHNU, the preserver and SHIVA, the destroyer. Together, they form the holy trinity which preserves, protects and maintains the sustainable equilibrium that make our universe.

VISHNU is the most revered form of the Lord in India, along with 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 a need, the Lord will appear in a material form, just like an ordinary mortal. For instance whenever there is too much of anarchy and destruction, whenever the human values are lost in the society, the Lord himself takes a human 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.

The scriptures mention ten avatars of Vishnu, of which nine have already taken place, while the tenth and last is yet to arrive. Interestingly, the first four of these avatars were in a form other than human, and represent the various stages of biological evolution on Earth, consisting of Fish, Turtle, Bore and a half-human-half-lion form. The fifth avatar is Vamana, a dwarf human.

Vamana Avatar 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 Daiva and Asura respectively. Often they struggled for dominance. Daiva were more law abiding and fair, and tended to maintain the social harmony, hence also called as ‘sura’, meaning harmony (as in musical notes), whereas ‘asura’ were the opposite of that, disturbing the social harmony every now and then. Daivas generally followed the norms of Dharma 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 BALI, the

grandson of PRAHLAD became the king of the asuras, they became almost unassailable because Bali was devoid of any personal weaknesses. He was a living example 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, SHUKRACHARYA, 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 and maintains the universe and all forms of life, incarnated as VAMANA, the twelfth son of ADITI, who was of dwarf size. Vamana refers to 52, the size of his length in finger breadths. Vamana visited king Bali during the Ashwamegha 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 worlds in his two steps. Bali, realizing 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 fulfill his promise, he offered his head. Vamana placed his third step on the head of Bali, thereby granting him immortality. Some opine that he was granted the kingdom of Patala or the underground universe.

Vamana is the first human form in which Vishnu visited this world. It is also the first avatar of Vishnu in the Treta Yug, or the second of the four large Eras that make a human evolution cycle in universe. 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.



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