Vamana (Devanagari: वामन, IAST: "Vāmana") is a personality described in the Puranic texts of Hinduism as the Fifth Avatara of Vishnu, and the first incarnation of the Second Age, or Treta yuga. Also he is the first Avatar of Vishnu which appears with a completely human form, though it was that of a dwarf brahmin. He is also sometimes known as "Upendra".


Vamana was born to Aditi and Kashyapa [ [ Account of the several Manus and Manwantaras] Vishnu Purana, translated by Horace Hayman Wilson, 1840, Book III: Chapter I. 265:22, Vishńu, at the request of the deities, was born as a dwarf, Vámana, the son of Adití by Kaśyapa; who, applying to Mahabali for alms, was promised by the prince whatever he might demand, notwithstanding Śukra, the preceptor of the Daityas, apprised him whom he had to deal with. The dwarf demanded as much space as he could step over at three steps; and upon the assent of Mahabali, enlarged himself to such dimensions as to stride over the three worlds. Being worshipped however by Mahabali and his ancestor Prahláda, he conceded to them the sovereignty of Pátála.] . He is the twelfth of the Adityas. Vamana is known to be the younger brother of Indra.

The legend of Bhagavata has it that the Vamana avatar was taken by Vishnu to restore Indra's authority over the heavens, which was taken away by force by the demon king Bali in Dravida. Vamana in the disguise of a short Brahmin, carrying a wooden umbrella requested three steps of land for him to live in. Given a promise of three steps of Land by King Mahabali against the warning given by his Guru Sukracharya, Vamana, The Supreme God grows so huge that he could cover from heaven to earth, earth to lower worlds in two simple steps. King Mahabali unable to fulfil the promise of three paces of Land to the Supreme God, offers his head for the third step. Thus Vamana places his third step on King Mahabali's head and gives him immortality for his benevolance.


Vamana taught King Mahabali that arrogance and pride should be abandoned if any advancement in life is to be made, and that wealth should never be taken for granted since it can so easily be taken away. Vamana then took on the form of Mahavishnu. He was pleased by King Mahabali's determination and ability to keep his promise in the face of his spiritual master's curse and the prospect of losing all his wealth. Vishnu named the King "Mahabali" since he was a "Mahatma" (great soul). He allowed Mahabali to return to the spiritual sky to associate with Prahalada (the demoniac Hiranyakashipu's pious son, also a descendant of the demon race) and other divine beings. Mahavishnu also declared that Mahabali would be able to rule the universe in the following yuga (age). Mahabali was the grandson of Prahlada being the son of Prahlada's son Virochana who was killed in a battle with the Devas.

Mahabali is supposed to return every year to the land of his people, to ensure that they are prosperous. This is celebrated as the Onam festival in Kerala, where he is also called Maveli (which is a contraction of Mahabali - the Great Bali).

In Sikhism

Vamana is discussed in the Guru Granth Sahib, the sacred text of Sikhism. [ P. 1390 "Guru Granth Sahib"]

::satjugi tai maNiO ChaliO bali bAvan bhAiO ::In Satyayuga, you sported as the dwarf incarnation, and fooled Bali.

On page 1330 of the Guru Granth Sahib, Vamana is mentioned as the "enticer" of Baliraja. [ P. 1330, "Sri Guru Granth Sahib", Vol. 4 ]

In the Ramayana

According to the "Adhatya Ramayana" It is also said that Vamanadeva is the guard of the gate of Bali Maharaja's planet Sutala [P. 281 "The Adhyatma Ramayana: Concise English Version" By Chandan Lal Dhody ] [ P. 134 "IAST|Srī Rūpa Gosvāmī's Bhakti-rasāmṛta-Sindhuh" By Rūpagosvāmī, Bhakti Hridaya Bon ] and will remain so forever. [ P. 134 "Sri Rūpa Gosvāmīs Bhakti-rasāmrta-sindhuh" By Rūpagosvāmī ] Tulsidas' Ramayana too declares that Vamana became the "dwarpal" ("gate-defender") of Bali. [ P. 246 "Complete Works of Gosvami Tulsidas" By Satya Prakash Bahadur, Tulasīdāsa ]

It is said that Mahabali attained Moksha by atmanidedinam. [P. 178 "Vedanta Established in Its Own Light =: Sushka Vedanta Tamo Bhaskaram" By Malayalaswamulavaru ] Krishna in the Sri Rūpa Gosvāmīs Bhakti-rasāmrta-sindhuh [ P. 379 "Sri Rūpa Gosvāmīs Bhakti-rasāmrta-sindhuh By Rūpagosvāmī" By Rūpagosvāmī ] says that Mahabali came to Him or attained Him.Some traditions also hold that Vamana was an avatar of Ganesha. [ P. 22 "Bhavan's Journal" By Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan ] .


One of the Vamana temples is located in Thrikakkara (Thrikkakara Temple), Cochin, Kerala. There is also a Vamana temple in Kanchipuram near the Kamakshi temple.

ee also

*Bhagavata Purana
*Vishnu Purana
*Happiness is a Science – Aditi’s Vow


External links

* [ Complete Story of Bali]
* [ Srimad Bhagavatam 8.18: Lord Vamanadeva, the Dwarf Incarnation]
* [ Vamana Avatar]
* [ Story of Vamana Avataram]

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