Vamana Dvadasi: Appearance of the Dwarf Incarnation of the Lord!
Vamana Dvadasi is the appearance day of Lord Vamandeva. This year Sri Vamana Dvadasi was celebrated on 9 September 2011. At the temple, there were special discourses on the glories of Lord Vamanadeva. The devotees fasted and discussed his pastime.
Lord Vamanadeva appeared in this world from the womb of Aditi completely equipped with conchshell, disc, club and lotus. His bodily hue was blackish, and He was dressed in yellow garments. At that time, in all the three worlds (including the higher planetary system, outer space and this earth), all the
demigods, the cows, the brahmanas and even the seasons were happy because of God’s appearance. Therefore this auspicious day is called Vijaya. When the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who has a sac-cid-ananda body, appeared as the son of Kasyapa and Aditi, both of His parents were very astonished. After His appearance, the Lord assumed the form of a dwarf (Vamana). All the great sages expressed their jubilation, and with Kasyapa Muni before them they performed the birthday ceremony of Lord Vamana. . At the time of Lord Vamanadeva’s sacred thread ceremony, He was honored by the sun-god, Brihaspati, the goddess presiding over the planet earth, the deity of the heavenly planets, His mother, Lord Brahma, Kuvera, the seven rishis and others. Lord Vamanadeva then visited
the sacrificial arena on the northern side of the Narmada River, at the field known as Bhrigukaccha, where brahmanas of the Bhrigu dynasty were performing yajnas. Wearing a belt made of munja straw, an upper garment of deerskin and a sacred thread and carrying in His hands a danda, an umbrella and a waterpot (kamandalu), Lord Vamanadeva appeared in the sacrificial arena of Maharaja Bali. Because of His transcendentally effulgent presence, all the priests were diminished in their prowess, and thus they all stood from their seats and offered prayers to Lord Vamanadeva. Even Lord Siva accepts on his head the Ganges water generated from the toe of Lord Vamanadeva. Therefore, after washing the Lord’s feet, Bali Maharaja immediately accepted the water from the Lord’s feet on his head and felt that he and his predecessors had certainly been glorified. Then Bali Maharaja inquired of Lord Vamanadeva’s welfare and requested the Lord to ask him for money, jewels or anything He might desire.
When Bali Maharaja, thinking Vamanadeva to be the son of a brahmana, told Him to ask for anything He liked, Lord Vamanadeva praised Hiranyakasipu and Hiranyaksha for their heroic activities, and after thus praising the family in which Bali Maharaja had been born, He begged the King for three paces of land. Bali Maharaja agreed to give this land in charity, since this was very insignificant, but Sukracarya, who could understand that Vamanadeva was Vishnu, the friend of the demigods, forbade Bali Maharaja to give this land. Sukracarya advised Bali Maharaja to withdraw his promise but Bali Maharaja thought it improper to withdraw his promise to the brahmacari. Bali Maharaja thought that even if this brahmacari, Vamanadeva, were Lord Vishnu, if the Lord accepted his charity and then again arrested him, Bali Maharaja would not envy Him. Considering all these points, Bali Maharaja finally gave in charity everything he possessed.
Lord Vamanadeva then immediately extended Himself into a universal body. By the mercy of Lord Vamanadeva, Bali Maharaja could see that the Lord is all-pervading and that everything rests in His body. Bali Maharaja could see Lord Vamanadeva as the supreme Vishnu, wearing a helmet, yellow garments, the mark of Srivatsa, the Kaustubha jewel, a flower garland, and ornaments decorating His entire body. The Lord gradually covered the entire surface of the world, and by extending His body He covered the entire sky. With His hands He covered all directions, and with His second footstep He covered the entire upper planetary system. Therefore there was no vacant place where He could take His third footstep.
When Bali Maharaja was deprived of all his possessions, the demons were very angry. Although Bali Maharaja warned them not to do so, they took up weapons against Lord Vishnu. All of them were defeated, however, by Lord Vishnu’s eternal associates, and, in accordance with Bali Maharaja’s order, they all entered the lower planets of the universe. Understanding Lord Vishnu’s purpose, Garuda, the carrier of Lord Vishnu, immediately arrested Bali Maharaja with the ropes of Varuna. When Bali Maharaja was thus reduced to a helpless position, Lord Vishnu asked him for the third step of land. Bali Maharaja was extremely truthful. Being unable to keep his promise, he was very much afraid, for he knew that one who has deviated from truthfulness is insignificant in the eyes of society. An exalted person can suffer the consequences of hellish life, but he is very much afraid of being defamed for deviation from the truth. Bali Maharaja agreed with great pleasure to accept the punishment awarded him by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In Bali Maharaja’s dynasty there were many asuras who because of their enmity toward Vishnu had achieved a destination more exalted than that of many mystic yogis. Bali Maharaja specifically remembered the determination of Prahlada Maharaja in devotional service. Considering all these points, he decided to give his head in charity as the place for Vishnu’s third step. Bali Maharaja also considered how great personalities give up their family relationships and material possessions to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Indeed, they sometimes even sacrifice their lives for the satisfaction of the Lord, just to become His personal servants. Accordingly, by following in the footsteps of previous acaryas and devotees, Bali Maharaja perceived himself successful.
While Bali Maharaja, having been arrested by the ropes of Varuna, was offering prayers to the Lord, his grandfather Prahlada Maharaja appeared there and described how the Supreme Personality of Godhead had delivered Bali Maharaja by taking his possessions in a tricky way. While Prahlada Maharaja was present, Lord Brahma and Bali’s wife, Vindhyavali, described the supremacy of the Supreme Lord. Since Bali Maharaja had given everything to the Lord, they prayed for his release. The Lord then described how a non devotee’s possession of wealth is a danger whereas a devotee’s opulence is a benediction from the Lord. Then, being pleased with Bali Maharaja, the Supreme Lord offered His disc to protect Bali Maharaja and promised to remain with him.
Vamana Dvadasi is celebrated the day after ekadasi. Lord Vamana appeared at noon and there is fasting till noon. One may perform puja on ekadasi night or dvadasi morning.
One may perform the puja over a kumbha, install a murti or worship Vamana in a salagram, offering sixteen upacaras, a bamboo danda, jala mala, upavita, paduka and umbrella, the articles held by the brahmacari, Vamana deva.
Asana, padyam, arghyam, acamaniyam, madhuparka, bath, cloth, sacred thread, ornaments, gandha, flowers, incense, lamps, naivedyam, betel nut and pranamas may also be offered.
Special arghya (barley, kusa, tulasi, yoghurt, flowers, etc.) prayer is as follows:
vamanaya namas tubhyam kranta tribhuvanaya ca
grhanarghyam maya dattvam vamanaya namo'stu te
The next day one may feed the brahmanas, give gifts and break the fast.
Concerning this festival Srila Prabhupada has said:
Decorate a (little boy), give him a special raised seat, offer him the best prasada. Everyone should offer their respects by touching his feet.