Lord Vamanadeva

Lord Vämanadeva, the Dwarf Incarnation
Srimad Bhagavatam 8the Canto 18th Chapter Summary

This chapter describes how Lord Vämanadeva appeared and how He went to the sacrificial arena of Mahäräja Bali, who received Him well and fulfilled His desire by offering Him benedictions.
Lord Vämanadeva 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. Lord Viñëu appeared at an auspicious moment on Çravaëa-dvädaçé when the Abhijit star had arisen. At that time, in all the three worlds (including the higher planetary system, outer space and this earth), all the demigods, the cows, the brähmaëas and even the seasons were happy because of God’s appearance. Therefore this auspicious day is called Vijayä. When the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who has a sac-cid-änanda body, appeared as the son of Kaçyapa and Aditi, both of His parents were very astonished. After His appearance, the Lord assumed the form of a dwarf (Vämana). All the great sages expressed their jubilation, and with Kaçyapa Muni before them they performed the birthday ceremony of Lord Vämana. At the time of Lord Vämanadeva’s sacred thread ceremony, He was honored by the sun-god, Båhaspati, the goddess presiding over the planet earth, the deity of the heavenly planets, His mother, Lord Brahmä, Kuvera, the seven åñis and others. Lord Vämanadeva then visited the sacrificial arena on the northern side of the Narmadä River, at the field known as Bhågukaccha, where brähmaëas of the Bhågu dynasty were performing yajïas. Wearing a belt made of muïja straw, an upper garment of deerskin and a sacred thread and carrying in His hands a daëòa, an umbrella and a waterpot (kamaëòalu), Lord Vämanadeva appeared in the sacrificial arena of Mahäräja 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 Vämanadeva. Even Lord Çiva accepts on his head the Ganges water generated from the toe of Lord Vämanadeva. Therefore, after washing the Lord’s feet, Bali Mahäräja 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 Mahäräja inquired of Lord Vämanadeva’s welfare and requested the Lord to ask him for money, jewels or anything He might desire.

Lord Vämanadeva Begs Charity from Bali Mahäräja
Srimad Bhagavatam 8th Canto 19th Chapter Summary

This Nineteenth Chapter describes how Lord Vämanadeva asked for three paces of land in charity, how Bali Mahäräja agreed to His proposal, and how Çukräcärya forbade Bali Mahäräja to fulfill Lord Vämanadeva’s request.
When Bali Mahäräja, thinking Vämanadeva to be the son of a brähmaëa, told Him to ask for anything He liked, Lord Vämanadeva praised Hiraëyakaçipu and Hiraëyäkña for their heroic activities, and after thus praising the family in which Bali Mahäräja had been born, He begged the King for three paces of land. Bali Mahäräja agreed to give this land in charity, since this was very insignificant, but Çukräcärya, who could understand that Vämanadeva was Viñëu, the friend of the demigods, forbade Bali Mahäräja to give this land. Çukräcärya advised Bali Mahäräja to withdraw his promise. He explained that in subduing others, in joking, in responding to danger, in acting for the welfare of others, and so on, one could refuse to fulfill one’s promise, and there would be no fault. By this philosophy, Çukräcärya tried to dissuade Bali Mahäräja from giving land to Lord Vämanadeva.

Bali Mahäräja Surrenders the Universe
Srimad Bhagavatam 8th Canto 20th Chapter Summary

The summary of this Twentieth Chapter is as follows. Despite his knowledge that Lord Vämanadeva was cheating him, Bali Mahäräja gave everything to the Lord in charity, and thus the Lord extended His body and assumed a gigantic form as Lord Viñëu.
After hearing the instructive advice of Çukräcärya, Bali Mahäräja became contemplative. Because it is the duty of a householder to maintain the principles of religion, economic development and sense gratification, Bali Mahäräja thought it improper to withdraw his promise to the brahmacäré. To lie or fail to honor a promise given to a brahmacäré is never proper, for lying is the most sinful activity. Everyone should be afraid of the sinful reactions to lying, for mother earth cannot even bear the weight of a sinful liar. The spreading of a kingdom or empire is temporary; if there is no benefit for the general public, such expansion has no value. Previously, all the great kings and emperors expanded their kingdoms with a regard for the welfare of the people in general. Indeed, while engaged in such activities for the benefit of the general public, eminent men sometimes even sacrificed their lives. It is said that one who is glorious in his activities is always living and never dies. Therefore, fame should be the aim of life, and even if one becomes poverty-stricken for the sake of a good reputation, that is not a loss. Bali Mahäräja thought that even if this brahmacäré, Vämanadeva, were Lord Viñëu, if the Lord accepted his charity and then again arrested him, Bali Mahäräja would not envy Him. Considering all these points, Bali Mahäräja finally gave in charity everything he possessed.
Lord Vämanadeva then immediately extended Himself into a universal body. By the mercy of Lord Vämanadeva, Bali Mahäräja could see that the Lord is all-pervading and that everything rests in His body. Bali Mahäräja could see Lord Vämanadeva as the supreme Viñëu, wearing a helmet, yellow garments, the mark of Çrévatsa, 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.

Bali Mahäräja Arrested by the Lord
Srimad Bhagavatam 8th Canto 21st Chapter Summary

This chapter describes how Lord Viñëu, desiring to advertise the glories of Bali Mahäräja, arrested him for not fulfilling his promise in regard to the Lord’s third step.
With the second step the Supreme Personality of Godhead reached the topmost planet of the universe, Brahmaloka, which He diminished in beauty by the effulgence of His toenails. Thus Lord Brahmä, accompanied by great sages like Maréci and the predominating deities of all the higher planets, offered humble prayers and worship to the Lord. They washed the Lord’s feet and worshiped Him with all paraphernalia. Åkñaräja, Jämbavän, played his bugle to vibrate the glories of the Lord. When Bali Mahäräja was deprived of all his possessions, the demons were very angry. Although Bali Mahäräja warned them not to do so, they took up weapons against Lord Viñëu. All of them were defeated, however, by Lord Viñëu’s eternal associates, and, in accordance with Bali Mahäräja’s order, they all entered the lower planets of the universe. Understanding Lord Viñëu’s purpose, Garuòa, the carrier of Lord Viñëu, immediately arrested Bali Mahäräja with the ropes of Varuëa. When Bali Mahäräja was thus reduced to a helpless position, Lord Viñëu asked him for the third step of land. Because Lord Viñëu appreciated Bali Mahäräja’s determination and integrity, when Bali Mahäräja was unable to fulfill his promise, Lord Viñëu ascertained that the place for him would be the planet Sutala, which is better than the planets of heaven.

Bali Mahäräja Surrenders His Life
Srimad Bhagavatam 8th Canto 22nd Chapter Summary

The summary of this Twenty-second Chapter is as follows. The Supreme Personality of Godhead was pleased by the behavior of Bali Mahäräja. Thus the Lord placed him on the planet Sutala, and there, after bestowing benedictions upon him, the Lord agreed to become his doorman.
Bali Mahäräja 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 Mahäräja agreed with great pleasure to accept the punishment awarded him by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In Bali Mahäräja’s dynasty there were many asuras who because of their enmity toward Viñëu had achieved a destination more exalted than that of many mystic yogés. Bali Mahäräja specifically remembered the determination of Prahläda Mahäräja in devotional service. Considering all these points, he decided to give his head in charity as the place for Viñëu’s third step. Bali Mahäräja 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 äcäryas and devotees, Bali Mahäräja perceived himself successful.
While Bali Mahäräja, having been arrested by the ropes of Varuëa, was offering prayers to the Lord, his grandfather Prahläda Mahäräja appeared there and described how the Supreme Personality of Godhead had delivered Bali Mahäräja by taking his possessions in a tricky way. While Prahläda Mahäräja was present, Lord Brahmä and Bali’s wife, Vindhyävali, described the supremacy of the Supreme Lord. Since Bali Mahäräja had given everything to the Lord, they prayed for his release. The Lord then described how a nondevotee’s possession of wealth is a danger whereas a devotee’s opulence is a benediction from the Lord. Then, being pleased with Bali Mahäräja, the Supreme Lord offered His disc to protect Bali Mahäräja and promised to remain with him.

The Demigods Regain the Heavenly Planets
Srimad Bhagavatam 8th Canto 23rd Chapter Summary

This chapter describes how Bali Mahäräja, along with his grandfather Prahläda Mahäräja, entered the planet Sutala and how the Supreme Personality of Godhead allowed Indra to reenter the heavenly planet.
The great soul Bali Mahäräja experienced that the highest gain in life is to attain devotional service under the shelter of the Lord’s lotus feet in full surrender. Being fixed in this conclusion, his heart full of ecstatic devotion and his eyes full of tears, he offered obeisances to the Personality of Godhead and then, with his associates, entered the planet known as Sutala. Thus the Supreme Personality of Godhead satisfied the desire of Aditi and reinstalled Lord Indra. Prahläda Mahäräja, being aware of Bali’s release from arrest, then described the transcendental pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in this material world. Prahläda Mahäräja praised the Supreme Lord for creating the material world, for being equal to everyone and for being extremely liberal to the devotees, just like a desire tree. Indeed, Prahläda Mahäräja said that the Lord is kind not only to His devotees but also to the demons. In this way he described the unlimited causeless mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Then, with folded hands, he offered his respectful obeisances unto the Lord, and after circumambulating the Lord he also entered the planet Sutala in accordance with the Lord’s order. The Lord then ordered Çukräcärya to describe Bali Mahäräja’s faults and discrepancies in executing the sacrificial ceremony. Çukräcärya became free from fruitive actions by chanting the holy name of the Lord, and he explained how chanting can diminish all the faults of the conditioned soul. He then completed Bali Mahäräja’s sacrificial ceremony. All the great saintly persons accepted Lord Vämanadeva as the benefactor of Lord Indra because He had returned Indra to his heavenly planet. They accepted the Supreme personality of Godhead as the maintainer of all the affairs of the universe. Being very happy, Indra, along with his associates, placed Vämanadeva before him and reentered the heavenly planet in their airplane. Having seen the wonderful activities of Lord Viñëu in the sacrificial arena of Bali Mahäräja, all the demigods, saintly persons, Pitäs, Bhütas and Siddhas glorified the Lord again and again. The chapter concludes by saying that the most auspicious function of the conditioned soul is to chant and hear about the glorious activities of Lord Viñëu.

SB 8.23.1
çré-çuka uväca
ity uktavantaà puruñaà purätanaà
mahänubhävo ’khila-sädhu-sammataù
baddhäïjalir bäñpa-kaläkulekñaëo
bhakty-utkalo gadgadayä giräbravét

Çukadeva Gosvämé said: When the supreme, ancient, eternal Personality of Godhead had thus spoken to Bali Mahäräja, who is universally accepted as a pure devotee of the Lord and therefore a great soul, Bali Mahäräja, his eyes filled with tears, his hands folded and his voice faltering in devotional ecstasy, responded as follows.

SB 8.23.2
çré-balir uväca
aho praëämäya kåtaù samudyamaù
prapanna-bhaktärtha-vidhau samähitaù
yal loka-pälais tvad-anugraho ’marair
alabdha-pürvo ’pasade ’sure ’rpitaù

Bali Mahäräja said: What a wonderful effect there is in even attempting to offer respectful obeisances to You! I merely endeavored to offer You obeisances, but nonetheless the attempt was as successful as those of pure devotees. The causeless mercy You have shown to me, a fallen demon, was never achieved even by the demigods or the leaders of the various planets.
When Vämanadeva appeared before Bali Mahäräja, Bali Mahäräja immediately wanted to offer Him respectful obeisances, but he was unable to do so because of the presence of Çukräcärya and other demoniac associates. The Lord is so merciful, however, that although Bali Mahäräja did not actually offer obeisances but only endeavored to do so within his mind, the Supreme Personality of Godhead blessed him with more mercy than even the demigods could ever expect. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gétä (2.40), svalpam apy asya dharmasya träyate mahato bhayät: “Even a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.” The Supreme Personality of Godhead is known as bhäva-grähé janärdana because He takes only the essence of a devotee’s attitude. If a devotee sincerely surrenders, the Lord, as the Supersoul in everyone’s heart, immediately understands this. Thus even though, externally, a devotee may not render full service, if he is internally sincere and serious the Lord welcomes his service nonetheless. Thus the Lord is known as bhäva-grähé janärdana because He takes the essence of one’s devotional mentality.

SB 8.23.15
çré-çukra uväca
kutas tat-karma-vaiñamyaà
yasya karmeçvaro bhavän
yajïeço yajïa-puruñaù
sarva-bhävena püjitaù

Çukräcärya said: My Lord, You are the enjoyer and lawgiver in all performances of sacrifice, and You are the yajïa-puruña, the person to whom all sacrifices are offered. If one has fully satisfied You, where is the chance of discrepancies or faults in his performances of sacrifice?
In Bhagavad-gétä (5.29) the Lord says, bhoktäraà yajïa-tapasäà sarva-loka-maheçvaram: the Lord, the supreme proprietor, is the actual person to he satisfied by the performance of yajïas. The Viñëu puräëa (3.8.9) says:

puruñeëa paraù pumän
viñëur ärädhyate panthä
nanyat tat-toña-käraëam

All the Vedic ritualistic sacrifices are performed for the purpose of satisfying Lord Viñëu, the yajïa-puruña. The divisions of society—brähmaëa, kñatriya, vaiçya, çüdra, brahmacarya, gåhastha, vänaprastha and sannyäsa—are all meant to satisfy the Supreme Lord, Viñëu. To act according to this principle of the varëäçrama institution is called varëäçramäcaraëa. In Çrémad-Bhägavatam (1.2.13), Süta Gosvämé says:

ataù pumbhir dvija-çreñöhä
svanuñöhitasya dharmasya
saàsiddhir hari-toñaëam

“O best among the twice-born, it is therefore concluded that the highest perfection one can achieve by discharging his prescribed duties according to caste divisions and orders of life is to please the Personality of Godhead.” Everything is meant to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, since Bali Mahäräja had satisfied the Lord, he had no faults, and Çukräcärya admitted that cursing him was not good.

SB 8.23.16
mantratas tantrataç chidraà
sarvaà karoti niçchidram
anusaìkértanaà tava

There may be discrepancies in pronouncing the mantras and observing the regulative principles, and, moreover, there may be discrepancies in regard to time, place, person and paraphernalia. But when Your Lordship’s holy name is chanted, everything becomes faultless.
Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu has recommended:

harer näma harer näma
harer nämaiva kevalam
kalau nästy eva nästy eva
nästy eva gatir anyathä

“In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy the only means of deliverance is chanting the holy name of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way.” (Båhan-näradéya Puräëa 38.126) In this age of Kali, it is extremely difficult to perform Vedic ritualistic ceremonies or sacrifices perfectly. Hardly anyone can chant the Vedic mantras with perfect pronunciation or accumulate the paraphernalia for Vedic performances. Therefore the sacrifice recommended in this age is saìkértana, constant chanting of the holy name of the Lord. Yajïaiù saìkértana-präyair yajanti hi sumedhasaù (Bhäg. 11.5.29). Instead of wasting time performing Vedic sacrifices, those who are intelligent, those who possess good brain substance, should take to the chanting of the Lord’s holy name and thus perform sacrifice perfectly. I have seen that many religious leaders are addicted to performing yajïas and spending hundreds and thousands of rupees for imperfect sacrificial performances. This is a lesson for those who unnecessarily execute such imperfect sacrifices. We should take the advice of Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu (yajïaiù saìkértana-präyair yajanti hi sumedhasaù). Although Çukräcärya was a strict brähmaëa addicted to ritualistic activities, he also admitted, niçchidram anusaìkértanaà tava: “My Lord, constant chanting of the holy name of Your Lordship makes everything perfect.” In Kali-yuga the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies cannot be performed as perfectly as before. Therefore Çréla Jéva Gosvämé has recommended that although one should take care to follow all the principles in every kind of spiritual activity, especially in worship of the Deity, there is still a chance of discrepancies, and one should compensate for this by chanting the holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In our Kåñëa consciousness movement we therefore give special stress to the chanting of the Hare Kåñëa mantra in all activities.

SB 8.23.27.
brahmä çarvaù kumäraç ca
bhågv-ädyä munayo nåpa
pitaraù sarva-bhütäni
siddhä vaimänikäç ca ye
sumahat karma tad viñëor
gäyantaù param adbhutam
dhiñëyäni sväni te jagmur
aditià ca çaçaàsire

Lord Brahmä, Lord Çiva, Lord Kärttikeya, the great sage Bhågu, other saintly persons, the inhabitants of Pitåloka and all other living entities present, including the inhabitants of Siddhaloka and living entities who travel in outer space by airplane, all glorified the uncommon activities of Lord Vämanadeva. O King, while chanting about and glorifying the Lord, they returned to their respective heavenly planets. They also praised the position of Aditi.

SB 8.23.28
sarvam etan mayäkhyätaà
bhavataù kula-nandana
urukramasya caritaà
çrotèëäm agha-mocanam

O Mahäräja Parékñit, pleasure of your dynasty, I have now described to you everything about the wonderful activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Vämanadeva. Those who hear about this are certainly freed from all the results of sinful activities.

SB 8.23.29
päraà mahimna uruvikramato gåëäno
yaù pärthiväni vimame sa rajäàsi martyaù
kià jäyamäna uta jäta upaiti martya
ity äha mantra-dåg åñiù puruñasya yasya

One who is subject to death cannot measure the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Trivikrama, Lord Viñëu, any more than he can count the number of atoms on the entire planet earth. No one, whether born already or destined to take birth, is able to do this. This has been sung by the great sage Vasiñöha.
Vasiñöha Muni has given a mantra about Lord Viñëu: na te viñëor jäyamäno na jäto mahimnaù päram anantam äpa. No one can estimate the extent of the uncommonly glorious activities of Lord Viñëu. Unfortunately, there are so-called scientists who are subject to death at every moment but are trying to understand by speculation the wonderful creation of the cosmos. This is a foolish attempt. Long, long ago, Vasiñöha Muni said that no one in the past could measure the glories of the Lord and that no one can do so in the future. One must simply be satisfied with seeing the glorious activities of the Supreme Lord’s creation. The Lord therefore says in Bhagavad-gétä (10.42), viñöabhyäham idaà kåtsnam ekäàçena sthito jagat: “With a single fragment of Myself, I pervade and support this entire universe.” The material world consists of innumerable universes, each one full of innumerable planets, which are all considered to be products of the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s material energy. Yet this is only one fourth of God’s creation. The other three fourths of creation constitute the spiritual world. Among the innumerable planets in only one universe, the so-called scientists cannot understand even the moon and Mars, but they try to defy the creation of the Supreme Lord and His uncommon energy. Such men have been described as crazy. Nünaà pramattaù kurute vikarma (Bhäg. 5.5.4). Such crazy men unnecessarily waste time, energy and money in attempting to defy the glorious activities of Urukrama, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
SB 8.23.30
If one hears about the uncommon activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His various incarnations, he is certainly elevated to the higher planetary system or even brought back home, back to Godhead.
SB 8.23.31
Whenever the activities of Vämanadeva are described in the course of a ritualistic ceremony, whether the ceremony be performed to please the demigods, to please one’s forefathers in Pitåloka, or to celebrate a social event like a marriage, that ceremony should be understood to be extremely auspicious.
There are three kinds of ceremonies—specifically, ceremonies to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead or the demigods, those performed for social celebrations like marriages and birthdays, and those meant to please the forefathers, like the çräddha ceremony. In all these ceremonies, large amounts of money are spent for various activities, but here it is suggested that if along with this there is recitation of the wonderful activities of Vämanadeva, certainly the ceremony will be carried out successfully and will be free of all discrepancies.

Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Eighth Canto, Twenty-third Chapter, of the Çrémad-Bhägavatam, entitled “The Demigods Regain the Heavenly planets.”