Sri Vamana Jayanthi is the festival ascribed to the fifth incarnation of Sri Maha Vishnu as Sri Vamana. It occurs on the Shukla Paksha Ekadashi of Bhadra Padha month. For the Year 2023, it occurs on Tuesday, 26th September 2023. The exact duration of the Ekadashi Tithi has to be ascertained from the respective regional calendars.
The particulars of Sri Vamana Avathar are mentioned in Sri Agni Puran and Sri Vamana Puran.
Sri Vamana Avathar of Sri Maha Vishnu had happened as a sequel to Sri Narasimha Avathar. During Sri Narasimha Avathar, Sri Vishnu had destroyed the Asura Hiranya Kasipu. He also had killed Hiranyaksha, the brother of Hiranya Kasipu.
King Hiranya Kasipu had a son named Prahalad. The reason for the happening of Sri Narasimha Avathar is attributed to the simple belief and the faith the child reposed on Sri Vishnu.
After the demise of Hiranya Kasipu, Prahalada was made the King.
Mahabali was born in the lineage of Prahalada. Though born as an Asura, he was pious, good, kind and virtuous. He was considered as the Emperor. He was liked and loved by his subjects.
Sukracharya was the Guru of Asuras. Mahabali asked him, “Devas are born to Atithi and Asuras are born to Tithi; Both Atithi and Tithi are wives of Sage Kashyap. Though both Devas and Asuras had come from the same lineage, how come Devas live happily and Asuras always live dangerously?”
Sukracharya said “Though Devas and Asuras are from the same lineage, Devas do not indulge in conquering other worlds; They do not try to dominate others; They live their lives in service of supreme God, the Brahmam.
However, Asuras always indulge in torturing others. They do not know what it means to live peacefully. That is why they are never happy”.
He further said, “Lord Indra is the head of Devas. Do you know how he became the head? He got the post by doing one hundred Ashwamedh Yagnas.
If you perform such one hundred Ashwamedh Yagnas, you will also be bestowed with the title Indra.”
On the advice of Vasishta, Jamadagni, Sukracharya and other Sages, Mahabali had successfully completed ninety-nine Ashwamedh Yagnas. It took so many years. He was preparing for his hundredth Yagna.
Lord Indra came to know about Mahabali. He knew that Mahabali was a very pious and good person. He feared that, once Mahabali completed the hundredth Yagna, it will be quite dangerous for his Indra post.
Sri Maha Vishnu
Lord Indra went to Vishnu Lok. He worshipped Sri Maha Vishnu and told him his apprehensions. Sri Vishnu had promised him that he would look into the matter and take appropriate action.
Meanwhile, Atithi, the wife of Sage Kashyap had done penance on Sri Vishnu. She sought the boon of begetting Sri Vishnu as her Son. The boon was granted to her.
Sri Vamana Avathar
So, Vishnu born as son of Sage Kashyap and Atithi. The baby Vishnu was in dwarf form and fair. Sage Kashyap named him Vamana which means “small”. [The place of birth of Sri Vamana is now called Hardoi. It is in Uttar Pradesh].
Vamana got the thread ceremony done to Him at the age of five. He had learned Vedas and other holy scriptures from His father.
At that same time, Mahabali was making arrangements for the hundredth Yagna.
Vamana told His father ‘’If Mahabali succeeds in doing the 100th Yagna, my elder brother Indra will lose his post. I do not want my brother to lose. I wish to disrupt the yagna of Mahabali. Please show me the way”.
Kashyap said “Mahabali is good and perfect in each and every effort of his. You cannot find fault in his yagna procedure. It is impossible to stop the yagna”.
Vamana said “I have to anyway stop the yagna. Please show me the way.”
Kashyap said “Think calmly on the issue. You will find a solution on your own.”
Vamana went to the place where Mahabali was making preparations for the 100th Yagna.
He told him,” I am Vamana. Sage Kashyap’s son. I have learned Vedas from my father. I need a place to do penance. It is enough if you donate me land equal to thrice my foot length.
Mahabali kindly said, “That much of small space may not be enough for you. Please ask me whatever else also you want. I will be glad to help you.” But Vamana insisted on three feet land only.
Mahabali had consented to fulfill His wishes.
Sukracharya understood who Vamana was. He took Mahabali aside and told him, “Do you know who this Vamana is? He is actually Maha Vishnu. He is trying to disrupt your Yagna so that Indra can save his post. Be careful. Don’t promise him anything.”
Mahabali said, “If Sri Maha Vishnu Himself has come to me asking for daan of land, then I am the most blessed person in the universe. I have already promised Him to donate the land. I cannot back-track now.”
Saying so, he went to Sri Vamana.
Preparatory to giving daan, Mahabali had poured water from his kamandal to Sri Vamana. Sukracharya somehow wanted to prevent the daan. So he took the form of a huge bee and blocked the water flow from inside the kamandal.
Vamana understood the reason behind the stop in the water flow. He took a dry grass and poked in the spout. The bee had lost its eye. In effect, Sukracharya lost one of his eyes. So he left the kamandal.
Mahabali had poured the water in Vamana’s hand and finished the first ritual. Then he asked Vamana to show him the land in which he required three feet space.
Vamana then took the huge viswaroop. He was large, majestic and magnificent. He took His first step and the entire earth got covered. Then His second step had covered the entire contents of Deva lok. He asked Mahabali as to where He had to keep the foot for the third step.
Mahabali kneeled before the Vishwaroop. He told “I have nothing left but only my head to offer to you.” He bowed to Sri Vishnu.
Sri Vamana had placed His foot on Mahabali’s head as the third step. Then Mahabali got down to Paatal lok.
As Mahaabali was good in all respects and a good bhakt, Sri Vishnu had given him a place in Vainkunth.
Sri Vamana Jayanthi – Rituals
The observer of this Vrat should get up early in the morning before Sunrise. After bathing, the Puja place at the house has to be cleaned and sanctified. The idol or picture of Sri Vamana has to be kept in the place. Sri Vamana is also called by the name Sri Trivikrama.
The idol or picture should be decorated with flowers. Lamps and incense sticks are to be lit. Chandan, Haldi and kukmum are to be applied.
Bhagwan Vamana has to be invoked chanting upachara mantras. Then Puja should be done with flowers and tulsi leaves.
Neivedyam of mosambi fruit and sugar can be made. Even the available fruits can also be offered for Neivedyam.
It is believed that sincere observation of Sri Vamana Jayanthi alleviates all ailments and bestows health.