Canto Eight Chapter Eighteen of the Srimad Bhagavata
Lord Vamanadeva, the Dwarf Incarnation
This is a shortened version please refer to the full version if desired found here: http://www.bvml.org/books/SB/08/18.html .
Sukadeva Gosvami said: After Lord Brahma had thus spoken, glorifying the Supreme Lord’s activities and prowess, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is never subject to death like an ordinary living being, appeared from the womb of Aditi. His four hands were decorated with a conchshell, club, lotus and disc, He was dressed in yellow garments, and His eyes appeared like the petals of a blooming lotus.
The word amrta-bhuh is significant in this verse. The Lord sometimes appears like an ordinary child taking birth, but this does not mean that He is subject to birth, death or old age. One must be very intelligent to understand the appearance and activities of the Supreme Lord in His incarnations. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (4.9): janma karma ca me divyam evam yo vetti tattvatah. One should try to understand that the Lord’s appearance and disappearance and His activities are all divyam, or transcendental. The Lord has nothing to do with material activities. One who understands the appearance, disappearance and activities of the Lord is immediately liberated. After giving up his body, he never again has to accept a material body, but is transferred to the spiritual world (tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti so ‘rjuna).
The body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, blackish in complexion, was free from all inebrieties. His lotus face, decorated with earrings resembling sharks, appeared very beautiful, and on His bosom was the mark of Srivatsa. He wore bangles on His wrists, armlets on His arms, a helmet on His head, a belt on His waist, a sacred thread across His chest, and ankle bells decorating His lotus feet.
virajitah sri-vanamalaya harih
prajapater vesma-tamah svarocisa
An uncommonly beautiful garland of flowers decorated His bosom, and because the flowers were extremely fragrant, a large group of bees, making their natural humming sounds, invaded them for honey. When the Lord appeared, wearing the Kaustubha gem on His neck, His effulgence vanquished the darkness in the home of the Prajapati Kasyapa.
disah praseduh salilasayas tada
prajah prahrsta rtavo gunanvitah
dyaur antariksam ksitir agni-jihva
gavo dvijah sanjahrsur nagas ca
At that time, there was happiness in all directions, in the reservoirs of water like the rivers and oceans, and in the core of everyone’s heart. The various seasons displayed their respective qualities, and all living entities in the upper planetary system, in outer space and on the surface of the earth were jubilant. The demigods, the cows, the brahmanas and the hills and mountains were all filled with joy.
muhurte ‘bhijiti prabhuh
cakrus taj-janma daksinam
On the day of Sravana-dvadasi [the twelfth day of the bright fortnight in the month of Bhadra], when the moon came into the lunar mansion Sravana, at the auspicious moment of Abhijit, the Lord appeared in this universe. Considering the Lord’s appearance very auspicious, all the stars and planets, from the sun to Saturn, were munificently charitable.
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, an expert astrologer, explains the word naksatra-taradyah. The word naksatra means “the stars,” the word tara in this context refers to the planets, and adyah means “the first one specifically mentioned.” Among the planets, the first is Surya, the sun, not the moon. Therefore, according to the Vedic version, the modern astronomer’s proposition that the moon is nearest to the earth should not be accepted. The chronological order in which people all over the world refer to the days of the week–Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday–corresponds to the Vedic order of the planets and thus circumstantiates the Vedic version. Apart from this, when the Lord appeared the planets and stars became situated very auspiciously, according to astrological calculations, to celebrate the birth of the Lord.
vijaya-nama sa prokta
yasyam janma vidur hareh
O King, when the Lord appeared–on dvadasi, the twelfth day of the moon–the sun was at the meridian, as every learned scholar knows. This dvadasi is called Vijaya.
nirghosas tumulo ‘bhavat
Conchshells, kettledrums, drums, panavas and anakas vibrated in concert. The sound of these and various other instruments was tumultuous.
pritas capsaraso ‘nrtyan
tustuvur munayo deva
manavah pitaro ‘gnayah
Being very pleased, the celestial dancing girls [Apsaras] danced in jubilation, the best of the Gandharvas sang songs, and the great sages, demigods, Manus, Pitas and fire-gods offered prayers to satisfy the Lord.
The Siddhas, Vidyadharas, Kimpurusas, Kinnaras, Caranas, Yaksas, Raksasas, Suparnas, the best of serpents, and the followers of the demigods all showered flowers on Aditi’s residence, covering the entire house, while glorifying and praising the Lord and dancing.
drstvaditis tam nija-garbha-sambhavam
param pumamsam mudam apa vismita
prajapatis caha jayeti vismitah
When Aditi saw the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who had appeared from her own womb, having accepted a transcendental body by His own spiritual potency, she was struck with wonder and was very happy. Upon seeing the child, Prajapati Kasyapa exclaimed, “Jaya! Jaya!” in great happiness and wonder.
yat tad vapur bhati vibhusanayudhair
avyakta-cid-vyaktam adharayad dharih
babhuva tenaiva sa vamano vatuh
sampasyator divya-gatir yatha natah
The Lord appeared in His original form, with ornaments and weapons in His hands. Although this ever-existing form is not visible in the material world, He nonetheless appeared in this form. Then, in the presence of His father and mother, He assumed the form of Vamana, a brahmana-dwarf, a brahmacari, just like a theatrical actor.
tam vatum vamanam drstva
karmani karayam asuh
When the great sages saw the Lord as the brahmacari-dwarf Vamana, they were certainly very pleased. Thus they placed before them Kasyapa Muni, the Prajapati, and performed all the ritualistic ceremonies, such as the birthday ceremony.
According to Vedic civilization, when a child is born in the family of a brahmana, the birthday ceremony, known as jata-karma, is first performed, and then other ceremonies are also gradually performed. But when this vamana-rupa appeared in the form of a vatu, or brahmacari, His sacred thread ceremony was also performed immediately.
mekhalam kasyapo ‘dadat
At the sacred thread ceremony of Vamanadeva, the sun-god personally uttered the Gayatri mantra, Brhaspati offered the sacred thread, and Kasyapa Muni offered a straw belt.
dadau krsnajinam bhumir
dandam somo vanaspatih
dyaus chatram jagatah pateh
Mother earth gave Him a deerskin, and the demigod of the moon, who is the king of the forest, gave Him a brahma-danda [the rod of a brahmacari]. His mother, Aditi, gave Him cloth for underwear, and the deity presiding over the heavenly kingdom offered Him an umbrella.
kusan saptarsayo daduh
O King, Lord Brahma offered a waterpot to the inexhaustible Supreme Personality of Godhead, the seven sages offered Him kusa grass, and mother Sarasvati gave Him a string of Rudraksa beads.
tasma ity upanitaya
yaksa-rat patrikam adat
bhiksam bhagavati saksad
umadad ambika sati
When Vamanadeva had thus been given the sacred thread, Kuvera, King of the Yaksas, gave Him a pot for begging alms, and mother Bhagavati, the wife of Lord Siva and most chaste mother of the entire universe, gave Him His first alms.
sabham sambhavito vatuh
Having thus been welcomed by everyone, Lord Vamanadeva, the best of the brahmacaris, exhibited His Brahman effulgence. Thus He surpassed in beauty that entire assembly, which was filled with great saintly brahmanas.
samiddham ahitam vahnim
samidbhir ajuhod dvijah
samiddham–blazing; ahitam–being situated; vahnim–the fire; krtva–after making; parisamuhanam–properly; paristirya–surpassing; samabhyarcya–after offering worship; samidbhih–with sacrificial offerings; ajuhot–completed the fire sacrifice; dvijah–the best of the brahmanas.
After Lord Sri Vamanadeva set a sacrificial fire, He offered worship and performed a fire sacrifice on the sacrificial field.
srutvasvamedhair yajamanam urjitam
balim bhrgunam upakalpitais tatah
bharena gam sannamayan pade pade
srutva–after hearing; asvamedhaih–by asvamedha sacrifices; yajamanam–the performer; urjitam–very glorious; balim–Bali Maharaja; bhrgunam–under the guidance of the brahmanas born in the Bhrgu dynasty; upakalpitaih–performed; tatah–from that place; jagama–went; tatra–there; akhila-sara-sambhrtah–the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the essence of all creation; bharena–with the weight; gam–the earth; sannamayan–depressing; pade pade–at every step.
When the Lord heard that Bali Maharaja was performing asvamedha sacrifices under the patronage of brahmanas belonging to the Bhrgu dynasty, the Supreme Lord, who is full in every respect, proceeded there to show His mercy to Bali Maharaja. By His weight, He pushed down the earth with every step.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is akhila-sara-sambhrta. In other words, He is the proprietor of everything essential in this material world. Thus although the Lord was going to Bali Maharaja to beg something, He is always complete and has nothing to beg from anyone. Indeed, He is so powerful that in His full opulence He pressed down the surface of the earth at every step.
tam narmadayas tata uttare baler
ya rtvijas te bhrgukaccha-samjnake
pravartayanto bhrgavah kratuttamam
vyacaksatarad uditam yatha ravim
While engaged in performing the sacrifice in the field known as Bhrgukaccha, on the northern bank of the Narmada River, the brahminical priests, the descendants of Bhrgu, saw Vamanadeva to be like the sun rising nearby.
te rtvijo yajamanah sadasya
hata-tviso vamana-tejasa nrpa
suryah kilayaty uta va vibhavasuh
sanat-kumaro ‘tha didrksaya kratoh
O King, because of Vamanadeva’s bright effulgence, the priests, along with Bali Maharaja and all the members of the assembly, were robbed of their splendor. Thus they began to ask one another whether the sun-god himself, Sanat-kumara or the fire-god had personally come to see the sacrificial ceremony.
ittham sasisyesu bhrgusv anekadha
vitarkyamano bhagavan sa vamanah
chatram sadandam sajalam kamandalum
vivesa bibhrad dhayamedha-vatam
While the priests of the Bhrgu dynasty and their disciples talked and argued in various ways, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vamanadeva, holding in His hands the rod, the umbrella and a waterpot full of water, entered the arena of the asvamedha sacrifice.
maunjya mekhalaya vitam
jatilam vamanam vipram
pravistam viksya bhrgavah
sasisyas te sahagnibhih
sanksiptas tasya tejasa
Appearing as a brahmana boy, wearing a belt of straw, a sacred thread, an upper garment of deerskin, and matted locks of hair, Lord Vamanadeva entered the arena of sacrifice. His brilliant effulgence diminished the brilliance of all the priests and their disciples, who thus stood from their seats and welcomed the Lord properly by offering obeisances.
tasma asanam aharat
Bali Maharaja, jubilant at seeing Lord Vamanadeva, whose beautiful limbs contributed equally to the beauty of His entire body, offered Him a seat with great satisfaction.
padau bhagavato balih
Thus offering a proper reception to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is always beautiful to the liberated souls, Bali Maharaja worshiped Him by washing His lotus feet.
sa dharma-vin murdhny adadhat sumangalam
yad deva-devo girisas candra-maulir
dadhara murdhna paraya ca bhaktya
Lord Siva, the best of demigods, who carries on his forehead the emblem of the moon, receives on his head with great devotion the Ganges water emanating from the toe of Visnu. Being aware of religious principles, Bali Maharaja knew this. Consequently, following in the footsteps of Lord Siva, he also placed on his head the water that had washed the Lord’s lotus feet.
Lord Siva is known as Ganga-dhara, or one who carries the water of the Ganges on his head. On Lord Siva’s forehead is the emblem of the half-moon, yet to give supreme respect to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Siva placed the water of the Ganges above this emblem. This example should be followed by everyone, or at least by every devotee, because Lord Siva is one of the mahajanas. Similarly, Maharaja Bali also later became a mahajana. One mahajana follows another mahajana, and by following the parampara system of mahajana activities one can become advanced in spiritual consciousness. The water of the Ganges is sanctified because it emanates from the toe of Lord Visnu. Bali Maharaja washed the lotus feet of Vamanadeva, and the water with which he did so became equal to the Ganges. Bali Maharaja, who perfectly knew all religious principles, therefore took that water on his head, following in the footsteps of Lord Siva.
svagatam te namas tubhyam
brahman kim karavama te
brahmarsinam tapah saksan
manye tvarya vapur-dharam
Bali Maharaja then said to Lord Vamanadeva: O brahmana, I offer You my hearty welcome and my respectful obeisances. Please let us know what we may do for You. We think of You as the personified austerity of the great brahmana-sages.
adya nah pitaras trpta
adya nah pavitam kulam
adya svistah kratur ayam
yad bhavan agato grhan
O my Lord, because You have kindly arrived at our home, all my forefathers are satisfied, our family and entire dynasty have been sanctified, and the sacrifice we are performing is now complete because of Your presence.
adyagnayo me suhuta yatha-vidhi
hatamhaso varbhir iyam ca bhur aho
tatha punita tanubhih padais tava
O son of a brahmana, today the fire of sacrifice is ablaze according to the injunction of the sastra, and I have been freed from all the sinful reactions of my life by the water that has washed Your lotus feet. O my Lord, by the touch of Your small lotus feet the entire surface of the world has been sanctified.
yad yad vato vanchasi tat praticcha me
tvam arthinam vipra-sutanutarkaye
gam kancanam gunavad dhama mrstam
tathanna-peyam uta va vipra-kanyam
graman samrddhams turagan gajan va
rathams tatharhattama sampraticcha
O son of a brahmana, it appears that You have come here to ask me for something. Therefore, whatever You want You may take from me. O best of those who are worshipable. You may take from me a cow, gold, a furnished house, palatable food and drink, the daughter of a brahmana for Your wife, prosperous villages, horses, elephants, chariots or whatever You desire.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Eighth Canto, Eighteenth Chapter, of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, entitled “Lord Vamanadeva, the Dwarf Incarnation.”