Vamana Purana is the fourteenth among the eighteen ancient India Puranas. Though smaller in size than the other Puranas, it is nonetheless equally important. In this Purana are described all the incarnations of Lord Vishnu from Vamana avatar
downwards. This Purana contains 10,000 verses depicting the teachings of Vishnu`s incarnation on earth. It also contains the story of Lord Trivikrama. There is a great similarity between the contents of this Purana and that of Varaha Purana
. It is considered Uttama (best) to give this book as a gift in the autumn season or at the time of Visuva to a Brahmin
Origin of Vamana Purana
It is held that this Purana has not come down to us in its original form. This is because the five themes of the Puranas i.e. Creation, etc., are scarcely mentioned, and the information given in the Matsya Purana
as to the contents and length of the work does not tally with the text.
Content of Vamana Purana
As has already been stated, the narrative tale of the Vamana Purana is ascribed solely to the Vamana avatar (incarnation) of Lord Vishnu. The book opens with the conversation between the Sage Pulastya and Lord Narad
. The significant subject with which the Vamana Purana deals with are the tale of Pralaya
, origin of man, dialogue of Lord Vishnu and Lord Mahadev, fight of Vishnu with Veerbhadra, narration about Kaal by Shiva, immolation of Kama
, battle of Prahlada
, boon to Prahlada, battle between the gods and the demons, victory of Andhakasura, description of Pushkaradweep, description of different worlds, tale of Sukeshi, birth of Lolark, birth of Mahishasura, greatness of goddess, killing of Mahishasura
, birth of Parvati
, description of King Bali`s dynasty and his kingdom, defeating of the gods by Bali and their taking refuge at Sage Kashyapa`s hermitage, taking of Brahma`s refuge by the gods, visiting of Ksheersagar by Sage Kashyapa`s and the gods, boon to Aditi, criticism of Bali by Prahlada and curse, worship of Vamana, tale of Vamana and Bali
and Saraswati Stotra.
Apart from these Vamana Purana also has illustrations with detailed descriptions of holy places of pilgrimage, description of creation, Shiva Stuti, description of the greatness of Sthanu linga, tale of Vena, granting of boon to Vena by Lord Shiva, description of the glory of Kurukshetra
, dialogue between Lord Shiva (in beggar appearance) and Parvati, requesting of Himalaya by the gods to marry Parvati to Shiva, Shiva-Parvati wedding, birth of Lord Ganesha
, killing of Chanda Munda, killing of Shumbha Nishumbha.
The Vamana Purana though ascribed to the Vamana Avatar it also contains a narration of the birth of Kartikeya, tale of Mahishasura and Tarkasura, piercing of Kraunch, defeat of Andhakasura, tale of Mura, the demon, killing of Mura, sighting of Shiva by the gods in the heart of Lord Vishnu, tale of the King Danda in the dialogue between Prahlada and Andhaka, releasing of Jabali, wedding of Chitrangada
, immolation of King Danda, sighting of eternal Shiva, defeat of Andhaka`s army, killing of Jambu and Kujambh, defeat of Andhaka and granting of boon to him, origin of Marut, killing of Kaalnemi, preaching of Bali by Prahlada, greatness of Bali, defeat of the demon Dhundh, tale of Pururava, description of the cosmic man, killing of Jalodbhava, tale of Shridama, pilgrimage of Prahlada, salvation of Gajendra, Saraswati Stotra, tale of Vaman`s birth, dialogue between Shukracharya and Bali, bounding of Bali, arrival of Vamana, begging by Vamana for three steps of land, assumption of colossal appearance by Vamana, pressing of Bali into Paataal.
Apart from this the Vamana Purana also deals with its ten characteristic features. A detailed description of these characteristics will lead one to understand the key note of the Vamana Purana. The characteristics of the Vamana Purana are Sarg, Visarg, Sthan, Poshan, Uti, Vritti, Raksha, Manvantara, Vansh, and Upaashraya.
The origin of the Universe is described in Sarg. Visarg informs about the transformation of a living thing from one species to another. Various means which a man employs for his survival is recorded in Sthan, Poshan, Uti and Vritti. Raksha on the other hand tells about the various incarnation of Lord Vishnu, which he uses for the protection of mankind. Manvantara contains history of the whole Manvantara period. Vansh enlightens us about the pedigree of all kings including Lord Brahma. Upaashraya teaches the real meaning of the word "Brahma".
Thus the Vamana Purana describes the origin of Cosmos, inhabitants of the universe, with the eulogy of both Shiva and Vishnu and a detailed description of the Vamana, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu.