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The Vamana Avatar Story in English for Kids

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These stories introduce Indian mythology culture to readers including basic morals.

Readers will know the importance of victory of good over evil.

They will also learn the ill-effects of being greedy in life.

Introduction to the Story of Vamana Avatar

India has a rich culture that is full of temples, different Gods, and mythological stories revolving around Gods. Vishnu, one of the Gods who created the world, is supposed to have many avatars (or incarnations), and the Vaman avatar of lord Vishnu is his fifth avatar in the form of a Vamana meaning dwarf. 

The stories about Indian Gods are extremely interesting and full of tales of supernatural powers, where Gods and demons fight to take control of the world. In this story, we will learn about how the dwarf avatar of Vishnu, Vamana, took control of the universe which had fallen into the hands of demon (Asura) king Bali.

The story on one side depicts the victory of good over evil and also tells us that one should not underestimate someone who seems to be of short stature (it could be in terms of size, money, social status, etc.)

Origin of the Vamana Avatar Story

The Vamana avatar story has its roots in one of the four Vedas, the Rigveda. Rigveda means knowledge of the verses and is the oldest of the four Vedas. Rigveda was composed in a language called Vedic which is an archaic form of classical Sanskrit.  Rigveda originated somewhere between 1500 and 1200 BCE in that region of India which is now Pakistan.

The Vaman avatar of lord Vishnu is also known as Trivikraman which means three steps (since Vamana won the entire universe from Asura Bali in just three steps and gave it back to Lord Indra.) Vamana in English means someone of short stature or like a dwarf. Vamana was born to the great sage Kashyap and his wife Aditi. The sons of Aditi were called Adityas and Vamana was the youngest Aditya. One of the Adityas, Indra, was defeated by Daitya Bali who was the king of demons. This story talks about how Gods pleaded to Visnu to spare them the evils of Bali and how Vishnu took his Vamana avatar to achieve this goal.

Summary of Vamana Avatar Story

After Gods obtained Amrit (a divine drink that grants immortality to those who drink it) from churning the ocean, they became invincible and extremely powerful.

The Asura king Mahabali (son of Virochana and grandson of Prahlada) then performs Mahabhishek Vishwajeet Yagya after consulting Rishi Shukracharya on how to defeat Indra, the king of Gods. After the Yagya, Bali fought back with Indra and defeated him. Thereby, the reign of the entire universe fell in Bali's hands.

Gods were threatened by Bali's rule and Indra then pleaded to Lord Vishnu to help him find a way to regain his powers. Vishnu then decided to be reincarnated as Aditi and Kashyap's son (parents of Indra) and visit Bali's court. Bali was a pious person and when he met Brahmin Vamana, Bali was performing Yagya. He welcomed Vamana and asked him what he would like to receive as a gift from Bali. Vamana said he only wanted as much land as he could cover in three steps. Bali laughed at this small request and agreed readily.

The young brahmin boy, Vamana then started growing in size and grew larger than the planet Earth in no time. He took his first step in which he captured the entire Earth and claimed Earth as his. His second step fell midway between Earth and heaven, which he claimed as his. Now there was no place to claim for the third step, so Vamana asked Bali where to keep his third step. Since Bali had promised three steps of land, he lowered his head and offered it for the third step. Vamana then pushed Bali with the pressure of his feet to the Patal Lok or netherworld and granted the kingdom of Pataal Lok to Bali forever.

Pictorial representation of the Vamana Avatar Story

Pictorial Representation of the Vamana Avatar Story

The Moral of Vamana Avatar Story

Every avatar of the divine or Paramatma has a message or moral behind it. This story teaches us numerous morals, such as:

  • Surrender yourself totally to God, however strong and mighty you might be. It's only when you shed all ego and surrender yourself to God you will have nothing to worry about, as you will have the complete protection of God. This is what Bali did in the end, and received the kingship of Patal Lok in return. God also promised to always protect Bali's kingdom for the complete devotion Bali displayed to Vamana.

  • One should never take anything to be permanent and for granted in this world. All the wealth, power, beauty, status, family, etc., are transitory. Just as Lord Indra was defeated by Bali, any mighty person might fall someday. 

  • One should always control one's senses. If you do not control your desires, you will never be happy, even if you have all the riches in the world.

  • A promise is meant to be kept and not forsaken ever. Since Bali promised land covered by three steps of Vamana, he did not go back on it even when he lost the whole universe. He even offered his head in the end to Vamana for the third step.

Note to Parents

Rigveda is one of the most sacred Hindu scriptures and also one of the most ancient Vedas. Parents must speak about Vedas and their importance when telling kids the story of the Vaman avatar of lord Vishnu. Children must learn about our cultural heritage through the knowledge of Vedas. As the story teaches us many things, parents can help children understand all of them and imbibe them in real life.

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FAQs on The Vamana Avatar Story in English for Kids

1. What is Rig Veda?

Rig Veda is the oldest of the four Vedas and is a large collection of hymns that praise Gods. There are 1028 hymns in the Rig Veda segregated into ten books called the Mandalas (circles). There are suktas or hymns in each mandala. There is linguistic and philosophical evidence that suggests Rig Veda is among the oldest existing texts in any Indo-European language.

2. Who tried to stop Bali from granting Vaman's wishes in court?

Bali's advisor identified the true identity of Vamana and tried to stop him from granting the wish by shrinking into a minuscule size and lodging himself in the spout of the vessel that Bali was about to use to pour out holy water and seal the promise. Bali mistook the tiny creature as some obstruction and poked him out with a blade of grass which accidentally hurt the advisor's eyes and made him blind in one eye.

3. What did Bali receive after performing the Mahabhishek Vishwajeet Yagya, which made him win the battle against Lord Indra?

Bali received the following after performing the Yagya, which helped him in the war against the king of Gods:

  • A golden chariot, which was pulled by four horses that had the speed of the wind.

  • A quiver with several arrows.

  • A flag post with a lion's head.

  • Celestial armor.

  • Shukracharya presented Bali with a garland of ever-blooming flowers and a conch shell that had a thunderous battle cry.


These stories introduce Indian mythology culture to readers including basic morals.

Readers will know the importance of victory of good over evil.

They will also learn the ill-effects of being greedy in life.