By Swami Harshananda
Vāmanapurāṇa is a comparatively short purāṇa listed among the Mahāpurāṇas. It was probably compiled during the period A. D. 600-900. The extant version has 5400 verses, spread over 95 adhyāyas or chapters, though, according to the Matsya and the Vāyu purāṇas, it has 10,000 verses. There seems to have been a second part of this purāṇa called Brhad-Vāmanapurāṇa which is not available now. It was narrated by the sage Pulastya to Nārada at his request.
As the name very indicates, it is concerned with the avatāra of Viṣṇu as Vāmana, the fifth incarnation among the Daśāvatāras and hence it is a Vaiṣṇava purāṇa. However, equal importance and reverence have been accorded to Śiva and Devi also. The story of Vāmana and Bali has been narrated in great detail in the chapters.
Contents of Vāmanapurāṇa
Other subjects dealt with are:
- Śiva cutting off one of the five heads of Brahmā
- Śiva redeemed at Vārāṇasī
- Destruction of Dakṣa’s sacrifice
- Satī immolating herself and reborn as Pārvati, the daughter of Himalayas
- Śiva burning up Kāma
- Observance of certain vratas like Kālāṣtamī
- Story of Durgā, Mahiṣāsura and Andhaka
- Greatness of the Sarasvatī river
- Detailed description of Kurukṣetra and pilgrim centers associated with it
- Story of Daṇdaka and Daṇdakāraṇya including Śukrācārya’s curse
- Various incidents connected with Prahlāda
- Story of Gajendra’s deliverance
- Several topics dealt with in the dharmaśāstra treatises have been described here, such as tlrthas
- Sadācāra - good conduct
- Karma theory and its application
Unlike other purāṇas, this purāṇa does not give the genealogies of kings and sages.
- A detailed geographical descriptions of mountains, rivers and janapadas are found here.
- The mountains are:
- The various rivers arising from there are also mentioned.
- The janapadas divided according to the traditional directions are:
Customs in Vāmanapurāṇa
Some of the social customs that prevailed were:
- Early marriage
- Restriction of freedom to girls and women
- Satī-custom prevalent in certain sections of the society
- Disfavor of polygamy and having too many of-fsprings
- Killing of animals and felling of trees frowned upon
- Strict adherence to the caste-system but possibility of attaining the status of a brāhmaṇa by taking bath in certain holy rivers accepted.
- Though the language of the work is similar to that of the general purāṇas, it often rises to great literary heights while describing the seasons, the mountains, city of Vārāṇasī and the battles between the devas and asuras.
- ↑ Bali is the king of Asuras.
- ↑ Vaiṣṇava purāṇa 73
- ↑ Vaiṣṇava purāṇa 74
- ↑ Vaiṣṇava purāṇa 75
- ↑ Vaiṣṇava purāṇa 77
- ↑ Vaiṣṇava purāṇa 89
- ↑ Vaiṣṇava purāṇa 91
- ↑ Vaiṣṇava purāṇa 92
- ↑ Vaiṣṇava purāṇa 93
- ↑ Vaiṣṇava purāṇa 94
- ↑ Vaiṣṇava purāṇa 95
- ↑ She is Śiva’s wife.
- ↑ Kāma means the god Eros.
- ↑ Tlrthas means holy rivers.
- ↑ Sāmanya-dharma means virtues common for all.
- ↑ Āśrama-dharma means duties of the four stages of life.
- ↑ Vratas means religious observances.
- ↑ Janapadas means countries.
- ↑ It means bridegroom’s parents giving money and presents to the bride.
- ↑ It is done observing all the necessary disciplines.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore