VAMANA AVATAR: This is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu where he assumes the form of a young brahmin boy (vatu). The reason for this incarnation runs as follows: Bali, the grandson of Prahalad, although good and virtuous conquered all the worlds resulting in the gods serving him. The balance of power having shifted, Lord Vishnu took it upon himself to restore the old order. He assumed the form of a young brahmin boy and asked Bali for land covered by his three strides. As soon as Bali agrees, the brahmin boy assumed a gigantic form. In his first stride, he covered the earth; in the second step he encompassed the entire heavens including the Brahma-loka. This left the third step which Bali requested to place on his head, thereby restoring power to the Gods. The old order was thereby restored. This avatar is also called the Trivikrama form of Vishnu.

This print from the Ravi Varma Press derived from a painting by Raja Ravi Varma depicts Lord Vishnu as a young boy carrying a staff (danda) in one hand while one foot is firmly placed in the head of Bali. Bali’s crown is seen surrendered to Lord Vishnu and his hands and posture in supplication.


  • Title: Vamana Avatar
  • Creator: Ravi Varma Press, Raja Ravi Varma
  • Date Created: Circa 1910
  • Physical Dimensions: 35 x 25 cms
  • Provenance: The Hemamalini and Ganesh Shivaswamy collection, Bengaluru.
  • Subject Keywords: Raja Ravi Varma, Hinduism
  • Rights: The Ganesh Shivaswamy Foundation, Bengaluru.

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