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Vishnu shodasanama stotram with meanings-15

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  • Vishnu shodasanama stotram with meanings-15

    (15) गमने वामनं चैव, Gamane Vaamanam Chaiva
    While on a journey, forget not Vaamana


    The Vishnu Sahasranama Stotra is replete with praises to Vaamana, the fifth of the Dasavatharas, either directly or through various other divyanaamas. The name Vaamana has several meanings, all pertaining to His avataara. Shankara expounds it as "वामयति त्याजयति मदं बलिं, Vaamayati Tyaajayati madam Balim", i.e. He who subdued the pride of Bali is Vaamana. (Vaam means Vomit and since He made Bali vomit his pride, He is known so. Lagaayatasurin on the other hands explains the naama as "वामो वल्गुत्वं अस्य अस्ति इति वामनः, Vaamo Valgutvam Asya asti iti Vaamanah", He who has a captivating short form is Vaamana. It could also be "वामो वटुत्वं अस्य अस्ति इति वामनः, Vaamo Vatutvam Asya asti iti Vaamanah". He had the form of a gurukula student (Vatuh) when He went to MahaBali and hence He is Vaamana. The Chandogya Upanishad praises Vaamana as the one who bestows all His devotees desires as "सर्वानि वामानि नयति इति वामनः, Sarvaani Vaamani Nayati iti Vaamanah". The Bhaagavatham beautifully describes the form of Vaamana as:
    इत्थं सशि ष्येशु भृगुषवनेकधा वितर्क्यमाणो भगवांस वामनः
    छत्रं सदंडं सजलं कमण्डलु विवेश बिभ्रयमेधवाटं ||
    मौञ्ज्या मेखलया वीतमुपवीतजिनोत्तारं
    जटिलं वामनं विप्रं मयामणवकं हरिं प्रविष्टं || - श्रीमद्भागवतं
    "As the priests of the Bhṛgu dynasty and their disciples argued, the Supreme God, Vaamana,
    holding in His hands the rod, the umbrella and a waterpot full of water, entered the arena of the ashvamedha sacrifice.
    Appearing as a brahmaṇa boy, wearing a belt of straw, a sacred thread, an upper garment of deerskin, and matted locks of hair, Lord Vaamanadeva entered the arena of sacrifice."
    -Srimad Bhaagavatham


    Vaamana Roopa
    Why should we think of Vaamana while starting on a journey? Wouldn't some other naama like "Garudadhwaja" or "Vishnu" be more appropriate? Of course, we can relate to the sixth naama Trivikrama as having pervaded the three worlds, to protect us wherever we go so that we have a safe journey. But this naama talks about a totally different journey. It is a journey that we constantly undertake across the seas of Samsara the journey of Life. The story of Vaamana avataara teaches us one very important point whatever you do in life, either good or bad, surrender to Him and you will be liberated. Bali was a Chakravarthi, the most righteous of all Kings, a great donor and the grandson of Prahalada. Yet, he had a fault his pride. However, when Vishnu came to test him, Bali realized that the guest was Paramathma Himself. He did not hesitate for even a second in bowing low and offering his head as the space for the third step. And he was rewarded with eternal fame. It was his instant surrender which raised him to the great heights that we today praise him with.


    In this context, the three steps that were demanded by Vaamana could represent the three stages of Surrender. Physical surrender is when you surrender to the Pancha-Bhoothas around you and fully realize that you are made of them. This way, you surrender to God, who is the creator and the controller of the five elements. Psychological surrender happens when we dissociate from our minds and sacrifice the feelings of ego, pride, pain, pleasure etc. We recognize that He is beyond mind and hence try to transcend the mind. The final act is the intellectual sacrifice which is when you trust God more than your intellect. The concept of 'I' disappears and you recognize that there is a higher power which drives you. And with that comes Sharanaagati and that is exactly what Bali did. When you have surrendered your body (represented by earth) and your mind (represented by the heavens) there will be no hesitation in surrendering your intellect and that is the lesson taught by the Vaamana avataara.
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