Vamana Avatar or Dwarf Incarnation of Lord Vishnu, according to Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra, teaches us about some important life lessons related to Jupiter – and the most powerful lesson of Jupiter is lesson of… gratitude and surrender.
The story of Vamana avatar is full of deep meaning and important life lessons. It starts in Srimad Bhagavatam from description of Bali Maharaja, the daitya or demon king, descendant of Prahlada, who became extraordinarily powerful due to complete obedience to his Guru (also represented by the influence of Jupiter). Bali Maharaja, even though very noble at heart, became infatuated with his spiritual power and defeated heavens, taking away from Indra his title as king of heavens. Even though Bali was a good king, this single action created huge lack of balance in the universe. In God’s creation and in Vedic philosophy, there is a prescribed place for every force and every being in the universe – but when this natural order is disturbed and when power is monopolised (which is a theme of 11th house and sign of Aquarius), this is when God himself must intervene to release, what has been constrained and restore the natural balance.
Astrologically speaking, when Jupiter’s power becomes exaggerated in a chart, it can lead to over-expansion, as represented by king Bali. Due to him defeating Indra, gods (devas) were forced to leave the heavens and their natural duties. When Aditi, their mother, representing cosmic space, as well as boundless, singular consciousness, has learned about it, she started to cry, as if she had no protector. Aditi literally means “undivided one”, which represents non-dual mind. Aditi, mother of gods and mother of all 12 Adityas, represents purity of the mind, which in its unaltered state perceives everything as equally Divine and understands that even though the external duties of different gods, its children, might be different, there is no duty higher than the other. It perceives everything, every natural force and every duty as equally important, seeing one Divine consciousness pervading everything. This is why Aditi, or pure, non-judgemental mind, is the mother of gods or our own Divine qualities.
Diti or “dividing one”, Aditi’s sister and mother of demons, represents the dual mind, which is focused only on the external differences.
It constantly differentiates things as good or bad, higher and lower, which gives birth to lack of satisfaction, bitterness, greed, quarrels and plotting – which are the qualities of the demons or daityas, Diti’s sons. This is why daityas were never satisfied, no matter how much they gained and how many battles they won. They always envied gods.

Aditi, or pure consciousness within us, being thus in great sorrow, because the demons, symbolising the negative qualities within us, defeated her divine children, sought refuge in her husband and her guru, rishi Kashyap. Sage Kashyap instructed his wife, Aditi, to worship Lord Vishnu during bright fortnight of month Phalguna (when the Sun, dwelling in Aquarius, shines as Tvashtar, the giver of progeny), drinking only milk and honouring him in this way:

“I bow to you, supreme, all-pervading Lord, the greatest of all, who dwells in the hearts of all beings as the silent witness.”

This entire specific process of fasting, known as payo-vrata, originally given by Lord Brahma to rishi Kashyap, is described in great detail in Bhagavata Purana. Aditi followed the instructions of her saintly husband and guru “without laziness” and “with full, undiverted attention”, as Bhagavatam describes. And Lord Vishnu finally appeared in front her. Aditi, unable to say a word or form her request, overwhelmed by the spiritual presence of the Lord, just stood in front of him in silence, with folded hands, able to form only few words full of respect to honour her Divine guest. But Lord Vishnu, the eternal witness in the hearts of all living beings, immediately understood the wish hidden in her heart and said:

“Devi, I understand the wish hidden in your heart. I know that you prayed to me for the welfare of your sons, who have lost their shelter in heavens. But, oh goddess, it is very hard to win with the demons by using the power at the moment. By the blessings of their Guru they became unconquerable.”

“Still, because I am pleased with you, I will agree to become your son and protect your other sons.”
And thus Lord Vishnu entered the womb of Aditi. When he was growing in her womb, her body itself started to emanate spiritual light or brahma-varchasa. Lord Vishnu, in his manifestation as Aditi’s son, chosen to appear on Dvadashi tithi with Moon dwelling in Shravana nakshatra, as a humble brahmachari, brahmin dwarf. All the gods came to welcome him in this new form and grant their benedictions onto him. After he was welcome by everyone, Lord Vishnu in the form of Vamana, brahmin dwarf, manifested his spiritual effulgence or brahma-varchasa and set on a journey to meet Bali Maharaj. Srimad Bhagavatam describes that by his weight, he pushed down the earth with every step. He manifested thus all important qualities of Jupiter: being a brahmin, maifesting brahma-varchasa (Divine light – brahma-varchasa shakti is the power of Pushya nakshatra, whose god is Brihaspati, personified Jupiter), he appeared in the innocent form of a child and his steps were heavy (Guru, the Vedic name for Jupiter, literally means “heavy one”).
Bali Maharaj was performing a fire sacrifice known as ashwamedha at that time. When Lord Vishnu in the form of brahmin dwarf entered the sacrificial arena, his Divine splendour immediately diminished the brilliance of all other brahmins present. Everybody, including Bali Maharaj himself, was impressed seeing the Divine radiance emanating from the body of this humble, silent brahmin dwarf. Bali Maharaj, having great respect towards all brahmins and sages, offered to Lord Vamana a seat and washed his feet with devotion. After greeting his Divine guest with full respect, Bali Maharaj finally asked:

“O brahmana, I offer you my hearty welcome and my respectful obeisances. It appears that you have come here to ask me for something. Therefore, whatever you want you may take from me. O best of those who are worshipable. You may take from me a cow, gold, a furnished house, palatable food and drink, the daughter of a brahmin for your wife, prosperous villages, horses, elephants, chariots or whatever you desire.”

That was the greatness of king Bali. Even though he defeated the entire world, he remained respectful towards holy people and very generous, too – which are the blessings of Jupiter.
To Bali’s great surprise, though, Lord Vishnu in disguise of a brahmin boy replied:

“O king, I know that even until now, no one taking birth in your family has been poor-minded or miserly. No one has refused to give charity to brahmanas, nor after promising to give charity has anyone failed to fulfill his promise. But although you are very generous and are able to give me as much land as I want, I ask only three paces of land, to the measurement of my steps.”

King Bali was shocked. Thinking that Lord Vamana must be still just a child, he replied:

“O small boy, one who approaches me to beg something should not have to ask anything more, anywhere. Therefore, if you wish, you may ask from me as much land as will suffice to maintain you according to your needs.”

And then Lord Vishnu gave Bali Maharaj true life wisdom in these few words:

“My dear king, even having all the three worlds in possession cannot satisfy a person whose senses are uncontrolled. If I am not satisfied with three paces of land, then surely I would not be satisfied even with possessing the entire world. One should be satisfied with whatever he achieves by his previous destiny, for discontent can never bring happiness. A person who is not self-controlled will not be happy even with possessing the three worlds. Therefore, o king, from you I ask only three paces of land. By such a gift I shall be very pleased, for the way of happiness is to be fully satisfied to receive that which is absolutely needed.”

Bali Maharaj was deeply impressed by these words of wisdom. These words, spoken by Vamana avatar of Lord Vishnu, who represents the energy of Jupiter from the perspective of Vedic astrology, are containing all the wisdom necessary to overcome over-expansive influence of Jupiter in a birth chart.
A person overly influenced by Jupiter always seeks to expand, to grow, which often leads to lack of satisfaction and excessive spending – which is why Jupiter is ruling the original 12th house in the zodiac, which is the house of spending: Pisces. But this influence can be easily overcome by simple gratitude. The moment we become more grateful for what we already have in life, we stop the endless yearning for more and we become more satisfied in the present moment – as well as more humble. Gratitude is the greatest life lesson and the greatest remedy for every person, in whose chart Jupiter’s influence became overly expansive.
King Bali bowed down to Vamana’s wisdom and was ready to offer him the land immediately. But his guru, Shukracharya (personified Venus), was not so impressed. Having obtained divine vision, Shukracharya recognised Lord Vishnu in disguise of a brahmin and he knew that if king Bali will fulfill his promise, something untoward will happen to the demons – as every action of the Lord is for restoring the Divine balance in the universe. Therefore he tried to reason with Bali Maharaj and talk him into taking his word back, so he will not need to fulfill his promise.
But this was not acceptable for king Bali, who was known in all the three worlds as extremely truthful and dedicated to his values.
Bowing humbly in front of his own guru, Shukracharya, Bali respectfully refused him with these wise words:

“Gurudev, all the material opulences of this world are separated from their possessor at death. Therefore, if the brahmin Vamanadeva is not satisfied by whatever gifts one has given, why not please Him with the riches one is destined to lose at death?”

This enraged Shukracharya and inspired it him to utter the words of a curse, which will very soon come true:

“Although you have no knowledge, you have become a so-called learned person, and therefore you dare be so impudent as to disobey your guru’s order. Because of disobeying me, you shall very soon be bereft of all your opulence.”

Bali Maharaj accepted the curse with folded hands and proceeded to the ceremony of givining the land. Firstly, he washed the feet of Lord Vamana with devotion. It is said that his guru, Shukracharya, was so intend on stopping this from happening, that with his yogic powers he entered the water jug of king Bali and blocked the water there. Bali Maharaj was surprised, why the water is not flowing. Then Lord Vishnu, in disguise of brahmin Vamana, playfully took a stick and put it into the hole of water jug – thus allowing the water to flow and wash his feet, but at the same time picking the eye of Shukracharya, which enraged him even more. This is one of the reasons, why Venus often doesn’t feel so well in Shravana nakshatra and this astrological placement can even lead to issues with eyes.
After king Bali have washed the feet of Vamana, then Lord Vishnu finally revealed his true form.
He started to increase in size, more and more, “until everything in the universe was within His body: including the earth, the planetary systems, the sky, the directions, the various holes in the universe, the seas, the oceans, the birds, beasts, human beings, the demigods and the great saintly persons”, as Bhagavatam describes – and thus, again, manifesting the expansive potential of Jupiter. Bali Maharaj, along with all the priests present, observed this wonder in amazement. They were all blessed with the rare opportunity to perceive Lord Vishnu, the Divine Sustainer, in his cosmic form: with rivers as his veins, herbs as his hair, stars on his bosom and illusory energy as his smile. With one footstep he covered the entire surface of the earth. With his second step, he covered all the heavenly planets.
“And not even a spot remained for the third step, for the Lord’s foot extended higher and higher, beyond Maharloka, Janaloka, Tapoloka and even Satyaloka.” Lord Vishnu then addressed king Bali with these words:

“O king, you have promised me three steps of land. But, look, just with my two steps, I have covered the entire universe. Therefore, you tell me, where shall I place my third step?”

Great king Bali, humbled by these words of Lord himself, understood that it is time for him to surrender completely to the feet of the Lord – and so he said:

“O Lord, please, place your third footstep on my head.”
It is said, that even though God posseses everything and pervades everything, there is one thing He always yearns for: our love and bhakti. Sadly, usually only when we lose things in life, we remember the Lord. It is when we feel humbled and helpless that we most often run to His shelter and surrender to His feet – because to become truly surrendered, we need to become humble first. And it is life itself that is the best teacher of humility. Perhaps this is why Shravana nakshatra is original 22nd star or vinashika nakshatra, “star of destruction” – where our ego experiences its downfall and where we usually learn some profound life lessons, which help us to move forward in life. Because, when our ego becomes too stubborn, it slowly starts to stops the natural flow of the waters of life. It is then, that Lord Vishnu, the Divine Sustainer, the eternal witness in our hearts and releaser of rains needs to come and “pierce” the dense clouds of our illusory ego, so actual life can flow.
Similar was the lesson of king Bali. He was humbled, and one could say, even humiliated by the Lord, as all his opulence was snatched away from him and, even after he surrendered to Lord Vishnu’s feet, he was banished to live in one of the lower planets. But he gained something much more precious: he gained bhakti, devotion. He gained surrender. And, actually, he gained freedom – true, inner freedom, not dependent on any material possesion. The freedom which nothing and nobody will ever be able to take away from him anymore.
Some legends say, that when the Lord pierced the sky with his second step, it released rain – and when he pierced through the heavenly regions, river Ganga was released and fallen on Earth.
This might be one of the reasons, why Indra and Vishnu were so closely associated in the Vedas and perceived as brothers – as both of them are connected with the release of rain and waters. Vishnu was even often addressed as Upendra or “younger brother of Indra”, because due to becoming Aditi’s son, he automatically became a brother of Indra in this specific incarnation. This is why in the Rigveda Vishnu is praised mostly in his Vamana avatar incarnation:
“Expanding with a body beyond all measure, your devotees cannot comprehend your magnitude. We know of the earth and the heavenly planets, but you, o transcendental Vishnu, are of the highest abode.”

“Vishnu traversed this world; three times He planted His foot, and the whole world was collected in the dust of His footstep.”

This is also why both Vamana avatar of Lord Vishnu, 12th house in Vedic Astrology, as well as Shravana nakshatra (which belongs to Lord Vishnnu and is especially connected to his Vamana avatar) are also connected to travelling to foreign lands.
To this day many Hindus pray that Lord Trivikrama (“the one who made three giant steps” – one of the names of Lord Vamana) protects them during the journey.

Three steps of Lord Vishnu represent his transcendence – and our journey into transcendence, too. It is said that these three steps of Lord Vishnu represent crossing through the three stages of consciousness to reach the infinite state of turiya. Not without a reason sign of Pisces starts from two nakshatras called Bhadrapadas: Purva Bhadrapada (“first auspicious step”) and Uttara Bhadrapada (“second auspicious step”). But where is the third step? It is invisible for the mortals, for it represents the inconceivable realm of Lord Vishnu, which can be perceived only by the yogis, who transcended the realm of material world, in their deep meditation, and reached the state beyond consciousness and beyond subconsciousness: the super-consciousness.

This expansion of Lord Vishnu has a very similar meaning like in the story of Matsya avatar – it symbolises the expansion of consciousness. Lord Vishnu in the form of brahmin dwarf was very modest, when asking for material things – but unlimited in the expansion of his spiritual form. Just from that we can get a hint, where the expansive energies of Jupiter should be directed to – not towards the increase of our wealth in the perishable material world, but rather towards spiritual expansion of consciousness. Interestingly, Matsya avatar representing influence of Ketu, and Vamana avatar representing influence of Jupiter are the only two avatars of Lord Vishnu, who demonstrated their expansive powers in so literal sense.
The relase of waters and rains by Lord Vishnu is very symbolic, too, and seems to directly refer to the meaning of Shravana nakshatra (lunar mansion ruled by Lord Vishnu, especially in His Vamana form): “perspiring”, “overflowing” or “streaming”.
After all, Pisces is also the final moksha bhava, house of final liberation and final release. Here the grace is released to the devotee and here all his tensions and worries are released, too. This is why Pisces, original 12th house, is also connected to sleep and dreaming, when all our tensions of daily life and the burden of the ego itself are released.

The name of Shravana nakshatra, lunar mansion of Lord Vishnu, also means “to hear” or “an ear”. It refers to many different types of hearing. On the most sublime level it manifests as listening to the subtle pulse of the ocean of Cosmic Consciousness and our ability to listen to the voice of our intuition. On human level it manifests as our ability to listen to other person with true empathy and compassion. On lower level, however, it manifests as listening to the powerful stream of collective consciousness, as manifested via mainstream media, listening to wrong advisors or even gossips.

Shukracharya in the story of Vamana avatar is such a wrong advisor. It is all about whether we listen more to the world or to the truth of our soul – and finding some balance between both is essential for healthy Shravana nakshatra or healthy sign of Pisces. If we listen only to the truth of our soul, without taking feedback from our environment and without listening to its subtle movements, even if we have best intentions, our decisions will turn to be unrealistic or just taken in a wrong time. On the other hand, if we listen only to the world, ignoring the Divine voice within us, not only our actions will be uninspired and unguided, but also our potential will not have the chance to truly flourish – and soon our mind will develop a sort of confusion. This is the “diluting” quality of water. This is why people with Moon in Shravana tend to have such sensitive mind – as they sense many different vibrations at the same time: sometimes Divine guidance, sometimes their own doubts and sometimes they “catch” somebody else’s feelings, thoughts and vibrations from the ether, which produces a certain mental confusion, if not balanced by other planetary placements. They can often feel “overflown” with different emotions and sensations, and soak them from their environment like a sponge, which, if not managed properly, can even lead to serious mental misbalance after sometime. That is the “diluting” and “confusing” side effect of water element.
This is the fragment of the book I am currently working on. “Twelve Vedic Suns” is going to be the first book ever dedicated exclusively to the topic of Adityas, twelve Sun-gods in Vedic Astrology and describing in detail all of their hidden meanings. Through different astrological principles, as well as mythological stories, you will learn on this journey with the Sun something more about Vedic Astrology and its 12 zodiac signs – but you will also learn more about yourself.

I am still in the process of writing “Twelve Vedic Suns” and it will take me quite some time. But if you preorder, you can become the first one to have the access to some of the finished chapters. This will be my longest ebook – I estimate it to be 600 pages long in total.


We love to share Vedic knowledge with you. Subscribe to our newsletter to be the first one to receive newest articles from Discovering Youniverse.