Vamana is assigned fourteenth position in the list
of eighteen Mahapuranas or major Puranic texts, preceded by Skanda and succeeded by Kurma. It gets its name after Vamana or the dwarf
incarnation of God Visnu, which is the first human
incarnation preceded by the "Fish", "Tortoise",
"Boar" and "Man-Lion" incarnations that can, by the way, be
seen as corresponding to the earlier stages of the evolution of life on the
earth, the main purpose of the Purana being a description of the legend of the demon Bali, grandson of
Prahlada, the Visnu devotee par excellence, suffering a great discomfiture due to a very tactful manoeuvre resorted
by God Visnu as the dwarf.
The extant text of Vamana has 95 chapters and
approximately 6,000 slokas, though Bhagavata and some other Puranas state that Vamana had an Uttarabhaga also containing four Samhitas of 1000 slokas each, which, however, has not been discovered so far.
Pulastya and Narada are the interlocutors of
the Purana. In the beginning Narada questions Pulastya
about the assumption of the form of Vamana by Visnu,
waging of war by Prahlada against gods, Sari's agreement to be the wife of Siva, Satr's self-immolation at the yajna of Daksa and her being reborn as the daughter of Himalaya with
a desire of becoming the spouse of Sankara, the glory of the places of
pilgrimage, account of dana, vrata, upasarui, etc.
As the title
indicates, this Purana has mainly a Vaisnava theme but Saiva material also forms an integral part of it, e.g.
Siva's killing 'of the demon Andhaka, marriage of
Siva and Parvati, birth of Ganesa and Karttikeya, defeat
of Mahisasura by Devi, glorification of Sivalingas and their