Monday, August 31, 2009

Happy Onam :)

Onam is one of the most popular festivals of India, celebrated by the people of Kerala the southern most state in India. The lovely mythology associated with Onam goes like this:

Mahabali the King of Demons was an unbiased and popular king who was ruling the southern region. He was respected by his subjects and was considered to be very intelligent, well judged and extremely charitable minded and his term is said to be the Golden Era. Everyone is happy in his kingdom. There was no discrimination, no crime, no poverty and the rich and poor are treated equally and lived happily.

This Demon king’s popularity among other worlds spread and with the fame of King Mahabali soaring high, Gods became extremely concerned and jealous and became more conscious and started worrying of getting dethroned.

The Gods chalked out a plan to hold back the emerging Mahabali. Aditi, the mother of Gods became worried for her sons and seeked help of Lord Vishnu (the preserver in the Hindu trinity) whom Mahabali worshiped.

As broadminded and charitable, Mahabali always grants anything and everything whenever someone approaches him for help. Knowing this Lord Vishu, disguised himself as a dwarf poor Brahmin reached the kingdom, just after Mahabali performed his morning prayers and was preparing to grant boons to Brahmins.

Lord Vishnu pleaded; he is a poor Brahmin and likes to get a piece of land from the King and the king replied he can have as much as he wanted. The Brahmin said that he just wanted as much land as could be covered by his three steps. The King was surprised to hear but agreed.

Mahabali’s shrewd advisor Shukracharaya sensed that the Brahmin is not an ordinary man and warned the king not to promise any land. The King being truthful and generous said it would be a sin for a king to back on his words and assured the Brahmin the land he requested.

As king granted, the Brahmin began to expand and grow to the size of cosmic proportions.

With his first step he covered the whole of earth
With the other step he covered the whole of skies
And asked the king where the space for him to keep his third foot

The King realised that he was no ordinary Brahmin

Mahabali with folded hands bowed before the Lord and asked him to place his last step on his head so that he could keep the promise. The Brahmin placed his foot on the head of the King, which pushed him to patala, the nether world.

There the King requested the Brahmin to reveal his true identity. Lord Vishnu then appeared before the King in his person. The Lord told the King that he came to test him and the King won the test. King Mahabali was pleased to see his lord. Lord Vishnu also granted a boon to the King.

The King was so much attached with his Kingdom and people that he requested that he be allowed to visit Kerala once in a year. Lord Vishnu was moved by the Kings nobility and was pleased to grant the wish. He also blessed the King and said even after losing all his worldly possessions, the King would always be loved by Lord Vishnu and his people.

And thus the beloved King Mahabali's visit to see his people every year on this particular day is celebrated as Onam

Wishing you all a wonderful and grand Onam this year :)

A 'Pookkalam' (designing and decorating with flowers) in front of Vadakkunnathan Temple in kerala. It is reported that 500 Kg flowers were used to decorate this.

One of the oldest Shiva temples of south India, Vadakkunnathan Temple stands tall in the back drop with its brilliant architecture and loftiness

(the second image taken from net)*


Strawberry Girl said...

I like this, very cool...


Anonymous said...

Nice story :)

Viji said...

The b'ful thing about mythology is, we never get tired of reading/ hearing it million times...

Mahabali story is no exception.
Enjoyed reading, ur write up.


Heather said...

How fascinating! Thanks for the history behind Onam - I always enjoy coming to your blog and learning a little more about a different culture than what I'm accustomed to. :)

Rajesh said...

That is fantastic insight into the festival. Happy Onam to you.

cristinasiqueira said...

Thank you,

A beautifull party.


claude said...

I aml very late but Happy Onam !
Thanks for your mail.

nsiyer said...

Very interesting. We celebrate ONAM at home.

Belated wishes for Onam.

hitesh rawat said...

hey....Onam kick starts the festive season....Ganesh puja is almost over...Eid is coming.....Dasahra...Diwali...etx....but sad thing....i won't be with my family....for all this...cause i can't go back to Delhi for all....i'll be in Bengaluru......

lets see how....Bengalurian's celebrate it this year....


Indolence is a delightful but distressing state; we must be doing something to be happy. Action is no less necessary than thought to the instinctive tendencies of the human frame.