Sreemad Bhagawad Geeta
As understood by Seekers

Being with myself

YEAR 2022

YEAR 2021

YEAR 2020


Sudheer, Divya, Arya & Ayush

Onam is a festival of celebration and reflection. Celebrated predominantly in Kerela, the festival marks the dawn of the harvest season which falls between the months of August and September (Month of Chingam in the Malayalam calendar), celebrating the Samruddhi (plentitude), a time to spread prosperity and joy of harvest season. The celebration lasts for 10 days and the last day falls on Thiruvonam Nakshatra. Thiru in South India is used as prefix for anything associated with the Lord. The Malayalam word ‘Onam’ is believed to have been originated from the Sanskrit word Shravanam that refers to one of the 27 Nakshatras or constellations.

Onam is the one day of every year that King Mahabali visits his subjects as per the boon granted to Mahabali by lord Vishnu as Vaaman Avtaar. The legend associated with this festival that signifies its importance, is that of King Mahabali (Maveli). King Bali, the grandson of the great devotee of Lord Vishnu, Bhakt Prahlaad, was a member of the Asura clan, known for his philanthropic deeds as a loved, noble king during Treta Yuga. Despite belonging to the family of Asuras, King Bali had a kind and generous heart and was loved by his subjects. To test King Mahabali’s devotion and generosity, Lord Vishnu appears as a dwarf (Vaaman). He was a wise king and during his regime there was no discrimination of rich and poor, no crime or corruption, no theft and no cheating. People were honest and there was peace, contentment and happiness everywhere. There is a poem composed by Sri Sahodaran Ayyappan in Malayalam in his glory where all the above has been sung very beautifully.

It is said that in a war against the Devas, King Bali emerged victorious and gained rule over the three worlds - Deva Loka, Prithvi Loka and Patal Loka. The Devas went to seek help from Lord Vishnu to defeat the king but since he was a nobleman, Lord Vishnu could not execute him.
According to the legend, the Lord took the Avtaar of Vaaman (dwarf) and visited Mahabali and after much insistence by Mahabali, the Lord asked him for land to be covered by His three steps. Mahabali granted Him the land and Lord Vaaman expanded Himself, revealing His True Divine Form. The first step He took covered the entire earth. The second step covered the whole of the Space. He then asked the King where is the space for Him to put the third foot and the King with folded hands, bowed before Lord Vaaman and asked Him to place His last step on his head to fulfil the promise. The Lord placed His foot on the head of the King, crushed his ego (of being a great philanthropist) and trampled him to the netherworld - Patal Loka, releasing him from the cycle of birth and death. By bowing down to Lord Vishnu, Bali surrendered his Ego and got liberated. The King requested Lord Vishnu to be allowed to visit his land and people once a year, and Lord Vishnu granted him his wish. In the spirit of the king returning to visit his subjects, Onam is celebrated to welcome him with grandeur.

Over a period, these significances are almost forgotten by the people and instead of the religious and cultural activities, more importance is being given to the fanfare and the number of spreads that one makes to be served on the banana leaves!

During this time of the year, everything is available in plentitude. Therefore, all the items are prepared with seasonal fruits and vegetables and is served in banana leaves. Saadhya is a nine-course meal, which consists upto two dozen dishes. There is a particular order in which the Saadhya is served on banana leaves, starting from the tip of the leaf - Salt, Papadam, Nendran (banana chips), Upperi, Puli-inji, Pickle, Olan, Kalan, Erissery, Puliserry, Avial, Kuttu-curry, Thoran, Mezhukkupuratti, Pachchadi, Khichadi. In the center of leaf is Rice, Parippu-curry, Ghee, Sambhar, Moru-curry, Ulli-theeyal, Rasam, Parippu-pradhanam with Payasam varieties at the top corner.

The first day of Onam is Attam and is marked by making the Pookalam (rangoli made of flowers).

Kerala has plenty of back-waters all over, so, the famous Vallam Kali (boat race) organized to mark the auspicious occasion. Over the period of time it has become one of the most popular events. Many teams from different parts of the state participate in the boat race. Lot of other activities also take place like the Puli kali, Onathallu (form of Martial arts) Kummattikali (mask dance) Tug of war, Thumbi Thullal, Onavilliu etc. In different parts of the state there are different games organized for the people to encourage their skills.

Onam in Kerala is considered as a Hindu festival, but this occasion is enjoyed by followers of all religions. The grand festivities of Onam eliminate all the religious disparities and brings harmony in the society. Apart from the Hindu rituals, it is witnessed that the Christians and Muslims from the region celebrate this annual festival just as spectacularly. They also have meals together with the Hindus, which signifies the communion of brotherhood irrespective of faith and beliefs. The rituals include lighting of Nilavilakku, which is followed by an Aarti and waving of flowers over the Bible which is called Pushp Aarti. The traditional dress worn on this day is Kasavu Sarees and you will see all the married women wearing these exclusive sarees throughout the festival.

Every year, king Mahabali returns to the land he ruled over and visits his loyal subjects on the day of Onam. Each lamp lit on this day symbolises the jiva (the individual egocentric soul) who is a tiny flicker of the Cosmic Light. Onam hence, also celebrates the people’s gratitude to Lord Vishnu seeking His blessings, and, the homecoming of their king who surrendered his ego and received the Lord’s grace.

From the story of the noble king, we learn that surrendering the ego and ‘doer ship’ with complete faith and devotion will take us towards liberation. One’s caste, religion or social status is not what defines them. Overcoming ignorance and discovering that same One Self that pervades all, and ultimately that One Truth is the purpose of life. We need to Realise this and merge with the Divine Consciousness.