ONAM CELEBRATIONS START IN PARTHI
As the state of Kerala and thousands of Keralites, living else where celebrated the Holy festival of Kerala, few thousands were much more luckier to celebrate the festival in the immediate presence of Swamy, who is verily Lord Vishnu, Vamana Murthy.
The origin of Onam:
Thiru Onam is celebrated in the second half of August ( the Chingam month of Kollam Era) when the August monsoon rains come to an end and the summer heat gives way to the pleasant warmth of the Kerala autumn. Anthropologists see in Onam a great fertility rate, the ceremony of Thanksgiving for a plentiful harvest. For Keralites Onam is the celebration of the return of Mahabali, their once beloved king.
Onam or Thiruonam originated as a
joyous annual reminiscence of the golden rule of King Mahabali, a mythical
king, who ruled Kerala a very long time ago. It recalls the sacrifice of the
great king, his true devotion to God, his human pride and his ultimate
redemption. This king once ruled over the Keralites during the Golden Age
before caste existed, "when all men were equal, when no one was poor, when
there was neither theft nor dread of thieves" (Maveli natu vanitum kalam...
Manusharellam onnu pole ... ).
One of the main attractions of Onam, is the 'Vallamkali' or boat races of Karuvatta, Payippad, Aranmula and Kottayam. Hundreds of oarsmen row traditional boats to the rhythm of drums and cymbals. These long graceful Snake Boats called 'Chundans' are named after their exceedingly long hulls and high sterns that resemble the raised hood of a cobra.
Then there are 'Odis', the small and swift raiding crafts adorned with gold tasseled silk umbrellas, the 'Churulans' with their elaborately curled prows and sterns, and the 'Veppus', a kind of cook-boat. This traditional village rivalry on watercrafts reminds one of ancient naval warfare.
Thousands throng the banks to cheer and watch the breathtaking show of muscle power, rowing skills and rapid rhythm. These boats - all pitted against their own kind - rip through the backwaters of Kerala in a tussle of speed.
Onam is for All
Although this festival has its
origin in Hindu mythology, Onam is for all people of all class and creed.
Hindus, Muslims and Christians, the wealthy and the downtrodden, all
celebrate Onam with equal fervor. The secular character of Onam is peculiar
to this land where unity had always coexisted with diversity, especially
during festivals, when people come together to celebrate life's unlimited
This morning, Swamy came out for darshan around 7:30 as students came in procession chanting Vedas. Swamy came on the dias and as against the custom there was a drama by the balvikas students and just when we all felt that there won't be Divine discourse this Onam, Prof. Anil Kumar announced that Swamy would deliver Onam message in the afternoon.
The afternoon session started at 3pm after Swamy finished His rounds, the president of Sathya Sai Organisation, Kerala, gave a brief account of all the developmental activities taken up by the Sai family in Kerala.
Two speakers were blessed to share their thoughts this afternoon , that first one being Mr. Veerendra Kumar a member of Parliament and Managing Director of Matrubhoomi, national daily in Malayalam and another speaker former chief justice of Gujarat.
After the talk, it was the turn of our beloved Swamy, ready to give the much awaited Onam Day message which is always special to Keralites and Swamy leaves no stone unturned to praise the great people of that holy land.
Excerpts from the Discourse:
Vishwa mandu vibhudu velugondu
Listen O brave son of holy India:-
To perform Yagnas and bear all the expenses. On such an occasion, there came Lord Vishnu, as Vamana (a dwarf priest). As Vamana was coming to the stage, carrying an umbrella all the people assembled they were mesmerized by His radiance and attitude. Looking at Vamana and his charm the daughter of Bali , thought, who is this man? I wish I had a husband like him. As people were wondering who He was, Vamana went on the stage. Emperor Bali, bowing at Him, asked "what is that brought you here? What is that you want? Vamana, replied, I don't want anything, I just want 3 foot steps. Emperor Bali was surprised, is that what you want? Yes granted. I can afford it.
With one step Vamana could occupy the whole sky, the second step He occupied the whole earth. Where is the place for third feet?. Bali, with a big smile said, put the third one on my head. As soon as Vamana kept the feet on the head, Bali went down to the Patala Loka (into the earth).
The king was great man. He was very disciplined and also true human, but he had a lit bit of ego. God can Tolerate anything but he will never tolerate anger and ego. What is this ego? Is this because of the body, mind , position. NO. It's an evil tendency within.
God has given you Truth, righteousness peace and non violence. Develop this. All these 5 are present every where. Ego, anger, jealousy are animal qualities. How can you be called as human if you have these qualities?. Adhere to truth. Truth is God. Love is God. This body is like an iron box. There are most precious things inside. The iron box is not important. This body is bound to fall one day. May be in childhood, adult stage or in old age. Don't follow this body which is temporary. Sathya, dhrama Prema shanthi and Ahimsa are your true friends.
Even if you ask a millionaire.. You have everything, do you have peace? He will say No. Today there is no PEACE any where its all PIECES? where is this peace?. Its within you. Without truth, righteousness, peace, love all your education, positions bear no importance. When you kill the ego you will be a true human being.
Kerala people are Noble souls:
Even today, Kerala is highly sacred, with abundance and plenty, greenery. Today every thing is polluted, food, air, water, hand.. all are highly polluted. We should try to make all these pure. When you attain the state of purity you will attain human qualities. Convert the purity into divinity.. There fore UNITY, PURITY AND DIVINITY?.
Since ancient times, Indian is considered as land of sacrifice, spirituality. But today it's a land of pleasure (Bhoga Bhoomi).. what is Tyaga, sacrifice, its not running away from family and responsibilities.. shed all your desires and that is true tyaga. Then only our heart will be as white as a white cloth. God likes pure heart. He has no other desires.
Try for individual peace first. Then only the whole world will be in peace. If there is no peace with in you, how can the world be in peace. Students, pray for world peace. India is a great country. But today, due to westernization, there is no values. Always be happy and joyful. Never have castor oil face (expressionless face). Always smile and make others smile. Have a broad mind. Then only you will be happy. HAPPINESS IS UNION WITH GOD. Say hello to everyone and be cheerful.. Don't say Good bye and runaway from others.. instead be a GOOD BOY.
I don't want to speak much and trouble you as the boys are waiting to perform a play ..
Time is very important.. time waste is life waste.. SO NEVER WASTE TIME.. So saying Swamy took His chair, ending a 40 minutes of Divine Message full of Atma Gnana (supreme wisdom)
Posted on 06.09.2006
Images of Onam Celebrations at Prasanthi Nilayam
Om Sairam to dear Sai family,
Happy Onam to all the people of Kerala, the Land of God. A great land and the only state in India which has 100% literacy rate and significantly the only state PRESERVING Indian culture, as against many literate Indians, who think they are GREAT and forget our eternal, culture after they get a degree tag to their name...
Swamy also praises Keralites a lot during this festival.
Why? It's is the land where Indian culture is preserved, sustained and
practiced. Be it Men or Women (in particular) their mannerism and dress
sense is worth mentioning. Though all are educated, there is great
attachment to the Indian culture. Even Swamy has said so many times.. It's a
land where there is Theism? People are religious and traditiona and a ROLE
Last year many of the Keralites were disappointed as Onam was not celebrated in Puttaparthi. Swamy out of His immense mercy has blessed the Keralites by celebrating Onam this year. Many devotees from Kerala have already reached Puttaparthi and the celebrations started officially in Puttaparthi today.
This afternoon, Swamy came out around 3pm as thousands were waiting in Sai Kulwanth Hall including 30 odd kids of B an interview more than us.
As there was more restlessness among devotees, Swamy finished the interview around 4:35 and the minister directly walked out of the Kulwanth Hall bowing at ladies and gents in his unique style.
Our beloved Swamy, with His beautiful smile and with the support of the boys walked to the chair as the devotees breath a sigh of relief. After about 5mins, Swamy signalled the boys to stop the veda chanting and the play started around 4:45pm. The play was a dance drama titled BHAKTHI AND VIBHAKTHI narrating few remarkable episodes from the lives of Sri Poonthanam Nambudiri and Sri Melpathur Narayana Bhattathiri, devotees of Sri Krishan in 17th Century.
The play was VERY WELL DONE and the songs were in Malayalam and narration in English. Swamy was very keenly observing the tiny tots who were dancing very systematically to the music. After the play Swamy asked all the participants to come by the stage for a group photo. Swamy very lovingly spoke to the boys and girls and the programme ended with distribution of Prasad, coconut barfi.
In the middle of the third bhajan Swamy signaled for arathi and He retired to His (physical) Abode around 5:45...Swamy bless us all to transform us as Your instruments and let the spirit of PRESERVING AND PRACTICING our Great culture be spread to the other states and to the Whole world?
Saluting the Kerala souls for Leading from Front
And offering my Humble Pranams at the lotus feet of our Beloved Lord.