- Religion and Philosophy
None can contain the sky except God!
The Onam festival in Kerala!
The colorful festival of "Onam" will be celebrated by people of Kerala, who are spread around the globe. They were the first one to migrate to all parts of the globe since their state is one of the smallest in India and employment opportunities were poor compared to other States in India. But Kerala boasts highest percentage of literates in India. Also, they were god loving people. God too loves the people and place since the ancient traditions were followed there religiously in spite of the ingress of Marxist philosophy among the unemployed youth there.
There is a beautiful episode which heralded the celebration of Onam festival which is the chief among all festivals for the people of Kerala. Onam is usually celebrated during August - September months. During the celebrations, people who reside in far away places for employment returns to their native places and celebrate the festival with all pomp and gaiety. Flower decorations are the integral part of the celebrations. The frontage of each house is cleaned neatly with cow dung and colorful Rangoli designs are drawn over which flowers are used liberally to decorate the design. Different colors of flowers are used to make it very beautiful to look at.
Onam celebrations in Kerala (South India)
How the celebration of Onam originated?
There ruled an honest King Bali in Kerala during good old days. He was the grandson of Prahlada, the famous devotee of Lord Narasimha. Though Prahlada was born in a demonic clan, he retained highest qualities of a devotee and he was always contemplating on Lord Narayana. His father Hiranyakashibu was a real demon in actual life. He wanted all the people to worship him instead of Lord Mahavishnu. Out of fear, people revered him. But Prahlada was different. He argued with his father that the Lord alone is worthy of praise and worship. His father got angry with him for such talks. He wanted Prahlada to praise and worship him. But Prahlada was always devoted to Lord Narayana and never followed his father's ways.
For that reason, he was thrown into the ocean, made to drink poison and his father devised many ways to kill him since he never heeded his words. But Prahlada was saved from all this tortures by the Lord. One day Hiranyakashibu asked Prahlada "Where is your God? Show me! Prahlada told him , " He is everywhere!. Then his father asked him, "Is he in this iron pillar? Yes, asserted Prahlada. Hiranyakashibhu dashed his mace on the pillar and the Lord in the form of Narasimha came out of the pillar, caught hold of Hiranyakashibhu, placed him on his lap and with his nails tore open his intestines and killed him. Every one were shuddered to see the ferocious form of Lord Narasimha, the man lion form.
Bali, the illustrious grand son of Prahlada was virtuous and looked after his subjects with love and care. People too loved their King who looked after their welfare. King Bali performed many rituals and honored poor Brahmins and preceptors and gave them many gifts like gold, land, houses, cows and other items of value. Hence the people lived happily without any more needs. Naturally the King developed some pride that he is doing meritorious charity!
Lord Mahavishnu, in order to teach humbleness to his devotee came in the form of a brahmin boy with a dwarf like form carrying an umbrella and water vessel. The King was in the midst of performing a great ritual. He welcomed the boy and asked him 'what he wants?. The boy replied, "Oh King, I just want three feet of land to be measured with my feet. The king was astonished to hear such a strange request. He said, "why you are asking for such a small gift? You could have asked for gold and other valuables? The boy replied, "Just give me three feet measure of land. That is enough for me! The King readily complied with the request of the boy though his preceptor prevented him from accepting such strange request since the boy is none other than the Lord came in the guise of a dwarf boy. But the king did not listen. He said, Oh boy! Now measure the land with your tiny feet! Immediately the Lord took the form of Trivikrama, an all comprising form. With one feet, he measured the earth, the other feet measured the sky. He asked the king? "Where I have to put my feet for the third one?
King Bali was astonished at the Divine play of the Lord. He prosterated before Him and said, "Oh Lord! Put your feet on my head and send me to the nether grounds. Thus the Lord humbled the pride of Bali and told him to ask a boon! Bali told the Lord, "On this date of my liberation, every year i should visit my land and bless my citizens. Let my subjects wear new dresses, decorate their houses with flowers and eat the nicest cuisine. The Lord granted his prayer. Even now it is believed by the people of Kerala that the King visits the land! Hence they celebrate the festival in such a nice way!