For 1-Page format of all 5-parts story, click: http://nmsresolution.blogspot.ca/2014/05/onam-maha-bali-vaman-vaman-jayanti-1.html
Thursday, May 22, 2014
ONAM STORY: Part 4: Real Onam Deciphered
Onam is a great festival like no other. In popular literature fashioned by Western writers and their copycats in India, foolishly or ignorantly, call Onam as ‘Harvest Festival’, whereas in reality it is a festival to recall the momentous day to welcome a generous and honorable king of character and substance. However, more importantly it marks a day that ushered in societal reformation and began reclaiming human dignity. It simultaneously celebrates ‘victor’ and ‘loser’, where the ‘victor’ Bhagavaan Vaaman does not see Himself as victor and the ‘loser’ Mahaa Bali does not see himself as loser. Both are appreciative of each other. Onam uniquely celebrates two opposite poles in one single event. It celebrates heart as well as head; it celebrates motherly-laxity and fatherly-discipline. It celebrates equality of every human and yet recommends becoming equitable to everyone. It celebrates the spirit of making donations with spirit of rejecting freebies and doles. Mahaa Bali holds one pole and Bhagavaan Vaaman, the other. Onam represents balancing two schools of thoughts.
In the end, Mahaa Bali concedes his actions as innocent error of judgment made out of love for citizens of his kingdom and voluntarily accepts exile as his own chosen ‘punishment’, paving way for re-establishment of a more desirable world order. Vaaman Jayanti is celebration of remembering importance of remaining steadfast in performing duties (Sva-Dharma), equitable justice to everyone and rejection of freebies and doles, contrasting with freebie-driven governance of Mahaa Bali.
When we celebrate Onam or Vaaman Jayanti with proper understanding, it unleashes a potential of ushering in our own self-development, building character based on human dignity and Sanskritic-insight. Kerala comes to mind the moment we utter Mahaa Bali, Onam or Vaaman Jayanti. Its tourism department has coined a very apt phrase[i] for Kerala, ‘God’s Own Country’. It honors two significant incarnations of Bhagavaan Vishnu; the fifth Avataar Vaaman and the Sixth Avataar Parshuraam. Kerala would do well to think beyond cliché jealousy story and remember missions of Avaatars, especially Vaaman, who came to vanquish Mahaa Bali for a good reason, a reason that looks topical even today.
[i] An Advertising agency, ‘Mudra Advertising’ working for Kerala Tourism Development Dept. had coined the phrase ‘God’s Own Country’. Their Creative head, Walter Mendez, sitting in the agency’s Ahmedabad office invented that phrase after learning about ancient history of Kerala. Bhagavaan Parshuraam threw his axe from Gokarna (in present day Karnataka) to Kanyaakumari (in present day Tamilnadu). The land that came under the arc circumscribed by the throw of axe was to become the territory of Kerala.