Philosophy and Morals behind Thiruvonam (Vamanajayanthi)

published on September 6, 2011

Message from Swami Udith Chaitanyaji – We wish everyone a happy and prosperous Onam

Hari Om:

Onam is our respectful remembrance of King Mahabali and his great sacrifice. Onam is a celebration of oneness in our social and spiritual lives. Unfortunately, the foreign scholars
… misinterpreted Onam as a mere harvest festival. They even said that Mahabali was sentenced to go to Pathalam. This misinterpretation is an insult to our culture and the great
sacrifice of Emperor Bali. This story of Mahabali is narrated in Bhagavatham, our
spiritual text, older than all other religious texts.

“Thiruvonam” is called Vamana Jayanthi, the day on which Lord Vamana manifested.
Mahabali, the most generous, socialist, and spiritually elevated king received Vamana and offered all his wealth, prosperity and finally himself at the Lotus Feet of the Lord. Though the
Lord came in disguise, Mahabali realized this fact. He was never scared. A true devotee will never fear the Lord, because our culture teaches we and God are one: Tat Tvam Asi. As
Mahabali could not fulfill his promise of giving THREE feet to Vamana, he offered himself. Vamana blessed him and elevated his mind to “Suthalam” which is considered to be higher than even heaven (“Suthalam Swargabhi Prapthyam). This is the story as narrated in Bhagavatham.

Jagadguru Veda Vyasa, author of Bhagavatham inspires and appeals us to learn the philosophy and morals behind the stories in our mythology.

1. Mahabali represents a mind which sacrifices the selfishness and shares the wealth and happiness to all around.

2. Mahabali teaches the lesson that one’s own mind is the highest and biggest wealth in this world. If we lose the mind, we lose everything. If we gain the mind, we gain everything. Mahabali never allowed his mind to be lost. Today, these teachings have more relevance because most of us never value the power and strength of our mind. Our religion teaches God is always with us in the form intelligence and wisdom, use and utilize this and make our mind strong and powerful. That is called Divine Blessing.

3. Mahabali teaches us to live a life with a vision. When Mahabali offered himself to the Lord, he could reach the level of ONENESS(Suthalam: Su = one thalam = level) where mind and God become ONE. So, never look back and regret on the past, Swami Udith Chaithanyaji
rather look forward because our mind will then realize and experience the Higher Truth called God.

In this context, the word Vamana has a very high significance in our culture. Vamana represents Kalam (time ) that brings “good and bad experiences”. Kalam or Time brings good and bad experiences. So, everyone is surrounded by Vamana – that means, various experiences(Va = bring & manam = experience). But one who keeps his mind strong by engaging in the higher values, and surrendering to God at the right time will be honored by every one, even the Lord Himself. “Manam” is honor or respect (Bahu manam) or “Visheshena Manam” is Vamana. So let our mind always be like Mahabali engaging with divine experiences. Instead, if we engage ego and selfishness such a mind will be insulted “Apa manam” and will eventually be neglected by the society. So, let the surroundings ever respect our mind and ever remember our graceful life, like our Mahabali.

In Srimad Bhagavatham it is never said that Mahabali was punished and sent to Pathalam. So, we request all devotees to never spread this insulting misinterpretation of foreign schools of thought any more. Onam is absolutely a spiritual celebration where we respect Mahabali as well as Vamana, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. “Ona sadhya” and “Ona kalikal” are the celebrations of social oneness. Pookalam and Thrikkarappan are worshiped for spiritual oneness. Different colored petals of flowers represent different minds but all are manifestation of one divine God and represent the beauty in society when they stay together, floor smeared cow dung represent the holy and auspicious divine energy. Thus onam teaches the message of unity in diversity.

Swami Udith Chaitanyaji
Swamiji’s Facebook Profile : http://www.facebook.com/chaithanyaji

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