Last Updated on 30 August 2023 IST: Onam Festival 2023: Each and every festival suggests we worship one or the other God and so does the festival of Onam. Everybody believes that God is one and amidst these multiple gods and goddesses, are we worshipping that Omnipresent Supreme God? The Answer is NO. So, on this Onam 2023 let us be aware about its story, significance, relevance with Hindu mythology, and about identity of the Supreme God as per Holy Scriptures so as to attain Him to have happiness in one’s life.
Onam Festival 2023 Introduction
Onam Festival 2023: Onam is the most important Keralite harvest festival celebrated annually in India and other parts of the world where Malayali people reside. People from all the communities unite together and celebrate this festival with exceptional delight and enthusiasm.
Onam is observed in the starting month of Chingam, the first month as per Malayalam calendar (Kollavarsham) which coincides with the month of August or September as per the Gregorian calendar. Along with the residents of Kerala, the Government of India also publicizes Onam globally and invites various local and foreign tourists.
What Is the Story of the Onam Festival?
The celebrations of Onam are deeply related to the rule of King Bali and his generosity on the land of Kerala. He was an asura or demon by birth and was the grandson of Great Prahlada. Being a demon king, the skills and principles possessed by him were matchless. He fought a war with Lord Indra and all gods and demigods under him to conquer all the three realms of the universe (Heaven, Earth, and Nether world) and succeeded.
Soon after Bali decided to do an Ashwamedha Yajna (a ritual sacrifice) in order to maintain his rule over the three realms and also declared to grant anyone anything during the yajna to make it successful.
The 5th Incarnation of Lord Vishnu: Vamana
This frightened all the gods including Indra and they begged in front of Lord Vishnu to assist them in retrieving their kingdom. But Lord Vishnu rejected their pleas as Bali was an incredibly great and a loyal ruler and his own disciple too. Later, Lord Vishnu approached King Bali in the form of a short Brahmin called Vamana (his 5th Incarnation) and asked for ‘three paces of the land’ from Bali. (In reality, it was God Kabir Ji who acquired the form of Vamana and later presented Himself as Lord Vishnu).
Upon Bali’s agreement, Vamana expanded into gigantic proportions and enclosed earth and heaven in just two paces. For the third pace, the king proposed his own head in order to keep his promise and thus proved his devotion.
Then Lord Vishnu stepped on his head and pushed him into the nether world and granted him privilege in return for his devotion, by which the King could come annually to the places he governed. Since then, the homecoming of King Bali’s spirit is celebrated as Onam.
When Is the Onam Festival in 2023?
Onam festival 2023 is a ten-day festival and happens from 20th August till 31st August. First and last day are called Atham and Thiruvonam respectively.
Which Is the Main Day of Onam?
The most important day of Onam is Thiruvonam or ‘Sacred Onam Day’. It is believed that King Mahabali’s spirit visits the home of all the followers on this day, thus making it holy for them. This year Thiruvonam is set to happen on Saturday, 31st August. But in actuality a day is believed to be sacred if it is devoted to the Supreme God instead of any other spirit.
How Is the Onam Festival Celebrated?
All the ten days of the Onam festival are celebrated with magnificent pomp and excitement and have their own importance among all the Malayali people.
- The commencing of the Onam celebration rituals is done with Onam pookalam or rangolis made with fresh flowers on floors which are iconic to the occasion so as to welcome their king to their houses.
- People give Onam wishes by presenting gifts (new clothes) to their loved ones and wearing new clothes themselves known as Onakkodi.
- A multi-course vegetarian meal is also prepared on this occasion containing more than 10 dishes called Onam sadhya.
- Along with this Kerala Hindus place the sculpture of Thrikkakara Appan or Onathappan which is Lord Vishnu in the form of Vamana and worship them.
Various sorts of activities and means of celebrations are involved on the other days starting from boat races, cultural programmes, sports competitions, music and dance events, and wearing traditional dresses. However this year, due to the Corona pandemic, devotees will not be able to do the above activities. Celebrations will be muted and will remain limited upto digital platforms as Kerala is one of the worse affected with the pandemic.
What Is the Significance of the Onam Festival?
The significance of any festival is related to understanding the basics of the rituals being practiced with it. This festival is based upon the worship of Lord Vishnu from Hindu mythology. But even after so many years of celebrating this festival, we have failed to understand that worshipping Lord Vishnu is prohibited in our Holy Scriptures like Holy Shrimad Bhagwad Geeta, Holy Vedas, etc. as Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are not the immortal gods and thus can only give us what is there in our destiny.
Contrary to our beliefs, reality is not what we are made to believe. We have gone so far on the road of worshiping them (Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh) as Gods that it is now becoming next to impossible for us to believe that it was useless. But as we all know Truth alone triumphs and we have our Holy Scriptures which will easily make everyone believe that it is actually true. Some of the references from our Holy Scriptures are given below:
- In Holy Shrimad Devi Bhagwat Puran from Geeta Press Gorakhpur, on Page 123, chapter 5, 3rd skand, it is clearly written that Lord Vishnu is accepting that we three (Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva) are into the cycle of birth and death and are not immortal.
- In Holy Shrimad Bhagwad Geeta, chapter 7 verse 12-15, worshipers of these three Gunas Rajguna Brahma, Satguna Vishnu and Tamguna Shiva are designated as demons in the form of humans.
These are not the Supreme God who can fulfill our needs and help us attain salvation (which is the main goal of human life). Likewise, the same is revealed in Kabir Saheb’s verses:-
Gunn teeno ki bhakti mein ye bhool pado sansar|
Keh Kabir Nij Naam bina kaise utro paar||
Who Is the Supreme God?
Amidst crores of Gods and Goddesses around us in Hindu mythology, we consider any one of them as the Supreme one by our choice and worship him as Almighty. This act is strictly against the unique identity of Supreme God. Every God and Goddesses is respectable to us but only the Supreme God is to be worshipped for attaining any sort of benefits which are only expected from the Almighty. Therefore it completes the unique identity of The Supreme God. Now the question Who Is The Supreme God?
Lord Kabir is the Supreme God who is indestructible and by worshipping Lord Kabir, one not only achieves salvation but all one’s needs, here, are satisfied too. He is the everlasting God, second to none who is nurturing everything everywhere. And He is the only one who can give us more than what is written in our destinies, even the extension of our lives. It may be very hard for us to digest that He is the Almighty God, we have been searching for years because He has always been manifested as a poet or a sufi saint in front of us. But He is the Supreme Power who has created the entire universe. Saint Garibdasji says:
Sarv Kala sampurn re, Sab Piran ka Pira|
Anant lok mein gaaj hai, Jaka Naam Kabira||
Even the Holy Scriptures claim the same that Lord Kabir is the only Omnipotent, Omnipresent and Omniscient God mentioned in Holy Geeta, in chapter 8 verse 3, 8, 9, 10, chapter 15 verse 4, 17 as Param Akshar Purush (Imperishable God).
Who Can Help Us Attain Salvation?
Currently, Saint Rampal Ji Maharaj is the only Tatvdarshi (truly enlightened) Saint who is giving us the right way of worship as per the Holy Scriptures for the attainment of Salvation. He is none other than Lord Kabir Sahib Himself who has descended on to the earth and demonstrates this by illustrations through His pious souls that true worship is the remedy of all the problems. And, this is also said by Kabir Saheb in His Verses:-
Mam Sant Mujhe hi Jaan, Mera hi Swaroopam||As the conditions are changing very fast around the globe, a pious soul should not waste his time and take refuge of Saint Rampal Ji Maharaj and allow Him to be the sole protector of your soul as soon as possible. To get detailed information about the way to attain Almighty and salvation, please listen to spiritual Sermons on Sadhna TV channel from 7:30 pm IST onwards. To take initiation from Saint Rampal Ji Maharaj, please click here to fill the initiation form.