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Onam 2016 Celebrations in Prasanthi Nilayam - latest Onam News - Photos - Videos from Prasanthi Nilayam - Mahasamadhi
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Onam Greeting cards - sri sathya sai baba
 
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Onam Greeting cards - sri sathya sai baba

 

 

 

 

Onam Greeting cards - sri sathya sai baba

 
 

Onam Greeting cards - sri sathya sai baba

 

 

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Onam Resource & more

Every year Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation, Kerala organises the Onam festival at Prasanthi Nilayam with great devotional fervor. The entire Mandir would be aesthetically decorated and wears a festive look. The Onam festival will be celebrated for about four days with the entire Sai family from Kerala and from around the world making it to the Lotus Feet of Swami.
The festivities begin in Sai Kulwant Hall with Mangala Vadyam by well-known Nadaswara Vidwans in the Divine Presence of Bhagawan Baba. Thereafter, Sai Kulwant Hall reverberates with NadaswaraVadyam and Pancha Vadyam music on all subsequent days of celebration.
Cultural programmes by the Balvikas Children from the state of Kerala would mark the festivities. On the day of Onam Bhagawan would be received in a traditional Procession from Poornachandra Hall with Poorna Kumbam amidst vedam chanting Bhagawan blesses the gathering with His Divine Message exhorting the devotees to emulate and imbibe the sacrificial qualities of Emperor Bali . The four-day festivities transform Prasanthi Nilayam into Kerala what with the entire Kerala assembling at Prasanthi Nilayam for Divine Blessings on the auspicious day. Emperor Bali performed the action of supreme surrender to Lord Indra at the end of the battle by offering him all his possessions, body, mind and soul on this day in the sacred land of Kerala. The battle between Bali and Indra represents the mind battling to control the senses. Vamana opened Bali's eyes to help him realize the Divine and Bali sought a boon from the Lord that He should visit Kerala every year on this day of Shravan. This day is celebrated as Onam by Keralites. This day also extols the merits of gifts, renunciation, charity, however little, to any one, for all are reflections of God Onam is the harvest festival of Kerala. On this day, homage is paid to their illustrious king Bali, who had surrendered himself to the mighty little god Vamana. It is believed that Bali re-visits his empire that day. It is an enchanting sight to see the Keralites in their traditional dress offering their worship to the Lord. They are blessed with the privilege of touching the lotus feet. Swami graces the occasion and showers his blessings on them. source: srisathyasai.org.in
 

Onam: The Harvest Festival, is the most popular festival of Kerala. A festival that celebrates a happy blend of myth and reality, Onam is part of the cultural repertoire of every Malayalee. Year after year, for centuries, the people of Kerala, irrespective of caste, creed or colour, join together to celebrate Onam. The ten-day Onam festival falls in August-September, coinciding with the beginning of the harvest season. According to local belief, in a war that took place between the gods and the demons, the demons won. Deeply hurt by the defeat of the gods, Aditi, their mother prayed to Lord Vishnu to destroy Mahabali, the Demon King. Consequently, Lord Vishnu, in the guise of a Brahmin boy, Vamanan, went to Mahabali and asked him to grant him three steps of land. The wish was granted and Vamanan covered the whole land with his two steps and then he came back to the King asking him where can he place the third step. The King to honour his word, offered his head as the third step. Vamanan pushed Mahabali deep down into the earth. Pleased by his honesty and generosity, the lord in turn granted him a wish that he could visit his kingdom and people on a particular day once a year. Preparation of a floral carpet called "Athappookkalam" in front of houses, from the first day of 'Atham' to the tenth day of 'Thiruvonam' is part of the festivities, which is a symbolic gesture to welcome King Mahabali. The state government conducts Tourism Week celebrations in connection with Onam, showcasing the gems of Kerala's culture. Onam resonates with Carnivals, Boat Races, Dance, Music and Feast. A sumptious meal on plantain leaf and the traditional sweet dish of Kerala 'Payasam' etc are served in every house.



According To Mythology

The Bhagwat Purana (ancient Hindu scriptures) tells the engrossing story of Mahabali. He was a noble and virtuous king. Although he was an asur (demon) king, he was known far and wide for his generosity and good sense. It is said that if a person asked Mahabali for something, he never returned disappointed. The story goes that once Mahabali decided to perform the Ashvamedha Yagna (a horse-sacrifice in order to be proclaimed the most powerful and distinguished king in the three worlds – heaven, earth and the nether world). The devtas (gods) felt especially threatened by this ritual for as noble as Mahabali could be, he was after all an asur. The devtas rushed to Lord Vishnu (the Preserver in the Hindu Holy Trinity of Creator-Preserver-Destroyer) imploring him to rein Mahabali in.

The Interesting Tale of Mahabali And The Dwarf

These are celestial matters and we should leave the gods to work in their own mysterious ways. Coming back to Mahabali and the elaborate preparations of the Yagna; the venue of the Yagna was to be the banks of the holy Narmada River. It is believed that while Mahabali was proceeding to Narmada, a charming little boy holding an umbrella stopped him. Seeing the boy who was actually a dwarf, Mahabali realised that this was no ordinary fellow. Mesmerised, he told the dwarf to ask him for anything he desired. The dwarf simply asked him for the measure of area he would cover in three strides. Taken aback by such a trivial wish, Mahabali asked him to demand something more substantial. The dwarf did not change his mind and again repeated his wish. Mahabali had little choice but to agree. The dwarf assumed his original self – Lord Vishnu who had appeared in his fifth avatar or manifestation (the fifth reincarnation of Vishnu in the form of a dwarf is called Vamana).

Assuming gargantuan proportions, he took his first step on earth, the second foot was leisurely placed on the heavens and well, you could say that not much was left for the third step! So Mahabali, the magnanimous king that he was, rose to the occasion and offered his head for the last stride of the Almighty. Vishnu promptly obliged, thus pushing Mahabali into the realms of the nether world. Moved by the nobility of this demon king, Vishnu proclaimed that even after losing every worldly possession, Mahabali would earn eternal wisdom and the love and affection of Vishnu. Mahabali accepted his fate unflinchingly and only asked for one wish in return. This wish, more than anything, proved how worthy a king he was. He asked for the chance to come back to his cherished land and people at least once a year. It is believed that since that day, Mahabali comes every year to visit this sun-dappled land of coconuts and his beloved people. This day is called Onam.

The Celebrations Of The Festival

Onam falls, on the 12th day of the waxing moon in the Hindu month of Bhadon (around August September) once the golden yellow rice fields have been harvested at that time of the year. There is no specific god associated with Onam. Neither is any special puja (a ritualistic prayer ceremony) performed.

The celebrations of Onam start ten days before the big day. The first thing people do is decorate the gates or main doors of their homes. No balloons or festoons for these folks. They adorn their homes and gates with fresh branches of red coconut (red coconut is considered auspicious on Onam), banana leaves and coconut fronds.

If you happen to be in Kerala around Onam, you will see banana and coconut fronds just about everywhere, sometimes even popping out of trucks and buses or tied to the horns of the neighbourhood cow, all with a pinch of the auspicious vermilion powder.

The first day of Onam is called Attam. Women get up earlier than usual, have a bath, wear fresh clothes (women wear off-white cotton saris with a zari border on festive occasions), neatly pin strings of jasmine and other seasonal flowers in their long black tresses and adorn themselves with jewellery. Children get dressed and go to the market to buy flowers and flower petals which they bring back to their mothers and sisters. The ‘mummies’ prepare a small part of the ground on the eastern side of the house (east is considered sacred because the sun rises in the east and Hindus have worshipped the rising sun since time immemorial).

The Attam

The House Yards are smoothened out, and cow dung spread evenly on it. Flowers are placed over this patch in beautiful patterns. These patterns are generally circular and a lump of cow dung is placed in the centre symbolising Ganesha (the elephant-headed god - see Ganesh Chaturthi).

The creation with dung and flowers is called Attam. Once the Attam is completed, the women sing songs in praise of Mahabali and perform a lovely dance of simple but graceful steps around it.

The Attam is considered very sacred and a fresh decoration is made everyday till Onam. The old decoration is not removed, instead the cow dung is moistened with water, then a thin layer is spread over the Attam and a new pattern is made. People sing and dance around the Attam everyday and remember Mahabali, who perhaps watches them from somewhere. These days, community Attam where all the members of a community come together and rejoice around the sacred spot, is becoming quite popular. These very members take turns to keep a constant vigil over the Attam.

On the third day, people hold big feasts in their homes and invite their relatives and friends. The feast is strictly vegetarian and consists of rice, which is eaten with various curries, curds, vegetables, crisps, pickles, and sweets (see Cuisine).

 


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