Ever since I came to Kerala in January 1995, I have been told, Onam is celebration of Mahabali, fondly called Maveli by Malayalees. It is my 27th Onam in Kerala and the Leftist distortion of Onam has gone to the levels of online hooliganism against anyone celebrating or wishing Vāmana Jayanti.
Go to any social media platform and check how “motivated” Malayalees attack anyone wishing Vāmana Jayanti like a pack of rabid wolves. They say, “Onam is not about Vāmana. It is about Dravidian King Mahabali and how Brahminical Vishnu cheated him because of jealousy.” It is not very strange that over 60% of these online wolves are from minority communities, the rest being Marxists.
This is an attempt to put a few modern myths to rest in peace. I know I cannot change the whole order in Kerala. But the “truth” has to be told to fight the “poison of hate” that has been spread by the 3M axis of Missionaries, Mullahs and Marxists.
Myth No. 1: Mahabali or Maveli ruled Kerala.
Kerala didn’t even exist during the times of Mahabali. Kerala also is believed to be created by Parashu Rāma. Hence the chances of Mahabali ruling Kerala are nil. Even if we go by the geographical descriptions of Mahabali’s kingdom, there are conflicting claims from different states in India. Ballia in Uttar Pradesh is believed to be his capital as the place derives name from Bali. The hill town of Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra is considered as his abode before he was sent to Sutala by Vishnu. But that too is contentious. Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu, where PM Modi hosted Xi Jinping too is believed to be his capital. But only Bharuch in Gujarat has any references in Purāna texts. This is mentioned in the Matsya Purāna chapter 114.
Myth No. 2: Onam is a Malayalee festival and has nothing to do with Hinduism.
Such a wicked distortion. Sangam literature has references to celebration of Onam as victory of Vishnu over the Asuras. So the present day Onam is a clear distortion insidiously brought into effect by the Missionaries and propagated by Marxists. Never doubt the ability of Marxists to distort history to suit their narrative. The celebrated Marxist writer M T Vasudevan Nair had distorted Mahabharat in his “Randaamoozham”. He also reversed history with the more recent “Vadakkan Paattu” stories and turned “Chathiyan Chandu” (Cheat Chandu) into a magnanimous tragic hero in “Oru Vadakkan Veeragaatha”.
We also know how the communal Malabar Moplah riots were converted into peasants uprising and later elevated as freedom struggle. The progressive distortion of Onam is merely a Century old phenomenon. Definitely not older than mid 19th Century. It was almost certainly initiated by Missionaries, perhaps a century ago or a little more. They cast Mahabali or Maveli as an Indian version of Santa Clause to suit their agenda. The description of Maveli as a pot-bellied short character actually suits Vāmana more. Mahabali was a big built and handsome King with a fit and powerful physique. So some people keen on weakening Sanatana roots of Kerala transplanted Mahabali in place of Vāmana and changed the narrative.
But aggressive propagation of these modern myths has signatures of Marxist movement. They created Onam songs and fables glorifying Maveli. Subsequently vilification of Vāmana and connecting the new concoction to caste equations was done. Today, apparently the Islamists have taken over the responsibility of protecting the “secular nature” of the Non-Hindu, Malayalee festival of Onam.
Myth No. 3: Mahabali was a Dravidian and Dalit King.
It is already proven Mahabali lived in Northern India. Several references establish him as a Brāhmana by birth. He was from the Kashyapa dynasty. Brahma’s Mānasa Putra was Marichi. Marichi’s son was Kashyapa. Hiranya Kashyapa was his son and Prahlada, the famous devotee of Vishnu was son of Hiranya Kashyapa. Prahlada’s son was Virochana and Mahabali was Virochana’s son. This clearly establishes Brāhmana lineage. People became Sura or Asura by their deeds and not by birth. Hiranyāksha, Hiranya Kashyapa, Mahabali, Rāvana and several other people from the Purānas were either Brāhmana or at least half Brāhmana by lineage. Strangely, Parashu Rama and Vāmana are the only two Brāhmana Avatārs of Vishnu.
Myth No. 4: Onam has nothing to do with Vāmana.
This is the biggest and silliest myth propounded by the Marxists and swallowed by the gullible masses. It will need just a little bit of scratching the surface to deconstruct this myth. Let us do it with some questions and answers.
- What is Vāmana Jayanti ?
It is celebrated on Bhādrapada Shukla Dwādashi (12th day of the full moon cycle of Lunar month of Bhādrapada) every year. Some references claim it falls on Shrāvana Shukla Dwādashi. But Bhādrapada Shukla Dwādashi is the most accepted day.
- What was Vāmana’s Janma Nakshatra ?
Shravana Nakshatra. It is the 22nd out of 27 Nakshatras that are part of the Solar calendar in Indian systems. This Nakshatra has Vishnu as the deity and the symbols associated with Shravana Nakshatra are “three steps” and “ear”.
- What is the equivalent of Shravana Nakshatra in Malayalam calendar ?
Several of the Nakshatras get native Malayalam names while some retain original names. Bharani, Rohini, Revati etc retain their original Sanskrit names in Malayalam. But Ashvini, the first Nakshatra becomes Ashwathi is Malayalam. Krittika becomes Kārthika, Punarvasu becomes Punartham, Poorvāshāda becomes Poorādam, Uttarāshāda becomes Utradam and Shatabhishak becomes Chathayam. So what is the Malayalam equivalent of Shravana ? The answer is Thiruvonam.
We can see how some names were adapted into native tongue. Shravana progressively went onto become Sharvanam to Shrivanam. At some stage, “Thiru” the Tamil equivalent replaced Shri and it became “Thiruvonam”. Shravana and Thiruvonam, is it difficult to see the connection ? Ārdra Nakshatra becomes Thiruvāthira in Malayalam for reference.
Now the last part of this myth buster: Onam has nothing to do with Vāmana.
Shravana is Thiruvonam, the Nakshatra or Naal of Vāmana.
The symbol of the Shravana or Thiruvonam Naal is “Three steps”. Three steps that Vāmana took to send Mahabali into Sutala. Does it take a lot of effort to connect ?
Malayalees celebrate the birthdays of their Gods and Gurus according to the Nakshatra or Naal. Thus, Janmāshtami is actually celebrated on Rohini Nakshatra and they call it Ashtami-Rohini. The revered Shree Narayana Guru’s birth anniversary is celebrated as “Chathayam” or the Shatabhishak Nakshatra following the Onam.
Thiruvonam, the day on which Onam is celebrated is actually the birth anniversary of Vāmana in the Malayalam calendar. The “Naal” is unmistakable. It is neither the “Naal” of Mahabali nor is it connected to him in anyway other than through Vāmana.
Howsoever hard the Marxists and Malayalee identity warriors might try, they cannot erase the footprints of those “three steps” of Vāmana born on Shravana Nakshatra that is celebrated as Thiruvonam.
“Na Bruyāt Satyam Apriyam”. Don’t speak the truth that isn’t pleasant. Says “Manu Smriti”, the book vilified to the maximum by Marxists. Hence I choose these lines from that very book.
Satyam Brūyāt Priyam Brūyāt
(Speak the truth, speak pleasant)
Na Brūyāt Satyam Apriyam
(Don’t speak the unpleasant truth)
Priyam Anritam Na brūyāt
(Don’t speak pleasant falsehood)
Ĕsha Dharmah Sanātanah
(That is Sanātana Dharma)
What I’ve told in this long article is “Unpleasant Truth” for the Marxists. Especially on this day of their “Secular, Non-Hindu festival”. But Dharma says, when the choice is between “Unpleasant truth” and “Pleasant falsehood”, the truth has to win. This is my humble effort to slay the “sugarcoated hate pill of falsehood” sold by Missionaries and Marxists to Malayalees. Here is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but truth. “Onam is Vāmana Jayanti”. Satyameva Jayate !
Submitted by : Dr. Govind Raj Shenoy