Onam Festival Celebration - The story of King Mahabali

Onam Festival Celebration - The story of King Mahabali

Mar 01, 2024priyamvadha b

Onam is one of the most significant festivals for the people of Kerala. It is celebrated to welcome the asura King Mahabali. Onam is connected to the Vamana avatar of Lord Vishnu. Mahabali (Maveli) was the son of Virochana and grandson of Prahlada. Upon the advice of his Guru, Sukracharya, Mahabali performed a Yagya, a grand ritual, to win back his kingdom and all the powers seized by Indra during the churning of the cosmic ocean.  

Mahabali gained great powers after performing the Yagya which helped him defeat Indra in a battle, consolidate his powers and rule the three worlds. In order to retain his position, Sukracharya suggested that he continue performing Yagyas and offer magnanimous alms to the poor and brahmins. 

Meanwhile, distressed over Indra’s beleaguered state, his mother Aditi sought Lord Vishnu’s help by undertaking the Payovrata vow. Vishnu appeared before her and promised to be born as her son to kill Bali. 

Aditi gave birth to a boy whom she named Vamana. Vamana transformed into a learned Brahmachari boy and visited the place where Mahabali was performing a Yagya. The king welcomed the young genius with great joy and devoutly offered him whatever he desired. 

The young scholar asked for land equal to three times the length of his foot. It was a meek request on the face of it, but Sukracharya recognized Vamana’s true identity and tried to dissuade Bali from accepting the request. Mahabali refused to break his promise and said that he would be the most blessed person if it was Maha Vishnu indeed who sought the land. 

When the king was about to fulfil Vamana’s wish by pouring holy water from his Kamandala, Sukracharya took the form of a bee and blocked the vessel’s spout. Vamana used a blade of grass to unblock the spout and ended up pricking Sukracharya’s eye. As a result, Sukracharya left the vessel.  Mahabali poured the water in his hand and asked him to show the land of which he wanted three feet. 

Vamana assumed ‘Viswaroopam’, a gigantic, resplendent form. With the first step, he covered the entire earth. His second step covered the entire Deva Loka (world of the gods) and then asked Mahabali as to where he could take the third step. Mahabali said he had only his head left to offer and bowed to him. Vamana placed his foot on the king’s head, sending the latter down to Paatala Loka (nether world) and thus granted Moksha (liberation). In appreciation of his devotion, Vishnu also granted a boon that he could visit his kingdom once a year. So, the people of Kerala believe that King Mahabali visits the kingdom in the Malayalam month of Chingam and celebrate Onam to welcome him.

Puli Inji Recipe For Onam

More articles

Comments (0)

There are no comments for this article. Be the first one to leave a message!

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published