Let us make our entire lives an Onam

11September 2019 — Amritapuri Ashram
Excerpts from Amma’s Onam message:

Amma’s children have all come together here to celebrate Onam with Amma. For Amma, my children are the very pookkalams* and flowers of Onam. The unity of my children and their love-filled hearts are what make these pookkalams so beautiful to Amma.

Amma and the Vamana Murti

The thought of Onam always brings back memories of our childhood, when we celebrated the festival with our friends and family. {news} There is a special sweetness associated with those memories. Amma remembers Onam as being a time when we kids could enjoy and play as much as we wanted, without elders imposing any restrictions. Differences of age and gender didn’t matter. Everyone came together and engaged in the Onam fun—swinging on tree swings, swimming and playing. Those times are unforgettable. No matter how many years pass, the sweetness of those memories never fades.

Onam is a celebration of love, friendship and oneness. It emphasises the relationships between human beings and Nature, between human beings and God, and between human beings themselves. As a part of that, it also invokes the relationships between rulers and the ruled, between neighbours, and between family members. Hence, Onam is a festival that brings people together and strengthens all human bonds.

Amma feeding Lakshmi

The old traditions of Onam, such as singing poovili and the early morning hunt for flowers in yards and fields to make pookkalams, have all but disappeared. For the most part, even the fields themselves have disappeared. And our yards do not have the same flowers, dragonflies and butterflies like before. Such changes have not only occurred in Nature, but also in the human heart.

Usually, we make our ego the centre of our existence. All our effort is poured into strengthening it. But when we make God the centre of our existence, we become God’s shadow. In doing so, we give up our sense of doership. Taking avatara as Vamana, Lord Vishnu removed Mahabali’s ego and his notion of doership. Then Mahabali became complete.

The qualities of good and evil, of deva and asura, are within each one of us. If, like Mahabali, we are able to awaken divine qualities within, then the path to immortality will be thrown open to us.

Mahabali is a representative of an illustrious culture built on the foundation of values such as truth, righteousness, charity and devotion. However, when people celebrate Onam today, they often forget the noble values for which it stands. Onam and festivals like it have become occasions for wild partying and getting drunk and high. The real vision behind the celebration has been lost. We do not need celebrations that forget culture. Rather, we need celebrations that cultivate culture. Every celebration should become an opportunity to awaken and nurture our moral values.

During Onam, we have the tradition of making tree swings. Both young and old take turns swinging. If the ropes of the swing are fastened to a sturdy branch, there is nothing to worry about. If not, the laughter and fun may end in tears. When the swing is pushed up forcefully, children often scream with delight and laughter. Although fearful of the possibility of falling, they trust that their parents will ensure their safety and keep them from falling to the ground. In this way, even a potentially dangerous event becomes a happy experience for the child. The teaching here is that when living in this world, our mind should be firmly fastened to its foundation—God. Only then will we be able to move forward without becoming lost in the highs and lows of life.

Onam is not a celebration that should happen just one day a year. Let us make our entire lives an Onam. With the flowers of love and compassion, let us make a beautiful pookkalam in our heart. Every day, let us wear the eternally new clothes of “service to the world” and “love for God.” Let the games and sports of Onam inspire us to think of our life as lila—a divine play—and, as such, accept everything that happens in it. Forgetting all our differences in the spirit of unity and love, let us transform our entire life into a golden celebration of Onam.

* flower mandalas

Only Love is our light


After the morning satsang Amma sang few bhajans, at the end asked the devotees to dance along with the tune. After giving darshan to few hundred people, she started serving OnaSadya (prasad lunch) to all. She also fed the Ashram elephant Lakshmi. Playing and teasing, Amma fed Lakshmi with rice, banana, payasam and pappadam too.
In the evaning Amma lead a set of beautiful bhajans. There were lot of cultural programs presented by the children of Amma from India and abroad. Amma concluded the days celebraion with a perfect English song which goes like this —

Only love is our light
Only love can unite
Only love shines so bright
Only love can end this might.