(Comes in Aug-Sept/Chingam-Kanni)
The religious story about Onam is well known. Instead of simply putting that down here, Thirumeni answers a doubt that is there in the minds of many people i.e. why such a good, generous and popular king like Mahabali was banished by Lord Vishnu?
Onam is traditionally celebrated as the day on which King Mahabali returns to Kerala to remind us of the ‘Golden Years’ of his rule. Naturally, there arises a question, as to why such a “good” King was banished by none other than an AVATARA in the form of VAMANA. Our own Thirumeni gives a credible explanation to this valid sounding question. There is a basic difference between Devas and Asuras. While Devas do all good things for others – even for protecting others at their own peril or the loss of their reputation, Asuras do all good things for their own benefit – even if it is for their own ‘Reputation’ – that unless this is not “destroyed” it can lead to sycophancy and the accompanying evils later on. It is important to realise that in the stories King Mahabali is described as an Asura king, although “good”. But all that he did was to enhance his own prestige. This had to be “destroyed”.
There is an important point to remember. And that is – in stories – GOD has not destroyed or killed any one. Only Avataras have done so. Therefore there had to be an Avatara to banish this Asura King.
Stories had to be made out to enlighten us about various philosophical thoughts – may be one can argue that we do not need stories. But who knew, whether stories were needed or not, at a time when these stories were developed. But we do hang on to the stories.