With Reports from Dhanya Anup and Sobha Nair
Members and guests of the Organisation of Hindu Malayalees (OHM) New Zealand observed the religious rituals of Karkidakam month at a special event held on Thursday, July 28, 2022.
The programme, held at Shanti Niwas Charitable Trust Hall in Onehunga, was attended by more than 60 men and women, with about 40 of them offering the ‘Bali Tharpanam,’ paying homage to their deceased ancestors and seeking their blessings.
OHM NZ President Sasi Nambissan was disappointed that he could not attend the event but felt proud of the members of his Executive Committee for their initiative and enthusiasm.
“Karkidakam Vavu Bali, held by our Organisation for the first time was a huge success, thanks to the sincere efforts and hard work invested by our Vice-President Dhanya Anup, Treasurer Sobha Manmadhan Nair, and Executive Committee Members Ramesh Keetezhathu and Dr Sankar Namboothiri. Dr Sankar was also the priest for this event and he joined the commemoration virtually as he was under compulsory isolation,” he said.
While Manju Bhargavi, a member of OHM helped in making available the Bali Tharpanam kit for each participant, many former Committee members including Ajith Cijimon Kesavan and Krishnakumar Bhatt extended their helping hand. Secretary Devi Shobana, who was also unable to attend, attended to various duties from afar.
“All the participants were so blessed and happy that they could get the chance to do this ritual in New Zealand even though they are away from their homeland. We could see tears of joy from the participants remembering their departed ancestors,” Mr Nambissan said.
Karkidakam is the last month in the Malayalam calendar and holds religious significance for Hindus in Kerala. Ceremonies for deceased family members are held on New Moon Day at the start of the month. Though Bali (rites) are held for ancestors on different days, any Bali offered on Vavu (New Moon) is seen as the most auspicious deed.
On Karkidakam Vavu, ‘Bali Tharpanam’ is offered near Holy Rivers and seashores and in Temples across Kerala. Varkala Papanasam beach is one of the major religious destinations on the day.
Licensed priests lead the rituals at huge pandals where many people can perform the rites.
Ramayanam (also known as Ramayan or Ramayana) is a sacred epic for Hindus and its hero Rama is worshipped as an Avatar of Vishnu, Protector of the Universe. Reading the epic, known as ‘Parayanam’ (Devotion) or hearing a discourse regulates the mind and the heart toward virtuous things in life.
OHM NZ has undertaken this religious duty as a daily event at the homes of its members by rotation throughout the Karkidakam month. Gayathri Prabhakar hosted the first Parayanam at her residence and the final session will be held on August 16, 2022.
Mr Nambissan said that members will be informed of the ‘roster’ through text messages, email or WhatsApp.
OHM NZ Vice-President Dhanya Anup said that the Executive Committee has commenced planning the annual Onam Festival, which she said would be one of the largest undertakings of the Organisation.
“Our Organisation will celebrate Onam on Saturday, September 3, 2022, at Shri Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan Community Centre located at 12 Princes Street in Onehunga. It is an event to get together, exchange pleasantries, relish good food (the Onam Sadhya) and spread happiness and wish prosperity for all,” she said.
Onam may have varied connotations for different communities in the South Indian state of Kerala but there is a commonality: it is a festival to bring home the milk of human kindness, casting into winds mundane issues of disorientation.
For more information, please contact Sasi Nambissan on 021-797573; Dhanya Anup on 027-4030303 or Devi Sobhana on 022-0697050.