Hindu sentiments were irked by Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac when he compared Hindu God “Vamana”, an avataar of Lord Vishnu as having ‘cheated’ King Mahabali. The statement hurt Hindu sentiments as the statement was made on auspicious occasion of Onam festival.
In his tweet, Isaac, who represents the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) in the Kerala Left Democratic Front (LDF) government, said: “We celebrate (King) Mahabali who did not discriminate by caste or creed, not Vamana who cheated him…”
Onam is a major harvest festival celebrated particularly by Malayalees. It is an official state festival of Kerala. Legend has it that the festival is celebrated to welcome the king who is believed to visit the State on that day every year.
Vamana is fifth of the 10 avataars or incarnations of Lord Vishnu, who disguised himself as a dwarf and sought three feet of land from Mahabali.
On being granted the boon, Vamana measured the earth and heaven in two steps and when he asked where he could measure the third step, Mahabali offered his head for Lord Vishnu to step on.
While sending Mahabali to the nether world, Lord Vishnu granted him his wish to visit his land and people once every year.
On social media, Isaac was criticised for “a shameful statement” hurting the sentiments of worshippers of Lord Vishnu and Hindus.
One of the criticisms against the State Finance Minister was that King Mahabali was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu and he failed to understand that the “Vamana avataar” was to restore “sanity and equilibrium” when the power goes to one’s head.
Isaac’s statement on Twitter comes on the heels of the occasion being celebrated as “Vamana Jayanthi” in many parts of the country since the incarnation happened on that day.
The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) has been celebrating Onam as “Vamana Jayanthi” as the day falls on Sravana (Thiruonam) star in the Hindu calendar month of Chingam or Sravana.
Isaac’s statement has irked and earned also the ire of spiritual gurus, especially in Kerala. In particular, Swami Chidananda Puri said Isaac had defamed Hindu beliefs and his comment was “condemnable”.
In his Facebook post, Swami Chidananda Puri, who heads the Advaith Ashram at Kolathur in Kerala’s Kozhikode district, sought the State Finance Minister’s apology, saying Isaac had no right to defame Hindu beliefs.
Kerala BJP president K Surendran termed Isaac’s comments as “blasphemous” and wondered if the Communist minister could adopt a similar stand against other religions.
Possibly one of the most bitter and crucial remarks against Isaac and the LDF government in Kerala was the one in which the State government was asked to divert to the Union Government all the revenue earned from Thrikkakara Vamanamoorthy Temple managed by the Travancore Devaswom Board.
The temple, dedicated to the Vamana incarnation of Lord Vishnu, is situated at Edappally near Kochi.
Many on social media reminded Isaac that Onam was a Hindu festival and he would be well advised to keep off from commenting anything on the event.
A Supreme Court advocate, R Krishna Raj, said that he would file cases under section 295 A of IPC for insulting Hindus.