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Understanding the spiritual message of sacrifice conveyed by festivals
Many festivals across different cultures are dedicated to spiritual value of 'sacrifice'. Both, Id-ul-Zuha and Onam being celebrated co-currently, have the message of sacrifice meant to dwell on and imbibe it with true spirits.

Unfortunately, we have ritualised all the festivals and converted them into occasions for externalisation; display of pomp and show, and tokenism by sending greetings and quotes on the occasion.

"The message of sacrifice is best explained by trees that yield fruits to mankind selflessly. Trees make their own food and give environment preservation benefits to all as well as serve other living beings in umpteen ways and wish to left to themselves. The serving and partaking food on plates made of fallen tree leaves on Onam had been the reminder of the message of sacrifice and presence of same divine consciousness in all living things including trees," said an elderly Keralite living with his son and grandchildren as a part of a well-knit joint family and celebrating Onam.

Also, the rangoli done with flower petals and leaves during the ten-day Onam festival was also a reminder of the selfless service of plants, he added.

He seemed to be a wise old man. "And, all the parables and stories associated with the festival ultimately gave the message of 'sacrificing one's ego' since humans filled with ego indulge in all kinds of wicked thoughts, speeches and actions," he concluded.

It seems that we are forgetting the true messages of the festivals and making them into rituals and using them as tools of thoughtless self-indulgence.

Here a few quotes on sacrifice to mull over.

  • A noble purpose inspires sacrifice, stimulates innovation and encourages perseverance. -Gary Hamel
  • Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness. -Napoleon Hill
  • The whole emphasis is on how to surrender your ego, sacrifice your ego, at the altar of the divine...Never sacrifice your life for anything. Sacrifice everything for life. Life is the ultimate goal. - Osho
  • True love is selfless. It is prepared to sacrifice. -Sadhu Vaswani

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