Tuesday, December 2, 2008
ARUMUGA NAVALAR: GUARDIAN OF TAMIL & SAIVAM!!!
Sri La Sri Arumuga Navalar A religious reformer and eminent scholar
Kalabooshanam Chelvathamby Maniccavasakam
Sri La Sri Arumuga Navalar (18.12.1822-05.12.1897) was deeply religious and was of the view that ‘service to man was service to God’. He served the Saiva religion, not because it was his religion but because he loved Lord Shiva. Even his service to the Tamil language was regarded by him as service of Saivism, because he thought that the study of Tamil was not an end but a means to love and serve God.
In fact, Sri La Sri Arumuga Navalar was born on 18.12.1822, at a time when Sri Lanka had suffered three centuries of Western conquest multi-faceted in its manifestations and consequence - political, economical, cultural and psychological.
Indeed, the technics and preachings of Sri La Sri Arumuga Navalar have influenced, inspired and transformed the Hindus of Sri Lanka.
He was considered as one of the greatest religious reformers like Ven. Anagarika Dharmapala and Ven. Gunananda Thera who sacrificed their lives for the sake of independence of Sri Lanka (Ceylon).
Sri La Sri Arumuga Navalar defended the values and virtues of his faith and opened the eyes of the people to the heritage that had been passed down to them by their forebears. He exhorted the Hindus to feel proud and worthy of their faith and language and the deep culture embodied in them. In fact, he was able to achieve his objective through the transformation of the heart of the people by the schools he established, by the pamplets and the books he published.
Blessed with a dialectical skill and a sharp logician mind, an oratorical ebullience combined with fearless and courageous mind, he was able to accomplish and achieve his objective and built round him a massive following who subscribed to the principles he extolled. Anyone who came within his magic appeal imlibed his crusading spirit and was moved by his lofty integrity and intense religious zeal.
In fact, Sri La Sri Arumuga Navalar mastered the tenets of Saiva Sidhanda philosophy and acquired eloquence in speech and writing in clear and simple prose. Since he was a scholar in English and Tamil languages, Rev. Peter Percival employed him as a translator of the Bible which was considered to be the best translation and he was held in high esteem by Rev. Peter Percival.
Sri La Sri Arumuga Navalar won high recognition in India, where he established himself for a time. He instituted a printing press and concentrated on putting out traditional Hindu religious literature in simple prose. The title of ‘Navalar’ was conferred on him by the head of the ‘Thiru Avaduturai Mutt’ in 1849.
Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan bestowed on him the immortal title of ‘Champion Reformer of the Hindus’.
Furthermore, he wrote copiously and delivered numerous discourses on the way to attaining eternal bliss at the feet of God. His Saiva Vina Vidai (Catechism) series served to catch young and instil into the minds of the children the way to an unblemished spiritual, physical and social life. In fact, he advanced the cause of restoring neglected ancient temples.
Sri La Sri Arumuga Navalar established Hindu Tamil medium schools in Vannar Pannai in Jaffna town and in the sacred city of Chitambaram in South India. He, not only inspired the Hindu renaissance movement, but also fulfilled every single aspect of his mission in life which he has so clearly set before himself.
A series of events of great significance took place soon after the passing away of Arumuga Navalar in 1879, all of which bore his stamp.
They are the establishment of the Saiva Paripalana Sabai (Society for the Conservation and Development of Saivism) in 1888, the publication of the ‘Hindu Organ’, an English language newspaper in 1889 for the propagation of Hinduism and its Tamil langauge paper ‘Inthu Sathanam’ shortly thereafter, the opening of the Jaffna Hindu College in 1890, which is a landmark in the history of Hindu education in this country and the inauguration of the Hindu Board of Education in 1924.
The inauguration of the Vivekananda Society in Colombo in 1902 with branches in some provinces and the subsequent opening of the Ramakrishna Mission Centre in Colombo in 1930 have not only helped to propagate Hinduism in Sri Lanka, but also to harmonise relationships among the various religious professed by the people. One of the aspects of Hindu revival since Arumuga Navalar has been the restoration of a number of Hindu temples.
Undoubtedly, Sri La Sri Arumuga Navalar was a scholar and author, teacher and preacher, exemplar and reformer, mighty genius and indefatigable worker, lover of Tamil, Saivism and God.
He dedicated his whole life in the service of humanity and the whole of Sri Lanka was his home and all human beings were his brethren. He aimed at bringing peace, harmony and unity into the society.
Hindu perspective Correct and incorrect
Thilaka V. Vijeyaratnam
The sixty three Saiva Saints and a few others who came later, and the twelve Vaishanava Saints, the hagiography of six of the famous ones discussed previously would have brought the message that a God exists and he has forms although he is one. The Vedas speak of the forms of these Gods.
Saint Thirugnanasambandar saw Lord Siva when he was just three years old and described him to his father in a Thevaram (his first one). The outpourings are as follows:
The with thodu in the ear (thodu - earstud)
With a pure white crescent in his crown
And ash smeared on his entire body and riding a bull
Has stolen my heart away
He abideth at the renowned Erahmapuram
Where Brahma is said to have worshipped Him
There may be skeptics who may doubt a child of three singing a verse so beautiful and meaningful. If Mozart could compose and play music at four years, and if Beethoven (though deaf) could compose three sonatas when he was twelve, why couldn’t this young child compose a Thevaram? Believe in Mozart, believe in the child saint too. In Tamil Hindu parlance it is “Vittakurai, thottakurai.” What was not completed in the previous birth follows up in the next birth too.
Individuals who have reached such maturity in one birth continue it to the next birth. The phenomenon is clearly explained in Hinduism.
Devas are celestial beings. Indra is the head of the Devas. The Vedas speak of “Mupaththu Mukkodi Devas” - 330 million Devas. We are familiar with only a few, like the Sun God, Moon, Indra - Lord of Thunder, Varuna - Lord of the rains (water), Vayu - Lord of the Winds, Agni - Lord of Fire and Yama - Lord of Death. These Devas are believed to be not of equal status as God and it is incorrect to refer to the God as Deva and Kovils as Devalayas. So far there is only one temple for a Deva in India - the temple of the Sun God.
It is at Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu. Temples are rarely built for Devas. It is indeed sacrilegious to bring down the Gods to the level of the Devas.
However, the millions of Hindus the world over and the entire Pantheon of Hindu Gods will magnanimously overlook such delegatory reference to the Hindu Gods and temples as it’s done out of ignorance.
There are a few unfair treatment of Hinduism and Hindu Culture.
One is the dance of Lord Siva. It is divine and to represent this dance as a comic caricature is in bad taste, and it does offend the sentiments of Saivaites - Siva worshippers.
If the Siva Thandavam which consists of 108 Karanams or poss of these dances have been studiously followed by these who want to imitate same (as imitation is the best way of admiration) it would much appreciated if the prisine glory of the art is preserved. Let not the Ananda (happy) Thandavam (dance) be an “Alankola” (ridiculous) Thandavam.
One could seek a proper guru to enlighten oneself on this wonderful cosmic dance of creation, protection and destruction of evil and granting grace by God, and letting the individual soul merge with the cosmic soul. This is the deep-rooted principle of Siva Thandavam. Anyone is entitled to learn this provided it is done with a sense of dedication.
And so be it!
Kandashashti celebration in Kegalle
B. W. Eheliyagoda Kegalle special correspondent
Kegalle Sri Kathiresan Hindu Temple held its annual “Fasting Celebrations,” recently amidst a large gathering of Hindus and Buddhists from Kegalle district participating in the relevant ‘Poojas’ or offerings to deities.
It was noted that a large segment of plantation workers from Kegalle district were present with their families at the festival.
The Hindu Priest of the Temple Brahmma Sree Sivasangar Kuruppal officiated in the ceremonies conducted at the temple blessing all those people who were present there. The Hindu Priest Brahmma Sree Sivasangar blessed the three forces and the police and the Government, too, to be successful in all their united efforts to bring peace and prosperity to the country.