Thursday, December 31, 2009


From: vama vamadevan
Date: Tuesday, 29 December, 2009, 14:07


Why do you worry without cause?
Whom do you fear without reason?
Who can kill you?
The soul is neither born, nor does it die.
Whatever happened,
happened for the good;
whatever is happening,
is happening for the good;
whatever will happen,
will also happen for the good only.

You need not have any regrets for the past.
You need not worry for the future.
The present is happening...
What did you lose that you cry about?
What did you bring with you,
which you think you have lost?

What did you produce,
which you think got destroyed?
You did not bring anything,
whatever you have, you received from here.
Whatever you have given, you have given only here.
Whatever you took, you took from God.
Whatever you gave, you gave to Him.
You came empty handed,
you will leave empty handed.

What is yours today,
belonged to someone else yesterday, and
will belong to someone else the
day after tomorrow.
You are mistakenly enjoying the thought
that this is yours.
It is this false happiness that is
the cause of your sorrows.

Change is the law of the universe.
What you think of as death,
is indeed life.
In one instance you can be
a millionaire, and
in the other instance you can
be steeped
in poverty.

Yours and mine, big & small
erase these ideas from your mind.
Then everything is yours and
you belong to everyone.
This body is not yours,
neither are you of the body.
The body is made of fire, water, air, earth and
ether, and will disappear into these elements.
But the soul is permanent - so who are you?

Dedicate your being to God.
He is the one to be ultimately relied upon.
Those who know of his support are forever
free from fear, worry and sorrow.
Whatever you do,
do it as a dedication to God.
This will bring you the
tremendous experience of
joy and life-freedom forever.

Thanks for Reading
and Honestly Trying to
Implement the same,
in your Day to Day Life.


An exploration into Hindu philosophical theories
K. S. Sivakumaran

During the tailend of last year I was literarily mesmerized in gaining new knowledge of the basic paradigm of the Hindu Philosophy as enunciated by a guru-like scholar in thamil literature and religion - the indomitable Kamabavaarathy Jeyaraj. This happening took place at the Sangarapillai Hall of the Kolumbu Thamil Sangam began on December 28. It will conclude on January 2. It was a series of exposition of a great work in Thamil called Thirukural codified and written by a Jain Thamilian during the post-Sangam period (roughly 3rdC AD - 6thC AD). It was organized by the Kolumbu Thamil Sangam.

What Jeyaraj did was not the customary explaining the meaning in the couplets (1330 in all), but he went deeper into the basics of the ancient religion Hinduism as described and formulated in the Vedas.

He had his own choice in determining the heads under which he would speak for two hours. Accordingly he chose the uniqueness in Dharma, Aram, Work, Iyal, Kural, Athikaram, Paal, Urai. The right equal term for the Thamil words is difficult to find in English. At least to me for the present. The first lecture was on the 'Varnachara Dharmam'. It was a presentation with clarity. It was a fresh look at the classification of the four kinds of population: Brahmins, Shashtrian, Vanikan and Choothiran. The nuances and the functions of each category of people were rationally analyzed by the speaker.

I am afraid I won't be able to retell what he said in a brief note like this.

Maybe we shall do that on a later occasion because it was too quick to assimilate beautiful ideas one after the other in eight consecutive days.

There were a large number of eagle listeners to listen to Kambavaarathy who is not an academic, but his methodology in presentation with his fluency in the language drawing allusions from related material was simply astonishing.

Kambavaarathy has travelled around the world with his Kudumbi (Konde) lecturing.

He is an authority on Kambar's Ramayana. Every year his Kamban Kalagam organizes many days of seminar on different aspects of the work of the 9th century poet Kamban. But of late he had engaged in literary criticism in the form of lectures.

Kambavaarathy comes from Yaalpaanam and was a student of Hindu College in that city. His team of enthusiasts was in the north for a long time serving the people in the peninsula in inculcating Thamil culture, religion and the arts. After moving to Colombo he has established his institution at Ramakrishna Lane in Wellawatta.

Many scholars and VIPs in Colombo patronize his cultural activities. Justice C. V. Wigneswaran, T. Easuwaran are few such people.

He has coached and trained people who have become academics.

Naturally there will be people, who would not like his interpretations, but Kamabavaarathy is irresistible and one wish to know more from him to form the correct stance one could take after listening to him.

He is only 52 years, but a senior citizen like me wished to be his student understanding the value of Thamil Literature and the Hindu religion.


Sithars of Sri Lanka
Thilaka V. Wijeyaratnam

In the District of Rmaanthapuram was a small state called "Perunaali". It was ruled by a king whose son was Govindaswamy.

Once there was an infectious disease in that small state and many died of it. At that time, two sanyasis were seen walking about the place. Nobody knew who they were. They went into homes where there was this affliction and begged for food. For fear of these "sanyasis" contacting the infection some of the people refused to give them food. The two "sanyasis" forced the householders to give them food and ate the food then and there. Those whose food the 'sanyasis' partook cured the terrible infection. This news spread far and wide. In fact these 'sanyasis' took upon themselves the disease and relieved the sick. When the king heard this he wanted to invite them to his palace and sent his son Govindasamy to bring them to the palace. Govindasamy went to the cottage in which the 'sanyasis' were and worshipped them. They embraced Govindaswamy with joy. One of those 'sanyasis' was none other than Periya Anaikutty Swamy and the other was Navanatha Swamy.

Reaching Colombo
Govindaswamy stripped himself of all his royal raiments and wore a loin cloth. He became their disciple and was known as Chitanaikutty Swamy. After going on foot to many shrines in India they turned their attention towards Sri Lanka. They asked a Chettiyar to buy three tickets. But only two tickets were available. So Govindaswamy was left behind. When their boat reached Colombo Harbour, there was a crowd to receive them and strange to say Govindaswamy was among them. The two 'sanyasis' were not surprised for they knew that their disciple was not an ordinary person. Navanatha Sithar left the other two and went his way.

Periya Anaikutty and Chithanaikutty were walking along with the other mendicants. Suddenly Periya Anaikutty Swamy asked his disciple to buy two tickets to Peradeniya. When they went by train to Peradeniya they saw Navanatha Sithar there. Navanatha Sithar had a cane. With that he tapped on his head and then he tapped on Periyanaikutty Swamy's head and then he tapped on Chithanaikutty's head. Symbolically he had indicated that he would attain Samadhi first and then Periyanaikutty Swamy followed by Chithanaikutty Swamy. Later Navanatha Sithar left for Nawalapitiya. The other two left for Colombo.

In Colombo Chithanaikutty Swamy was hovering around the hut of Eanamuthu who was a devotee of Periyanaikutty Swamy. He felt that Periyanaikutty Swamy had come close upon Samadhi state. He wanted to take him to Jaffna then. There were only a few days left for his Samadhi. So Chithanaikutty Swamy was always beside him. Suddenly one day his guru ordered him to go to Munneeswaram. When Chithanaikutty Swamy was there his guru attained Samadhi in Mutwal, Colombo. On that day while at Munneeswaram he saw an effulgence and he knew Periyanaikutty Swamy had attained Samadhi. He came to Colombo and stayed in meditation at the Samadhi for forty nine days. On the fiftieth day Periyanaikutty Swamy appeared in his dream and told him to go to Queensbury.

Navanatha Sithar attained the state of Samadhi in Queensbury. Before that he had told one Perumal Ammayar that Chithanaikutty Swamy would come and look after him. Chithanaikutty Swamy, went to the Samadhi of Navanatha Sithar and prayed there. Later he went to Perumal Ammayar's home and asked for alms. That lady gave him everything he needed to be comfortable there. Both at Queensbury and other estates around Swamy performed many miracles.

Mystical deeds
Chithanaikutty Swamy went to Kataragama and went to Hambantota and from there he went to Batticaloa. There he resided at the house of one Karthigesu - a superintendent who was a great devotee of Swamy. Swamy had a great liking for Swamy Vipulananda - the greatest son of Batticaloa soil. He was a religious, a poet and an erudite scholar. When Swamy Vipulanandar was suffering from paralysis, Chithanaikutty Swamy became ill and underwent the sufferings.

Swamy instructed his followers thus:

"Wake up early
Think of God as you get up
Abstain from tea and coffee.
Vegetarianism gladdens you.
Feed the hungry.
If you fail in your duty you cannot realise God.
Let there be the holy ash on your forehead.
Pray to God before retiring to bed."

These were considered as golden words by his devotees.


Swami Vethanthanantha to lecture on Bhagavad Geetha in Sri Lanka

All the religions, faiths, creeds and saints had come into this world with one objective - to remind man, the need to turn the inner spiritual relationship into a dynamic and living factor in one's own life.

Swami Vethanthanantha

Swami Vethanthanantha who is in-charge of Sri Sarada Brahma Vidya Kendra (Ooti Ashram), is presently in Sri Lanka to lecture on Bhagavad Geetha and various other religions discourses pertaining to 'Kambaramayanam', Mahabharatham, Periya Puranam and Thiruvasagam.

Swami Vethanthanantha who was born in Madurai, Tamil Nadu obtained his Diploma in Textile Technology and Masters Degree (MA) from Madurai Kamaraj University and served as a textile engineer for nearly 10 years at Coimbotore.

Since he was very much inclined to spiritual matters, initially he entered Chinmaya Sandeepani Vidya Mandir (Vedanta Gurukulam) situated at Coimbotore and studied for three years mastering Bhagavad Geetha, Upanishad, Bramasutra and Tamil Vedanta scriptures.

On completion of his training at Chinmaya Sandeepani Vidya Mandir, he was posted as Achariya of Pollachi Ashram and there he served for 2 years. From there, he was posted to Chinmaya International Foundation (CIF). As he wanted to serve independently, he left Chinmaya Mission and joined Sri Sarada Brahma Vidya Kendra (Ooti Ashram). As Swamiji-in-charge of this Kendra, he conducted lectures on Tamil Vedanta scriptures and also he has established vedanta International Foundation which is now extended to Sri Lanka as Vedanta Mandram.

Swami Vethanthanantha's main aim is to make everyone to attain self realization and to serve mankind. His philosophy of life is to love all, to share with all, to give away everything without caring for his own comfort and conveniences and also without expecting anything in return and without any considerations of gain.

Swami Vethanthanantha's motto is to help all and to make them happy, cheerful and blissful. He says, "I live to serve you all. I live to help you all to destroy ignorance.

I live to make you all happy. Whenever people go to him in India with various problems they are facing, Swamiji never hesitates to see whether they are deserving or not. He helps them with all he can, to get over their problems.

Indeed, his method of teaching is to encourage people to think for themselves and to resonant and test for themselves and not to be bound by any blind belief. Swamiji says that the greatest contribution of the Geetha to modern society, apart from its priceless spiritual teachings, is its emphasis on work, dedicated work for the good of the society and the welfare of all the people.

Work without aiming at personal aggrandizement and with an eye only to the welfare of the community is the way of life taught in Bhagavad Geeta.

It lays emphasis on the dignity and sacredness of all work that falls to one's lost.

According to Swamiji "God is one. Follow any path that appeals to you with steadfast faith and try to experience Him."


Temples and sacred worship
Sivanandani DURAISWAMY

"Our whole world is a temple domed by a vast celestial heaven. Billions of stars follow the moon and pour themselves into the golden brilliance of sun-rise. The sun rises like a luminous lingam filling the solar system with its radiant light," says Suddhananda Bharati.

An ancient Shiva temple at Thiruketheeswaram

The beauty of the luminous lingam tinging the clouds with pink hues and bathing the sleeping world in that strange ethereal rosy glow, creates in man a sense of peace and harmony. The calmness that radiates from around and the extraordinary sense of stillness at that sacred hour creeps upon him. This magnificent beauty stretching across the sky moved the ancient rishis in their woodland hermitages on the banks of the holy Ganga, to prayer and meditation, singing the Gayatri mantram at the very dawn of civilisation itself - 'Let me contemplate the adorable splendour of Him who created the earth, the air and the starry spheres and sends the power of comprehension within our minds,' said Rabindranath Tagore. This has been the transcendental guiding light to humanity down the ages. It is an earnest prayer requesting for enlightenment, linking the present to the Vedic past. The past lives alongside the present giving the whole a gentle continuity and man even today is constantly seeking peace and happiness, despite all the tensions around him.

Places of worship provide man the rhythmic anthem of love and peace. These places are the temples referred reverentially by the Tamils as the koyil or aalayam. The koyil is the home of the Divine King, the Lord of the Universe and is a sanctum of peace and bliss. Dame Avvai, the grand old lady of the Sangam Age says, "aalayam tholuvadu saalavum nanru," it is good to worship at temple," and adds, "never live in a village where there is no temple."

The Hindu enshrines and worships the Almighty God in three places: firstly in his heart as the Antar-atman; secondly in his home as the revered household guest and lastly in the Royal Residence, the consecrated temple, as the Ruler of the Universe. The Hindu temple is thus one of the holy sanctuaries where man shares the precious moments of prayer with God. He attunes his own emotional self to noble and pure thoughts. The purpose of the temple is therefore to be near God, seek His love and to awaken greater love for him. Initially man worships God in His Personal form and as his love deepens, he begins to understand Him as pure Consciousness, Light and Love.

The religion and culture of the Hindus are centred on the temple. Being serene settings for music, song and dance, weddings and spiritual discourses, temples mirror the life of the people. Down the ages, these have been regarded as centres of excellence for the study of fine arts, sacred architecture, engineering, medicine and sociology.

The temple is likened to the body of man and the various sanctified acts within the temple have their significant parallel in our inner world of body and mind, "ullam perun koyil oonudambu aalayam," says Tirumular.

Modern research shows us that temples act as bridges linking both religion and science. Hinduism is viewed as a religion, which could be explained scientifically. As a philosophy it quenches the thirst for the knowledge of the Ultimate Reality and as a religion it is a link between God and man founded on faith and devotion and manifested through the various rites.

The belief in God is basic to the Hindu Religion and man needs the temple and images to guide his prayer and establish contact with Him.

Within the temple, God is worshipped physically and through the senses but in man's inner temple deep within, He is realised through the mind. "ennul eluparam sothi," He is not only the Soul of his soul, but is also the dweller in the holy shrine of Tirupperunturai - 'Tirupperunturai urai Sivane', sings Saint Manikkavasagar. These words guide one to seek God first in the temple and then with more prayer and meditation, within.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Religious Conversion as an Economic Enterprise..!!!

Religious Conversion as an Economic Enterprise

By R. Samarasinghe

Religious conversion has to be examined in its global context, because coerced conversion is not a spiritual but a political act with economic motives. So was colonization; though they said they came to civilize us! The so-called religious wars such as the Crusades were about wealth and dominance.

War is not an option any more because it is no longer economically viable. It can lead to expensive recurring conflict, and though beneficial to the Western military industrial complex, have negative political implications at home for the politicians. Therefore cultural hegemony achieved through conversion is an effective political and economic strategy.

The imposition of the belief of cultural superiority of the colonizer was particularly important in effecting social control of the colonized. It also underpinned their racial superiority firmly. This process, defined as hegemony enabled the wheels of capitalist system to move efficiently. The colonizers also created a comprador class, whom they educated, trained and some times christianized to continue their work when they eventually withdrew their military forces of domination. This class has completely internalized the idea of European cultural and racial superiority. Present new missionary activity is simply a readjustment of colonial strategy to suit the new global order.

The British colonizers had an existing developed literary and cultural tradition which they used to good effect through education, to create a tame brown elite in colonized countries; to carry out their policies. But in US, which later became the dominant capitalist state, religion provided the basis for social solidarity in place of a shared culture and it was but natural that they would use controlling forms of Christianity to establish hegemony over people they wished to dominate. This form of Christianity arose from Puritanism, a strict, narrow and literal interpretation of the Bible and has evolved into the present day Fundamentalism. Economically, religion has proved to be a cost-effective form of social control.

Fundamentalist Christian groups, funded mainly from America have continued to use religion as a weapon, funding ‘local’ groups to convert the ‘heathens’. They conduct a spiritual war using sophisticated, psychologically devised forms of mind control and aggressive marketing strategies using electronic media and incorporating them into proselytizing in India and Sri Lanka and other parts of Asia as well as Africa.

It is an attempt to retain economic dominance through cultural/religious hegemony in order to maintain control of valuable resources.

At these mass rallies for conversion they use religion as propaganda. The methods used in conversion are the same as those used in advertising and war fare. They attack the mind from several directions, breaking down the buyers’ or enemies’ resistance.

Buddhism which appeals to reason and focuses on disciplining the mind and promotes critical thinking stand little chance against this onslaught. There are many morally reprehensible methods used in conversion but only a few can be dealt with here.

One of the main techniques used by missionaries is to create a state of cognitive dissonance in their victims’ minds. That is, they would create doubts about the validity of their existing belief systems, at the same time offering some thing ‘far superior’ which would advance them materially and spiritually. The interpretation of reality offered by their original religions as well as the customs etc. will be shown to have less status and usefulness.

Holding two contradictory views at the same time would cause psychological tension, motivating the person to reduce dissonance by changing their attitudes, beliefs or behavious. Aggressive missionary activity would create dissonance and convince some, that their beliefs and culture was inferior; leading them to avoid this emotional tension or cognitive dissonance by changing them. The targeted would shift their allegiance to the spiritual colonizers and identify with them, while seeing the ‘natives’ and their religions through the missionaries’ interpretation.

At some of the prayer meetings where new recruits had been lured, they had been asked to bring a statue or picture of the Buddha or Shiva etc or a picture of the Pope. Then after the initial preamble of denigrating their religions, the recruits would be asked to smash the statue or tear and trample the holy pictures. This would create a situation of ‘no return’ spiritually. The prayer leaders are powerfully persuasive, similar to modern salesmen and use the vulnerability and weakness of the victims to their own advantage, so that they would be forced to conform with the group.

The idea of purifying one’s soul through confession and completely washing away one’s sins (total immersion baptism) has existed since early biblical times. Since man was ‘born of sin’ he had to be made ‘pure’.

During the Cold War, enterprising psychiatrists began to experiment with electric shock therapy and mind altering drugs on their patients. According to Naomi Klein, (The Shock Doctrine 2007), Dr. Ewen Cameron, who had been the president of the American Psychiatrist Association and later of the World Psychiatrist Association, rejected Freud’s talk therapy and began using electroshock therapy as well as a cocktail of newly discovered mind altering drugs to try to return the minds of patients to a state of tabula rasa, where the earlier personality was wiped out, so that he could reprogram them as he wished.

For example, the sheer volume of noise at one of these ‘prayer meetings’ shuts out thoughts and one has no choice but to listen to the magnified voice of the Pastor. His shouting and Halleluiahs are interspaced with loud religious pop music and shouting to Satan, Mahasona (a local demon) and related demons etc to leave forthwith! The confused patients allow manipulation through being stunned by the force of persuasion. Sometimes physical force is used to restrain them. Sometimes it is not only their freedom to think that is murdered but their bodies as well.

In the recent deaths that took place at one of these Evangelical Meetings in Viharamaha Devi Park, one of the women who subsequently died was tied up and isolated in a cage, and her father or relatives were forcibly prevented from accessing her. Thus isolated and intimidated by a screaming Pastor and a shouting and singing mass of unfamiliar people she had gone into shock, as they would have expected, and then they would have reprogrammed her, or ‘saved her soul’; but her body was not prepared for the violence imposed on it. It was a very public execution, all in the name of religion.

There are usually thousands at these conversion meetings and many who come due to sickness or poverty or helplessness are intimidated and coerced by the weight of sheer numbers. The total power of the presiding Pastor backed by the shouting, singing and praying congregation shocks the victims into compliance.

As anyone who reads the history of the Christian religion will know that it has a long history of torture and murder of those who reject their views.

According to Klein, Dr Cameron used what he called “input-overload” or use of six times the normal electroshock to change behavior.

Dr Cameron spoke of ‘wearing down of defenses’ and the ‘breaking down of the individual under continuous interrogation’. The label applied to ‘the enemy’ then was Communist, and now it is ‘infested by Satan’ which really mean non-believer. The word that is repeated again and again is “Jesus” so that Satan is driven out and that word replaces Buddha or Shiva etc. It is ‘shock and awe’ by other means.

Hitler and Mussolini used similar methods very successfully. For them the Satan was the non Aryan Jews and Slavs etc.

The conversions are a two pronged attack against society. They target the poor and vulnerable, because in a democracy numbers mean power, but they also hunt the vulnerable among the power elite. Here, they are able to manipulate the nation through internal interference with the machinery of power, subtly. They target the lonely or the bereaved and depressed among the rich and powerful and promise personal peace and of course salvation. The prayer group provides a substitute family to the lonely and the real family and community are gradually ripped apart.

The core of a culture is religion. The foundation of a nation is its culture. The loss of culture and religion weakens a people and naturally and instinctively we tend to react emotionally and irrationally when our way of life is threatened by alien forces. But in modern context this is not skillful. It is made out into an attack on freedom of choice and therefore a rights issue and also since ‘their’ right to ‘save our souls’ has been given to them by God. Our actions have to be justified through rational behavior and the use of law.

In acting like victims we become disempowered and taking the law into our own hands criminalizes us and makes them, into martyrs - which is what these Evangelists want; in order to obtain more funding from their donors. There is no accountability to the donors or the Government who is responsible for the people they prey on, as to how this vast amount of money is spent.

We are no longer fighting the Portuguese but sophisticated, well funded pseudo-religious organizations who use criminal methods against our society to re-colonize us again. Therefore we should use the law against them but, also ask ourselves why, with free education and free healthcare people still flock to these false messiahs.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Divine mission of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba...!!!

Divine mission of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Chandima DE SILVA

Millions of followers of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba around the world celebrated the birthday of this Divine Master on November 23. Sri Sathya Sai Baba was born on November 23, 1926 in a tiny, hilly, isolated village called Puttaparthi in the Anatapur District of the present Andhra Pradesh State of India.

Not only his father Sri Pedda Venkappa Raju but his grandfather Sri Ratnakaram Kondama Raju and one ancestor Sri Venkavadhoota too had been very pious, religious-minded people belonging to the Raju lineage of the Kshatriyas. The family had rich musical, literary and dramatical traditions. Sri Sathya Sai Baba's mother Srimati Eswaramma was also very religious like her mother-in-law Srimati Lakshmma. Sathya Narayana Raju, now known as Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, or Swami to millions of his devotees, was the fourth child of Sri Pedda Venkappa Raju and Srimati Eswaramma.

In 1940, at the age of 14 Bhagavan declared His mission as "I have come to light the lamp of love in your hearts, to see that it shines day by day with added lustre. I have not come to speak on behalf of any teaching, like the Hindu teaching. I have not come on any mission of publicity for any sect or creed or cause; nor have I come to collect the followers for any doctrine. I have no plan to attract disciples or devotees into my fold or any fold. I have come to tell you of this unitary faith, this Atomic principle, this path of love, this duty to love, this obligation to love."

Each day, hundreds of pilgrims make their way to Puttaparthi, the tiny hamlet in Southern India where Sri Sathya Sai Baba's ashram (spiritual headquarters) is located. They come not only from India but from virtually every country of the world. Over the years, followers have organized to foster the construction of a variety of buildings and facilities to house and otherwise accommodate the ever-increasing number of visitors. The name of Sri Sathya Sai Baba's ashram is Prasanthi Nilayam, which means "abode of the highest peace".

Spirituality, according to Bhagavan Baba, is having the courage and determination to follow our conscience in all things and at all times. In doing so, we recognize that we are all united in God. We are bound together by divine love.

If we may quote Swami: "I have come to light the lamp of love in your hearts, to see that it shines day by day with added lustre. I have come to tell you of this universal, unitary faith, this spiritual principle, this path of love, this duty of love, this obligation to love. Every religion teaches man to fill his being with the glory of God and to evict the pettiness of conceit. It trains him in the methods of non-attachment and discernment, so that he may aim high and attain spiritual liberation. Believe that all hearts are motivated by the one and only God; that all faiths glorify the one and only God; that all names in all languages and all forms man can conceive denote the one and only God. His adoration is best done by means of love. Cultivate that attitude of oneness between men of all creeds and all countries. That is the message of love I bring. That is the message I wish you to take to heart."

With the aid of many thousands of active service workers, Sri Sathya Sai Baba runs major humanitarian projects to help poor and suffering people in India and inspires and supports many others. All this work is done anonymously by members of the organization with no publicity or public fund-raising, which Swami strictly forbids. The Sathya Sai Seva Organization in India and other countries provides free services like village hygiene. sound basic education in human values and home industry etc. Outside India there are well over 1,000 Sathya Sai centres and many thousands more groups spread throughout the world where the organization is represented do selfless service, primarily for the direct benefit of the poor, for refugees, the homeless, the aged and many other kinds of needy and suffering people.

A most significant event for the population of a large part of the poor state of Andhra Pradesh was the inauguration on Sri Sathya Sai Baba's 70th birthday of the enormous Rayalaseema water project. In the presence of a crowd of about 200,000, the President of India officially started the turbines that opened this project, which brings a year-round water supply to each of over 750 villages and several towns in this day state that were often without any water previously, which lack caused much suffering.

Establishment of the most modern and spacious Sri Sathya Sai Super Specialty Hospital in Puttaparthi could be undoubtedly described as a milestone in Swami's selfless service to humanity. All services at this hospital, including complicated surgeries, are done free of charge. Leading surgeons from Italy, USA, UK and India work gratis for the hospital. The infection rate at this hospital is reported to be 0.8 percent, which would be quite extraordinary even in Britain or the US. The mortality rate here is less than 2 percent, which is regarded as virtually unprecedented.

Already, more than a dozen Sathya Sai Colleges have been built in India, admitting several thousands of students annually. These are all run through private donations, as are numerous Sathya Sai schools, male and female colleges and one central university, the Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. These institutions that offer school education and both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in many disciplines are regarded as foremost seats of learning in a number of Indian States.

Sri Sathya Sai Baba predicted many years ago, when it seemed incredible, that there will eventually be at least one major Sai College in each State of India. This unique education combines the highest technical and scholarly standards with the deposit moral education available anywhere today, requiring through personal commitment to universal truth and goodness in both word and action. Sai Schools and Colleges also exist in other countries, especially Thailand. Another Sathya Sai College in Zambia has been in existence for many years. This well-founded college teaches the unity of religions, charges no fees, is run on donations and serves children from low-income families with scholarships. Sai schools have also been started near Gothenburg, Sweden and in Odense, Denmark. It is worth mentioning here that the first Sri Sathya Sai School in Sri Lanka is presently operating in Manipai, Jaffna.

The Sathya Sai Education in Human values (SSEHV) for young people from 6 to 16 years of age and a trust for that purpose were inaugurated by Sri Sai Baba in 1981. SSEHV is a universal system of spiritual education, not bound specifically to any particular religion, sect, or other single system of moral belief. The five human values truth, right action (righteousness), peace (of mind), love and non-violence, which are the most universal ideals in all world cultures and form the essence of all religions form the basis of SSEHV. SSEHV provides for blossoming of these five human values that are dormant in every human being.

Bhagavan Sri Sai Baba has told His followers that, even though God is in everyone and everything. He is totally aware of His Divinity in a way which others are not.

The breadth and depth of spirituality in India's ancient culture, with its great tolerance and universality, is well reflected in the works and teachings of Sri Sai Baba. Whether Sri Sai Baba is the avataric incarnation of Vishnu come again to save the world from the crisis caused by its periodic decline in righteousness or whether Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is God in human form is a question of personal conviction, for no one can fully perceive and know the true nature of such omniscient and omnipresent divine incarnations.

In conclusion, let us quote Swami: "Service to man may deal with his physical or spiritual needs, but serving him by example is best of all. Do not be a bad example to your neighbours or family members. Be good and radiate goodness. In ancient times, when the education of the pupil was over, the teacher exhorted the pupil to speak the truth and observe righteousness. The truth must be spoken without hypocrisy or deceit; there must be no motive to injure. Acts must be regulated by the overall supremacy or righteousness.

"He is asked not to neglect the knowledge he has acquired but to ruminate on it and cultivate it by putting it into practice. Treat the mother as God; treat the father as God; treat the preceptor as God; treat the guest as God. These important declarations should be honoured. Give in reverence; give in plenty; give with modesty; give as to a friend; give without any thought of reward. Do not give ostentatiously. All has to be done with humility and reverence. Only then will these acts bring about cleansing of the mind, which is the main benefit to be derived from service."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hinduism .....!!!


Raja Yoga attained through spiritual powers
K. S. Sivakumaran

An reader upset by what we wrote last week on Yoga Swami of Yaalpaanam has complained that the piece was all factually wrong. When asked what were the errors the reply was that we have mentioned that the swami was a catholic. This information we gathered from an article written by the late S. Ambihaipahan. As mentioned in our column the article we wrote was based on what Ambihipahan has written. Granting that the complainant was right, let us move on to some useful suggestions on attaining Spiritual Powers.

In meditation

Last Sunday (Nov.15) we were invited to a function organized by the Brahma Kumaris Raja Yoga Centre of Sri Lanka. It was held at the BMICH. The 150 minutes program was a practical exercise - Experiencing Inner Power and Protection Through Good Wishes and Pure Feelings. With multimedia presentation in three languages and singing of melodic hymns in Hindi and English the devotees at the Centre invited the audience of different strata to meditate at different levels to know our inner power. It was a harmonious atmosphere and a few members explained how they felt doing this exercise in silence.

We must know something about the organizers. A Lanka branch of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University in India is incorporated by Act of Parliament of No 37/1998. We learn that the University has been working for more than 75 years to promote understanding between people of different beliefs and backgrounds through dialogue, education and the development of spiritual values and also simple form of meditation.

The organization offer seminar programs on the following:

Positive thinking, stress management, self awareness, self empowerment, inner leadership. Lectures on values and appreciative inquiry.

The bottomline is that there are eight powers amongst us that become effective in our lives. "The basis for this experience is to become an embodiment of LOVE - it is this unconditional Love from the Supreme Truth that gives us the feeling of safety, security and protection."

The Centre has outlined the eight powers. For the benefit of our readers let me list them so that they too can change themselves and become powerful.

The power to tolerate, the power to face obstacles, the power to accommodate, the power to cooperate with others, the power to discern, the power to judge, the power to pack up waste and the power to withdraw thoughts.

Despite negative situations one can remain peaceful and happy. One can be detached from the consciousness of the physical body and see beyond problems and difficulties nod discover positive approach. One can be above any clash of personality or nature to mould and adjust oneself as the situation requires. Good wishes and pure feelings can change bitter relationships.

The attitude of brotherly or sisterly vision creates unity and strength. Correct values to the thoughts, words and actions could be achieved through meditation. We must have clear understanding of what is right and wrong.

Meditation provides this strength and clarity of the intellect through greater self understanding and detached perspective. Not having negative thoughts and positive outlook keeps one from both mental and physical tiredness. True controlling power of our negative thoughts brings greater strength to the self and protection ensures.

Thus Raja Yoga helps us attain Spiritual Powers.


Sai Baba's 84th Birthday:

Making men of excellence
Dr. C. Srideva

Usually the devotees address Sai Baba as 'Swami', who is a spiritual leader with multi dimensional personality catering to the requirements of people based on their levels of thought, levels of awareness, levels of understanding, and levels of consciousness. Thus His approach is different for each one. Best way to follow the spiritual path is the Prashanthi Nilayam schedule, where Swami lives. Here there is no place for any religion but it is a place of religiousness, a connection heart to heart, love to love.

What is spirituality?
We, humans are reflections of god, the very image of god. Sparks of the divine. Tree behaves like a tree, an animal behaves like an animal. But most human beings behave like animals with qualities like ego, pride, envy, passion, animosity. So we have to pass this illusory "I", and evolve to be true human, and realize the spark of divinity within and view life in the correct perspective to feel the divinity. This is Spirituality.

Sai Baba

Spiritual path is not imprisonment. It is freedom, sharing something that we already know, creative, a vision, constructive, without any instructions or theory, and is an eternal, continuous journey and is a path to the unknown without any space or time factor. So one have to continue to go along more and more eternally, tirelessly, ceaselessly, continuously enjoying.

Love and Meditation are the twins that, one has to cultivate on the spiritual path. Meditation establishes inner contact, at the psychological level, intellectual level, all alone by yourself.

Love is an interaction among people in the neighbourhood. This love turned inwards becomes meditation. And meditation turned outwards becomes love. With love and meditation one can be closer to God.

What is the happiest thing in life? Not to desire anything. Die mind is the end of life. When the mind is annihilated, you are beyond attachment and in a state of renunciation and you become a real seeker after truth.

Spiritual goals are unknown, and there is always a thrill in moving towards the unknown. Leading a life is mechanical like a railway time table. Living a life, that is life is to be lived, when you are blissful, joyful, happy and creative. To be creative, we have to be child like. Jesus said, 'Unless you are like a child, you cannot enter the gates of Heaven'. Not childishness. Child is innocent. We should have the same innocence.

Biggest obstacle
But adults like us do not want to be innocent. We want to be post graduates, or men of excellence, or knowledge. The biggest obstacle on the spiritual path is this state of knowledge. With knowledge one can get a good job, good salary, but in the spiritual field, you get zero. Knowledge is the information passed on to you by somebody. That is borrowed information. But spirituality wants first hand information. One has to be child like to establish contact, heart to heart, love to love, connection with God. One has to be creative. Because of the ego mind, which the child do not possess, we are not able to establish communion with God. Ego has already taken charge of this mind. The heart and mind should be open and not closed. Mind should not be a barrier and thus one has to be child like, in a state of innocence.

Bhagavad Gita
Spiritual path is the observance of religion, which is religiousness. This will help to advance and progress. It is by a process of development, slow and steady all by your individual self. Bhagavad Gita says, "You have to work for your own liberation." It cannot be bought, purchased or imported. That is self awareness is to be attained by the self. Moksha or liberation is not the goal of life. It is a state of mind, an attitude, a state of detachment, state of bliss. It is not a life after death. A cheerful, joyful, ecstatic life, a non-dual life and a life of vision are the very symbols of liberation, of moksha, or of nirvana. One should not get confused religion with religiousness in one's spiritual path. Religion, is a banner, builds up ego, divides you with rules and regulations, makes you dogmatic, and fanatic leading you to conflicts and wars. But religiousness is only a manner, a methodology, with principles and practice of religion, brings you together, makes you feel blissful.

God's gift
Here again, to be successful in spirituality, one has to bend the body in service, mend the senses in devotion, and end the mind in awareness. In spirituality transformation is slow and steady. A true spiritual man finds life to be positive, beautiful and interesting, and he never condemn his life. He will find every moment of life as God's gift and value it.

Life is like a river that flows continuously taking us to unknown shores. That is river finds its fulfilment in merging with the ocean. Ocean is divinity, cosmic soul, universal soul. River is individual soul. So when the river of the individual soul merges into the ocean which is the cosmic soul, there lies joy, bliss, and end of the journey, end of the spiritual journey.

Two factions
How do you call yourself spiritual? When you realize both states of existence, for example, good or bad, victory or defeat, success or failure, partial or prejudice, profit or loss, then you are balanced and spiritual.

Man is born with natural intelligence i.e. awareness (Prajgnanam brahma). Life's journey should be towards subject and not towards objects. Once you know the subject, the inner being, then you will feel the light of love, light of truth, flame of peace, and radiance of bliss. Existence, Awareness, and Bliss, all are latent in your inner being. So diversion of mind to subjectivity instead of objectivity will make the life interesting.

Far reaching goal
Unlike worldly endeavours, worldly pursuits, worldly paths, which have goals, spiritual path is not goal orientated but is not a far reaching goal. One has to find out the meaning of life and create the meaning of your life. There is only one spiritual question Who am I? We have to live to find an answer and the answer comes from the deepest core within you. Until you find an answer to this question, there is emptiness within, there is discontent lying deep within, but the answer is already there. Answer is I am, I am God, I am You. So the purpose of life is to find that answer within us, if not life is unlived. Life is worth living if one can understand that life lies in Being and not in Having. Having is materialism (cars, flats, etc.), comparative, competitive, and leads to dissatisfaction. Being is spirituality, non-dual, divine, and is the very nature of satisfaction and be happy eternally.

One should know about the essence of life and existence of life. For a tree, seed is the essence of life. It is born with essence and lives in existence. But man starts his life in existence but he misses the essence. Without the essence, existence is useless, is negative, and is futile. The essence of life is the divinity latent within us and knowing the divinity is this essence of life.

Life is a matter of questions and problems. It is absolutely individualistic. When this individuality is gone (eg. retired from service, or losing job, or losing everything in life as in an earthquake)then you are lost. Then the question arises in your mind. Who am I? To realize the answer one has to work for his own liberation, own emancipation, own progress and advancement and as an individual introspect, seek and search and answer would be "I am I".

In spirituality life is never a question but life is a Quest. Questions can be answered intellectually, and two persons are involved. Quest needs to be answered existentially, the answer comes then and there within you, deep within you.

To be continued


Meditate with God Ganesha

The Hindus of Sri Lanka will observe the twenty one (21) day fast in the Vinayakar Temple accompanied by meditation, poojas by repeating the story of Lord Ganesha.

The worship of God Ganesha is widespread in Sri Lanka and is revered by Hindus and Buddhists. His other names are Ganapathy, Vigneswara, Pillaiyar, Yanaimukan etc.

God Ganesha

God Ganesha is the God of wisdom and is the removers of all obstacles and He is worshipped in all Hindu ceremonies both in the temple and in the home. Even the celestial beings are said to have worshipped God Ganesha before embarking on any important undertaking.

God Ganesha holds a hatchet (Parasu) in one hand which symbolises the cutting away of vanity and false teaching.

He also holds a God (Ankusha) to cut through illusion, in another a noose (Pasa) which represent the restraining of passions and desires. The fourth hand of God Ganesha holds a sweet (Modaka) with an external tasteless part of rice flour and an internal tasty parts of jaggery and coconut. They symbolise the Universe where the outward worldliness has no worth, but within is the bliss.

As the son of Lord Shiva, Ganesha inherits his father's attributes, ornaments (such as the snakes) and the dancing posture. The adoration of god Ganesha in the arts has been remarkably universal and has very often cut across religions. His dominant manifestation has been in warding off all evils.

He even creates obstacles that are prays to him for the removal. God Ganesha has been a major deity, since the seventh and eighth centuries in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

God Ganesha was extremely popular in Indonesia, Sumatra and Java. There are paintings and stone sculptures of god Ganesha found in China.

As a remover of obstacles, god Ganesha is propitiated in Sri Lanka and India at the beginning of any activity - undertaking a journey, building a house, performing marriages, social ceremonies, writing a book or even composing a letter. He even helped Sage Vyasa for writing Mahabharatha.

God Ganesha had appeared in the form of "Nritya Ganapathy" blowing the conch, dancing in great abandonment, swirling and whirling his movements beyond man's comprehension. Even god Ganesha gave the task of creation, preservation and destruction of the world to Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

Therefore, let us all pray to god Ganesha and observe this twenty-one-day fast very meticulously and receive His Divine Blessings to remove all the obstacles to maintain to tranquillity, equanimity and serenity of the mind and for peace and prosperity.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Agastiyar - versatile Sithar
Thilaka V. Wijeyaratnam

Agastiyar was a Sithar spoken of even in the Vedhas. So his period would have been over 3,000 years. He was a versatile person - a poet, sithar, rishi, sage, native physician, an alchemist and was the head of the first Sangam established by the Pandya King. He was also a householder - his wife being Lobamutharai. But he was a hermit - a sanyasi all the same. He, like the other sithar consumed ‘Kayakalpa’ - a substance that if taken would extend one’s life. That was the cause for the sithars to live through many eras.

When physicians in Europe were bleeding patients to rid of bad blood to cure them of illnesses, Agastiyar had gone a long way with herbal treatment for illnesses. He was the one who founded the “Chitha Vaidyam” or “Ayulvedham”.

Apart from nature cures, Agastiyar like other sithars moved among men, teaching them to follow the righteous path and be good, honest and honourable and be religious.

God Muruga Himself had preached to him at a phone called Ilanchi. Agastiyar was supposed to have visited Indonesia, Borneo, Cambodia and Malaysia.

He was also an astrologer. He had written about individuals on olas and even now astrologers read the “Kandam” of a person by referring to the ola scripts. He also contributed to Tamil Language, especially a research in Tamil Garmmar.

He not only wrote about Tamil Language and grammar, but also he wrote on topics like, native treatment, the herbs concerned, alchemy, plant variety, Yoga, Magic and Astrology. He was a versatile sage and scholar. Many were his disciples.

Among them were the Sithars - Pulathiyar and Theraiyar. Even Tholhapiyar had been one of his students. He also knew the past, present and the future.

All were welcome to his ‘Ashram’ - hermitage. He allowed freedom of worship in there.

Though he helped people to live healthily, he was not satisfied.

He asked God Muruga, “Is knowledge of health enough for the people?” In other words he meant that people should be spiritually enhanced too. God Muruga had imparted knowledge to him on the past, present and future.

Agastiyar was consoled. Sithars like Thirumoolar, Pokar, and Ramalinga Swamygal were there in the Kaliyugam to protect the people and lead them on the spiritual way of life. In fact, Agastiyar was the progenitor of the Sithar tradition.

His utterings are meaningful.

“Lead a noble life and occupy a high position in life.”

“Be humble. Avoid the paths to destruction - which are many on earth.”

“Do not go after impermanent objects.”

“Realise the Truth - the Absolute Truth.”

“Don’t be taken up by flattery - people flatter you to reduce you for nothing.”

“Control your anger.”

“Stand by your word of honour - do not betray the trust one has in you.”

“Daily duties must be followed carefully.”

“Do not blunder.”

“Do not tell lies. Do not get involved in futile arguments.”

“Your soul must mature like the top-heavy sheaf of paddy.”

“The only way to reach spiritual enhancement is to keep your mind pure.”

“If the mind is pure, mantras are not necessary,

If the mind is pure ‘pranayama’ is not necessary,

If the mind is pure your good state is guaranteed,

If the mind is pure mantras too will be effective.”

From this it is understood that if one wants to attain spiritual maturity, only a pure mind is needed. None of the other exercises are necessary. He says God Himself dwells in the heart of the man with a pure, clean mind. If the mind is pure, the thoughts that arise in the mind is also would be pure. Pure thoughts lead to good words. Good words beget good actions. Thus a pure mind enables a person. Agastiyar also knew in which hills, forests or mountains were medical herbs to cure a particular illness. He was close with nature and was of the opinion that nature has the remedy for all illnesses.

Agastiyar was a true Saivaite - a Siva worshipper. Legend has it that Agastiyar on seeing many people suffer from various kinds of illnesses had prayed to Mother Goddess - Parasakthi to tell him way to help these stricken with ailments. The Goddess asked him to pray to God Siva to find a remedy. He was awed at the thought of praying to God Siva. He again pleaded with Mother Goddess to appeal to God Siva as a mother for the sake of those whom He created.

And when Goddess Parvathy appealed to God Siva, He was supposed to have told her in which forests, hills and mountains the herbs, varieties of leaves and yams could be found to prepare native medicines to cure all illnesses. That was how it is said in the book on Sithars, the native medicine known as “Chitha Vaidyam” was introduced by Agastiyar and other Sithars.


Yoga Swami of Yaalpaanam
K.S. Sivakumaran

Lankan Hindus of earlier generations might have heard of Yoga Swami of Yaalpaanam. He was a sage who passed away in his 94th year in 1964. We tend to recognize the greatness of people only after their demise. But Yoga Swami was an exception. He was honoured in his time in his own native land. He had a missionary life for nearly 65 years. Learned and the uninitiated visited him to get his blessings.

The annual “Ther” chariot festival of Sri Sivasubramania Swamy Kovil Bandaranayake Mawatha, Colombo took place recently. The Kovil has two Ther chariots. Here the chariots which were taken in procession around the streets of Colombo City. Picture by A. Muduraveeran

Swami Vivekananda of Bengal in India visited Yaalpaanam in 1897.Vivekananda was the deciple of the sage Ramakrishna under whose name the Ramakrishna Mission all over the world functions. Vivekananda mesmerized the Americans and the westerners with his famous Chicago Oration explaining the Vedanta of the Hindus. I was overawed to notice a street named after the great Vivekananda in the heart of Chicago when I was living in the U.S. in the beginning of this century.

Vivekananda’s Lanka visit had inspired Yoga Swami who was maturing spiritually. At this point let me digress a little. However much on might have progressed in spiritual life the initiation by a Guru is a must.

The greatest sages and intellectual giants had all their Gurus. Young people may not be impressed by the simplicity of the Gurus. Some of the Gurus might not have been literate. They might have even classified these saints as men fit to be sent to a lunatic asylum. Yoga Swami too had a Guru in the name of Chellappah Swamy. We learn that the latter was labelled a ‘mad man’ then. But Yoga Swami’s teachings and activities were akin to the Zen sect of Buddhism say scholars.

It is revealing to note that Yoga Swamy was born a Catholic, but he abandoned all formal religions. He followed the path of the great sages transcending all forms and names. He was a true ascetic at heart and followed the middle path. He was an outright ‘Athuvidhist.’

He taught Monism (There is only one). At the same time he encouraged Duvidham (Dualism) as a stepping stone to that abstract philosophy of Monism. In this respect his philosophy can be linked with that of Thaayumaanvar of the 17th century. I am tempted to compare Thaayumaanavar with the metaphysical poets of the West.

Like Mahavira who was a contemporary of Siddhartha, Yoga Swami too might be considered a fatalist since he felt complete surrender or unalterable natural law of evolution to the almighty.

At a lower plane Yoga Swamy was active in politics, the growth of Hindu culture, and propagandist against alcoholism. Among his followers were the German Swamy and the son of Lord Soulbery who was the first governor-general in independent Ceylon.

This article is based on a booklet authored by the late S. Ambihaipahan


The Essentials of Hinduism
Continued from Nov. 06

Before answering this question, we must ask ourselves another question-”Why should we reach God?” To enable us to answer this question we have to make some enquiry about:

1. The nature of God,

2. The nature of ourselves, and

3. The nature of our present condition.

(1) God is a Being beyond human comprehension. We gather from the ‘Sastras that He is spiritual in form’. He is almighty, omnipresent, just, all-merciful and ever-blissful. He is the fountain of eternal heavenly happiness, and He is a goal from which there is no return, when once reached. He is always full of love towards the souls.

(2) Souls are themselves spiritual in form and in their pure state are fully capable of enjoying the eternal heavenly happiness in the presence of the great God. They are, so to say, of the nature of crystal, ever ready to receive the reflection of the object before which they are placed.

(3) In their present state, they are merged in ignorance, covered up by the veil of Pasa. They have therefore no idea of the exalted nature of God nor of the relation that exists between them and God. If they merge out of their present state of ignorance, they will find themselves in the presence of God and will be in the enjoyment of heavenly happiness.

Systematic instruction
Religion provides the necessary means to remove our ignorance and to enjoy heavenly happiness in the presence of God. The question may now be asked whether a religion is necessary to reach the presence of God.

We know that even in ordinary worldly matters, we are invariably in need of systematic instruction imparted by competent teachers on accepted textbooks.

Personal endeavours
Can we then dispense with the services of a guide and depend on our personal endeavours for the securing of heavenly beatitude which is beyond the range of our practical knowledge in our present state of existence? A course of instruction on the subject is indispensable, and it is this instruction that is called our guide or religion. We may, without the help of a religion, try to conform ourselves to what are known as the moral and social laws of our country, but such a trial will not be of much avail.

Need guidance
The moral laws themselves have to be explained to us and we must be instructed on the necessity of conforming ourselves to those laws. We cannot depend on mere self-help for such instruction: and even supposing that we do not require any help in the observance of our moral and social duties, heavenly beatitude or our salvation in its proper sense, cannot be secured without the help of an efficient guide. The observance of moral rules is only a preliminary step necessary to qualify us for receiving instructions on the method of securing heavenly beatitude.

Heavenly beatitude is a grand realization which it is not in our power to adequately describe, and it would be absurd on our part to attempt at securing it without a religion to guide us.

Mystic region
Heaven is a mystic region of which we have not the remotest idea, and can we expect to reach that region with our human exertions? It is a region that cannot be identified by location, but we can only say, if at all we venture a description of it, that it is a stage in which we enjoy God.

To attain that stage, we must be made to know God, feel God and realize God. That is our enjoyment of God - our enjoyment of heavenly bliss. Such an enjoyment cannot be realized by us with our personal endeavours, groping as we are, in the labyrinth of intellectual darkness.

We are covered, nay, twisted round in a very intricate manner, by a thick veil of material sheath: and inside that sheath we are again entwined by an equally intricate astral sheath, and there is a third sheath further inside which is the cause of the two outer sheaths.

We have to be conducted through the labyrinths of these various sheaths and the numerous obstructions caused by them and led before the presence of God.

The essentials of Hinduism written by Mudaliyar Sabaratnam has been described as one of the earlier works in English that gives an exposition of Hinduism in the light of Saiva Siddhanta.

To be continued


Ramboda Sri Hanuman temple worshipped by Buddhists
Chelvatamby Maniccavasagar

Sri Hanuman Temple at Ramboda, a hamlet 4,000 feet above sea level surrounded by tea estates in the district of Nuwara Eliya, is popular and is a miraculous temple and thousands of devotees both Buddhists and Hindus visit this temple daily particularly during Full Moon Poya Days.

Sri Hanuman Temple at Ramboda,

More than 5,000 devotees from all parts of Sri Lanka visit this temple to receive the divine blessings of Sri Hanuman at this temple and all are served with ‘Annathanam’ mid day meals.

Prompted by the inspiring faith in the divine, spontaneous unselfish urge and truly voluntary effort combined with spell-binding united action, cutting across religious denominations and political ideologies an idea to build a temple for Sri Hanuman at Ramboda came to the mind of Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda when he visited Ramboda a few years ago.

This village was considered to be the place where Sri Hanuman set foot in his search for Sita. Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda was tremendously fascinated by the scenic beauty, serenity of the location that he felt that Ramboda was ideal.

The Chinmaya Mission of Sri Lanka with the consent and blessings of Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda purchased a plot of 10 acres where this Sri Hanuman Temple is presently situated.

Sri Hanuman is the embodiment and personification of physical prowess, of mental and spiritual discipline, intellectual uprightness, emotional balance and moral splendour.

According to Sage Valmiki, Sri Hanuman is the best of all characters. Hanuman represented the most cultured youth of his times. He expressed maturity, intelligence, alertness, calmness, smartness, nobility, humility, honesty, boldness, devotion, respect, courtesy, all bundled up together.

Sri Hanuman was praised as the best of the servants by Sri Rama. He was considered the best among men who did much more than the different tasks entrusted by his master. Even as a messenger of Sri Rama, Sri Hanuman was very competent in communicating with Sita in Asoka Forest and devised some means so that Sita may listen to his words without any fear.

He addressed her in gentle words praising the noble qualities of Sri Rama. Hearing these words from Sri Hanuman, Sita was extremely delighted at the news of Sri Rama. To Sita, the heroic Hanuman appeared like the Asoka Flowers and she was deeply amazed and took Sri Hanuman to be a formidable being.

Sri Hanuman, the effulgent son of Wind God humbly approached Sita, worshipped her and said that he had come as a messenger at Sri Rama’s command. Hanuman fully realizing Sita’s thoughts about Sri Rama, began to speak in words pleasant to the ear, causing immense delight to her.

In order to create confidence in Sita’s mind, Sri Hanuman gave a ring with Rama’s name engraved on it. Sri Hanuman said that Sri Rama has made it and he had brought it for her confidence.

He comforted Sita by saying that her sorrow would soon be over. Undoubtedly Sri Hanuman was an envoy par excellence. Indeed, Sri Hanuman is one of perfection, personification of erudition, culture, competency and efficiency.

The President of the Chinmaya Mission of Sri Lanka S. Mahenthiran, Gowri Mahenthiran, Sivanandini Duraiswamy, Somasunderam and several others are rendering remarkable spiritual service to the devotees both Buddhists and Hindus irrespective of caste, religion or creed.

The consecration ceremony (Kumbabishekam) of Sri Hanuman temple at Ramboda took place on April 8, 2001 and the ceremony was performed by Sironmani Shivachchariya Chakrawarthy Kiriya Kalanithi Navaliyoor Viswanatha Kurukkal.

The head of the World Chinmaya Mission Ven. Swami Thejomayananda gave his blessings for this consecration ceremony.

Sri Hanuman was a perfect servant. Though, he accomplished so much for the sake of Sri Rama, he was utterly devoid of vanity. Humility and self effacement were his hallmark and his utter devotion to Sri Rama will be cherished till the end of this world. The deeds done by Sri Hanuman, none else in this world could even conceive of attempting. Crossing the sea and entering Lanka and accomplishing the task set by Rama, not only fully, but beyond the hope of all should be really commended.

Virtues are the ornaments of a cultured person. Sri Hanuman exemplified all the good virtues and ever remained as the servant of Sri Rama.

Let us all worship the Sri Hanuman temple at Ramboda and receive his divine blessings.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hinduism ....!!!

Power of cosmic dance of Lord Siva
Chelvathamby Maniccavasagar

The Supreme One is venerated as Lord Siva by the Saivite Hindus. The vedic eras saw Siva venerated as a powerful divine, Lord of Sacrifice who granted prosperity and welfare. Lord Siva along with Brahma and Vishnu form the “Holy Trinity” of the Hindu Pantheon, responsible for creation preservation and destruction.

Lord Siva

As Supreme Lord of the Universe, Siva is conceived in several forms. Each of these bears a separate name having its aspects represented by an image or symbol. The Siva Lingam installed in the sanctum of all Sivam Temples is the symbol of Lord Siva. It is a mystic symbol of Vedic origin representing that which is formless and has been the object of veneration for ages.

Further, Nadarajah is the dance form of Lord Siva. It is a form of exquisite beauty which has won high acclaim of the whole world. This form was revealed to sages after long periods of meditation and is said to depict Lord Siva dancing at Holy Chi Dambaram, symbolic of the inner hearts of mankind.

Lord Siva, as the supreme power performs fivefold functions creation, maintenance, destruction, purification and ‘Arulal’.

The cosmos is sustained by Lord Siva and that functional state is represented by dance.

Lord Siva is said to be dancing seven types of dances. Kalika Tandavam symbolizing creation, Kauri Tandavam symbolizing maintenance, Cantiya Tandavam symbolizing the balance of creation, Cankara Tandavam symbolizing destruction, Tiripura Tandavam symbolizing purification, Uma Tandavam symbolizing Arulal.

The Cosmos is conjectured as the body of Siva and the movements or the activities of the Cosmos is conceived of as the dance. By the dance process, the Cosmos is set in motion and sustained.

When Lord Siva stops the dance, the Cosmos grinds to a halt and life on earth becomes extinct. When He dances again, Cosmos is brought not existence and sustenance once over.

It is a process of transformation of one into another. Many saivite saints who attained the realization of God have explained this process in their writings and speeches.

Even Saint Manickavasagar had even expounded the truth established by scientists that chemical evolution precedes the evolution of life on earth. He said that this is occasioned by the dance of Lord Siva. Saints Appar, Sundarar, Thayumanavar and Thirumoolar have all said the same.

Sivagna Siddhar, a work on Saiva Siddhanta philosophy clearly shows that matter can neither be created nor be destroyed. Further, the image of dancing Siva is made within the frame of the Tiruvasi which represents the Cosmos.

His legs and hands rest on the Tiruvasi indicating that he sustains the Cosmos. Another scientific interpretation of Lord Siva is the unknown power that sustains the various objects in the Cosmos - the earth, sun, moon, stars, planets etc. in a continuous smooth balance without any one of them coming into friction with the other.

The Cosmic dance of Lord Siva represents the infinite modes of rhythm in the process of universal creation, preservation and destruction.

The small drum (Udukkai) in one hand symbolizes creation, the Abayakara or the hand dispelling fear and assuring protection symbolizes preservations. Fire in another hand depicts the aspect of destruction. These threefold nature of God Absolute is brought out by the Cosmic dance of Lord Siva.


Supreme God and the philosophical thinking
K. S. Sivakumaran

The unanimous verdict of all the Vedas and Upanishads is that “Not an atom could move without Him.” This statement could be interpreted in two ways:

Plato developed a wide-ranging system of philosophy that was strongly ethical, resting on a foundation of eternal ideas or forms that represented universals or absolutes.

If the ‘Nature Powers’ are within the atom, then the Almighty must be hiding inside it and determining its movement. Some would say that this is akin to Pantheism (meaning identifying God with the Universe.) In other words it would mean God is All and All is God. This view is very ancient.

This belief did not evolve depending on any revelations, dogmas or teachers.

It was a spontaneous feeling found among poets, philosophers and contemplators.

All the ‘Athuvithistic’ sects (Monists) in Hinduism believe in some form or the other that the creation and the creator are One and the Same.

Egyptians and Greeks had similar ideas in the past. We read that an inscription in the Temple of Isis read - ‘I am all that hath been, is, or shall be and no mortal has lifted my veil’.

From Plato downwards there was a strong tendency to identify the material and spiritual elements in the universe as One. Even a Christian theologian in the 9th century AD is reported to have opined that all things emanate from God and are reabsorbed into God.

Although Pantheism is a way of thinking found in different places and times, there is no religion by that name. And yet Samuel Johnson has defined a Pantheist as one who confronts God with the Universe. There were philosophers and even scientists in the West who could be labelled as Pantheists according to Johnson. But one should modify this view.

It is not that all westerners find it difficult to understand eastern Mysticism. Some understood it. One could cite the poems of Emerson on ‘Brahmin’, Alexander Pope’s ‘Essay on Man’, poems of the Romantics like Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Blake and Coleridge.

They clearly indicate that Solitude and Communion with Nature reveal the same thing.

Pantheism, Polytheism and Monotheism were successive thoughts and need not be contradicted. Such views existed. Monism is the key to understand God.

The almighty is within us. That is why we must love our self first and the love for the humankind follows.

The contradictory interpretation to the maxim given at the beginning could also be noted and this is one way.

The other interpretation is Athuveda philosophy (Dualism) that is peculiar in Hinduism. The change or difference in interpretation is the non-acceptance of the fact that the Brahmam does not undergo any changes. The Upanishads say this according to scholars.

Although we call Time and Space as infinite and the universe within them as also infinite they are all really finite taking different forms.

Brahman alone is infinite and there is nothing which is not Brahmam. If anything seems to exist other than Brahmin then it is an illusion and not real.

That is why dualistic ideas confound our thinking in relative terms. Brahmam is seen in all things through intuition. This view is expressed in poetry, philosophy and religion of the Hindus. But the Dualists did not understand this view. Hence they dubbed the Monists as Pantheists.

Eternal truth
To call Brahmam as God with attributes was incomprehensible to the Dualists.

That was one reason why the Monism of Sankarachariyar was not popular among emotionally charged people. They suspected that Sankara was really an Atheist or a Nihilist. But his philosophy is receiving the earnest attention of the intellectuals in the East and West alike.

As human beings we are capable of thinking. In the process it is sometimes inevitable that we are subject to abstract thinking and unable to understand the eternal truth.


Life of Ramalinga Swamigal
Thilaka V. Wijeyaratnam

Ramalinga Swamigal was a very recent Sithar. Born on October 5, 1823 it was said that at the time of his birth there was a great effulgence in the area and everyone rejoiced some great soul had taken an avatar on earth.

Unlike other Sithars, Ramalinga Swamigal did not go about renouncing family and property. His parents, his siblings were all with him. He was the youngest of the five children. As his father died when he was a child, his elder brother Sabapathy took on the responsibility of caring for the family.

Ramalingam did not shine in school. The brother who was a teacher like their father stopped him from school and tried to educate him. But it was of no use. He didn’t study. Sabapathy sent him to his own teacher called Sabapathy Mudaliyar. Even there he was a failure. Annoyed with him, Sabapathy turned him out of the house.

One day on the death anniversary of their father, Ramalingam came to take part in the rituals. His sister-in-law, wife of Sabapathy shed tears at seeing him as a beggar. Ramalingam was touched and promised to study. He was given a room upstairs and he obeyed his sister-in-law and showed interest in studies. But he was a religious soul. He had all the things necessary to perform pooja. He had a mirror hung on the wall. He would adorn the mirror with a garland and say his prayers.

Then he would look hard at the mirror. Wonder of all wonders - his image was not there. Instead what he saw was God Murugan as he is at the sacred shrine of Thiruthanigai. He didn’t have a picture or a statue of God Muruga - instead in his heart, he had the God implanted. What he saw in the mirror was what was in his heart. Usually devotees have statues of the God outside. But he had the God inside.

Inspiring song
On seeing the God of Thiruthanigai in the mirror, he was overwhelmed and inspired to sing:

The famous six faces and
Twelve shoulders decked with Kadamba flowers
Sharp spear and peacock and a cock on the banner
That blue hills of Thanigai do I see
Yet he could not study - the traditional way and was despised. Very much hurt, he adopted God as his father and mother.
Thou God of Thiruthanigai
Thou art my father and my mother
Pitying me, please call me to
Thy abode at Thiruthanigai

He was just nine years when he saw God Muruga’s image in the mirror. But he was able to compose songs in praise of God Muruga. Those who sang the Puranams enlightened the lay people on the philosophy of life, God-Worship, righteous life and such like. Ramalinga Swamy on the other hand made his heart as the temple in which dwels God Muruga or Subramaniyam. Ramalinga Swami composed a set of songs called ‘Thiruarudpa’ - songs giving the grace of God.

While he was supposed to be studying in the room upstairs, he was actually having communion with God Muruga.

The brother and sister-in-law realised it in the end and listened to his devotional songs. His eldest brother Sabapathy was also a very religious person.

He used to give lectures on Puranams at the place of one Somu Chettiyar. Once he fell ill and could not go. He was upset about letting down all the people who would have gathered there. His wife advised him to send his youngest brother Ramalingam to sing a few songs there and pacify the people.

Ramalingam waiting for such a chance went to the Chettiyar’s house. The latter was reluctant - ‘A flower in place of gold’ he thought. Anyway, he welcomed him. Ramalingam started the lecture at 9.00 p.m. and continued till midnight. People felt there was some greater power from inside him and wondered at the inspirational talk he gave on the real meaning of Puranams.

The poesy of the sithars has no parallel. They are not the educated elite. But they have the inborn wisdom ‘gnana’. Chettiyar recognised him as a special avatar and insisted he should continue the lectures.

Then his eldest brother heard of the younger one’s power, he had his doubts. An uneducated fellow - how could he explain Puranams.

One day when Ramalingam was lecturing, he came and hiding behind a piller listened with awe and astonishment at the torrent of words that flowed from the mouth of his brother. Apart from his religious beliefs he had progressive ideas. He was against caste system and discrimination in society.

Meantime, his mother and brother forced him to marry a woman among their relatives. But he was completely detached from all mundane desires. His wife Thanakodyamma was distraught.

Ramalingam, clad in white, barefoot freed himself from the nuptial bond and was given the name of Ramalinga Adigal. He walked the earth as a Sanyasi - Hermit. He pleads with God thus:

Let me associate with the noble ones who forever think of your lotus feet,
Let me not associate with double tongued people,
I must speak of your greatness - must never utter lies,
Follow the path of righteousness - not religious fanaticism,
Forget desire for women - never forget You my God,
O God Muruga dwelling in Kantha Kottam.

His end too was unbelievable. Before he departed this world, he advised his disciples and blessed them.

He reclined on the beddings in his cottage and instructed his disciples to lock the door. After one year, when Government authorities opened the door the room was empty. None can decipher the happenings in the life of mystics. They are best left alone.


The Essentials of Hinduism
There are various forms of religious faiths on the face of the earth, and they may be classified into two main heads-theistical and non-theistical.

The Maha Kumbabiseka Festival of Sri Muniappar Devastanam, Armour Street, Colombo took place recently. Here the Chief Priest, truestees and Board Members conducting the pooja. Pic. A. Maduraveeran

The former believe in the existence of a God, while the latter do not care to do so.

In the opinion of the former, religion is our guide to God, while in that of the latter, it is our guide to get over our present state of ignorance.

A commemoration program presented with Indian Music by the “Mano Manjari’ music group to mark the 155th birth anniversary of Saiva Saint Sri Narayana Guru took place at Sri Narayana Guru Memorial Hall at Grandpass Colombo recently. The event was organized by the Sri Narayana Guru Society of Sri Lanka. Pic. A. Maduraveeran

I think a minute inquiry into the subject would disclose the fact that both the theories point, more or less, to the same end, but I do not propose here to enter into a disquisition of the subject.

I will only say that we cannot get to God without removing our present state of ignorance, and that we cannot remove our present state of ignorance without the grace of God. We cannot depend only on our personal endeavour to get ourselves freed from our present state of ignorance, and the reasons are twofold.

In the first place our exertions and endeavour will be altogether impossible without the grace of God, and in the second place, our ignorance will not be dispelled unless the grace of God shines over us.

A man groping in the dark requires a light to find his way out: and, ignorant as we are, we cannot be expected to help ourselves independent of any help from outside.

It is true that our freedom from ignorance depends largely on our own exertion: but such exertion must invariably be guided by divine grace. Without such guidance, it will be absurd to expect final emancipation from ignorance, and when so emancipated, to continue in that state of emancipation. I will not, however, dilate long on this point, as my object is to satisfy enquirers who believe in the existence of God. I have already said that according to their view “Religion is our guide to God”.

The Necessity of Religion
Admitting the existence of God, the question arises whether a religion is necessary to reach Him.

To be continued

The Essentials of Hinduism written by Mudaliyar Sabaratnam has been described as one of the earlier works in English that gives an exposition of Hinduism in the light of Saiva Siddhanta.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009