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.