Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hinduism ......!!!

Friday, 5 March 2010



Trincomalee Thirukoneswaram temple Annual Festival
Chelvathamby Maniccavasagar

Among the various monuments of Hindu antiquity found in Sri Lanka, the Thirukoneswaram Temple in Trincomalee is one of the three principal places of warship dedicated to God Shiva. The Thiruketheeswaram in Mannar and Munneswaram in Chilaw are the other two temples of equal repute. The annual festival of this ancient and historical temple will commence with the flag hoisting ceremony in the first week of April.

The Board of Trustees of this temple has made elaborate arrangements for the success of this festival and the flag hoisting will be done by the Mahotsava Chief Priest of this temple.

The Koneswaram temple as a sacred place of Hindu worship of the ancient past would have remained in its original form, upto the present day, had not the misguided zeal of the Portuguese friends caused it to be razed to the ground, to procure building materials for this new fortifications which they built on the rock by the cliff and overlooking the deep blue sea.

There is a legendary story about the Koneswaram Temple. A Portuguese soldier once entered the sanctum (Shrine room) and defiled it by his presence as he was drunk and carrying a piece of roasted beef in his hand.

The wrath of God having fallen on the man for his unholy behaviour in desecrating the holy place, he has fallen accidentally into the sea below and drowned. It is said that the dead soldier's apparition could still being seen by the faithful when the priest after pooja holds his torch over the edge of the precipice as and when night falls.

Koneswaram was flourishing as a great centre of Saiva worship and pilgrimage and religious songs are sung in honour of its presiding Deity by the Saiva Saint Thirugnasampanthar in the 7th century.

In 1623, the Portuguese captain General Don Constantine desa de Norontha with the permission of the viceroy of India Don Jeronimo de Azevedo to build a Fort, marched towards the Koneswaram temple with a formidable army destroyed the sacred edifice, threw off idols into the sea and on its site built a triangular fort and fortified it with artillery and garrison. The required materials to build the Fort were collected from the debris of the destroyed temple.

The Dutch who drew away the Portuguese in 1658, demolished the old Fort and in its place built a bigger one acclaimed as the most magnificent Fort along the Eastern coast of the Island.

With the evacuation of the Dutch, it was handed over to the British on August 26, 1795 which they named as Fort Frederick, the Duke of York (1763-1827) who established the Royal Military Asylum in England in 1801, for the sons of the English Servicemen.

The Saga of this historic temple is said to have been described in a Tamil poem written by one Kavirajah Varojayan, an erudite and a celebrated bard of ancient Sri Lanka.

In the days of old , a king named Mami Neethi Kanda Cholan, who ruled over the country Cholamandalom, came to know about the wonders of Trincomalee, had come over the island on a pilgrimage as he was a great devotee of the God. Later his son, Kulakoddu Maharajah, having learnt about the holy place from his father, had come over to Trincomalee and built this temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

The British occupation of the maritime province of Ceylon in 1796, had one salutary effect on the inhabitants and this was in respect of the freedom of worship.

According to Hindu tradition, God Shiva as Mahadeva is the creator. The God Shiva's consort is Parvathi, the divine vehicle of God Shiva is the sacred bull known as Nanthi. Lord Shiva, as the supreme power performs five fold functions namely creations, maintenance, destruction, purification and release.

God Konesar is worshipped not only by Hindus, but also by Buddhists in large numbers. As such, let us all pray to God Konesar and receive His Divine Blessings.


Abirami Pattar's festival in Sri Lanka and India
Every year during the month of February "Abirami Pattar" Festival is celebrated in an elaborate manner in temples in Sri Lanka and at Thirukadaiyur in South India.

Many years ago in South India there was one devotee Goddess Abirami called Subramanian in Thiru Kadaiyur, Tamil Nadu. He had deep devotion towards the Mother Goddess Abirami, indulging in performing poojas, showering of flowers at the feet of Goddess Abirami. One day King SAROBOJI visited this temple when devotee Subramanian was meditating. The King Saroboji was provoked seeing Subramanian's ignorance about his arrival.

The king asked who that man was. One of the devotees told the King that he was mad in thinking that the other women as Amman and used to shower flowers on them. But, the Chief Priest of this temple told, that he was a deep devotee of Goddess Abirami.

The king wanted to test who he was. So, king Saroboji looked at Subramanian and asked whether today is New Moon Day (Amavasai) or Full Moon Day. At that time Subramanian was in eternal bliss of Goddess Abirami enjoying her beautiful face surrounded with thousands of sunlight. Subramanian answered the king that the day was Full Moon Day which was actually "New Moon Day" (AmaVvasai).

The king Saroboji got angry an ordered to push Subramanian into the burning fire at evening if the moon did not appear. Thereafter, the king awakened Subramanian and called him to come with them, to undergo the punishment. To be continued


The Ramayana tradition
Continued from Feb 19

Shanmugam Arumugam

"The Ramayana is not history or a biography. It is part of Hindu mythology"...... "Mythology is an integral part of religion. It is as necessary for religion and national culture as the skin and the skeleton that preservers a fruit, with its juice and its taste," states C. Rajagopalachariar in the Ramayanaya.

The Ramayana epoch is well rooted in the traditions of Lanka.

The Ramayana, narrates events, believed to have taken place in the epochs of 20 centuries before the Christian era.

The story of the Ramayana is one of traditional knowledge to everyone in Lanka.

Kubera, a Raksha, by his thapas of merit, was gifted with riches and was placed in charge of Lanka, the Yaksha Kingdom and Lanka Pura, the capital city built by Visvakarma, the architect of the Gods.

However, because of their abuses, the Rakshas were banished and lost their kingdom too.

But Ravana, the eldest offspring of Kuvera's brother Vishrava others being Kumbakarma, Surpanaha and Vibhushana, by austere penances, wrested a boon of immortality and the Kingship of Lanka from the Gods, the Rakshas thus came back to power over Lanka. In the exuberance of their newly gifted power, they dared subdue the whole universe, even Indra, King of the Devas was defeated and taken captive.

The Rakshas were an ugly, fierce, and carnivorous tribe, unlike the Yakshas or the Nagas.

Ravana himself was a great devotee of the Lord. Tradition has it, that his chief object of worship was the Shiva Lingam at Koneswaram, Trincomalee; Thiruketheeswaram Temple also would have received his devotion.

The Ramayana records wherever the Lord of the Rakshas went, a golden Shiva Linga was borne before him and he placed it on a sandy altar and worshipped it with flowers, perfumes and sandal paste.

Having paid homage to that symbol that delivers all beings from their sufferings and which was large and exceedingly beautiful, adorned with a crescent moon, that Ranger of the Night, with uplifted arms, danced and sang before it" - The Ramayana of Valmiki; translated by Hari Prasad Shastri, Shanti Sadan, London, 1959, Uttara Kanda states; "Ravana goes to the banks of the Narmada River." To be continued


[Folk deities]
The Agni Puthri daughter of fire God
Thilaka T. Wijeyaratnam

In the district of Thirunelveli in South India was a small village called "Mavalioothu". The wealthy farmer and land owner of the village had employed a young man of the untouchable caste to care for his cattle.

As was customary in villages farmer's beautiful unmarried young daughter is up in the mornings and going to the cowshed to collect the fresh cow dung, to mix with water and sprinkle outside the court yard. Her mother died when she was very young and her step mother was a wicked woman.

Whenever she went to collect cow dung the step-mother suspected her of going to meet the young attractive labourer. He also keeps the cow dung ready for her. Besides, he would collect flowers and fruits for her.

A friendship between the two developed into love. Soon everybody in the farm got to know of this romance. One day while the two were intimately chatting in the cowshed, the step mother caught them red handed. The young man darted out and while doing so accidentally pushed the woman. She fell on a stone and with her head bleeding and she wailed loudly. The girl also was scared and ran away. The farm head sent the people to catch them.

There was a heap of hay piled up in a field. The girl hid in there.

The young man lost his way in the dark and fell by chance into a well and was dead.

This girl had a parrot as a pet. The farm head's clerk told his other labourers to free the bird and follow it.

They did likewise. The bird flew to the field and sat atop the pile of hay. The labourers knew the girl was in and informed the step mother.

She ordered them to set fire to the pile of hay. They expected her to come running out to save her life. But the girl thought, "If my clothes get burnt, I will have to be without clothes before all these men. Better for me to die than face the humiliation". So she stayed without coming out. When the hay stack was reduced to ashes the village folk saw that the body of the young girl was burnt but remained there like a statue.

Naturally the emotional village folk attributed some divinity to her called her "Agni Puthri".... and worshiped her. They washed her with turmeric water and burried her there. One of the devotees then got into a trance.

She spoke. "For cruelly setting fire to this goddess, you have committed blasphemy. As such every year during festivals, one from your family should fire walk. She will protect you."

They had planted a banyan seedling there. It is now a big tree. Annually fire walking takes place and the person comes out unscathed. So another folk deity was born.

Courtesy Kalaniooran - in Kalki


The Voice of the Avatar
K.S. Sivakumaran

We are told that the word Avatar in Sanskrit means that the Almighty descend from the celestial Heaven down the earth in human form. In Thamil we call it Avatharam meaning reincarnation. But in Sinhala I am told it means apparition. Let that be.

Recently readers might have seen a Canadian film in English called Avatar. From what I gathered from the film was that it implicitly suggest the transmigration of a soul in reincarnation. In Thamil it is called "Koodu Viddu Koodu Paaithal".

There are many reincarnated sages around the world who preach and practice Universal Love primarily based on Hinduism. Among them is Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

I see him as human representative of the almighty doing service to the people at large particularly in the field of education and health.

In other words he is an Avatar from my point of view and belief. It does not mean the other saints and sages are different. They too preach and practise in their own ways. They are all contemporary mystics.

Although I had been to Puttaparthi a number of times I was unable to have an eye contact with him leave alone having an audience with him.

Perhaps this is due to my immaturity and skepticism which I have not surrendered to surrender at his feet. But implicitly he communicates with me through some positive signs and helps me ward off a few difficulties that I encountered.

Recently I came across a monthly magazine published in 2005 in England (Heartfield Centre) celebrating Sri Sathya Sai Baba noble pronouncements.

For the benefit of our readers let me assemble some of the words of the Sage.

* You remember God when distress assaults you; you forget Him when you are free from it.

* Your life can be peaceful only when you can control the excitement of your body and mind.

* You can reach perfect bliss only when your heart becomes free from envy, egoism, greed and other evil traits; spend the time with God who can make your shoulders strong and your burden light.

* You should not pray God for secular advantages; you should pray only for grace.

* You must necessarily have three essential qualities like Discipline, Devotion and Duty.

* You have to remove wasteful and wicked thoughts from your heart, plough the heart with good deeds, water it with love and manure it with faith.

* You should not try to differentiate one religion from another, the end and aim of all religions and all castes is one and the same.

* You serve yourself by serving others.

* You come alone when you are born; you go alone when you die.

* You can find the foot prints of God wherever there is beauty, virtue, humility, justice, truth, love and peace; you can hear the foot steps of God, only when silence reigns in the mind.

* You must surrender your judgment to the Lord; then the Lord will assume full responsibility.

1 comment:

godrealized said...

When do we expect coming of Bhagavan Kalki... an Avatar of present era... a messiah competent to uplift Dharma (righteousness)! In times of strife... when mutual trust amongst each other reaches its lowest ebb... coming of a messiah (Avatar) gets necessitated! Even man gods like Mahavira, Gautama Buddha, Jesus Christ or Prophet Mohammed fail in such circumstances!

Who shall be Bhagavan Kalki is the biggest question! Coming of a man god coupled with powers of Chanakya (most able administrator in history of mankind) is only solution! Humanity looks forward to such a one... an ordinary mortal that against all odds upholds Dharma (righteousness) and succeeds in re-establishing peace tranquility abound!