Thursday, October 13, 2011
OH! MY MOTHER! HOW CAN I THANK YOU FOR YOUR MILK,FOOD,CLOTHS,PROTECTION &LOVE IN NEED!
OH! MY FATHER! HOW CAN I THANK YOU FOR PROVIDING ME EDUCATION,GUIDANCE,ADVICE AS YOUNG!
OH MY SISTERS &BROTHER! HOW CAN I THANK YOU FOR YOUR AFFECTION,TRUE CRITISM &HAPPINESS!
OH MY WIFE! HOW CAN I THANK YOU FOR YOUR AFFECTION,CARE,PROTECTION,TOLERANCE&TASTY FOOD
OH MY CHILDREN! HOW CAN I THANK YOU FOR YOUR LAUGHTER,PROGRESS,AFFECTION & COURTECY!
OH MY UNCLES & AUNTS! HOW CAN I THANK YOU FOR YOUR ADVICE,LAUGHTER,FRIENDLINESS&SMILES!
OH MY FRIENDS &RELATIVES! HOW CAN I THANK YOU FOR YOUR JOKES,LAUGHTER,HOSPTALITY,SMILE!
OH MY POLITICAL,RELIGIOUS,SOCIAL,SPRITUAL,MENTORS!HOW CAN I THANK YOU FOR YOUR COURAGE!
OH MY VILLAGE! HOW CAN I THANK YOU FOR YOUR LOVELY NATURE,GREEN VIEWS & LOVELY TEMPLES!
OH MY JAFFNA! HOW CAN I THANK YOU FOR YOUR GREAT-HISTORY,EDUCATION,CULTURE&HOSPITALITY!
OH MY LANKA!HOW CAN I THANK YOU FOR YOUR NATURAL-BEAUTY,SEA,NICE FOOD & WARM CLIMATE!
OH MY NORWAY! HOW CAN I THANK YOU FOR GIVING ME&MY FAMILY PROTECTION,SAFETY,LIFE& CARE!
OH MY WORLD!HOW CAN I THANK YOU FOR YOUR REGULAR DAY&NIGHT;SUMMER&WINTER CYCLE SAFELY!
OH MY SUN!HOW CAN I THANK YOU FOR LIGHT/HEAT FOR ALL!NOT COME CLOSER OR GO FAR AWAY!
OH MY UNIVERSE!HOW CAN I THANK YOU FOR PROVIDING HARMONY!NOT DESTROYING LOVELY WORLD!
OH MY GOD!HOW CAN I THANK YOU FOR THIS LOVELY WORLD/UNIVERSE&MY HEART WORKING SO FAR!
SHAN NALLIAH...DRAMMEN, NORWAY 13-10-2011
DURING THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN AT FJELL SKOLE,DRAMMEN, I MET HON.MINISTER OF EDUCATION: KRISTIN HALVORSEN & SPOKE AT THE PUBLIC MEETING WITH 3 NEW IDEAS OF URGENT NEED:LOCALLY: 1 YEAR JOB TRAINING TO YOUTHS+IMMIGRANTS;NATIONALLY:MONITORING CITIZEN COMMITTEES IN EACH STREET REGARDING NAZI/EXTREME GROUPS/ENVT PROTECTION;INTERNATIONALLY:GON ACTIVE VOICE & INVOLVEMENT IN HR,JUSTICE,FREEDOM,POLITICAL SOLUTIONS,ENVT PROTECTION IN ASIA,AFRICA &LA.I EXPLAINED THE SITUATION IN SRILANKA/TAMIL SUFFERINGS AS WELL AS NEED OF NORWAY'S ACTIVE ENGAGEMENT EVEN DURING POST-WAR PERIOD TOO! ......NSP
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Thirukkural: One of the finest products of Indian culture.! The work of Thiruvalluvar has the unique privilege of being praised EVERYWHERE.!!!
Thirukkural - great treatise on right living
Thirukkural has been acclaimed as one of the finest products of Indian culture. The work of Thiruvalluvar has the unique privilege of being praised through all the ages and in most countries of the world. If the Tamils were to place before the world audience their literary best, they would definitely place the Thirukkural. There cannot be no disagreement on this point. In the words of well-known modern Tamil poet Subramania Bharathi’ Tamilnad gave unto the world Valluva (the author of Kural) and thereby won great renown’. The master piece of Tamil literature is yet a fertile field for scholars to explore and exhibit the lofty wisdom of the Tamils to the world. Thirukkural is said to be the Bible of the Tamilians and it has been translated into many languages.
World classic of morals
The Kural deals with the essentials of human nature. It has universality of appeal. Its observations goes beyond nationality and languages. Indeed the age of Kural was a period in which many cultures and religions were interacting one upon the other in the Tamil part of the Indian sub-continent. He ‘saw life steadily and saw it whole’ like Shakespeare. He was not a mere observer. He participated in life. He must have lived a rich and abundant life.
*The Kural deals with the essentials of human nature
*The Kural is a great treatise on right living
*Thirukkural is a book of life
*Thiruvalluvar was a saint
*Thiruvalluvar was a person who had a deep understanding of human psychology
Poet Thiruvalluwar the author of Thirukkural
The Kural is a great treatise on right living. The Kural seems to stand as a unique classic on morals among the ethical works of the world. It is unique due to the fact that its approach to morality is psychological ie. agreeable to the science of psychology. He was concerned about the right and proper way of living at every stage of human growth and development from childhood to old age and development.
Thirukkural consists of chapters which are classified under three main sections viz virtue, wealth and enjoyment comprising of 1330 couplets. It is a book of life – of the whole life. Chapters on ethics politics, economics and human enjoyment are all actuated by one underlying purpose viz the development of human personality in terms of love and compassion.
The chapter on virtue consists of 380 couplets dealing on aspects such as righteousness, household life, life’s partner, children, hospitality, pleasant talk, gratitude, impartiality, good conduct, tolerance, benevolence abstinence from flesh, penance, fate and so on.
The first chapter in praise of God deals in a shuttle way without mentioning any religious faith. The theme on rain exemplifies as to how rain is indispensable to all vegetation and livelihood of man. Touching on the theme joy of children Valluvar says begetting intelligent children is the greatest gift and also describes the duties of parents and children. When the mother comes to know that her son is a learned person, her joy knew no bounds than at the time of delivery. On the theme sweet words he draws a similarity to come out with harsh words, when there are sweet words is like plucking unmatured fruits when there are matured ones.
On theme “ideal Householder” he poses the question of what use of a person who tries to seduce the wife of his neighbour. Interestingly touching on the theme abstinence from flesh he asks how could a person be kind if he eats the flesh of another living creature in order to fatten his body. The other topics too are interesting and thee examples are given at random in order to impel the reader to study Thirukkural.
The second section of the Kural consisting of 700 couplets deals with the topic of wealth. Wealth is to be produced as it promotes general welfare. Wealth plays a significant part in society; because it is that which gives importance to persons who are otherwise unimportant. But if care is taken to acquire wealth in the proper way, it can become a source of virtue and happiness.
Firstly the chapter on politics deals with the strategies, qualities, duties and statesmanship of a king or ruler. The next chapter on learning is of great interest. What Thiruvalluvar says to learning is of interest not only to rulers but to the ruled also. The following couplet is a striking example on learning.
”Learn without faults, what needs to be learnt; Thereafter conduct yourself in a manner worthy of your learning ‘(Kural-301) While mentioning about perseverance he says” those who strive ceaselessly and undismayed by failure can defeat even fate (KURAL-620)
It is quite interesting that Thiruvalluvar in this section practically deals on all aspects of life which are of utmost importance in the day-to-day life. The importance of acting sensibly is stressed in Kural 423. To whatever one may listen from others it is the intellect that determines the truth. Kural 422 says that in order to encounter difficulties one has to seek the association of great men. Couplet 467, is a striking example on discrimination of things. One should embark on action after careful thought; it is a blunder to think that the mater can be addressed after starting on it.
The requisites for an ideal country are plenty of products, learned men and never decreasing wealth-Kural-731.
The third section of the Thirukkural deals with enjoyment (Inpam) it relates to love human and love divine. Love is distinguished from lust while love is constant lust is variable. Thiruvalluvar says that the natural beauty of a woman is her excellence of character, her ornaments are her good children she bears.
In married life high moral responsibility is emphasised for raising on a good family. In dealing with the subject on love it underlines the possibility even the necessity to move from sexual life to spiritual life.
After a period of romance and after a period of wedded life, the hero and the heroine having performed all the duties required of them in domestic state, having enjoyed all worldly pleasures are in a state of mind to give their undivided attention to the attainment of bliss, for which their life so far has been a preparation. Once they establish communion with the supreme self they find their sweetness not only in their wife and children but in all things.
Spirituality has a personal as well as a social aspect. It is refreshing to notice that that the spiritual life is described as a joint venture by the hero and the heroine with their relatives around them. The love between the lover and the beloved is compared with the soul and the body. The mystics speak of God as the soul. In Kural 1122 he compares the intimation between the lover and the loved to body and soul.
Thruvalluvar was a person who actually lived his life and also had a deep understanding of human psychology and this is exemplified by Kural 1094.
‘When I look at her, her eyes are turned towards the ground; when I look away she looks on with a timid smile’.
It is not surprising, the author of Kural takes a natural attitude towards sex and life. Thiruvalluvar was a saint. He is said to have lived in the first century of the Christian era. He gave us the famous Thirukkural holy maxims as the Tamil Veda. Whatever its date of its composition Thirukkural has been a source of inspiration for many centuries now.
It is generally listed among the ethical works in Tamil and is considered to be the greatest of them. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi Thirukkural is ‘one of the greatest and purest expressions of human thought’.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
The Mystery Behind the Siva Lingam
July 22, 2011, 6:05 pm
K. S. Sivakumaran
A friend of mine asked me why the Hindus worship the Sivalingam enshrined in Hindu Siva Temples. I couldn’t give her a satisfying answer although the phallic symbol represents Lord Siva. I merely told her this as a response to her poser. Reading on the subject I gathered from the Internet some information which I shall share with you.
While some say "the Sivalingam symbol is not a sex symbol and it is an image of Pineal gland in human head", others say:
"Cosmic form of Fire is God. Shiva is worshipped in egg shaped form (Sath, the eternal) better known as Shiva-lingam, which is having egg-shape of a cosmos or the cosmos itself as Vishvamuthi."
Here are few more gleanings on the subject culled from different links on the web:
Worship of the Phallus
According to some scholars, worship of Shiva Linga in effect means worship of the reproduction function. For, they say that the other meaning of the Sanskrit word ‘Linga’ is gender in general and phallus (the male reproductive organ) in particular. They believe that the base of the Lingam corresponds to the Yoni which mean vagina or the female reproductive organ. Correspondence of Linga and Yoni in a Shiva Linga is therefore interpreted as the representation of the process of copulation. Scholars further opine that the Kalash (container of water) that is suspended over the Shiva Linga from which water drips over the Linga also correspond to the idea of intercourse.
Connecting the origin of Shiva Linga to the early Indus Valley civilization, scholars opine" that tribes of the Indus Valley took to the togetherness of Lingam and Yoni in a Shiva Linga as the point of energy, creation and enlightenment. "
Interpretation in Tantra
"According to Tantra, Lingam is a symbol of Shiva’s phallus in spiritual form. They say, the lingam contains the soul-seed within which lies the essence of the entire cosmos. The lingam arises out of the base (Yoni) which represents Parvati according to some or Vishnu, Brahma in female and neuter form according to others."
"Puranas, especially the Vamana Purana, Shiva Purana, Linga Purana, Skanda Purana, Matsya Purana and Visva-Sara-Prakasha attribute the origin of Shiva Linga to the curse of sages leading to the separation of and installation of the phallus of Lord Shiva on earth. Some also refer to the endlessness of the lingam to be linked to the egos of Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma. "
Interpretation of Shiva Linga as an Abstract Symbol of God
"Some scholars of the Hindu scriptures say that Linga is merely an abstract symbol of the God. They point towards several legends in Hinduism where a sundry rock or even a pile of sand has been used by as a Lingam or the symbol of Shiva. Citing a particular instance they say, Arjuna once fashioned a linga of clay when worshipping Shiva. Scholars of Puranas, thus argue that too much should not be made of the usual shape of the Lingam. Scholars say that the interpretation of Shiva Linga as an abstract form of God is also consonant with philosophies that hold that God may be conceptualized and worshipped in any convenient form. The form itself is irrelevant, as the divine power that it represents is all that matters. Scholars thus say that Sivalinga represent the formless Nirguna Brahman or the formless Supreme Being."
"The Siva Lingam is a sacred symbol of the Hindus whom they revere as the manifestation of the Universal Self in His awakened aspect in union with His dynamic energy Shakti. This prayer is a declaration of faith, obedience, love and devotion to Lord Siva in His aspect as Sivalingam."
Significance of the Shiva Lingam
"The non anthropomorphic Lingam form of Shiva is what is held in reverence in temples all over the sub continent. The Lingam is a symbol. It is a symbol of that which is invisible yet omnipresent. It is hence a visible symbol of the Ultimate Reality which is present in us (and in all objects of creation)."
"The Shivalingam denotes the primeval energy of the Creator. It is believed that at the end of all creation, during the great deluge, all of the different aspects of God find a resting place in the Lingam; Bhrama is absorbed into the right, Vishnu to the left and Gayatri into the heart. The Shivalingam is also a representation of the infinite Cosmic Column of fire, whose origins, Vishnu and Bhrama were unable to trace"
"Legend has it that Parvati fashioned a Shivalingam with a fistful of sand at
Kanchipuram and worshipped Shiva; this lingam is known as the Prithvilingam, denoting the primordial element earth. Shivalingams in several temples are swayambus, or that which appeared on their own, or that which is untouched by a chisel. On the other hand, there are temples where the Shivalingam is carved out of stone and installed. The highly polished Shivalingams of the Pallava period bear several stripes, as in the Kailasanatha temple at Kanchipuram"
"Nandi, the bull is depicted facing the sanctum in all Saivite temples, symbolizing the human soul Jeevatma yearning for realizing its oneness with Paramatma, the ultimate reality."
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Sri Kailasanathar Swami Devasthanam:
The oldest Hindu temple in Colombo
By Jajani AMARASEKARA
Sri Kailasanathar Swamy Dewashthanam
The deafening sound of Ketti Melam, music played at Tamil weddings, filled the atmosphere of Sri Kailasanathar Hindu Temple, and the grandly dressed crowd rushed around the kovil to ensure a perfect nuptial ceremony. Not wanting to barge in, we wandered around the place to find the kovil office. A man appeared from nowhere and offered us to help. "Show us the office please?" "Come I will show you," he signalled us to follow. "There, at the blue painted building." We thanked him and followed his directions. We were stunned to see the board 'wedding hall.' The man had assumed we too were invitees. After another round, around the kovil, we found the correct place and managed to meet the kovil officials.
The decorated roof
The astrology chart
A bull statue
The decorated Gopuram
Sri Kailasanathar Swami Devashthanam is a kovil hidden inside a bushy surrounding behind the Fort Railway Station. Built during the Portuguese era, it was a family kovil. Apparently, it is the oldest Hindu temple in Colombo. Although it is Sri Kailasanathar, Swami Devashthanam, many still identify it as the kovil at the Captain's Garden. Though I presumed it as an unseen and unknown kovil, we later realised that it is popular even among non-Hindus. The number of Sinhala notices displayed there makes it obvious.
The entrance to the road leading to the kovil is near the famous second-hand bookstores at D. R. Wijewerdene Mawatha. Turn right from the main road and kovil Veethi, leads to the kovil over the Fort railway lines. As soon as you take a right turn from the kovil Veethi, to the kovil grounds, there are two kovils in the vicinity; a new building and an old colour-faded building. According to the kovil Manager, the faded building is the Ganapathi Kovil and the new-fangled building is the Easwaran Kovil.
Though the two kovils are adjacent the management of the two is different. Construction of a new kovil was under way at the place. A man who hid behind the stone dust was carving beautiful sculptures from the stones brought especially from India. Nowadays with the use of machines, cutting and polishing a stone into a sculpture is an easy task. However, the life of the artisans who originally built the kovil would have undergone many difficulties. The clerk of the kovil office, Nesarajah, took us on a tour around the kovil. Starting from the intricate lotus-carved main door, the tour covered almost all corners of the kovil. As soon as we entered, Nesarajah pointed to the roof. Oh! A gorgeous carving of an astrology chart, adorned the roof entrance. Magnificent paintings of Gods and Goddesses decorated the entire roof of the kovil. The kovil is full of statues of various gods. Shrines dedicated to various gods filled every empty slot of the temple.
The Vel Cart
"Easwaran kovils usually have shrines for almost every god," said the manager. The kovil has shrines for almost every god whom I have read in Tamil folk tales. Sri Kailasanathar Swamy Devashthanam is the starting point of the Vel ceremony, which later went up to Bamabalapitiya on the Galle Road. The kovil has two major festivals, in March and August.
The March festival is dedicated to goddess Pattini, while the August festival is dedicated to God Easwaran.
There is a beautiful Vel cart, decorated with intricate wooden carvings. In June 2010, the kovil Management had organised the most recent Kumbabhishekam ceremony. The kovil offers different special poojas for various gods during the week.
Beginning the week on Monday with a pooja offered to Goddess Pattini, the kovil has a unique set of poojas to Goddess Durga, Bahirawa, and nine planets. On Poya days, the Sri Sakkara Pooja is followed by an almsgiving to the devotees.
The Kannagi Amman festival began on May 25, and it will last for 10 consecutive days, Nesarajah said. The shrines of Goddess Pattini and God Easwaran had two carved bronze flag poles in front.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
For peace, compassion, and harmony
The Sri Venkateswara Mahavishnu Devasthanam is situated at Mattakkuliya, Colombo 15 and the annual festival commenced with flag hoisting on April 19 and the chariot festival took place on Sunday May 1. Further, the Board of Trustees has made elaborate arrangements for the success of this festival.
According to historians, 3,000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, Sri Krishna took a Divine Birth in the Indian city of Madurai. Scriptures call him ‘Purva Avatara’ that is the full manifestation of God. Lord Krishna was a teacher and lover of mankind. He is most accessible to the pure hearted who have cultivated true love for him. The simple, rustic cowherd boys and girls took liberties with Sri Krishna who enjoyed the sport in their company.
Further, Sri Krishna is the greatest Karma Yogi of all times. He was the friend of the poor whom he protected from the oppressors. He was the embodiment of humility. His immortal teachings and Karma Yoga, Bhakthi and Gnana Yoga have no parallel in religious literature.
The Bhagavata Purana, the Vishnu Purana and Maha Bharatha proclaim that there is none to match Sri Krishna in beauty, in wisdom and perfection. His enchanting form with flute in one hand is worshiped by millions in India and Sri Lanka.
In fact, Sri Krishna was the towering genius of his age. He embodied in himself all the great qualities of the head, heart and hand. Every word of his teachings and every act of his life was full of substance and meaning. In the Maha Bharatha battle he was the charioteer to Arjuna and when Arjuna saw his relatives and cousins Duryodanas in the Kurushetra battleground he was reluctant to fight and absolutely paralysed by doubts. At that time, Lord Krishna got rid of his doubt and taught him the immortal teachings of Bhagavad Geetha and enlightened him.
Indeed, Lord Krishna was considered to be the preserver of the universe and he is the object of devotion. He descended to Earth as a great hero to save mankind and establish Dharma. Further, Divinity is like a brilliant chess player making his moves as the giant chessboard of life, unseen and intangible and stimulating man to respond to all his moves. If we make a wrong move, he will not hesitate to counter it. Indeed, all his moves are only to make us as perfect as himself. God may be cunning, but not malicious.
Hindu mythology talks about the progress to perfection in an allegorical way as shown by the ten incarnations of Maha Vishnu. His first incarnation was in the goldfish, the second as a tortoise, third as a boar, fourth in the form of Narasinha, fifth incarnation of Lord Vishnu was Vamana, short statured man, the sixth incarnation was Parasurama, seventh incarnation was Balaraman, eighth incarnation was Rama and the ninth incarnation was Lord Krishna to destroy the wicked demons and to take a leading part in the Kumshetra battle between Pandavas and Kauravas. Furthermore, when there is a decline in morality and spirituality and the cosmic order gets disturbed Maha Vishnu will take the form of Kalki Avataram to establish Dharma in the world.
During the Chariot or Ther festival the statue of Lord Vishnu will be decorated and illuminated and taken along the streets in a chariot carved out of pure silver and laden with gold deities and studded with diamonds, rubies, amethyst etc which move slowly from the temple. In fact, Chariot festival symbolizes peace, compassion, harmony and prosperity.
The Chariot symbolizes human body and the statue of Lord Vishnu is the Soul. In front of the chariot are the wooden horses depicted as galloping and the reins attached to their mouth are held on the hands of image of Lord Vishnu.
These horses represent human passion and the reins symbolize the necessity of restraining and guiding these passions. The journey of the Chariot through the streets symbolizes the progress of life. This shows that throughout his life a man must control and guide his passions.
These passions are the motive powers, the driving force of life, but unstrained and unguided they will wreck a man’s life. This is the symbolic meaning of the Chariot Festival.
Thaayumaanavar - a great Saiva Gnani
K S Sivakumaran
About 350 years ago during the Naayakkar Period in South Indian history, a seeker of truth and God, virtually a knowledgeable (Gnani), was working for the king, Muththukrishna Nayakkar who ruled from Thiruchirapalli.
On his suggestion the king organized a conference of Siddantha and Vedantha scholars primarily to find out from them about the Almighty and related subjects. However, he could not find answers to some of the doubts he had towards religion. He disliked the materialistic life and with earnestness sought knowledge to merge with the Almighty. He came into contact with a sage called Mowna Saami who inspired him. The latter simply told him “Summa Iru” meaning “Just Wait”. This led Thaayumaanavar’s ability to control his thoughts and concentrate ultimate being, the Almighty. Meditation led him to see things better. He could feel that “Maaya”, the Illusion prevents the realization of the real. After the demise of the king Meenaksshi came to power. She innocently enticed Thaayumaanavar to possess him, but he saw in her Maaya and left the kingdom with his disciple Arulaiyah.
However Fate designed a marriage for him and he wedded Kulali of Thirumaraik Kaadu. They had a son named Kanaga Sabapathy. After the demise of his spouse he left his son with Siva Sithamparam Pillai and pilgrimaged seeking ways to renounce the worldly desires. His disciple also followed him.
On his journey progressing as a pilgrim he and his disciple reached Ladchumipuram near Ramanathapuram in Thamilnadu. There he began his Nishdai (deep meditation free from confusing thoughts pointing towards eternal bliss reaching with the Almighty.) More and more disciples surrounded him to receive Thaayumaanavar’s blessings. He yearned to leave this material world to form a constituent part of the Almighty. It happened then when he realized the concept of Monism (Aththuvidam)
The songs and verses of Thaayumaanavar have enriched Thamil Literature. Apart from the deep philosophical findings he learnt through felt experience, his beautiful lines show his scholarship and deep piety. From the beginning of his life he had a spiritual side within him. firstname.lastname@example.org
Significance of cosmic dance of God Shiva
Shiva the destroyer, protector supreme ascetic and Lord of the Universe. He is Ardhanarishwara half man and half woman The whole life process is imminent in Him, but He transcends it and inhabits a mental, emotional and spiritual space, which is difficult to understand through intellectual process alone. To embrace Shiva, to comprehend His power, involves an intuitive leap into our deepest selves.
The cosmic dance of Shiva Natarajah is both symbol and reality. It is the movement of creation, preservation and dissolution. The three activities symbolize the principle of Maya, God’s endless impulse takes place within each of us, within every atom of the Universe. At the end of each yuga, each aeon, the great God in his aspect as Natarajah, dances the death-dance to herald pralaya, the dissolution of the cosmos. At the time of destruction the Universe burns, the element of earth dissolves into water, fire devours the water, water is dissolved into wind, wind gives way to space, the multitudes of Gods dissolved into the unity of Brahman. Then the great Lord separates Prakriti, which is manifest nature and substance, from Purusha or spirit.
Cosmic dance of God Shiva
As Kala-kala, the destroyer of time, Shiva is consumed by the bliss of non-being. Encircled by flames, He restitutes the divine order of the Universe. The drum in His hand heralds the dance of creation just as the ashes smeared on His body signify the forces of destruction ever present in all that is living. The trident of Shiva (Spear with three sharp points) represents the trio of the creator, the preserver and the destroyer.
His spear the pasupatha is the weapon with which he destroys the universe at the dissolution of the yugas, the ordained time circle. God Shiva’s third eye is the eye of fire and symbolizes higher perception throughout past, present and future. A skull signifies Shiva’s power of destruction;n; the crescent moon on HIS head symbolizes his creative power, the Ganga river that flows from his head is a symbol of descending grace. God Shiva’s back left hand holds a blazing fire, the fire god agni, symbolizing his power of destruction samhara, by which the universe is re-aborbed at the end of each-cycle of creation only to be re-created again by God Shiva. This hand represents Na in the Panchakshara mantra, Na-Ma-Si-Va-Ya His planted foot stands for the syllabus Ma and symbolizing His concealing grace Lord Shiva’s left front hand representing the syllable Si held in the elephant trunk pose gajahasta pointing to his left foot source of revealing grace, Anugrakasakti by which the soul turns to him. Left and right back arms are balanced as creation and destruction. Shiva’s back right hand standing for the syllable Va, holds the thin waisted rattle drum, damaru, symbol of creation which begins with soundless sound Paranada from which arises mantra Aum. The front right hand is raised in the gesture abhaya ‘Fear not’, symbolizing Shiva’s power of srihti preservation and protection and standing for syllable Ya.
Lord Shiva’s raised foot symbolizes His revealing grace anugraha sakti, by which the soul ultimately transcends the bonds of anava, karma and maya and realises its identity with Him. He wears a skull necklace. Symbolizing the perpetual revolution of ages. The serpent jahnuwi adorns His body, symbol of kundalini power, the normally spiritual dormant force within man coiled at the base of the spine.
Raised through yoga, this force propels man into God realization. Shiva wears tigers skin, symbol of nature’s power His sash, katibhanda is blown to one side by his rapid movement the arch of flames, prabhavali in which Shiva dances is the hall of consciousness. Each flame has three sub-flames symbolizing fire on earth, in the atmosphere and in the sky. At the top of the arch is Mahakala “great time”. Mahakala is God Himself who creates, transcends and ends time. Shiva Nataraja dances with in the state of timeless transcendence. The double lotus pedestal mahambujapitha symbolizes manifestation From this springs Cosmos.
The above is the literal description of God Shiva. It is notable that the cosmic dance of Shiva Natarajah is both symbolic as well as realistic. It has great significance when analysed philosophically as well as scientifically and in the end some sort of similarity between them can be seen.
To amplify further it is appropriate to quote from Art historian Cumaraswamy. Speaking about Shiva’s dance he says “the clearest image of the activity of God which any religion can boast of.” This is from the spiritual point of view whereas scientific explanation is given to the cosmic dance of Shiva Natarajah by Fritjof Capra in his famous book. “The Tao of Physics” He explains Shiva’s Tandava in the context of contemporary understanding. According to him the dynamic view of the Universe as envisioned by the mystic is similar to that of modern Physics. As physics has shown that essential quality of matter is the movement and rhythm and all matter is involved in a cosmic dance, so do we encounter the image in Hindu philosophy as a spirit of nature. The energy dance is in Fritjof Capra’s words “a pulsating process of creation and destruction where not only matter but also the void participates in the cosmic dance creating and destroying energy patterns without end’. It is incontrovertibly as Cumaraswamy has said ‘poetry but none the less science.’
Himself creates, Himself preserves
Himself destroys, Himself obscures
Himself, all these. He does and
Then grants Mukti-Himself the
all pervading Lord” (Thirumantiram)
The annual Ther festival to mark the traditional Sinhala and Hindu New Year was held at the Sri Devi Karumariamman kovil. Here the decorated Ther chariot being taken in procession from the kovil premises around the streets. Pic: A Maduraveeran
A large number of devotees participated in the annual Chariot festival of the Sri Muthu Vinayagar kovil, Sea Street, Colombo 11. The ceremony was organized to mark the traditional Sinhala and Hindu New Year. Here the chariots are being taken in procession around the streets of Colombo city, and the devotees pay their tribute to God Vinayagar by breaking coconuts. Picture A Maduraveeran
The lucky Kala Mandam Kandy organized a felicitation ceremony to honour the members of the Arulmigu Sri Muthumariamman kovil, Wattegama recently, for the contributions they had rendered in their respective fields. Here young member Selvi Kulashika Mahendran receives an award from the President K Sivaraj while kovil trustees’ board members look on. Pic: A Maduraveeran
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Flag hoisting and water cutting ceremony:
Koneswaram temple: sacred place of worship
By Chelvatamby - Maniccavasagar
The flag hoisting ceremony of Koneswaram Temple at Trincomalee commenced on March 19 and the water-cutting ceremony will take place on April 5 in the sea.
Annual festival at Koneswaram Temple
Among the various monuments of Hindu antiquity found in Sri Lanka, the Koneswaram Hindu Temple is one of the three principal places of worship dedicated to Lord Shiva. In fact, the Thiruketheswaram in Mannar and Munneswaram in Chilaw are the other two temples of equal repute.
The Koneswaram temple, as a sacred place of Hindu worship of the ancient past, would have remained in its original form, up to the present day, had not the Portuguese caused it to be razed to the ground, to procure building materials for their new fortification which they built on the rocky promontory by the cliff and overlooking the deep sea.
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. Further, with the evacuation of the Dutch, it was handed over to the British on August 26, 1795, which they named Fort Frederick in honour of Frederick, the Duke of York (1763-1827), who established the “Royal Military Asylum” in England in 1801, for the sons of the English servicemen.
Indeed, there is a legendary story about the Koneswaram Temple that a Portuguese soldier had once entered the Sanctum Sanatorium (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 the God having befallen on the man for his profanatory conduct in desecrating the Holy Place, he has fallen accidentally into the sea below and got drowned.
It is said that the dead soldier’s apparition could still be seen by everyone when the priest after the “Pooja” hold his torch over the edge of the precipice as and when night falls.
Furthermore, the saga of this historic Hindu Temple is said to have been described in a Tamil poem written by one Kaviraja an erudite scholar of ancient Sri Lanka. In the days of old, a king named “Manu Neethi” “Kanda Cholan” learnt about the wonders of Trincomalee and had come over to Sri Lanka from India on a pilgrimage as he was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. Later, his son named Kulakoddu Maharajah, having learnt about the holy place from his father had come to Trincomalee with the idea of building a Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.
After having built the Temple, the Maha Rajah found much difficulty in obtaining rice and other food items from South India for the daily use by the Temple staff. He prayed for Divine help and he got the rains. To preserve the rain water he took steps to build a tank to irrigate the paddy fields. In fact, he wanted to look after the Temple as well as to cultivate the fields.
After a few years Maha Rajah left for South India and having reached the village “Marukur”, he managed to get seven families of the “Vellala Caste” to come to Sri Lanka and settle down in Trincomalee.
As they volunteered to come, they received preferential treatment from the Maha Rajah. They were granted lands to be held as hereditary possessions. They were also entrusted with the care of the Temple treasury, the regulations of income and expenditure, holding of festivals and celebrations concerning the Temple and the presentation of silk vestments to the priests. When it was found that more servants than available were needed to manage the temple, the Maha Rajah, by compulsory means brought an additional 20 families from “Karaikkadu” in South India.
They too were settled down in the same manner and to be assistance to the families already in the service of the Temple.
To the new arrivals were assigned the task of offering of flowers at the shrine, washing and cleaning of the sacrificial implements, husking of paddy, smearing the floor of the Temple with cow-dung, singing and playing the musical instruments, hoisting and lowering of the Temple flag, preparing the essence of sandalwood, cleaning and polishing the brass and silver utensils, polishing the ornaments and all other works pertaining to the Temple within or without.
Five men selected from the families settled down were dignified with the title “High Priests” of the Temple. They were called “Pandarattas”. Again Maha Rajah went to South India and came with a nobleman in the name of Poopalan.
Poopalan was appointed as Governor of Trincomalee with full powers and all facilities to administer the place by maintaining law and order. He was also authorized to punish offenders by the imposition of fines or imprisonment in chains or even execution at his sole discretion with no provision to appeal. He was also asked to maintain his authority inviolate and at the same time to win the good will and confidence of the people. Even the officiating priests of the temple were given strict instructions that they should at specified times make oblations of rice mixed with curd to the Gods. According to the Hindu tradition Lord Shiva is the creator.
He is often sculptured as “Nataraja” performing cosmic dance in the Thandava style. The God Shiva’s consort is ‘Parvathi”. The divine vehicle of Lord Shiva is the Sacred Bull known as “Nanthy”. Lord Shiva in human form is believed to have selected Benares in India as his abode on earth. His celestial abode is in the Himalayas and it is known as “Kailasa”.
Unlike other Gods of the Hindu Pantheon, Lord Shiva possesses “Three Eyes” and this additional eye is placed between the two eyes and in the centre of the forehead. By looking through it, Lord Shiva is supposed to destroy or annihilate anything he wished to happen. In fact, on April 24, 1687, a young and beautiful Dutch Lady by the name “Francina Van Rheede” committed suicide in revengeful despair by jumping from a height of 600 feet very close to the Temple and was dashed against the huge rock below and a monument was erected in her name.
Six session of worship are conducted daily at Koneswaram Temple and Sivarathri festival is conducted with solemnity on an elaborate scale.
Hence, let us pray to Lord Shiva at Koneswaram Temple and receive His Divine Blessings.
Understanding some aspects of Hinduism
K S Sivakumaran
There are many Lankans belonging to different communities who show willingness and desire to understand the salient features of Hinduism. Since most of the works relating to the philosophy and religious aspects of Hinduism in general and Saivaism in particular are in the Thamil language, those not familiar with Thamil are interested in reading about Hinduism at least in English.
Hence we make an attempt to give information on that religion as we understand it in these columns. We also refer to readers of books written in English on the subject.
One such book was published a decade ago and its title is - An Introduction to Religion and Philosophy – Thevaaram and Thivviyaprapantham authored by a research scholar Dr R Vijayalakshmy and published by the International Institute of Tamil Studies at C P t Campus, Taramani, Chennai 609 113.
The author in her introduction spells out the content of the book:
“The book deals with the following important aspects of Tevaram and Thivviyapirapantham: their composers, the sacred shrines, at which these compositions were sung by them and the philosophical concepts underlying them. There are two types of readers whom this companion addresses: one is the lay reader with a religious purpose and the other is the scholar who wishes to study thee texts in depth in order to carryout research studies.”
Readers might like to know what Thevaaram and Thivviyaprapantham mean. They were devotional songs sung by Naayanmmaars (Saiva Saints).Thevaaram means a garland of divine songs. Saivites worship Lord Siva as the primary God.
Thivya Prabantham means devotional songs sung by Aalvaars (Vaishnava Saints). Vaishnavites worship Lord Vishnu as their main deity.
The author says that the influence of the non-Vedic religions like Jainism, and Buddhism as at its peak during the medieval period (post-Sangam period). That is during the Pallava period in South Indian History. The Bhakthi Cult or Movement spread through out Thamilnadu. It also enriched the Thamil language and literature.
What is Bhakthi? It is generally understood as the deep attachment of a devotee to God. The root is a Sanskrit word Bhaj with the suffix says the author and adds: “This word can mean participation, separation, experience, loyalty, faithfulness, practice, reverence, love and devotion.”
We learn that between the seventh century AD and the 10th century AD, Jainism and Buddhism existed in Thamilnadu but dwindled with the rise of the Bhakthi Movement particularly in the seventh century AD.
It is interesting to know from the author that: “The Aalvaars and Nayanmaars came from all four varnas and belonged to various castes. By virtue of their devotion to their chosen deity, either Siva or Vishnu, they were all deemed equal. Very few of them belonged to the socially dominant Brahmin caste. For instance, Thiruppaalvar belonged to a caste which is quite low in the social hierarchy and so did Kannappanayanar, who was a hunter. But, all distinctions of class and caste were forgotten in the great surge of Bhakti.”
From a sociological point of view the Bhakthi literature created a casteless society. “It was, in general, a mission which brought the sub-continent together as one nation in spite of local differences which were determined by the different sociological, political and economic conditions.”
I found this book extremely useful and one must congratulate scholar for her painstaking effort to produce a book of 664 pages.
We understand from Dr S Ramar Ilango, the Director of I IT S who wrote the Foreword for this book that Dr R Vijayalakshmy is a multi linguist with a command of Thamil, English, Sanskrit, Prakrit, Sinhala and German languages. She has many other higher qualifications on her research studies and obtained degrees.
I found it particularly beneficial to read her section on ”Important Saiva and Vaishnava Philosophical Terms.”
In addition there are separate Bibliographies in English and Thamil and a Special Index.
Hindus and non-Hindus that want to know and enjoy reading about Saivaism and Vaishnavism are assured of great pleasure.
A meeting and discussion was held at Gandhi Peace Centre, Kalyani Road presided by Swami Mukthananda of Ashram, Kerala, India, recently. It was attended by Bhikkhus and clergy of various religious denominations. A power point presentation was made on a special program formulated by the head of Ananda Ashram of India Swami Mukthananda on ‘How to inculcate human values in children’. N. Ramachandran and S Sunder of Anandashram were also present.
The first anniversary celebrations and awards ceremony of the Saiva Thurumurai Training Foundation, Colombo branch took place at the Vivekananda Society hall, Kotahena, Colombo 13 recently. The chief guest was Rev Seer Walaguru Mahasannithana Swamigal (India). Here the chief guest being presented a portrait of Rev Arul Thirunamasivaya Moorthigal to All Ceylon Hindu Priest Association President Rev K Wytheswarak Kurukkal, during the ceremony. Pic by : A Maduraveeran
Pupils of the religious school attached to Sri Varatharaja Perumal Kovil Kotahena, Colombo, presented a religious dance item titled ‘Mohana Krishna’, during their Maha Shivarathri Day festival celebrations at the Iyygaran Mandapam hall, Kotahena. Pic by : A Maduraveeran
Maha Shivarathri festival was celebrated at kovils and Hindu societies islandwide recently. Here the special Yagna pooja conducted by the chief priest Brammashri Ganeshan Ravindran Kurukkal at the Arulmigu Shri Samundeeswari Ammbal Devasthanam, Kadirana, Mattakkuliya, Colombo 15. Pic by : A Maduraveeran
The welcome song presented by K Aatheenan, student of the religious school affiliated to the Varatharaja Perumal Kovil Kotahena dressed as Saiva Saint Thirugnana Sampathar at their Maha Shivarathri celebration held at the Iyygaran Mandapam hall Kotahena, Colombo 13. Pic by : A Maduraveeran
Produced by Lake House Copyright © 2011 The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Historical Sri Ramakrishna — I
March 18, 2011, 4:51 pm
By Martin Kämpchen
MANY years ago, I gave a lecture in Kolkata on Rabindranath Tagore’s visits to Germany in the 1920s. I described the enthusiastic response he received as well as the criticism his books and he himself had to face. Some of the criticism was due to envy, some to the strangeness of his exotic appearance, and because of the softness of his lyrical prose which these critics misjudged as weakness. After the lecture an elderly gentleman got up and said, sadly: "I am very sorry that you do not like Rabindranath." It took me a while to clarify that I was merely reporting some historical facts and had not revealed my personal likes or dislikes at all.
Another time, I was requested by a college teacher to find out the full text of the remarks the German Indologist, Paul Deussen, had made of Swami Vivekananda in his autobiography. Excerpts available in India showed omissions indicated by three dots. It took me some effort to get the book and find the quotation. The omitted sentences happened to be critical of the Swami. I wrote down the German text and added a verbatim English translation and sent both to my elderly friend. This was the last I heard of him; he cut off our relationship of many years.
These examples are typical. We in India find it difficult to distinguish between historical facts surrounding a historical figure and our own subjective attitude to such a figure. We tend to hero-worship and, in the process, to block out any traits that do not happen to conform with the venerable image we have conceived. The full facts of history are being suppressed because we refuse to accept a larger, more complex and contextual view of the figure we venerate. Whoever this figure is, he or she was part of history and thus part of the positive and negative processes and attitudes of the time. This does not detract from that person’s heroic traits. In fact, I see heroism more truly exhibited in the ability to strictly follow a chosen path by conquering the hindrances and the opposition within oneself and in society.
This penchant to idealize and thus lift a person beyond history is responsible for why many saints of India have not yet been studied as figures of history. Myth and legend are being confused with history as verifiable by genuine records.
In the 1980s, I wrote a doctoral thesis at Santiniketan comparing the life of Sri Ramakrishna with the life of Francis of Assisi, the Italian saint. It was not well accepted by some devotees of Sri Ramakrishna who argued: How is it possible to compare an avatar with a mere saint? However, cannot Sri Ramakrishna, as a man of history, be compared with Francis, as a man of history? Their common ground is their historicity as human beings. Whether or not Ramakrishna was an avatar, and whether or not I as the author believe this, must not be part of an academic debate. It is an article of faith. By the way, personally, I have every respect for my friends who worship Sri Ramakrishna as their ista debatar. But again, this is outside academics.
As regards Sri Ramakrishna, the result of this idealizing predisposition, is that research on him has led into two directions. One path is taken by his devotees, especially by the learned monks of the Ramakrishna order and its followers. Scholarly rigour, spiritual and missionary zeal will have been invested in describing and interpreting Ramakrishna’s life and translating the conversations with his disciples into English. This is hagiography, intended not only to acquaint its readers with the avatar, but also to inspire in them the love and veneration.
The second path is taken by academics who research on the historical time in which Sri Ramakrishna lived. They study him as historians, psychologists and scholars of religious studies. They are Indians, Europeans and Americans. As it always happens, some of the research is weak or slanted, even erroneous, and other works are original and brilliant. Unfortunately, most men and women of the first path reject these academic offerings wholly, the weak along with the brilliant. Probably, they consider academic research unhelpful in their spiritual quest.
I have felt grieved by this gulf in understanding and interpreting Sri Ramakrishna, feeling close to the ideals of the order, and at the same time, trying to be a true scholar. Why don’t educated worshippers of Sri Ramakrishna desire to know more and ever more about the life of their chosen ideal? Is this not a natural yearning? Why do they fear that seeing Sri Ramakrishna as a historical figure would weaken their faith in him? This fear, I assume is one motivation for rejecting historical scholarship. Speaking for myself, scholarly enquiry has not dampened my enjoyment of Sri Ramakrishna’s childlike, spiritual exuberance and his inspiring conversations. On the contrary, I have grown more appreciative of his enormous spiritual struggles after understanding the complex historical context in which he lived.
Probably the central question of this debate is: Can men and women who are not worshippers of Sri Ramakrishna truly understand him as what he is? Does it need a deep spiritual love for him to appreciate his essence? In other words, do academics miss his essence when they look at him as a figure of 19th century Kolkata middle-class society? This is an intricate question. Those who follow the first path would, I assume, reply that Sri Ramakrishna can be understood best by meditating on him, by devotedly loving him ~ not through history books. And this is the argument why they turn away from the scholarship of the historians as a waste of time.
My reaction to this is that educated persons looking at Sri Ramakrishna are obliged, by dint of their education, to gather all the facts of his spiritual and earthly journey. Such persons cannot afford to ignore the Sri Ramakrishna of history. Genuine modern education is bound to create a wish to understand an object of knowledge on all levels ~ rationally, emotionally and spiritually. Education teaches us that we are intelligent as well as spiritual beings and that we are whole only when we allow our various powers to interact with each other. We cannot but accept history as a necessary complement to our faith life.
The writer is a German scholar, based in Santiniketan
(To be concluded)
Monday, March 14, 2011
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
HINDUISM IN SL---BOOK
Avatar of Uma - God Siva’s consort
Thilaka V Wijayaratnam
A learned man called Vidyatharar had a daughter called Vidyavathy. Vidyavathy was a devotee of Goddess Uma. Vidyavathy asked her father how she could pray to Goddess Uma. He told her about Uma’s Mantra and asked her to chant it in Madurai, the favoured city of God Siva and Uma. Vidyavathy went to Madurai, observed fasts and sang songs in praise of Goddess Uma. This pleased the Goddess, and Vidyavathy beseeched her to be with her forever. Pleased with her Uma told her, “There will be born a person called Malayathuvasa Pandyan. You will be born in this city and marry him. I will then he born to you.
So it happened. Malayathuvasa Pandyan was a king well versed in Tamil and Sanskrit and ruled fairly and justly. He was married to a princess called Kanchanamalai. (who was no other than Vidyavathy reborn). They didn’t have children. So Pandyan performed a yaga to get a child. They fed the yaga fire with ghee, roasted rice and dry sticks and the rishis chanted mantras. In due course they were blessed with a beautiful daughter but the king and queen were worried to see the baby having three teats. (Biologists and rationalists may scoff at the idea, but a few months before there was a news item in the papers to say a baby girl was born with three papillae.
The king lamented at such a child saying his enemies would laugh at him. Then he heard an asariri (oracle), “O king - do not lament. Name her Thadathakai. When she confronts the person she is to marry one of the teats would disappear.”
Happy and consoled by these words, the king brought up the young child well, teaching her all forms of art including martial art. In the days of yore, kings would set out to conquer other states or even countries. Likewise Thadathakai also set out with an army and conquered many cities, states and countries. She defeated the devas and captured Lord Indra’s kingdom - Indralokam too.
The Pandya king was overjoyed at her valour. He crowned her as the ruler of his country. Soon after his soul was liberated from his body. His daughter performed the rites for him and ascended the throne. She had conquered all the worlds and only Kailas - the abode of God Siva was untouched. She however marched towards Kailas, and when god Siva’s celestial attendants confronted her, beat them all and marched forward. God Siva hearing of her prowess, mounted the white bull and came forward. On seeing Him her third teat disappeared and she knew it was God Siva who would marry her. Her minister named Sumathi, told her about the oracle, and convinced her God Siva would be her partner in life. Lord of Kailas God Siva told her to go back to Madurai.
He would come with all his retinue and marry her. The marriage took place according to Vedic rites, with Lord Vishnu handing over His sister Uma - Thadathakai - to Siva, who tied the sacred thread round her neck amidst all the pomp and pageantry of a Hindu wedding. Incidentally these rites are still followed in Hindu weddings. God Siva then assumed the name of Sundara Pandyan and ruled the world.
After the wedding was over all the people, the devas, visitors and devotees and citizens of Madurai were invited to take part of the wedding feast. Among the spectators there were two Rishis, vyakrahapathar and Pathanjali who told God Siva that they could take part of the meal only after witnessing his dance at the Golden Hall in Chithamparam. God Siva told them that Madurai is of greater significance than Chithamparam, and said He would create a Hall of Silver and perform His dance on that stage of precious jewels in the Hall of Silver (Velliampalam).
Because of the request of the two Rishis, all were witnessed the beautiful dance. The people were overjoyed and happily took part of the meal. After all had eaten, there was a heap of food left.
Uma appealed to God Siva saying, “A lot of food is left over and no one to eat. It is like the Himalayas.” There was an individual named Kundotharan standing by and God Siva told Uma to give him a fistful of rice. Thadathakai (Uma) took him to the dining area. Kundotharan gobbled the entire lot and asked for more. Uma again went to God Siva and told Him about it and said there was no more food. God Siva called for the Goddess Annapoorany and she produced mountains of food. Kundotharan ate all that with avidity and was very thirsty and ran looking for water.
He drank from ponds, tanks, wells and from all sources of water and yet couldn’t quench his thirst. He fell at the feet of God Siva and appealed for water. God Siva instructed the Ganges in his crown to flow down Maudrai city as a river (which became river Vaikai). Kundotharan joyfully drank as much water as he could till his thirst was quenched. Then he fell at God Siva’s feet and sang songs of praise and made Him happy. Having taken an avathar, God Siva as Sundara Pandyan ruled the earth.
Like the way God Murugan manifested from the third eye of God Siva, a child like God Muruga was brought forward. This avatar was named Ukkira Pandyan. When he was sixteen years of age Sundara Pandyan decided to fix a marriage for him before crowning him. He chose the daughter of a king of Manavoor.
The girl was named Kanthimathy. God Somasundarer appeared in the dream of king Somasekarar, father of Kanthimathy and told him to give his daughter in marriage to Ukkiva Pandyan. King Somasekarer was overjoyed.
The Chola and Chera kings and all beings on earth paid homage to king Sundara Pandyan. Such a king wants to make his daughter Kanthimathy as his daughter-in-law.
The auspicious day was fixed. The function was no doubt a grand one. Somasekaran took his daughter’s hands and placed them in Ukira Pandyan’s hands saying, “I of Suriya Kulam hereby give my daughter in marriage to Ukira Pandyan of Chandra Kulam.” (This ceremony is known as “Kannika thanam” - offering a young maiden.)
After a few days Sundara Pandyan (God Siva) told Ukira Pandyan, “Son, Indra and Varuna (Lord of the rains) will be your foes. Mt Meru will be arrogant. Here are three weapons.” He gave him a weapon like a boomerang to defeat Indra, a spear to dry the ocean and humble Varuna and another weapon to destroy the ego of Mt Meru.
Thereafter king Sundarer, took all His celestial attendants, Thadathakai (Uma - His consort) and entering the temple remained there as God Somasundarar.
How Varuna was humbled?
King Ukira Pandyan ruled justly and fairly. He did so many yagas according to Vedic rites. Indra became jealous of him. He called Varuna - Lord of the Rain, and told him to collect all the sources of water in the world and become one big ocean, then destroy Madurai. Varunan did likewise. When the swelling waters reached the eastern boundary, God Somasundarar appeared in Ukira Pandyan’s dream as a sithar and told him, “The swelling ocean is approaching Madurai to engulf it. Use the weapon I gave and save the land.” Ukkira Pandyan collected his ministers and reached the eastern boundary. There he saw the swelling sea. He took the spear and aimed it at the watery enemy. Immediately the ocean shrank and was reduced to just a little water that bathed the king’s feet as if to surrender. Thus he won the war against Varuna.
During the reign of Ukkira Pandyan, there was a prolonged drought in the whole of Thamil Nadu. There was a famine too. The Chola, Chera, Pandya kings went to seek advice from the rishi called Agasthiyar.
He told them the drought and subsequent famine would continue for 12 years and advised them to seek the help of Indra, Lord of Thunder. The three kings followed his advice and after having observed the Somavara Fasts were able to reach Indra Lokam. Indra welcomed them and directed them to three seats at a lower level than his. Both Chera and Chola kings sat on the seats allocated to them, while Ukkira Pandyan went up to Indra’s throne and sat there on a side.
Indra ignored him and asked the reason for their coming to him.
They said that there was no rain in their lands and that was why they came to him. Indra ordered the rains to pour in their lands only. He gave them many presents and sent them away. Indra pretended to be pleased with Ukkira Pandyan and gave him a necklace that would shrink and suffocate him. But Ukkira Pandyan wore it like a garland and sat unharmed. Indra told Ukkira Pandyan, “O Pandya from today you will be known as the one bearing the necklace.”
Pandyan ignored him and went back to Madurai. Now in Thamil Nadu the lands of the Cheras and Cholas got plenty of rain. The Pandya Nadu was experiencing the drought. One day Ukkira Pandyan went hunting to Pothiyamalai. He found four clouds including the one called Puthgalavathar over the mountains.
He captured them and put them in prison. They were servants of Indra and Indra was wild with anger. He came down and surrounded Madurai with his army.
When Ukkira Pandyan heard about it he set out with an army to face Indra’s army. While the two enemies were fighting Ukkira Pandyan sent the weapon God Siva gave him. It struck Indra’s crown and broke it into pieces. Indra got frightened and took flight. He sent a message to the king, “I will send rain to your country. Please release my clouds.
The king didn’t trust Indra knowing his treacherous ways but one of his citizens told the king that he would stand for surety and to please release the clouds. Trusting him, Ukkira Pandyan released the clouds. Thereafter there was enough rain in the Pandya kingdom too and the land prospered.
Colombo Ponnampalavaneswaram Temple:
Flag hoisting ceremony
In the history of Hinduism in Sri Lanka, the 19th century is significant as a period of constructional activities in an unprecedented scale. A large number of Hindu temples were either restored or newly constructed on some parts of the country where Hindus were settled in substantial numbers. A large number of Hindu temples were restored in the Jaffna Peninsula, Trincomalee and in the District of Batticaloa. The most notable among the newly constructed temple was Ponnampalavaneswaram at Kotahena in the city of Colombo.
In fact, in the mid-19th century a considerable number of Hindu temples had come into existence in the city of Colombo and other towns in the Southern and Central parts of the country where settlements of Hindu communities were established in consequence of political and economic developments under British rule. Further, a substantial proportion in Colombo were Hindus and among them entrepreneurs in the Business profession had a commanding influence.
Despite their diverse origins they were drawn together by religions sentiment and a deep attachment to traditional Hindu values. Those who were articulate and motivated with a deep sense of commitment for the cause of preserving and fostering Hindu culture assumed positions of leadership in mobilizing support for the establishment of Hindu Institutions, some of which have become exemplary and among them Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam was the most outstanding pioneer. His father-in-law Coomaraswamy Mudaliyar, who belonged to the first generation of Jaffna Tamils settled in Colombo and was the first Tamil representative in the Legislative Council was responsible for establishing two Hindu Temples in Colombo – the Kathiresan Temple at Gintupitty and Muttuvinayakara Temple at Chetty Street.
Ponnambalam Mudaliyar who had a deep attachment to Saivism, the religion of his ancestors, found that there was no temple dedicated for the worship of Lord Shiva in Colombo, where worship could be conducted according to Hindu custom. He initiated measures for mobilizing support for the establishment of such a temple and the response from the Merchant Community was most favourable.
The leading Merchants of the Chettiar Community who were always in the forefront in extending generous support for promoting the cause of Hinduism, were a source of inspiration to him.
A large sum was collected and from a portion of that amount a plot of land at Sea Street, which was formerly the property of Captain John Foulstone was bought on July 5, 1856. Soon the process of constructing the temple began and the architects were brought from South India for that purpose.
On the completion of the building program, the consecration ceremony was held in November 1857 and in commemoration of this event a copper plate inscription was installed in the temple. The second consecration ceremony was also conducted by Ponnambalam Mudaliyar. He was succeeded to the post of Manager by his eldest son Kumaraswamy Mudaliyar, who was responsible for conducting the third consecration ceremony in 1882. Ponnambalam Ramanathan assumed control of affairs as a manager since the death of his elder brother in 1906. Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan who had a deep understanding of Hinduism and Hindu Art and architecture had conceived the notion of replacing the existing buildings with those of stone construction.
It was also his ambition that the temple should be transformed into a monument of architectural grandeur so that it could be a lasting memorial to the religious piety and dignity of its founder. He invited specialists on Hindu architecture from South India and in consultation with them developed the plan for the building program.
Because of his commanding personality and the reputation he enjoyed in the country he was able to implement his program without impediments. As he was the eldest member of the family of the Founder and because of the immense popularity he enjoyed among the Hindu community, his authority in respect of temple affairs was unhindered.
The reconstruction of the temple as a monument in stone was a major undertaking accomplished at his own expense. Indeed, it was a unique achievement.
In modern Sri Lanka no one else had devoted his energies and resources an on undertaking of comparable magnitude. In fact, Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan was the architect of Ponnampalavaneswaram temple and his achievement should be cherished as landmark in the history of Hinduism in modern Sri Lanka.
Among the Hindu temples of Sri Lanka, Ponnampalavaneswaram Temple has consistently enjoyed a reputation that has never been surpassed by others on account of the regularity of religious services, the efficiency of its administration and the level of transparency in the interaction with the public.
At Ponnampalavaneswaram Temple worship is ritually conducted six times daily in conformity with agamic traditions.
The second session of worship is concluded with ritual offerings and worship is conducted at the main shrine.
The third session of worship is called Uchikalapooshai (worship at noon time), the fourth session of worship begins at 3.00 pm and ends before sunset. The fifth session of worship commences at 7.00 pm when Moolamoorthy is consecrated, adorned and worshiped while offerings are made. This worship is accompanied with Mangala Vathiyam. the annual festival at Ponnampalavaneswaram temple is conducted for a period of ten days. In fact, the flag hoisting ceremony commences today and ends with chariot festival in which a large number of devotees participate.
Hinduism in Sri Lanka
K S Sivakumaran
A historically supported authentic book on one of the oldest religions in the world – Hinduism – as practised in our country is by Prof S Pathmanathan. This book is in Thamil and published jointly by the All Ceylon Hindu Congress and Kumaran Book House. One wishes that the scholar writes this in English or get it translated for clarifying issues raised by some regarding the missing pages of Lankan history. Originally published in 2005, this massive book of researched material runs into 464 pages.
There are well defined six sections and 16 chapters covering the following. Early Anuradhapura period, Post Anuradhapura period, Period of Chola regime, Polonnaruwa period (Monarchs and Temples), Polonnaruwa period (Mercantile Clans and Culture) and Polonnaruwa period (Temples and Images).
The book includes publishers’ Note, foreword, index of cultural symbols, colour pictures, reference sources and an index. An added source is reference on primary sources and Books and Articles – all given in English.
When we say “Hinduism” it is a religion based on the Vedas. It includes Saivaism, Vaishnavism and Jainism. Centuries ago Saivaism was widely spread in the whole of India. It was practised in present Camboochia and Indonesia. With the advent of the Turks in India Saivaism lost it’s flavour. In the north of India Vaishnavism took roots.
Generally Lankan Thamilians are Saivaites. Buddhism came to Sri Lanka in third century AD during the reign of Emperor Asoka of India. It was Saivaism that was prevalent in Lanka before the coming of Mahinda, son of Asoka. There is close relationship between the Buddhists and Saivaists. A considerable number of people who inhabited the island were Saivaites.
Since ancient times people speaking the Thamil language came from southern India and settled down in the coastal area of Lanka. Europeans who served in Lanka during the 17th and 18th centuries have written about this in their records. The reason for this was of the fact that South India and Lanka were identified as one Trade Zone. Since early times people from Kerala and Thirunelvely in Southern India were settling in coastal areas of the Island.
The above gleaned from this valuable book that combines useful information on Saivaism and a part of Lankan history. The book will be available from the All Ceylon Hindu Congress office in the Colombo Fort.
Siva and Parvathi
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Siva Selvakulalingam has been recognized for his services to the Hindu community in S.Australia & has been awarded the OAM by AU GOVT.!!!
Lankan entrepreneur honouredby Australian Government
March 5, 2011, 6:36 pm
Mr. Siva Selvakulalingam has been recognized for his services to the Hindu community in South Australia and has on the occasion of Australia Day been awarded the Order of Australia Medal by the Canberra Government. He currently serves as the President of the Hindu Society and is the former President of the Ceylon Tamil Association of South Australia. Selva, as he is popularly known in Adelaide, arrived in Australia in 1988 as a business migrant following his education in mechanical engineering in the UK and a successful business career in Singapore and Malaysia.
Experienced in the timber industry, he set up in that field and later started his own enterprise making wine racks sold in Australia and exported to many parts of the world including Sri Lanka.
In 2002 and 2005, he was the winner of the State Government Award for Small and Medium Industries.
Selva’s Hindu upbringing in Jaffna made him very passionate about his religion and related temple activities and he was active in the Adelaide Ganesha Temple from the time he arrived in Australia.
He was quoted in the Australian press saying that his wife, Sivanes, musts share this honour as she has helped him immensely doing ``the hard work of organizing and cleaning at the Hindu Society of South Australia."
In a letter to Selvakulalingam, Mr. Mike Rann, Prime Minister and Minister of Social Inclusion, South Australia, had described the award as "a much deserved recognition."
The Governor of South Australia, Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce said that Selva’s "outstanding service to South Australia" has been recognized and congratulated him for the "well deserved honour" that has been conferred.
The investiture by the Governor of South Australia, will be held at Government House, Adelaide on April 14.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Wednesday, 3 March 2011
Maha Shivrathri :
Night of Shiva
Unlike other religious festivals being celebrated with pomp, splendour and gaiety, Shivrathri is celebrated with more of spiritual serenity. It is an inward journey of the soul, the destination being the meeting with God. Incorporeal God from the incorporeal world is meeting his children of this corporeal world. This interaction with the Divine Being is something unique. As God takes a human medium to carry out his task, we need a divine insight and a divine intellect to perceive those pure and divine vibrations of the Supreme presence.
God takes a human medium to carry out his task
When celebrating Shivrathri, observing a fast is of great importance. Generally people believe that a fast means to abstain from or restrict your food, in order to have control over the mind from being pulled by the senses and to have remembrance of God. Some regard a fast as just abstinence from good and entertainment. But purity is the principal factor. It’s not just celibacy but being ‘Brahma-Achari’ that is following the code of conduct laid down by Brahma. People follow the fast of the main big vices, but they allow freedom to the little vices which become strong and cause harm. Some think that little vices such as anger have to happen and can’t be helped. Then the purpose of a fast is lost. The pledge of purity has to be maintained.
That God incarnates at night also has its significance. Most parts of the world pride the fact that they have achieved political freedom but the entire human family remains trapped by the slavery of the worst kind - the slavery of our own age-old weakness in the forms of lust, anger, ego, greed and attachment along with their subsidiaries.
It’s hard to find anyone absolutely free from these nagatives. But man is ignorant of the extent to which the human psyche has decayed. As is mentioned in the Bagawad Gita, God incarnates when unrighteousness in the world reaches the highest peak.
In today’s world virtues are lost and vices are rampant. Positive values like peace, love, honesty, tolerance etc. have disappeared and instead negative qualities like peacelessness, hate, dishonesty, intolerance etc. have become the order of the day. The soul, in its ignorance believes that this is his cherished world and his life the most enjoyable. This is the darkest period of the human race. Night is ignorance. Human souls are merged in the slumber of ignorance. God, the father has come to awaken the souls and end the night of darkness.
Hence on this auspicious day of Shivrathri, devotees renounce sleep and keep awake the whole night with the hope of attaining salvation or freedom from the clutches of Maya or the vices. They look up to God in prayer and remain alert to receive God’s message. The weaknesses and vices have thrown the entire human race in a whirlwind of turmoil, sufferings, diseases and death. God brings them the Light of knowledge to liberate them from this sorrow, caused through ignorance. Knowledge reveals the Truth and the souls become enlightened. The darkness of ignorance is dispelled.
Till now the souls were ignorant of - Who am I? Where did I come from? Where do I go next? How can I regain my original deity life? God’s knowledge gives them answers to these questions. He also shows the path to attain salvation. So they are very alert not to allow the sleep of ignorance, the sleep that comes at the wrong time.
During the whole night intense effort is made to enhance their spiritual awareness. They become aware of the soul, Supreme soul, matter and time.
They keep their aim and objective before them. To see God, to experience God, to become elevated and attain salvation is the goal of the devotee.
Another aspect of Shivrathri is linking with God. The soul seeks the company of God to become elevated. It has to regain the noble ‘sanskars’ diminished through maya’s company. True to the saying “We are coloured by the company we keep”, in God’s company we naturally have visions of our own highest self, that is the most virtuous stage of consciousness. It is a wonderful experience to have the awareness of our taking a spiritual birth with the incarnation of our Supreme Father God Shiva.
Devotees have visions of Shiva in three main forms
Shivrathri is linking with God
Devotees affirm this communion with God through prayer and meditation. They look up to God as Creator, Sustainer of life and Destroyer of evil. The five fold task of God is depicted in the - Nadarajah statue - Dance of Shiva.
The little drum in one hand symbolizes the awakening of souls. The sounding of that drum is to invoke souls and make them part of creation. The hand of blessings symbolises God’s sustenance of the souls.
The fire symbolises knowledge through which souls become enlightened and burn away the impurities. It is called the fire of knowledge. The foot placed on ‘Muyalagan’ symbolises the supremacy over Maya. The raised foot symbolises the upliftment of the souls. Their sins are absolved and are taken into God’s kingdom.
The Jyothirlingam in Shiva temples is worshipped with religious fervour by the devotees during Shivrathri.
Devotees have visions of Shiva in three main forms namely Nithyananda swaroopam, Gyan swaroopam and Prakash swaroopam.
It means He is Blissful, Knowledgeful and Light. Devotees believe that Shiva appeared before Brahma and Vishnu as a beam of light. That God is light could be experienced through yoga, the link with God. God Shiva, the Almighty Authority has come down to earth to salvage His children.
His method of upliftment is through spiritual knowledge. Understanding of the soul, Supreme soul and world drama will redeem the world from further degradation and sorrow. God the Father is unique. He has no image or body of His own or physical organs to perform His task.
So He takes the body of a mature corporeal being whom He names Brahma. Merciful God grants liberation and salvation to all souls. God the father descends to earth, at the end of every cycle which is 5000 years. It is called the confluence age, the period when Shiva descends to earth. It’s also called the Diamond Age because of its importance. The souls receive knowledge, realize the purpose of life and set a definite aim and objective for the future. To achieve this goal God is teaching Raja Yoga, a way of meditation that makes one self-sovereign, free from the fetters of karmic bondages.
The children enjoy total happiness through this meeting with the father. God always remains happy and we get the awareness that we too become happy with pure and positive thoughts.
You make God, the Almighty Authority your friend and all obstacles fizzle to nothing. This is the true benefit of Shivrathri. You may be weak, but when the Almighty Authority is combined with you - then use Him at the time of need. Do not use Him just for namesake.
We all have the faith that Shivrathri festival is a pure desire to celebrate with love the anniversary of God’s re-incarnation, sharing the joy of a new consciousness, new learning and an elevated peaceful life. May everyone on earth receive the boon of an Ever-Healthy and Happy Life, full of prosperity, as a well-deserved Godly Birthright.
Brahma Kumaris Raja Yoga Centre
Munneswaram temple, Chilaw Chelvatamby Maniccavasagar
The Chariot or Ther festival of the ancient and historical Munneswaram Shivan temple was held on February 17, 2011. In fact, this temple is situated at nearby pearling and fishing town of Chilaw.
Further, Munneswaram, along with Koneswaram (Trincomalee), Naguleswaram (Keerimalai), Thiruketheeswaram (Mannar) and Rameswaram (India) forms the five Ishwarams dedicated to Lord Shiva.
The Portuguese, after the arrival in Sri Lanka in 1505, began a campaign of forced conversion and destruction of many Buddhist and Hindu Temples around the Island. They destroyed the Munneswaram temple completely in 1578 with the exception of the basement and used the core of the building as a Roman Catholic Chapel.
They used iron bars to destroy the presiding Deity. According to a 1640 Portuguese records, they were able to convert 500 people from the village of Munneswaram as Roman Catholics. However the locals and temple administrators were able to hide many of the idols of the Temple Complex before the destruction.
Following the destruction, the Munneswaram village came under the control of the expanding Kingdom of Sitawaka, led by its King Rajasingha I (1581-1593), who continuously harassed the Portuguese during his reign. Rajasingha I rebuilt the Temple again, but due to continuous conflict most of the area around the temple was depopulated and proper cultivation of lands abandoned. Irrigation tanks, which provided water for cultivation, fell into disuse.
The Portuguese again destroyed the Temple in the early 17th century, but the temple was rebuilt by the local people. It was nominally in usage when Kirthi Sri Rajasingha (1742-1782) of the Kandyan Kingdom had to superstructure rebuilt in the 1750s. The Kalasam on the top was made of silver, a work of Art displaying affinity to South India’s Dravidian Architecture.
The Kumbabhishekam (Consecration) ceremony was performed in the year 1753 and for the performance of Daily and special riots of the temple Kirthi Sri Rajasingha made a grant of lands to the priests.
It was recorded that in 1830, the temple festival attracted thousands of people from the surrounding village, but by 1870 the temple was abandoned again. One of the reasons was the depopulation of the village, due to various causes and the convention of paddy lands into plantations from subsite farming. By 1816, Munneswaram village had hardly 64 people and the entire Munneswaram division had 1008 people in 63 villages.
A Tamil family from Munneswaram village controls the priestly position of the Kali Temple. The Shiva temple was renovated in 1875 by the personal efforts of Cumaraswamy Kurukal. Improvements were effected again in 1919 and 1963 through public support from Tamil Hindus from Colombo and Jaffna.
The temple has become very popular amongst the Sinhalese and they make up over 78 percent of the pilgrims to both Shiva and Kali temples.
The presiding Deity Lord Shiva is installed in the form of Lingom in the sanctum sanctorum. The Shiva temple’s architectural details conform to what is written down in the Hindu Scriptures known as Agamas.
The Shiva temple faces East and has three pathways around it. A Sacred pond is situated in front of the Shiva Temple and a Fig tree stands by the side of it. Furthermore, the Shiva temple is surrounded by various other temples and shrines. To the South East of the Shiva temple is a shrine dedicated to Lord Ganesha.
The popular temple dedicated to Kali stands in the Northern part of the pathway. In the South West of the outer courtyard is another temple dedicated to Ganesha. Within the Shiva temple there are shrines dedicated to Navagraha (Nine planets), the sixty three Saivite Nayanmarsaints.
Indeed, Munneswaram temple is well known for its celebrations of Navarathri and Sivarathri functions. Navarathri lasts for nine days and is dedicated to various aspects of the presiding Goddesses, whereas Sivarathri is dedicated Lord Shiva. Both these functions primarily attract Hindus to the Temple.
The Annual Munneswaram festival is an important part of the Temple and it attracts Hindus, Buddhists, Catholics and even Muslims. Until 1830s the Festival lasted upto 18 days, but since the 1960s it lasts for 28 days.
This was followed by 13 days of internal temple processions conducted in the outer pathways of the Siva Temple. On each day of the festival, the images of Ganesha, Skanda were paraded around the temple.
Devotees visit the temple to attend the Daily poojas and make their offerings. Booths were erected outside for the sale of food, drink, brassware, pottery, cloth and holy images.
On the final day of the festival, two large chariots were drawn by the devotees to the Deduru oya, a local river for Thirtham (Holy Bath) ceremony when the images were dipped into the river. At the same time thousands of devotees also jumped into the river.
After the Holy Bath, the procession went back to the temple along a route through Chilaw, accompanied by traditional Nadeswaram and Thavil Musicians. The procession then passed through Kali temple prior to entering the main temple.
Hence, let us pray the Guardian Deity Lord Shiva at Munneswaram Temple and receive His Divine blessings for everlasting peace and eternal prosperity in Sri Lanka.
The foundation stone laying ceremony for the new kovil of Sri Maha Lakshmi and Subramaniar attached to the Sri Bala Selva Vinayagar Moorthy Kovil, Captain’s garden Maradana, Colombo 10 took place recently. Here chief priest Rev S Radhakrishnan Kurukkal, Sculptor Sri Kandadas Ravindraraja and the Trustees Board members participate in the Pooja.
The annual ‘ther’ chariot festival of the Sri Muthumariamman Kovil Kotahena Colombo 13 was held under the patronage of a large number of devotees last week. Here the chief priests along with the trustees board committee conducting the special pooja, before the commencement of the chariot procession.
The commemoration music festival “Sri Thiyagaraja Aradhana” to honour devotional music composer, Saiva Saint Thiyagarajar Swamigal took place at the Indian Cultural Centre Colombo 7 last week. It was organised by the Indian High Commission. Here an item in progress. Pictures by A Maduraveeran
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
South Indian Hindu Temple
Chithamparam, which is also known as kovil - ie “The Temple” lies between the river Vellar on the north, the Bay of Bengal on the east, the Coleroom in the south, Viranam tank on the west. The magnificent temple in this place is considered one of the most important in South India and devotees from all parts of the country visit the place all the year round.
Simplicity in the worship of God Shiva
The idol of Nadarajah (Shiva in the dancing aspect) is separated from the Holy of the Holies by a veil, which is removed only on special occasions of worship. Behind the veil is revealed mere space, out of which the blissful Nadarajah is said to have emerged. Chidamparam is famous for the simplicity of its object of worship which consists of Ahasa (ethereal space) and Rahasya or chakra on the wall to the rear of the idol.
Engravings of Dravidian art
The temples at Chidamparam are the oldest in the south of India and portions or them are gems of Dravidian art. The outer enclosure in which this temple stands is very elaborate with two storeys of pillars.
There are four courts in Chiddamparam temple. The third contains the famous thousand pillared hall 350 feet by 260 feet from which a good view of the inner shrine is obtained.
The second has a shrine of Lord Shiva and other deities.
The Nritha sabha has the sculptural representation in its base. Inside, there is Kanaka Sabha or the dancing hall of Natarajah covered with golden roof.
The fine architectural carvings with attracts the eye of everyone are on the niches of the four main outer Gopuras.
These contribute in a great measure to the greatness of the temple. The holy Sivaganga tank 175 feet long and 100 feet wide situated within the temple has an attractive colonnade (row of pillars) around it.
The Subramaniya shrine popularly known as Pandiyanar Subramaniya temple, so called probably after the Pandyan kings, has many beautiful carvings.
Many puranic legends are represented on the roof of the Sivakami Amman shrine, while on the south west of the temple there is the shrine of huge Ganesha (Elephant God). Situated within the innermost prakara of the temple itself on the south east is the shrine of Govindaraja-Perumal (Vishnu) who is said to have witnessed the dance of Shiva.
Gopura (tower) depicts different dance postures
The Gopura on the northern entrance of the temple was built by Krishna Devaraja of Vijayanagar in commemoration of his victory over king of Orissa.
The towers facing the east and the west, contain beautiful representations of 108 different postures of the art of dancing mentioned in the “Bharata Natya Sastra” - the standard authority of the subject.
The Gopura at the southern entrance was constructed by a Pallava Prince called Perunjingadeva. Besides the metal figures of sages Vyaghrapada (tiger footed) and Patanjali (snake bodied) sculptures of them, to whom Lord Nataraja first danced here are also found in the eastern Gopura of the temple at Chidamparam.
The most interesting piece of the sculptural carving is that of Shiva as a warrior.
It is no exaggeration to say these sacred shrines, by the splendour of their massive structure and fine sculptures to be found therein prompt the worshippers to lead a life of purity and devotion.
Temples are considered to be hallowed ground. They are said to promote justice throughout the land.
It is also laid down that so long as these ancient institutions are duly maintained by the devotees there will be prosperity in the country and famine will not visit the land.
Yagam of Siddhar Rajkumar Swamigal
Peace, love, goodwill and harmony in Sri Lanka:
Siddhar Rajakumar Swamigal from South India conducted a yagam at Sri Varatharaja Vinayagar Temple’s Angaran Hall, Kotahena, Colombo 13 with the main aim of bringing about everlasting peace and eternal prosperity to Sri Lanka.
In fact, to a world lost in error and beset by illusions of time, weighed down by perplexities, overpowered by forces of darkness, egoistic arrogance, ignorance, overspecialization in material science, compartmentalization of knowledge, trials and tribulations, conflicts and contradictions, the Yagama conducted by Siddhar Rajkumar Swamigal will undoubtedly redeem thousands of people from violence, tension, hatred, envy, jealousy and bring about communal harmony, peace, amity and unity among all communities and denominations.
Further, peace and prosperity are the fundamental prerogatives of human beings. A stage of peaceful existence implies freedom, quietitude, stillness of mind tranquility, equanimity and serenity. Indeed, a pure religious experience alone can sanction for a permanent, abiding and abundant experience of Bliss.
Aiming at peace involves not only averting violence, but also subjugating covert violence.
Though we have to eliminate social evils such as exploitation, corruption, concoction, injustice inequality etc., which are menaces to human development we have to fight with the psychic evils which hamper the growth of individual personality.
In the words of Adam Curle, making peace involves a reshaping not only of society and the world order, but also of ourselves. It implies that the seeds of peace must be sown at the individual level. Only when the individual leads a calm and controlled life both internally and externally, we can think of a world order.
According to Siddhantham or the teachings of the Siddhas, the human body is a temple of God. Man is a miniature representation of Paramatma (Supreme intelligence).
The purpose of life is to realize God and to manifest that realization in all planes of existence.
The present world is confronted with economic instability, social disturbances, racial discriminations, political turmoils, linguistic fanaticism, regional prejudices, national turbulences, ethnic violences, international trepidations, religious feuds etc.
The panacea for all human woes, afflictions lies in realizing for oneself totally and simultaneously the supreme reality, the guiding spirit and the inner controller. To achieve this ultimate goal of life the saiva siddhantha suggests valuable means.
The ultimate goal of life is to relinquish the life of earthly pleasures, elevate oneself to the level of divine perfection and enjoy the unalloyed bliss of Lord Shiva by becoming one with him.
This unity or oneness alone will make the person realize the essential unity of all living species. This is the unique contribution of siddhantha to the world.
Indeed, the Siddhas and Saints have made earnest appeal to the world for its betterment through religious practice and spiritual experience.
The ideal, namely “Ever Joy” and “Never sorrow” would be achieved when the aspirants adore the Holy feet of the Lord and attain a State of Bliss. If our thought is united with the Divine thought and if all people unitedly extend powerful thoughts, vibration of peace and goodwill prevail everywhere.
Undoubtedly, the YAGAM conducted by Siddhar Rajkumar Swamigal will definitely bring peace, love, goodwill, harmony in Sri Lanka.
India and Hinduism
Because it integrates a large variety of heterogeneous elements, Hinduism constitutes a very complex but largely continuous whole, and since it covers the whole of life, it has religious, social, economic, literary, and artistic aspects. As a religion, Hinduism is an utterly diverse conglomerate of doctrines, cults, and ways of life.
The distinction between the level of popular belief and that of elaborate ritual technique and philosophical speculation is very marked and attended by many stages of transition and varieties of coexistence.
Primitive magic and fetishism, animal worship, and belief in demons occur beside, and often combined with, the worship of more or less personal gods, as do mysticism, asceticism, and abstract and profound theological systems or esoteric doctrines.
For example, worship of female local deities does not, in the same milieu, exclude the belief in pan-Indian higher gods, or even in a single High God. Such deities are also frequently looked upon as manifestations of a High God.
In principle, Hinduism incorporates all forms of belief and worship without necessitating the selection or elimination of any. The Hindu is inclined to revere the divine in every manifestation, whatever it may be, and is doctrinally tolerant, leaving others - including both Hindus and non-Hindus - whatever creed and worship practices suit them best.
An Abirami Anthathi Parayanam and Bakthi Geetha program was held at the Sri Muthu Mariamman Kovil Kotahena Colombo - 13 recently to mark the annual Thai Poosa Mahotchavam. Pictures A Maduraveeran The Annual Varusabisekam festival of the Karpaga Vinayagar Kovil, attached to the Colombo Hindu College premises, Ratmalana took place recently. Here, Chief Priest K Wytheswarak Kurukkal performing the pooja. The Pupils of Religious School attached to the Ramakrishna Mission Wellawatta Colombo - 06 sing Bakthi Geetha recital. A ceremony held its premises last week, to mark the 149th birth anniversary of the Saiva Saint Swami Vivekananda.
The special religious Maha Yagna Pooja took place at the Sri Varatharaja Perumal Kovil Kotahena, Colombo 13 under the patronage of His Holiness Sri, Sri, Rajakumar Swamiji of Brammarishi Hills South India recently. The event was organised to invoke blessing on the President Mahinda Rajapaksa, country and its people. A large number of devotees participated.
A special prayers program titled “Geethopathesam” was conducted by Rev Rajeswara Nandaji Swamigal at Ramakrishna Mission Hall Wellawatta Colombo 6. The event was organised to mark the 149th birth anniversary of the Saiva Saint Swami Vivekananda Swamy. Large number of religious schools, students participated in this program.
The religious book titled “The Significance and Glory of Nandi Flag” written by the Vice President, All Ceylon Hindu Congress (ACHC) Dr Sinnathurai Dhanapala was launched at Chennai Tamil Nadu (South India) recently. The event was organised by the International Thirukkural Forum. Here a copy is being presented by the Author to the Chief Minister Tamil Nadu Muttuvel Karunanithi. Rev Kunnakkudi Ponnambala Swamigal looks on.