Pāda Yātrā or Foot Pilgrimage by Patrick Harrigan
Pilgrims of all ages, mostly simple villagers from the North and East, walk from as far as Jaffna.
Lord of Minorities
Seeing the picture of the Common Opposition Candidate in the Sri Lankan Presidential Elections 2015 - Mr. Maithripala Sirisena at Kathirgamam – in the Sri Lanka Guardian article Political Culture Of Sri Lanka by Helasingha Bandara I thought of the time I received sweet rice at Kathirgamam in 2005. The spot at which I received the sweet rice was slightly to the left of the spot where Mr. Sirisena is standing in the picture and I recognized one of the Kapuralas (Sinhala Priests) as the one who gave me the sweet rice – mistaking me for a Sinhalese lady he was speaking to before the poojah (mass) commenced.
I thought of all that during meditation and thanked the Lord for recognizing my true faith in the Higher Powers and taking care of me when there was no one else to do so. That particular day in 2005 – was the day after I submitted the Tsunami Reconstruction proposal to the President (Mrs. Chandrika Kumaratunga at that time). It was an unexpected success because I did not know any of the Ministerial staff of the Hon Douglas Devananda to have had subjective influence to join the party that was arranged to meet the President. But I believe I worked at the highest standards in that Tsunami damaged area – and did so with faith. Not only was my Tsunami proposal approved – but my dedication to thanksgiving was also rewarded when I went to Kathirgamam. I went alone using public transport and was very hungry. Despite being hungry I did not go in search of food but took my place as one of the first in the queue to go into the temple for the poojah. The Sinhalese lady who was chatting to the Kapurala before the poojah – came in much later but stood next to me – almost at the spot where Mr. Sirisena is seen standing in the picture. But I got the rice meant for that lady. I took it to the Ganesh temple next door - with a Tamil priest and ate the rice. My heart melts when I think about the Grace of the Lord – who knew I needed food.
In his article The Presidential Election Is In The Lap Of The Gods? Victor Cherubim also raises one’s thoughts in the issue of Presidential elections. Most of us know that there is the unseen and unknown influence of God in the outcomes that affect us – but not many of us actually pause to work it out – so we would not forget. Those of us who do attribute – develop the ‘thanksgiving system’ within us.
Mr. Helasingha Bandara states about election time in Sri Lanka - ‘The country has a circus atmosphere and it really is entertaining. For a whole month or so the poor and the rich alike are entertained. Indeed the entertainment value of this whole saga should not me undermined because at least for the poor masses, elections are the only means of entertainment.’
To a large degree, the reason for such entertainment is because the voter becomes important during this period. To my mind, the more important question is ‘what does the voter need through the government?’ Most Sri Lankans, while praying to God for particular outcomes fail to attribute a portion of the enjoyment to that God – in thanksgiving. One Tamil lady said to me that soon after she was married she had had the experience at Kathirgamam that taught her the lesson that no matter comes with ‘one side only’. This lady who is tall by Lankan standards had experienced difficulty when getting her basket of offerings back after the poojah. The lady said she had then prayed to Lord Muruga to give her a tall daughter. Her first-born – a good-looking daughter - is tall but they are experiencing difficulty finding a taller husband! This is also the lesson from Karpagatharu /‘Wish-Fulfilling’ tree mentioned in Hindu Bhagawath Geetha. The roots of that tree are in Heaven and the branches in Earth. The tree hangs upside down. One who wishes sweets from under the tree does get the wish but also with it the stomach-ache that happens later. Lord Krishna says to Prince Arjuna to cut that tree across its trunk to disconnect the branches from the root.
To my mind, the branches produce matter / fruits but the root cause is in Truth known through God’s system. If we have not worked for such outcomes – we would have to pay later. If we have – and we project as per our mind – we leave no room for Lord’s contribution to the outcome in return for our faith. Once we lose consciousness of the fruits (denoted by cutting off the branches) we are in a better position to recognize the outcome through the Lord’s wholesome blessings. When we ask for particular – we can only project as per our work and our imagination. But we would not know the higher component added through our faith in God. The earlier we seek the stronger the contribution from Above.
Today, someone wrote as follows in response to the upcoming elections:
[This is a very crucial time for Tamils as well as others to not to rock the boat and allow Mahinda to win another term. If that happened KP (former LTTE) will get the North and EAST on a platter, and you may have to get a VISA to travel to Jaffna.]
I responded :
[North & East under KP may be more easily managed by Tamils – especially pro LTTE Tamils. As for visa to go to Jaffna – we already have to do that through MOD (Ministry of Defence) clearance. By its very nature, the visa system confirms separation – exactly what the LTTE wanted. Combine Karuna (former LTTE leader in the East), KP and the visa system – the Government has effectively delivered what the LTTE sought. That is how Truth manifests Itself. Look at the issue and you will see the beauty of Truth.
The more focused we are on the issue – the better our ability to influence outcomes through God’s system. I feel that this is why in the system of democracy - one is required to produce objectively measurable outcomes as confirmation of one’s independence. These outcomes once produced are open to be used by all concerned as per their own needs and desires. If they are not suitable – then the independent user would lose consciousness of them.
All of us develop a system as per our own genuine and independent contribution - sometimes transparent and at others confidential. Ultimately it is that system that determines the value of the outcomes for us. Those driven by quick outcomes are likely to have the insight/third eye to recognize the workings of this system. One without such insight would get what he asks for at Kathirgamam, provided he has done enough praying to win at the surface level. If it is stomach-ache time for Sri Lankan Government – then the loser is the real winner – saved by his deep faith in God. Such a person would contribute to Governance with or without portfolio. Often this happens through Administration where the person is active. Administration is a combination of Governance and Voting values. Tamils with strong feelings of self-governance even though a minority in terms of voting power, become strong Administrators due to this reason. The vote of Tamils is largely symbolic in Presidential elections. It’s their governance power that be attractive to real leaders.
Every time a Sinhalese prays to Lord Muruga s/he bonds with Tamil minds. Tamils must learn the art of accepting that belief as the belief in minorities and work the system of minorities – as Lord Muruga is the Lord of Minorities. The 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution verified legally the claim of believers in Lord Muruga, who walked from Jaffna in North through East Coast to Kathirgamam in South in their Belief. Belief is the basic entitlement to natural ownership.
Gajalakshmi Paramasivam – 11 December 2014