Friday 24 March 2017

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam
24 March 2017

Christianity Development or  Post-War Development?

[On 1 March 2017, Australian High Commissioner Bryce Hutchesson, together with Minister for Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs the Hon John Amaratunga, launched the Market Development Facility (MDF) to support inclusive growth of tourism and related sectors in Sri Lanka.] Joint Press Release by the Australian High Commission and the Ministry of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs

[Tourism and Christian Affairs Minister John Amaratunga told Parliament yesterday that if the government could provide lands necessary his ministry was ready to construct and set up infrastructure facilities in support of devotees visiting the main places of worship of Catholics in the country St Anthony’s Church, Kochchikade, Church of Our Lady in Matara, Madhu Church and Basilica in Ragama] The Island article - Christian Affairs Minister denies problems for devotees at key churches during feasts

I was at Hindu sacred site Thiruketheeswaram in Mannar District of Northern Province two days after Maha Shivarathri – the all night devotion to Lord Shiva. The reason was to include this sacred site also in our promotion of tourism in Sri Lanka, within the Hindu Diaspora in Australia. I went straight to the Hindu Shrine which was undergoing maintenance work. I felt deep connection – much more than during my first visit in 2006. This was my third visit. During the 2006 visit – I ended up in Mannar town because there was no bus to get back to Vavuniya after a certain time. While waiting in Mannar I was threatened by a Navy Officer and was saved  by his senior officer. Even today the anxiety of what would have happened if not for the senior officer’s intervention, is not too far away when I reconstruct that scene. That was/is the reality for many young ones in that area.

Today when I rang a friend regarding a relative who works near the London Parliament – my friend said that the attack there was like fear during LTTE time. My friend has not shared any personal experience in this regard but I recalled my own personal experiences when threatened by armed officers. Through those personal experiences I relate to the anxieties that others in war-zones experienced. It’s true that similar events would invoke those anxieties but to my mind as a Sri Lankan, relative to Sinhalese in Sri Lanka, Tamils in Sri Lanka experienced much deeper pain due to the war. Otherwise we have to accept the other’s description without relating.    Once we relate the one who is closer in relationship to the LTTE is taken as the lower relative.

The Apparent Common factor between LTTE and the London attackers – is that they have both been labeled as Terrorists. But once we ‘express’ such words – they become part of the karma of that relationship. If the Sinhala Buddhist person just by majority number became a passive contributor to the conflict / war – but did not have any official responsibility or personal feelings on the basis of experience, then as per the system of Natural Justice/Karma  – one of two returns happens:

(1)   The other person who has no common faith-based connections with the LTTE and/or its Community through religion, caste, language or common-living, would allow her/himself to be the other side of the above speaker’s motivation. In this instance – the silent agreement that LTTE were Terrorists and of a different class to the speaker and the listener; or
(2)   The other person does have some common faith based connections with the LTTE and therefore feels offended / hurt by the comparison. This may or may not be expressed at that time. But to the extent of that Common faith – the speaker would be judged and return is sent to the speaker – due to the deeper common faith being stronger than the surface similarity. That is the way of Natural Justice.  Here in Australia as per the Racial Discrimination Act this would amount to Racial Discrimination as per Section 18C of the Act, if such statements were  spoken publicly.

Good and reliable laws work close to the system of Nature / Dharma. A person who is highly conscious of Common welfare of the Public represents the Public. Hence as per Natural Justice / Dharma such expressions when spoken in the presence of one of Common Faith would amount to a civil/social wrong. If the other person is driven by Truth that other person has the power to return the effects to the sender.

Physical similarities, like hearsay – are limited in their use. If they are not connected to Common faith and/or Common Principles – those using them to overpower another of different looks – would tend to ‘gamble’ with information. They are floating information and they lead to frivolous actions when common resources are used to present them. This happens often in politics. Such active use without underpinning faith – leads to mental disorders, due to lack of logic. Truth when surfaced makes perfect logic.

When I first read about Australian promotion of Tourism Development I felt happy – due to my own investment in this. But when I read the portfolio of the minister concerned the title Christian Affairs Minister – made me feel uncomfortable. I did not dwell on it until I read the above report and made the connection between Christianity Development and Post-War Development. I then recalled the ‘ring’ that I found on the banks of Palavi River – about which Wikipedia reports as follows:

[The Palavi Theertham is a tank situated near the Thiruketheeswaram temple.
The Palavi tank is prospered by the river Palavi, which had been the outlet of Matale waters via Malwattu Oya and other natural waterways of the extensive basin. The sacred Palavi Theertham which was described in ancient Tamil hymns as sacred as the river Ganges, is used by the Hindus to offer rites and rituals for their ancestors.]

In 2006 – I went to Palavi to honor our nephew Shanmugalingam of Vavuniya who had passed away. I keep recalling the experience which was completed with the assistance of the armed forces at Thiruketheeswaram which was polluted by the threat by the Naval Officer. By recalling with faith – I strengthened my experience at that place. The deeper we feel, the more real that world becomes to us. The depth gives us a real force which if it goes deep enough would defeat majority numbers at body count level when surfaced laterally. That is the Power of One.

On the banks of Palavi this year, I found a ring – and felt the urge to wear it. There was no one around and I felt that it had been ‘lost’ by someone. I often wondered about the significance – especially the carving of fish on the ring. Today, the penny dropped. Thiruketheeswaram was built by Karaiyar – fisher caste. As per Wikipedia:

[Thiruketheeswaram's initial installment is credited to the indigenous people of the Manthai port, the Karaiyar Naga tribe.  The Karaiyar claimed to be related to several classical period public figures hailing from the international port town, including the creator of the oldest extant Tamil literature by an Eelam Tamilian, the Sangam poet Eelattu Poothanthevanar]

I felt that the ring was a blessing from the Indigenous people of that place – the Karaiyar.

Later that day, many Hindu leaders at Thiruketheeswaram  complained that they were upset by the Christian domination in that area. I asked them whether they were not upset by Buddhism foremost in the Constitution – but their response to this was rather weak in comparison with their expressions of opposition to what they called ‘Christian takeover’.  In terms of war the Wikipedia reports:

[As part of the civil war that has plagued the country since the Black July pogrom of 1983 currently the temple is occupied by the Sri Lankan Army. While granite work preparations were in progress the army took over the Temple and its environs in August 1990 and continued to occupy the site for several years. Although they have left the Temple premises their occupation of its environs is a cause of concern to the Restoration Society which has been urging the Government to remove the Armed Forces completely from the environs of the Temple and declare the site a sacred area.]

The role of Karaiyars in Jaffna Governance is presented as follows:

[Under the rule of Cankili II, the king requested Karaiyars and Badagars in regaining back his kingdom. The Colonial Portuguese ordered Cankili II to surrender the Badagars and The king of Karaiyar (Carea) to be surrendered. Cankili II declared that he would not let the Badagars nor the King of Karaiyars to be surrendered, as they had come to his request. The Karaiyar troops aligned with the Thanjavur Nayak troops, and fought against the Portuguese in the conquest of the Jaffna kingdom. The Badagars could refer to the Vaduge, or the Nayak troops, and the King of Karaiyars, probably refer to an high ranked Karaiyar chieftain.
By the 20th century, the Karaiyars were mostly engaged in fishing within 2-3 kilometers from the coast. However, S. K. Sittampalam believes that they were once engaged in international commercial trading.
The Karaiyars in Northern Sri Lanka are classified into two groups; Meelongi and Keelongi Karaiyars. The Meelongi Karaiyars were engaged in seafaring and were socially advanced, having enjoyed the benefits of higher education and employment in government and the private sector. The Keelongi Karaiyars were and still practice coastal and deep-sea fishing.  The terms "Meelongi" and "Keelongi" stems from the Tamil words mēlē which means over, and kīlē which means under. The terms are easily explicable as ‘Those who are over’ and ‘Those who are under’, reflecting a rather deep bifurcation of society based upon socio-economic status.
The Melongi Karaiyars were known as Thevar Karaiyar, and are identified with the founding ancestors, Periyanadutevan and Verimanikatevan, who were reputedly commanders of an invading Chola army. The Keelongi Karaiyars were said to be descendent of the army's soldiers and workers.
By June 1619, there were two Portuguese military expeditions to the Jaffna kingdom: a naval expedition that was repulsed by Khem Nayak and the Malabari corsairs, and a land expedition by Phillippe de Oliveira and his army of 5000, which was able to defeat Cankili.  Cankili's remaining soldiers were beheaded by Portuguese, and Cankili himself was taken to Goa and hanged. The surviving members of the royal family were also taken to Goa and asked to become monks or nuns in the holy orders. Most obliged, and their celibacy avoided the production of further claimants to the Jaffna throne]

LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran was of Karaiyar caste. The above account confirms the higher role of Karaiyar in Governance power of Northern Sri Lanka. Anyone who contributes to Sovereignty / Independence – shares their mind with others through  Common Land and/or Common culture. Those who use majority power – beyond the entrance to Governance – miss out on this mind connection of the predecessors of that place and/or culture. The next layer to the outer looks is Human Mind. Deeper than that  is the Truth / Soul – the Absolute Power. Hence the importance of Root-Cause.

As per the Island report mentioned above:

["It has been observed that there could be pressure for common facilities due to congestion since large number of devotees gather during the annual feasts in those places. We have taken ample measures and provided funds for the purpose of providing assistance to public. But one should understand that there is a practical truth of no government could build houses or toilets for all those who visit such places as the numbers are increasing every time," the Minister said.
He said so in response to a question raised by UNP Matara District MP Buddhika Pathirana, who said that common amenities required by devotees visiting those places of worship are at minimal level and as a result devotees faced great difficulties during feasts. Devotees were compelled to live in tarpaulin huts and there were not enough toilets for them, the MP said.]

The Public area around Thriuketheeswaram temple was like a junkyard even two days after the Maha Shivarathri festival this year.  When asked – the folks said that the authorities were not interested in giving priority to cleaning the place.  Later we went to Madhu Church which is reported to have a history of over 400 years.

As per parallel report on Thiruketheeswaram:

[Literary and inscriptional evidence of the post classical period (300BC-1500AD) attests to the upkeep of the temple during the ancient period by kings of the PallavaPandyan Dynasty and Chola dynasties who contributed to its development up to the late 16th century. In 1575, Tirukkētīsvaram was largely destroyed by Portuguese colonials, with Pujas terminating at the shrine in 1589. Following an appeal by Arumuka Navalar in 1872, the temple was rebuilt at its original site in 1903. The exact date of the Ketheeswaram temple's birth is not universally agreed upon. According to Dr. Paul E. Peiris, an erudite scholar and historian, Thirukketisvaram was one of the file recognized Eeswarams of Siva in Lanka very long before the arrival of Vijaya in 600 B.C.  The shrine is known to have existed for at least 2400 year, with inspirational and literary evidence of the postclassical era ( 600BC – 1500AD) attesting to the shrine's classical antiquity. The buried ancient Tamil trading port of Manthottam (Mantotai/Manthai) in the Mannar District — where Ketheeswaram is located — has provided historians extant remains of the culture of the area during the ancient period. This includes the vestiges of its ancient temple tank (the Palavi tank), and the ruins of a former Hindu city built of brick, described by J.W. Bennet in 1843. During the ancient period, Mathoddam was a centre of international trade, with Greeks, Romans, Phoenicians, Arabs, Ethiopians, Persians, Chinese, Japanese, Burmese and others vying with each other to monopolise the trade of North Ceylon with Tamil traders.  Mathoddam is currently viewed as the only port on the island that could be called a "buried city," with much of the ancient ruins under sand today. The existence of the Thiru-Ketheeswaram temple attests to the antiquity of the port. Mathoddam finds mention as "one of the greatest ports" on the seaboard between the island and Tamilakkam in the Tamil Sangam literature of the classical period (600 BCE – 300 CE).   Hugh Nevill wrote in 1887 of the illustrious city of Mathoddam “A renowned shrine grew into repute there dedicated to one Supreme God symbolized by a single stone, and in later times restored by a Saivaite after lying long in ruins. The temple was dedicated as "Tiru-Kethes-Waram.]

As per my discovery, those who believe in Lord Shiva and/or the Sovereignty of Karaiyar ancestors of that time would invoke the powers of minds of those times as if they were virtual reality. The causal forces of manifestations on that basis cannot be known merely through majority numbers or even the logic of new laws. A Buddhist for example would not be able to access these ancient powers at that place – the same way non-Buddhists would not be able to invoke the ancient Buddhist powers at a Buddhist place. Again, if Buddhists had  damaged non-Buddhist sacred sites and done so beyond what they believed was their duty – and non-Buddhists  suffer, the negative  karma  returns to Buddhists in that area.

I believe that I contributed to this return at the University of NSW where I contributed strongly as an Independent operator, to transition to Democracy in Resource Management.  I was persecuted for this by those who, like the current Government of Sri Lanka, had the responsibility to develop Democratic systems. I allowed the persecution to happen but did so after doing my best to have my say through peaceful presentation. In my article ‘Australia v Sri Lanka in Promoting  Racial Discrimination’ I have listed the criteria that confirm Racial Discrimination and this includes the criterion: ‘The complainant  concerned ought to have worked / operated independently to produce an outcome / show a particular conduct.’ I satisfied this requirement. Thereafter I exhausted all internal processes before progressing towards legal action. It was after this also failed to uphold the Truth of my investment in Equal Opportunity Laws – that I submitted my work to the Lord.  

Each time we include the Truth we discover as part of ourselves – we become Managing members of the system of Natural Justice. We are better able to make the connection between Cause and Effect than those driven by immediate outcomes only. The Rajapaksa Government failed to develop this Managing power – due to excessive accumulation private wealth out of Public issue – by abusing the ‘Anti-Terrorism’ mandate. They say in Tamil that the ancestry of one who ‘takes’ from Temple wealth for private purposes is cursed. That ‘taking’ confirmed that the original motivation in terms of Terrorism was not genuine. That taking of ‘foreign’ money without the commitment to Global standards  was negative karma which eventually led to the current situation of UN ‘Supervision’. That was possible only due to the Global minds investing in Global harmony through Sri Lankan experience. Without that Global mind and/or Truth which is Universal Power – even UN actions carry the risk of ‘invasion of Sri Lanka’s Privacy’. Australian Public funds spent for Christian work in Sri Lanka also have the effect of ‘foreign judgment’. Australian Christians are entitled to share with Sri Lankan Christians and that would make them global. A democratically elected Common Government of Australia is invading Sri Lanka, when Australian Public money is used for development of Christian representations. At this point in time, it amounts to restoring Christian places and not common places. It is not only in breach of the mandate of Australian Public but also in breach of ‘Buddhism Foremost’ clause of the Sri Lankan Constitution.

Large numbers of Hindu temples and Christian churches were damaged during the  war. Any investment by the Government during this post-war development period needs to be proportionately distributed on the basis of war-related damage. Aid /  Investment by other Governments – such as Australian Government in this instance – ought to be on that basis. The Minister for Tourism being also the Minister for Christian Affairs – carries the high risk of Tourism activities being indiscriminately mixed with Christian activities. Individuals and / or private groups are entitled to do so – so long as they are not in breach of the laws of Sri Lanka. But Government has the responsibility to restore the damaged places of worship to their former condition or better and do so in proportion to the damage to the place caused by the Government. Government has the responsibility to prioritize on the basis of war-recovery and not follow Buddhism foremost with Christian second, order.

 As per my discovery the higher service happens when we are motivated by need. I find myself providing complete service, when I serve in the consciousness of someone’s need. Once that need is within us, as part of us, we invoke even from faraway places, the deeper powers to discipline the offenders. The deeper our faith in that particular place / electorate in Sri Lanka, the stronger the offset of majority power.  Faith confirms Vertical power and transcends time and place based outcomes such as majority vote.

Zero base start in Equal Opportunity practices is recommended towards application of merit basis within the borders of the stated time and place. They do not have the power to extend beyond those borders as spelt out by the laws of that time at that place.  If we accept this surface reading and keep going deep, we would connect to the higher minds that continue to live there beyond their physical body. Hence the value of Heritage. One who discovers Truth at a place renders the strongest empowerment to that place. That is how Thiruketheeswaram has retained its power to bless all those who have faith in that place.. Such power is guaranteed to balance and where needed override majority  power  by new entrants of a different faith. 

Deeper investment to connect to their own religious ancestors by non-Buddhists would naturally defeat Buddhists who create and use current rules  to retain majority power.

Faith based power of the individual will empower the whole through the physical voter. The vote of a deep believer would therefore be more than equal to the vote of one driven by physical power of majority. When the person we voted for wins – we do not say ‘I did it’. Likewise in the case of Dharma – we need the genuine participation of all concerned – including negative ones. As learnt through the Hindu legend of churning the ocean depicted above,  those driven by brawn power were needed to work the other side – to keep the mind steady – so the gods did not get carried away – as higher classes tend to.  But when the nectar came out the Asuras with strong physical power took it and ran away. Is that not happening in Sri Lanka with the Aid money also?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for enlightening me on the history of Thiruketheeswaram.