Tuesday 16 May 2017

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam
15  May 2017


Tamil Royalty of Ceylon

Prevention of Terrorism &
National Reconciliation in the One mind???

The visit by Indian Prime Minister – the Hon Narendra Modi, to Sri Lanka has resulted in senior Sri Lankans like Dr. Dayan Jayatilleke raising concerns about India’s expansionism. (Colombo Telegraph article The Modi Doctrine – II: The New Indian Expansionism & The Sinhala-Tamil Equation )

 If Dr.  Jayatilleke had been more focused, this concern would have arisen in 1977,  when Tamils won the leading Opposition position  in National Parliament or at least in 2015 when Tamils won that position again. Every Buddhist has the duty to examine these through the ‘present’ mindfulness. Such laws have the effect of hearsay. To the extent we genuinely invest in such laws – thinking they are relevant – we develop our own laws as per our own inner purpose at that time.  Laws that are irrelevant to a group will not lead them to the solution they need. Given that the wars against the Government in Sri Lanka reached grassroots level, it is important to know how natural forces influence manifestations.

Technically speaking there is an equal opposite to every physical manifestation. Hence the Equal status to leading opposition in parliament – even when that other side is held by a minority group. Taken at total level, mind and body / force and matter – are different forms of the one soul. If therefore Sri Lanka as a country is believed to be Sovereign, such a believer would be able to identify with this by filling the ‘gap’ at matter level, through one’s own mind.

As a Sri Lankan Tamil, I do not feel threatened by Mr. Modi’s distracting speech to the Indian Tamils in Sri Lanka. It is wrong for them because it carries the risk of  distracting  them from becoming Sri Lankans independent of India. To the extent we reap results on this soil for the contributions we make, this soil is custodian of our independent rights. In parts like Thunaivi, in Northern Sri Lanka, where the folks continue to live close to Earth – it’s easy to observe the other side of our genuine efforts to function independently. If we spend more than what these folks are capable of delivering – we do so out of our own desire to ‘show’ rather than feel. One who feels in an owner. 

In his Colombo Telegraph  article ‘National Reconciliation Policy’ Is A Welcome Initiative
 Dr. Laksiri Fernando who to my mind  is more academic minded relative to Dr. Dayan Jayatilleke, states in relation to National Reconciliation Policy:
It is important that the Cabinet approval came on the 2nd May, just eight days before the Vesak day of this year. As predominantly a Buddhist country, the Buddhist philosophy could play a major role in reconciliation in Sri Lanka, if the right efforts are taken in that direction.’

When Tamils made their declaration of belief in 1976 through the Vaddukoddai Resolution, that happened on 14 May 1976 – also a Vesak day. If Buddhist philosophy of transcending the physical to fill the mind with the spirit of the issue – that declaration would have been received by at least one true Buddhist as it ought to have been – as Tamils stating that we are a Nation within Sri Lanka. If that was not the case Tamils would NOT have won Equal Opposition in National Parliament in 1977. What happened to Buddhist philosophy? Even now, I do not observe a single Sri Lankan Buddhist identifying with this Vesak Manifestation as being a Natural outcome.

As per article ‘Commemorating Vesak at ‘http://www.ft.lk/2015/04/25/commemorating-vesak/
a stamp was released in 1976 :

[After 1969 it was in 1976 that a special Vesak issue was released. It was a colourful set of six stamps featuring 18th century wall paintings from the Dambava Raja Maha Vihara at Vahakotte in the Matale District. The stamps are reproductions of six panels of paintings depicting the birth of Prince Siddhartha – conception, King Suddhodana consulting the astrologers, Queen Mahamaya being taken in royal procession to the parents’ home and the birth of the prince at Lumbini grove. The Dambava temple belongs to the time of the reign of King Kirti Sri Rajasinghe (1747-82) and the paintings are in the image house which is a ‘tampita vihara’ – a square structure raised on pillars. The paintings are considered one of the finest series on the birth of Prince Siddhartha. From 1978 onwards Vesak stamps had been a regular annual issue.]

As per Wikipedia account of  the king:
[Kirti Sri Raja Singha was the second Nayaka king of Kandy. He was a prince from the Madurai Nayak Dynasty and the brother-in-law of Sri Vijaya Raja Singha. He succeeded his brother-in-law to the throne in 1751.]

Madurai in Southern India is very much Tamil and is the origin of Manimekalai – a Tamil princess who became Buddhist by renouncing:

[ Manimekalai (Tamilமணிமேகலை)  by the poet Chithalai Chathanar, is one of The Five Great Epics of Tamil Literature according to later Tamil literary tradition. Manimekalai is a poem in 30 cantos. Its story is a sequel to another of the Five Great Epics, Silappatikaram, and tells the story of the conversion from Jainism to Buddhism of the daughter of Kovalan and Madhavi…….
The aim of the author, Seethalai Saathanar (or Cīttalai Cāttanār) was to compare Buddhism favourably with the other prevailing religions in South India in order to propagate Buddhism. He criticizes Jainism, the chief opponent and competitor of Buddhism at the time. While exposing the weaknesses of the other contemporary Indian religions, he praises the Buddha's Teaching, the Dhamma, as the most perfect religion……
The Epic
As a continuation of Silappatikaram (Tamilசிலப்பதிகாரம்), this epic describes how Manimekalai, the beautiful daughter of Kovalan and Madhavi, follower of local deities later included in Hinduism, converts to Buddhism. According to the poem, Maṇimekalai studies the six systems of philosophy of Hinduism and other prevalent religions of the time and compares them to the teachings of the Buddha. She is most impressed with Buddhism which treats everyone equal with loving kindness and fraternity. Later, upon hearing doctrinal expositions from the Buddhist teacher Bhikshu Aravaṇa Aḍigal, she becomes a dedicated Bhikshuni or Buddhist nun. Manimekhalai fully practices the Buddha's teachings and attains the highest stage of Buddhist spiritual knowledge or attainment, i.e. she became an arhant. The Manimekhalai poem thus is an example of female spiritual empowerment within a culture wherein otherwise there were few options for women. Pandit Iyothee Thass (1845-1914) revealed more about Manimekalai as "Arachchelvi" (Female Arhant) and documented original poems written by Seeththalai Saththanar, which are not available in the Menimekalai edited by U.V. Swaminatha Iyer who allegedly left out some of the original poems.
The epic gives much information on the history of Tamil NaduBuddhism and its place during that period, contemporary arts and culture, and the customs of the times. The exposition of the Buddhist doctrine in the poem deals elegantly with the Four Noble Truths (ārya-satyāni), Dependent Origination (pratītyasamutpāda), mind (citta) and Buddhist practices like virtue (Śīla) and non-violence (ahimsa).
…..The poem is set in both the harbour town of Kāveripattinam, the modern town of Poompuhar in Tamil Nadu, and in Nainatheevu of NākaNadu, a small sandy island of the Jaffna Peninsula in modern Sri Lanka. The story runs as follows: The dancer-courtesan Manimekalai is pursued by the amorous Cholan prince Udyakumāran, but rather wants to dedicate herself to a religious celibate life. The sea goddess Manimegala Theivam or Maṇimekhalai Devī puts her to sleep and takes to the island Maṇipallavam (Nainatheevu). After waking up and wandering about the island Maṇimekalai comes across the Dharma-seat, the seat on which Buddha had taught and appeased two warring Naga princes, and placed there by the God Indra. Those who worship it miraculously know their previous life. Manimekalai automatically worships it and recollects what had happened in her previous life. She then meets the guardian goddess of the Dharma seat, Deeva-Teelakai (Dvīpa Tilakā) who explains her the significance of the Dharma seat and lets her acquire the magic never-failing begging bowl (cornucopia) called Amṛta Surabhi (”cow of abundance”), which will always provide food to alleviate hunger. The goddess also predicts that Bhikshu Aravaṇa Aḍigal in her native town will teach her more. Manimekalai then used the mantra which the sea goddess had given her and returns to Kāveripattinam, where she meets the Bhikshu Aravaṇa Aḍigal, who expounds her the Buddha's Teaching and advices her about the nature of life. She then becomes a Buddhist nun or Bhikshuni and practices to rid herself from the bondage of birth and death and attain Nirvana]

The Tamil connection to the Throne is further confirmed also as follows:

[Sri Vikrama Rajasinha (1780 – January 30, 1832, born Kannasamy Nayaka) was the last of four Kings, to rule the last Sinhalese monarchy of the Kingdom of Kandy in Sri Lanka. The Nayak Kings were Telugu nominal Buddhists  who practiced Hinduism and spoke Tamil. The King was eventually deposed by the British under the terms of the Kandyan Convention, in 1815, ending over 2300 years of Sinhalese monarchy on the island. The island was incorporated into the British Empire, and Sri Vikrama Rajasinha was succeeded by George III, as monarch of British Ceylon.]

I felt that I received the blessings of the above King when I was looking for accommodation in Colombo a couple of years back and my usual host was away in London. I found the place called ‘Raja House’ along Rajasinghe Road in Colombo 6 – commonly known as Tamil suburb. The morning after my arrival – I discovered the pictures of Sri Wickrama Rajasingha wearing the ‘Pottu’ – representing the third eye and usually worn by Hindus. As per my experience, Sinhalese do not wear the Pottu and hence the Pottu became a feature through which Tamil women were identified more easily by attackers in Colombo. I recall that in 1977 when I was pregnant with my daughter Gayathri – I consciously removed the Pottu when going to work – so there was less risk of me becoming the target of those attacking Tamils. Had King Rajasingha manifested in Colombo as he was when he passed away on 30 January 1832, it is likely that he would have been butchered on the roads of Colombo while commuting between work and home. A true Buddhist is already and Hindu. I do not see the Pottu on the forehead of Dr. Jayatilleke nor Dr. Laksiri Fernando. They both depict Western Imperialism which took-over Sri Lanka. Hence neither has the insight I have – that 1976 Vesak Declaration was very much Hindu-Buddhist and anti Western living in the minds of politicians who desired the Western benefits enjoyed by Western rulers in Ceylon.

By paying our respects to that very Western Royalty for the positive values we derived – we own those values and make them Global – as I did in Australia – where I earned Global value on behalf of Sri Lanka by sacrificing those very benefits of the West that were irrelevant to me conscious of my  Sri Lankan origin in this lifetime. Once we own it is Common ownership. In terms of Buddhism and Hinduism it is largely regional and when we merge East and West through ourselves – we make Global contribution. If we replace – one with the other – we live at matter level – and that is ok so long as we do not claim to be Buddhist leaders!

Neither has demonstrated the insight that Tamils take the Prevention of Terrorism Act as yet another form of ‘copying the West’ menace that plagues Sri Lanka – including through academics who have little insight into who they really are but set out to preach to others about who those others are! Had they paid their due respects to their Western gurus – they would have become global and any place which is their home would be global. 

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