Respecting the Mother Language
“For each of us, the mother tongue is the key symbol of our individual identity” – former President of Sri Lanka, Madam Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga
Madam Kumaratunga confirms what most of us know about the Tamil Tigers who demonstrated cleverness at the expense of Respectability. The closer we are to our roots / traditions – the greater the show of respectability needed. One of my students asked me recently whether one had to touch the feet of an elder to demonstrate respect. The respect was there but in modern world driven by economic prosperity respect seems a myth. Hence this student did not have the Energy to surface that respect felt within.
A person who foregoes earned benefits automatically becomes a respectable person. A teacher/mother becomes respectable when s/he shares the benefit which s/he believes is hers/his. Whether the beneficiary of such sharing pays her/his respects or not – one who shares becomes respectable. This is carried as one’s self-respect/self-confidence/dignity. One who carries such dignity naturally shares with others who have the need to be respected. Need for self-respect is the flower that blooms to make a seat for respect.
In Sri Lanka, Sinhalese leaders as well as Tamil militants have from time to time, demonstrated serious disrespect for others’ earned status. How does this happen? Is attachment to the benefits the prime reason/cause, of such disrespect? If yes, how does one transcend attachment? If no, does respect have no value in such groups?
Our Australian Prime Minister, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull, has stressed towards addressing domestic violence, on the need to respect the woman. When the woman with apparently weaker body is respected – man becomes more human by replacing the animal in him with the higher common person. That is the subjective pathway.
When one trades benefits at lateral level – and there is no pathway through which to share laterally – the excess produced is returned to the producer. Hence those who seek to remain close to their mother cultures – need to demonstrate that respect and take the benefit to the higher level. Listed in the Appendix are excerpts from Chapter 17 of ‘Naan Australian’ – about the Hindu Mango Legend which confirms that one has to forgo benefits from Traditional ways to develop global structures.
In the case of Sri Lankan Buddhists to whom Sinhalese is the mother language and Sri Lankan Hindus to whom Tamil is the mother language, has this ‘attachment’ to local benefits including status been a block to their Independence?
There are times when a mother/senior/Tradition may not be deserving of respect. But when we have the need to express ourselves, a structured system would facilitate it through the position of that mother/senior. That position is empowered by the architects of that structure and by those who have maintained that structure since then. The net values of past contributors and distant contributors reside as Energy. When one to whom that area is ‘home’ has a true need, the positive Energy automatically rises to bring that structure to the mind of the believer / family – who would bow and facilitate a seat for that structure in her/his mind.
Different cultures practise this in different ways. In most religions, such humility by the one in need of the service of the respected senior is built into practices such as prostrating, kneeling and bowing. Recently an academic said about a Chinese Buddhist student that the student would not turn his back to the academic when walking out of the class; but would wait until the academic had left or walk backwards without turning around – a common practice at Sri Sathya Sai Baba temples. When those structures come into our mind, we feel empowered as if that leader is performing with us.
Recent discussions on the basis of outcomes of the Local Government elections in Sri Lanka, included the analyses by leaders about ‘blooming of the Tamil Eelam and blooming of lotus bud’ .
The mother flower of Tamils is Karthigai flower/flame lily/ Gloriosa. It is also the flower of Lord Muruga. I learnt this not from a Sri Lankan Tamil. Once when buying flowers for the weekly poojah, I noticed this attractive flower at the Flemington markets in Sydney. I took them to the Sathya Sai Baba temple at Carlingford where a Sri Lankan Tamil said it was the flower of the LTTE and an Indian Tamil Brahmin lady said it was Lord Muruga’s flower and that it had six petals. That was the first time I learnt about both. But neither of the above devotees found it in Flemington markets around which a good proportion of Tamils live. I felt I found it due to my need for the higher status showing the common value.
To the extent Sri Lankan Tamils respect India’s Tamil Nadu as an elder they would respect Buddhists as a diverse group. They would defend but not attack.
Likewise, Sinhalese, majority of whom are Buddhists who use the Lotus flower common to Buddhism and Hinduism would naturally accept Hindus as their global brothers. The Lotus flower would come to them if they are true Buddhists in nations where Buddhists are in the minority.
LTTE was strongly supported by Indian resources but they demonstrated lack of respect for India’s leadership by killing India’s Prime Minister the Hon Rajiv Gandhi. This confirms excessive attachment to ‘freedom fighting’ and its current benefits.
Sri Lankan Buddhists who are active in Politics carry the karma of a Buddhist monk murdering the Sri Lankan Prime Minister – the Hon Bandaranaike - Madam Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga’s father – who rose to pay his respects. That is like murdering Lord Buddha in the position of Prime Minister. Both happened due to desire for current benefits – more and more desire for immediate benefits due to lack of discipline to become respectable by sharing current benefits with juniors who are needed to confirm maintenance of Tradition. Benefits have to be escalated as structures to become common and further as Energy to be an Eternal power.
Appendix - excerpts from Chapter 17 of Naan Australian
As pre Hindu Legend Muruga renounced the prize mango – to establish His own kingdom. Elephant faced Ganesh and Muruga are the two children of Shiva-Shakthi. Saint Naradhar is usually known to highlight an issue by promoting/escalating a conflict which ultimately ends well. This time Saint Naradhar took a mango to Shiva-Shakthi and said that whoever ate that mango would attain eternity. Given that Shiva-Shakthi did not need it (they were already immortal) they decided to share it equally between their two children. Saint Naradhar says that to attain the value of eternity, the mango should not be shared but should be eaten in full by one person. This means that anything physical should be fully experienced by one person to raise it to the higher value. For example, our workplace credits need to be fully owned by us before we could raise it to ownership level. Towards this we need to feel grateful to those who contributed to our development and the opportunities through which we obtain those credits. If we are not able to do this, we need to share benefits purely on merit basis. Hence Equal Opportunity principles in countries/cities that have high migrant population.
The two sons – Ganesh and Muruga are invited to participate in the race to go around the world to get the prize mango. Muruga the active junior, immediately takes His vehicle the Peacock and starts on His around-the-world trip.
Ganesh, who is the thinker – and who would have been at a disadvantage compared to Muruga due to the latter’s ability to fly – compared to Ganesh’s mouse - asked Saint Naradhar whether it was correct thinking that His parents – Shiva-Shakthi stood for the whole world. Saint Naradhar said ‘yes’. Then Ganesh asked whether it was therefore correct that if He went around Shiva-Shakthi He was actually going around the world. Saint Naradhar said ‘yes’. So Ganesh went around His parents – believing them to be the whole world and Ganesh won the prize mango. To me this is the academic way. But then that works only if their academic gurus are their whole world.