Wednesday 29 July 2020

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

29 July  2020

Cultural Borders & Sovereignty

There is a shrine for Tamil power  at Kathirgamam - in Southern Sri Lanka near Hambantota - the home area of  the current President and Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. There is a temple at Nallur in Northern Sri Lanka – also for same Tamil power. The Northern Personification is  – known by the name Nallur Murugan. The Southern Personification is known by the name Katharagama Deviyo. Many Sinhala political leaders worship regularly at Kathirgamam. It is rare for a Tamil to worship at any Buddhist shrine. There are Christians in both groups.

How did we divide ethnically with such rich opportunities towards commonness? After the surfacing of Black Lives Matter grouping, the apparent commonness of alleged victims, beyond national borders has become more visible. The Guardian article ‘America's 'untouchables': the silent power of the caste system’ confirms such a trend.
The reason, to my mind, is the mind structure through which we read ‘what happens’. A member of the Australian Tamil Diaspora highlighted this through Thirukural stanza 262 which states:
[Penance makes sense only for those
who have been virtuous; for others, it is useless
To my mind when we put ourselves through penance / discipline to uphold our truth as known through our conscience – we naturally develop the foundation of a reliable structure that would protect and regulate many. Not all of us ‘show’ this structure through visible status. But all of us make a difference to our home environments through genuine penance and discipline. Disorder in thought also can damage such structures when  ‘freedom’ of expression is disorderly due to lack of belief.

Structures facilitate common pathways – even when we do not know each other physically due to time and place based separations. But we connect due to knowledge gained through common structures. Truth is the universal connector. Hence vote on the basis of truth of the junior is known as Universal Franchise.

Indian Caste system and American Race system in relation to Blacks - have work based hierarchy as common foundations. Not so Australian Race system in relation to Blacks. If Penance needs its own structure – it is more true to say that work also needs its own structure. Using my own example – the Vice Chancellor of the University and the Cleaner of the University  have different position structures for their respective work. But both have Equal opportunity to feel ownership in the University through selfless service and / or by following Due Processes already established by previous owners – starting with the original owners. The differing pathways used, takes us to different destinations. Hence the saying – One man’s meat is another man’s poison. Likewise One man’s sacrifice is another man’s indulgence or hoarding.

This morning when I read the news report by Ceylon Today – under the heading ‘University lecturer attacked by wild elephant undergoes surgery’ the first question that came to my mind was whether the victim was a Sinhalese or a Tamil? The reason is Elephant and its significance to the Buddhist and Hindu respectively. The first ‘reasoning’ structure these days in the case of Sri Lankans in natural environments seems to be ethnicity based. To be more particular  - religion based – until known otherwise. There is no bias in this but the belief in cultural structures. Hindus respect  the elephant through Ganesh. The mango legend (Appendix) which is about the rules of a competition being interpreted differently by one (Ganesh) following the path of belief in elders  on the one hand and the younger sibling (Murugan) following the apparent, merit based pathway on the other,  is part of the Tamil mind structure.  It is not likely to be that of Buddhist mind structure – even though they may consider Murugan as a Deity. The hierarchy is different.

To my mind – Nallur is lawful wife of Murugan – Devayanai and Kathirgamam is the Love Energy Valli. Those Buddhist leaders who pray at Kathirgamam need to win – actually invoke Veddha (Indigenous hunters) powers. These would not work in a structure made largely on the basis of a combination of Roman Dutch law & English law. The two become Equal due to the completion of the journey. Harmonious Coexistence begins from that point onwards. In terms of caste – Devayanai who personifies highly structured pathway is the Brahmin / Priest caste and Valli who personifies pure and natural Love is the junior caste. But by depicting them on either side of Muruga  - wise elders have confirmed the need for separation of powers between the two.

Likewise those who feel with Blacks as juniors in the system of law but who believe naturally and completely – need to stay away from those who follow the structured lawful system. Where the structured pathway is weakened due to more than proportionate benefits being enjoyed  at the expense of the other – natural forces support those who believe naturally and completely – so long as they do not disturb the peace in the other and become their relatives.

Appendix – Excerpt from Chapter 17 of Naan Australian
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.

In Hindu temples, the Divine quality  is personified inside the altar and its opposite – the animal quality is personified outside the altar and is called the vehicle.  It is called the vehicle due to us needing to travel on the animal to realize the values of our divinity.  If the animal is not used as a vehicle – it would tend to dominate and run the show. 

Shiva for example is personifies Love.  Hence ‘`[fEp civmf / Anpe Sivam (Shiva is Love)’.  The bull outside denotes lust.  Likewise elephant faced Ganesh personifies the intellectual path - as the elephant is known to be the one with deepest memory within the animal kingdom.  The mouse outside personifies hearsay and does as it is ‘told’.  To me Ganesh is Computer and mouse is the mouse used to instruct the computer.  Ganesh is worshipped at the beginning of a venture due to being known as the  remover of obstacles – the way the elephant clears the path for others coming behind him. One who uses his own deep memory is like Ganesh and  one who uses hearsay is like the mouse.  Information that is not written by us would not last long in our memory. Muruga personifies egoless state due to His 360 view.  When we are global / universal – there is no ‘I’ ego in us.  The peacock on the other hand is known to be proud of itself.

 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. In terms of migration – this means also that the senior migrants need to be driven by their intellect and not physical contribution, if they are to retain leadership power.

Muruga on completing His journey successfully, learns that the prize mango had been awarded to Ganesh who completed the journey by His mind, renounces His heritage and establishes His kingdom on Palani Hill in South India. Muruga is known also as the Lord of Democratic era for this reason of physically observing – and hence ‘objectivity’ in democracy. Hence this accommodates juniors / minorities who would actively observe a matter from all angles before they make decisions – as in Do It Yourself way.

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