22 November 2020
WARRING BUDDHIST MONKS?
I said to a family junior that unlike him, I did not learn Hinduism formally including as a subject in school. Yet, I was explaining to him the significance of Sooran Pohr / Sooran War which was celebrated at most Temples of Lord Muruga. Lord Muruga is worshipped as Lord Kataragama by Buddhists in Southern Sri Lanka. Sooran was absorbed by Muruga as Peacock the vehicle and Rooster the awakening force in the flag. The Tamil king Ellalan was cleansed of injustice in his wars – by Lord Muruga’s sword that courageous King Duttugamini obtained through meditation. Epic Mahabharatham educates us that kings and brave warriors consider death in the battlefield through a just war is highly meritorious for a warrior. There are no wins or defeats for such warriors.
Ruwanwelisaya where the current president of Sri Lanka took oaths a year ago was established by King Duttugamini. Wikipedia presents the following picture:
[King Dutthagamini (often spelled as Dutugemunu) who, on the full-moon day of the month of Āsāḷha (June–July), under the constellation of ‘‘Uttarāsāḷha’’, would officiate in the ceremony for the enshrining of the relics in the Great Stūpa, worshipped the Sangha (Order of monks) on the day before the full-moon day, reminded them that tomorrow is the appointed day for the enshrining of the relics and requested them to give him the relics. The Saṅgha ordered then the novice Arahant Soṇuttara, who was gifted with the six supernormal faculties, to procure the relics from Naga-Loka realm, which Arahant Soṇuttara manages to visit and bring and offer to the Sangha.
Then king Dutthagamini received from the Sangha the Buddha’s relics upon his head in a casket and departed from the golden pavilion in the midst of manifold offerings and honours made by gods and ‘‘Brahmas’’. He circumambulated the relic-chamber three times, entered to it from the east, and when laid the relic-casket on a silver couch one ‘‘koṭi’’ worth, that was arranged in the north side. An image of the Buddha was then, according to the Buddha’s determination, created in the lion’s reclining posture (‘‘sīhaseyya’’), and all the relics were enshrined within that image. When the enshrining of the relics in the Great Stūpa Ruvanveli was completed, the two novices Uttara and Sumana closed the relic-chamber with the stone-blocks that were previously hidden to be used as a lid.
In the Thupavamsa numerous types of beings attended the enshrinement of the relics into the Mahathupa; including the Naga king Mahakala who until recently guarded them. The relics were to be placed atop a golden throne crafted by Visvakarman the divine artificer; the throne brought by Indra. Brahma offers his invisible umbrella of sovereignty, with the king Dutthagamani offering his own. The arhat Indagutta creates a metal canopy over the universe, so that Mara will not interfere, as monks chanted the Sutta Pitaka (the Collection of Discourses delivered by the Buddha). Dutthagamani ceremoniously enters with the urn atop his head; but as he is about to place the urn on the golden throne, the relics rise into the air and form Buddha, with each of the 32 major signs and 80 lesser signs of a great man. In this form he performs the twin miracle of fire and water, fulfilling the fifth of his death bed resolutions. One hundred and twenty million gods and humans gain arhatship from this experience. The relics return to the urn and they are laid to rest and the chamber sealed with forty meter stone slabs.]
It is very clear from the above that the Umbrella of Sovereignty was considered to be that of Hindu god Brahma. Visvakarman – the name of the artificer is also Hindu/Tamil name. As per Hindu belief Visvakarman was the Divine architect who according to Wikipedia is described to be extremely talented, and created miracles like Lanka, Dwarka and Indraprastha. Dwarka was Krishna’s capital and Indraprastha was the capital of minority rulers Pandava brothers. Indran is the king of Hindu gods.
Whoever therefore invokes the ancient powers of Ruwanwelisaya invokes all these powers through form of Buddha. But Buddha will appear only if the invoker renounces war – as Emperor Ashoka did. I believe that when I am reborn, I will take with me all the divine powers as well as demon powers I have, into my next form. That is the theory of karma. But in my next life if I invoked benefits on the basis of karma, they would come but bring with them all the costs with accumulated interest representing absolute powers of the of the costs. Beyond a certain point, old becomes merge with the Universal powers and become absolute in values. We come from that Universal origin and we end there. To my mind, the Silk Road benefits as planned by the Chinese leadership brought the Costs as Coronavirus.
If therefore, this president was ‘showing’ status by taking his oaths at Ruwanwelisaya , then he invokes the associated costs of Dutugemunu’s victory against Tamil king Ellalan. King Dutugemunu is reported to have built the monument which is presented by Wikipedia as follows:
[Perhaps his most famous creation was the Ruwanweliseya, also known as the Great Stupa or and Swarnamalee Chetiya, to house the begging bowl of the Buddha.]
King Dutugemunu is reported to have successfully invoked Hindu Lord Muruga’s blessings before the war – reported as follows by Wikipedia:
[During the period of preparations for war with King Elara, the Kataragama deity appeared in front of King Dutugemunu and gave him a sword for him to use in the war at the present day site of Henakaduwa temple (hena and kaduwa, meaning thunder and sword respectively in Sinhalese)………
…After defeating Elara in single combat in the Battle of Vijithapura and subsequently regaining power in the country, the Kataragama deity appeared yet again before Dutugemunu while the latter was in meditation at Kiri Vehera, Kataragama. The victorious king asked the deity what should be done in return for the deity's help in winning the battle. The god replied by shooting an arrow in the direction of Wedihiti Kanda from Kiri Vehera and instructed Dutugemunu to build it a shrine where the arrow lands.]
The warrior and the crown prince who renounced and became beggar are in conflict here. The former is represented by Hindu Murugan and the latter by the bowl in Ruwanweliseya. The warning came when King D was about to place the urn on the golden throne. :
[as he is about to place the urn on the golden throne, the relics rise into the air and formed Buddha, with each of the 32 major signs and 80 lesser signs of a great man.]
That was the manifestation of true Buddha who humbly begged and gave in return the ability to earn a rich living. That was also the role of Anthanar / Brahmins in Hindu society. Kings paid their respects to Anthanar as higher humans who were the gurus of royalty.
As per Wikipedia
[ Ruwanwelisaya was built by King Dutugemunu 140 B.C., who became King of all Sri Lanka after a war in which the Chola King Elāra (Ellalan) was defeated. ]
Before the war - King Dutugemunu meditated on Hindu Lord Muruga. The sword received represented Hindu power. Ellalan being a just king was actually killed by Hindu power included in King Dutugemunu. The monument in King Ellalan’s territory ought to have been Hindu. If indeed it were to be Buddhist it ought to have been built by the likes of Emperor Ashoka who converted to Buddhism after he witnessed suffering in the Kalinga war (larger version of Eelam war). King Dutugemunu and his followers were Buddhists first who converted to Hinduism when they had wars. When they won – they elevated Buddhism and received the Begging Bowl of Buddha.
Unlike in the case of King Ellalan who was always a Hindu, LTTE leader converted to Christianity. But those militants who remained Hindus are / were blessed in life or death which at individual level does not represent does not win or loss but like in the case of King Ellalan merges with Universal power to be invoked through prayers and respect by the needy in the future.
At least now if the President pays respects to King Ellalan or Lord Muruga as the foremost deity, he would get the opportunity for the Sri Lankan armed forces to be employed in global wars. Otherwise Buddhist monks will continue to use their status and become de facto warriors.
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