Sunday, 18 October 2015

Why do Hindus Worship Bell?

Why do Hindus Worship Bell?I have already written about Hindus’ worship of Cows (Go Puja), Elephants (Gaja Puja), Snakes (Naga Panchami), Scorpions, Sandals (Paduka Puja), Fossils (Salagrama Puja), Gem Stones(Spatika/crystal), Conches (Shanka Puja) and flowers (Pushpanchali). I have also written that the calling bell was invented by the Hindus in my post ‘’Hindus invented the Calling Bell’’. Now I give some details about Bell Puja! Yes, Hindus worship bells as well. You know the story of Manu Neethi Choza who followed Manu Dharma Shastra during his rule. When the palace bell was rung by the cow which lost its calf under the wheels of his son’s chariot he killed his own son in the same way under the wheels of the palace chariot (for details go to my earlier post).
Bell Worship is called Ghanta Puja (Ghanta is bell in Sanskrit). The sound that comes out of the sacred bell is called Jaya Dwani (Victorious Sound). This sound helps to drive away the demonic forces and brings in the auspicious and positive forces. This has a deeper and inner meaning as well. This will drive away the evil thoughts from us. The bell will ring from inside us giving us positive energy.
When the priest or the performer of puja puts some flowers on the bell and rings it loud he recites a Sanskrit mantra echoing this meaning –‘Agamanartham thu Devanam, Gamanartham thu Rakshasam’. This Ghanta Puja is done in the beginning of Goddess worship and other rituals.
Every Hindu temple has a bell big or small. As soon as the devotee enters he or she rings the bell. During the main Arti all the bells in the temple will be used. This big sound improves one’s concentration. It helps devotees to focus their attention on the finale i.e. the main Arti. Hindus consider bell sound as a good omen. If they hear bell sound while discussing something important, they take it as positive sign or a Big YES.
Hanging a bell in front of the palace so that people can represent their grievances easily, was a great Hindu invention. The Hindu Kings who ruled from Sukothai in Thailand also followed this custom. We read about such bells in the Stories of Vikramaditya and other literature. Nowadays people in distress send SOS messages ( Save Our Souls ) from air planes and ships. In those days they rang a bell.
Ancient Ships also carried such bells. They used to ring it for giving messages. I have written about the Tamil Bell recovered from a ship and kept in New Zealand Museum. London is the Head Quarters for the Ship insurance company Lloyds. They have installed a bell that was recovered from HMS Lutine ship lost in sea in 1799. After that time the Lutine Bell was used by Lloyds to signal the loss of a ship at sea. Every time a ship was lost it was rung. Nowadays it is used for ceremonial occasions. So the custom of ringing a bell during distress has spread to different parts of the world, probably from India. We have proof for this in Tamil and Sanskrit literature.
In Japan, bronze bells date back to 300 AD. They hang it at the entrance of Shinto shrines. In China people believed bells can fly. Christian churches used it to summon worshippers. Larger bells have been used in the monastery from sixth century. Bells were used in exorcism and in the rites of excommunication. Shakespeare knew this and used it in his King John (‘’bell .book and candle’’). Many cultures believed that the bell dispelled the demons.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind
For those that here we see no more
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind --(Lord Alfred Tennyson)

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Varanasi history related to Lord Shiva

Varanasi is the holy city of Lord Shiva and has become one of the seven sacred cities of Hindus. The city has been described in many Hindu scriptures such as Rigveda, Skanda Purana, Ramayana, and Mahabharata. According to the Legends, Varanasi is about 3000 years old and known as the oldest city in the world. Varanasi is the center of industries and famous for a variety of work such as muslin, silk fabrics, perfumes, ivory works as well as sculpture. Varanasi was the capital of Kingdom of Kashi at the time of Gautama Buddha.

The Varanasi city was named as the center of a variety of religious and artistic activities by a celebrated Chinese traveler Xuanzang. It is located along the western bank of the river Ganges. The great Jain Tirthankar Suparshv Nath Ji and Tirthankar Parshva Nath Ji was born at Benares.

Varanasi is famous as a Shiva Nagari and it has become the biggest pilgrimage destination. The meaning of Shiva is the “auspicious one” known as the major Hindu deity. It is believed that the God Shiva is the Destroyer or Transformer of living beings among the Trimurti. The Lord Shiva is regarded as the most powerful god in Hinduism. According to the tradition of Hinduism, Lord Shiva is the Supreme God of Hindu as he is the creator, preserver, destroyer, concealer, and revealer of human beings. The followers of Lord Shiva are called Shaivites or Shaivas.

In Hinduism, the God Shiva is worshiped in the form of lingam. It is believed that he is living on Mount Kailash as an omniscient yogi with his wife Parvati and sons Ganesha and Kartikeya. He has benevolent as well as fearsome forms and often depicted as immersed in deep meditation, slaying demons in fierce aspects or as the Cosmic Dancer.

Etymology and other names of Lord Shiva

The Shiva is a Sanskrit word having an adjective meaning “pure”. It also means “The Auspicious One”, a name for Rudra. It is known as the thousand names of Vishnu interprets God Shiva having multiple meanings such as “The Pure One”, or the One who might never affected by three Gunas of Nature (Rajas, Sattva and Tamas) or the One who purifies living beings by the utterance of His name. According to Swami Chinmayananda, the meaning of Lord Shiva is the One who is eternally pure or the One who can not ever be contaminated of the imperfection of Rajas and Tamas. The Supreme God of Hindu Shiva is considered as he has no Aadi or Anta that he has no birth or death. The Lord Shiva is known as “Devon Ke Dev Mahadev” means Great God or Great Lord.
Seal was discovered in the Mohenjodaro which shows that a seated figure is surrounded by animals, possibly Shiva, the Pashupati.

Reality of Rudra

In the 2nd century it was searched as Rudra is three-headed Shiva. In the number of Hindu traditions both God Shiva and Rudra are viewed as the same personality. It is found in the Rig Veda that Rudra is the “Father of the Rudras”, a group of storm gods. According to Axel Michaels: Rudra is called “The Archer” and the arrow is vital attribute of Rudra, he was armed with arrows in his hands. Rudra is the great God of Hindu who has the power to kill all the forces of darkness.

Relationship of Rudra with Agni

It is believed that Rudra and Agni have a close relationship. It is identified in the Vedic literature with Rudra’s gradual development process as Rudra-Shiva. According to Nirukta, Agni is also called Rudra. According to the Stella Kramrisch the relationship between two great Hindu deities is very complex.

In the Satarudria, it is clearly shown that Golden red hue as of flame and Flaming bright is a fusing of the two deities. It is considered that Agni is a bull having horn which Lord Shiva possesses as his vehicle, Nandi. The horns of Agni, who is sometimes characterized as a bull, are mentioned. But in the medieval sculpture, the form of both Agni and God Shiva is Bhairav having flamed hair as his special feature.

Relationship of Shiva with Indra

According to an ancient theory, continuation of the Vedic Indra was through the Lord Shiva. It is considered as the God Shiva and Indra have thirst for Soma. Both Hindu deities are associated with mountains, fierceness, fearlessness, rivers, male fertility, warfare, the Aum sound as well as the Supreme Self. The term Shiva is used to call Indra in the Rig Veda. God Rudra is also mentioned in Rig veda as a father of the Maruts.

History of Shiva with Parvati

God Shiva is three-eyed deities controlling the Ganges flow through his matted hair means yellowish-white or molten gold. Lord Shiva wear mala of five serpents, a garland of skulls and a skull bracelet as his lovable ornaments, he cover himself in ashes, and have Trisula and Damaru. He has a crescent moon on his head and a Trisul or Trident in the right lower arm. Because of having third eye, he is also known as Trilochana.

There is big history behind Shiva having crescent moon, because of this he is known as Chandrasekhara or Chandramouli means having the moon as his crest. Having a crescent moon on his head denotes that he has perfect control on his mind. God Shiva smears ashes or bhasma on his whole body with ashes. Because of his yellowish-white matted hair he also known as the Jataajoota Dhari or Kapardin means wearing his hair wound in a braid of shell-like fashion.

History behind Blue throat

Lord Shiva is known as the Nīlakaṇtha means blue throat or blue kantha. It is considered that he drank the Halahala poison arisen from the Samudra Manthan in order to eliminate its destructive capacity and save all the Devgan from Devil. Goddess Parvati was shocked with his activity and she tried to strangled his neck and to prevent spreading of poison all over the universe means in Shiva’s stomach. That’s why his neck color is changed to blue.

Relation with Gange and Tiger skin, Serpents, Deer, Trident, Drum, Nandi, Gaṇa, MountKailasa, Varanasi

Because of wearing a sacred Ganges he is also known as the Gangadhara means bearer of Ganga. The flow of the Ganges from the matted hair of Lord Shiva represents the nectar of immortality. King Bhagirath had done hard Tap of Gange to bring her on earth in order to help his Purvaj to get Moksha. And God Shiva wore the Gange to prevent earth from her powerful and speedy water flow. Lord Shiva had released only a single flow of Gange to go to earth from his matted hair.

Lord Shiva is often shown have seated on a tiger skin. Having seats on the tiger’s skin indicates that Lord Shiva has conquered lust.

God Shiva always wear garlanded of serpents known as Nagendra Haara. Wearing snakes denotes the wisdom and eternity.

He holds deer on his one hand which indicates that he has not Chanchalata in his mind showing maturity and firmness to whole world.

Lord Shiva have his most essential weapon (called Trident or Trishula) in his right hand represents the three Gunas Rajas, Tamas and  Sattva. It is considered that he rules the world through these three Gunas.

He has a small Damaru in his left hand which represents OM which is origin of all languages are. It acts as an attribute in his famous dancing representation called Nataraja.

God Shiva has his vehicle known as Nandi or Nandin which is bull and serves as Shiva’s mount. Because of the relation of Shiva with an animal he named as Pasupati or Pashupati or lord of cattle.The bull represents him a Dharma Devata as a protector of Dharma.

Lord Shiva has a big group of Gaṇa ro bhutagana who lives in Kailash with Shiva. It is considered that the Ganesha (son of Lord Shiva) was chosen the leader of all Gana by Shiva, so the Ganesha is also called gaṇapati or lord of the gaṇas.

Mount Kailash is exists on the Himalayas, the nagari of King Himalaya. Kailash resembles a Linga which is the traditional abode of God Shiva known as the the center of the universe.

Varanasi is the famous city known as the holy city of God or city of Temples. Varanasi is specially loved by the God Shiva and has became one of the holiest places of pilgrimage in India.

Forms of Lord Shiva and depictions

Lord Shiva is a god of ambiguity and paradox by Gavin Flood. He has the ambivalent nature worshiped by Hindus as their supreme God. He was destroyer versus benefactor. It is mentioned in the Yajurveda for his both of the attributes, the malignant or terrific and benign or auspicious. God Shiva is depicted in the Mahabharata as a figure of honor, delight, and brilliance. The Rudra form of Lord Shiva denotes the wild one” or the fierce god. Shiva is also known as the Sambhu causing happiness.

Shiva as an Ascetic versus householder

The God Shiva’s family includes Shiva, Parvati, Ganesha and Kartikeya or Skanda. Lord Shiva is depicted as both an ascetic yogi as well as a householder. As a yogi he shown sitting and meditating on tiger skin. As a householder he is also known as Umapati or the husband of Uma or Umakanta or Umadhava. Mata Parvati is identified as a Devi or Divine Mother or Shakti (divine energy), Tripura Sundari, Durga, Kamakshi, Meenakshi and many more. It is considered as she is the source of Lord Shiva’s creative energy. His son Ganesha is known as the Lord of Beginnings and Lord of Obstacles and worshipped throughout India as well as Nepal as the Remover of Obstacles. His son Kartikeya is worshipped by different names such as Subrahmanya, Shanmughan, Swaminathan, Murugan, Subrahmanyan, Skanda, Kumara in Southern India like Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka.

Lord Shiva is known as the Nataraja as he is the Lord of Dance as an eternal dancer. His dance with music is described in the Puranic period. Tandava (denote the powerful) and masculine dance as Kala-Mahakala (denote the destruction of the whole world) are the two most common types of the dance associated with Shiva . One of the most famous dance the Tandava-Lasya is associated with destruction and creation of the world.

God Shiva is also called as the Dakshinamurthy as he seat facing south (dakṣiṇa) which represents Shiva as a teacher of yoga, music, wisdom and a variety of shastras.

He is called as Ardhanarishvara, the five-headed Tripurantaka pointing his arrow towards Tripura the rightmost top corner with bow of mount Meru and bow string of serpent Vasuki. In the form of Ardhanarisvara he shows himself having one half of body as a male and other half as a female the lord who is half woman. It is considered that Lord Shiva has sacrificed his half body to the shakti swaroopa Goddess Adi parashakti as a sign of love.

Shiva is called Tripurantaka as he is the destroyer of triple fortresses or ender of Tripura. It is considered that after ending Tripura he smeared his forehead with three strokes of Ashes.

God Shiva as a Lingam

The Lord Shiva worshipped in the form of Lingam at Jambukesvara temple of Thiruvanaikaval. The meaning of linga is a sign or a symbol which denotes the great God of the universe. According to the Hinduism, Lord Shiva is the God to creates, sustain and withdraw the whole universe.

Avatars of Lord Shiva

Virabhadra avatar of God Shiva destroyed the Daksha’s yajna and cut his head as per Shiva’s order. Bhairava avatar also known as Bhairo or Bhairon or Bhairadya or Bheruji depicted as the Kala Bhairava was created by Shiva for the protection of Sati Pind. Durvasa avatar is supposed to be an incarnation of Shiva and famous for his short temper. Khandoba which is a form of Shiva in Maharashtra and Karnataka. Hanuman avatar is known as the eleventh Rudraavtaar of Lord Shiva in the era of Lord Rama.

The five mantras of Lord Shiva
The number five is known as a sacred number for God Shiva. Namah sivaya is one of the most important mantras. It is considered that the body of Lord Shiva is made up of five mantras (represents as the five faces of Shiva), called pancabrahmans. Each mantras have distinct names such as:

  • Sadyojata
  • Vamadeva
  • Aghora
  • Tatpuruṣha
  • Isana
These are associated with five elements, five senses, five organs of perception, and five organs of action.

Maha Shivaratri

It is considered as the mata Parvati and Lord Shiva was met at this great ocassion known as Maha Shivratri. In Hinduism, Maha Shivaratri is a holy festival which is celebrated very happily every year at 13th night or 14th day in Krishna Paksha of Maagha or Phalguna. It is night when Lord Shiva had performed the Tandava. On this ocassion the devotees of God Shiva keep fast and worship Shiva Linga by offering him the fruits, flowers and Bael leaves. More on Maha Shivaratri …

Jyotirlinga Temples in India

  • Somnath
  • Omkareshwar
  • Vaidyanath
  • Mallikarjunaswamy
  • Mahakaleshwar
  • Nageshwar
  • Kashi Vishwanath Temple
  • Triambkeshwar
  • Bhimahankar
  • Rameshwaram
  • Kedarnath
  • Grineshwar
Origin and Birth of Lord Shiva

There is no clue about the origin and birth of the Lord Shiva but it is considered according to the Hindu mythology that, once Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu were arguing that which one of them as well as in the universe is more powerful. In order to searching for the most powerful power they had started going in the opposite directions. There was an immense blistering pillar appeared in front of them, they decided to search for the root and end branch of that pillar. Its been long but they never found the root as well as the end branch of that pillar. After being unsuccessful they had returned back and seen that there is a God Shiva rising out from the pillar’s opening. They found the supreme power and believed that the extreme power exists except both of us who can rule and destroy the universe.

According to the Hindu Mythology, it is believed that Lord Shiva is the destroyer of the universe and the soul of anybody after death gets intermingled into him. He is the supreme god among all three and has three eyes, the third one has the power to destroy the creation. He is also recognized as the God of storm named Rudra.

Story of Lord Shiva

It is considered that Lord Shiva many roles and power, he always wear the garland of snake in his neck and necklace of skulls as well. He is the supreme God and can help his creations as human beings as well as God also. He punishes the wicked as a divine judge who never shows mercy towards them. He has spiritual strength and used of meditation for a long time at the Kailash mountain at Himalayas. He symbolizes the truth, reality and drive out the bad energy as well as helps alleviating the suffering of devotees through his fascinating dance. He had saved the universe by drinking the poison arising out from the Samundra Mathan and called as the Neel Kanth as his neck became blue because of the poison.

He had provided the way to the River Gange to come on the earth by intermingle her to his matted hair. He saved the world from the great draught by offering the water source through Gange. It is a big story, once there was a great draught on the earth and River Gange was flowing only in the heavens. King Bhagirath had prayed a lot of the Gange to come to the earth. One day Gange became happy with his pray and came in front of him and said she cannot come to the earth as the earth would become flown away with the heavy flow of her water. She said to him that there is one way if you pray to God Shiva. King Bhagirath prayed to the Lord Shiva and got his way became simple.

Lord Shiva holds Ganges River in his matted hair, a coiled serpent in his neck, a crescent moon on the right side, a Trishul (also known as trident) in his right hand and ashes (bhasma) all over his body. He has a bull named Nandi which he used as his vehicle. Shiva-Linga is a peaceful and happiness symbol of the Lord which is adored too much.

Ardhanareeswara is another form of the both Lord Shiva and Mata Parvati as a half man and half woman. It is the form the Purusha (means the male energy) and the Prakriti (means the female energy) binding together to make the cosmic energy.

Another form of God Shiva is the Panchamukha Shiva (means Five faced Shiva) having each face in different directions like as a Sadyojata he has faced to the East, as a Tatpurusha he has faced to the north, as a Aghora he has faced to the west, as a Ishana he has faced to the south and as a Sadesiva (means the Eternal Shiva) he has faced to the upside.

There is a story of long ago, when some sages were busy in doing penance. In order to test their commitment, Lord Shiva started dancing on the forest and the wives (who came to forest to collect some firewood) of those sages got intimated with the dance of him. At the sunset when sages came to the forest to get their wives, they saw that they all were busy in seeing he dancing of other person, they pest that person. They were totally unaware that the dancing person was the Lord Shiva himself. Because of the pest, the penis fell down on the earth and started rising a long in both directions. Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma both went o the south and north direction respectively for getting some solutions and its end, but they were unsuccessful. They found that it is infinite and then recognized the God Shiva as Supreme.

 Lord Shiva Family

Lord Shiva got married two times, First time he got married to the granddaughter of the Brahma named Sati (daughter of the Prajapati Daksha). And second time he got married with the Parvati (rebirth of the Sati), the daughter of the King of the Himalayas. God Shiva and Parvati had two sons named the Ganesh and the Kartikeya.

How to Worship Lord Shiva

The most famous worship of the Lord Shiva is the worship to be performed for sixteen successive Mondays. The process of the worship is:

Take a bath in the early morning at Monday and wear a clean white cloth. Cook Churma by mixing a pound of pure wheat flour, gur ghee and fry it. Offer the Churma to the God Shiva along with a ghee diya, gur, sandal paste, rice grains, beetle nut, a sacred thread and flowers by reciting the mantras and songs. After worship distribute the prasad and take yourself as well.

Do this process for sixteen Mondays. After completing the 16th Monday worship, at the 17th Monday, mix ten pounds of flour, ghee and gur and fry that. Offer all that to the Lord Shiva with full dedication and love.

There is a big story behind the worship for 16 Mondays. Once God Shiva and Parvati had gone for the world tour and stay at the temple of the Shiva. They started playing Chaucer, then Parvati asked with a lady priest that who will win the game. She told that Shankar Ji will win. Finally, Lord Shiva had won the game and Parvati thought that all this become because of the priest announcement. She became angry and cursed that lady priest to become the patient of leprosy. The lady become very sad and suffered a long with the leprosy. One day she went to the temple to know her bad working as she was cursed with the Devine mother. An Apsara told her about the worship of God Shiva for the 16 Mondays. Then she did all the processes for sixteen Mondays and blessed by the Lord Shiva and became free from the leprosy.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Destruction of Hindu Temples in Sri Lanka

SINHALA BUDDHIST ETHNO NATIONALISM – Masquerading as Sri Lankan ‘Civic Nationalism’

Culture plays a crucial role in the life of a community. A community or a people is identified and revered by its flourishing culture. History shows that an oppressor…. aims to erase the identity of the oppressed and this means destroying first the oppressed people’s culture. It is for this reason that the liberation struggle of an oppressed people also assumes the form of cultural resistance.
In Tamil Eelam the culture and civilisation of the Tamils, which has a long, rich and valuable history is undergoing destruction on an unprecedented scale. Whilst on the one side, the Tamil national liberation struggle..  strives towards defending and protecting Tamil people’s identity and life, on the other, the Sri Lankan government… has taken the path of causing maximum destruction to the culture of the Tamil people.
It is a universally accepted principle that people living in a democratic land should be treated as equals, irrespective of language, ethnic or religious differences. But in Sri Lanka democracy  is being crushed by the tyranny of the majority – the Sinhala Buddhist representatives – in Parliament…
Tamil Eelam was once strewn with thousands of temples, churches, mosques, libraries, schools and statues of eminent persons and historical monuments. They were symbols of cultural richness; a national heritage revered with pride. Today many of them have been razed to the ground and others are in a dilapidated condition… due to …(the) tyranny of Buddhist fundamentalism.
To the Tamil Eelamreligion forms part and parcel of the daily activities of their life; it is part of their way of life. Living with nature, they respect and worship it. In this context temples not only stand as places of worship but are also as an embodiment of cultural life; they are their cultural centres. Music, dance, drama, education, medicine and many other essential aspects of life evolve around the temples.
All five renowned Hindu shrines that existed long before the advent of Buddhism in Ceylon, – Thirukketheeswaram, Thirukkoneswaram, Naguleswaram, Munneswaram, and Thondeswaram – are now under the control of Sinhala Buddhist oppressors. The first three temples are under the direct control of the occupying armed forces of the Sri Lankan state which are made up entirely of Sinhala Buddhists except for a handful of Christians and Muslims.
Thirukketheeswaram in the Mannar district and Thirukkoneswaram in the Trincomalee district once attracted devotees from India. Saints Thirugnanasampantha Moorthy (7th century A.D.) and Sunthara Moorthy (9th Century A.D.) have sung hymns in praise of these temples.
But today Thirukketheeswaram is in ruins. The historic temple was desecrated and the jewellery, brass utensils, oil lamps and many other valuables that were used in the temple have been plundered by the state armed forces. The Sri Lanka Army forced out residents living in the neighbourhood. Priests and devotees were not allowed into the temple vicinity, and from August 1990, soldiers in their thousands have occupied of the temple and its surroundings.
According to a letter from the Secretary of the Thirukketheeswaram Temple Restoration Society the “most heinous and unforgivable part of the vandalism is the disfigurement and the gouging of the Third Eye of the icon Somaskanda (Lord Siva)”. A letter from the Assistant Secretary of the Society, read that
” Not a single civilian is found within a radius of about three miles from the temple” …It is crystal clear that it was the army which caused all the destruction and wanton damage to the buildings around the temple…In short, everything the Temple Restoration Society did from 1948 onwards, at great cost and with the help of Hindu devotees from various countries, has been undone by the Army.”
He goes on further to say
“While we were at the ruined temple site we observed that even the debris of most of the demolished buildings like Kurukulam had disappeared. There we were very reliably informed that the building materials like stones, bricks and valuable sawn timber etc. had all been removed from the site and used for the construction of a buffer-like wall, similar to a rampart, north of Manthai junction, stretching towards Adampan. This was perhaps to prevent the guerrillas from advancing towards the encampment and also to attack them from behind the wall. Having destroyed the temple buildings with a vengeance the army seems to have had second thoughts and put to good use the building materials found in the debris by putting up the wall.”
This destruction is reminiscent of a similar destruction of Hindu temples by the Portuguese in the Sixteenth Century. In “A Short History of Hinduism in Ceylon” the author C. S. Navaratnam writes:
“The Sixteenth Century was a turning point in the history of Hinduism in Ceylon. They The Portuguese) had begun to establish themselves in the country districts, and little by little the popular temples were razed to the ground. With the fall of the Jaffna Kingdom in 1620 all traces of Hinduism were exterminated in the Tamil districts which came under their rule.”
Thirukkoneswaram known as Southern Kailasam is another ancient Hindu temple that the Portuguese had blasted into the sea. Ruins of the temple are still lying on the seabed. During British rule, devotees were permitted to worship at the Swami Malai (Fort).
In 1953 the structure for a new temple was laid and it was completed in April 1963. But the Hindu devotees are in constant fear that the state army occupying the fort, within which the temple is found, will either destroy it or harass them as they walk to the temple.
In 1969 a Tamil Hindu minister requested the government in which he served to declare the temple premises a sacred zone. This was at a time when the government was declaring several Buddhist temple precincts to be sacred zones. But the government refused to accede to his request and the Hindu minister had no option but to resign from his ministerial post.
Thereafter this temple too was vandalised several times. In the early part of 1993 the temple was partly destroyed by the Sinhala Buddhists. The front door of the temple was burnt and statues and other temple utensils were damaged. The premises of the High Priest too was damaged.
Many army camps were established around the temple area and devotees were not permitted to enter the Fort. Later, after great persuasion by the North least Provincial Council officers, the former President of Sri Lanka, Mr Premadasa, allowed access to the temple for the Priest, the holder of the temple keys, a cleaner and three or four devotees only.
This access was allowed once a day and again the army at the temple premises had to agree to it. No praying rituals (poojas) were held, only lamps were lit by the priest. The other devotees had to stand miles away from the temple and they would worship facing the Swami Malai (Fort).
In May 1996 the state army restricted the number of devotees entering the temple during the festival period to between thirty five and fifty people only, and then shut the entrance gate of the Fort on the others. When the Chairman of the Town Council protested over the army’s action, he was badly beaten up.
The intensity of Buddhist fundamentalism was visible in another incident…
The statue of the Hindu God Pillaiyar (Ganesh), worshipped not only by Hindus, but also sometimes by Buddhists was removed from the temple by a Sinhala Buddhist and thrown into the sea. The vicious person later scribbled on the wall of the temple: “God Ganesh has gone for a bath”. It is this kind of barbarism and intolerance which exist in a country claiming to have been visited by Buddha who preached compassion, tolerance and love.
Unlike the above two temples, Naguleswaram temple at Keerimalai in Jaffna was subjected to a different kind of treatment. The state army left this temple to the care of the state air force which dropped, not flowers from the sky, but deadly bombs. On 16th October 1990 about 4 pm three bombs were dropped. The first one fell on the front of the temple destroying two temple chariots and other buildings, the second one fell on the southern courtyard of the temple destroying the premises of the priest….
The Air Force …. came again after two days, on 18th October 1990, about 2.30 pm, and dropped two more bombs on the very same temple. It was a special day and nearly a thousand devotees were in the temple area at that time. They all fled in panic in different directions trying to save their lives. Many were injured in the stampede. The temple and its magnificent kopuram, the halls, the library that possessed valuable palm leaf manuscripts, books, and many other statues were damaged by the bombings. All these took place in spite of the unmistakable temple identification flags which were flying on all four corners of the temple, as instructed by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Naguleswaram is not the only temple destroyed by the bombing carried out by the Sri Lanka Air force. The Thurga Thevi temple at Tellipalai Jaffna, a centre of great veneration. was also bombed in May 1992 resulting in deaths and destruction.
There are countless numbers of temples that were set on fire, damaged or destroyed due to bombing and shelling by the Sri Lankan government forces during the last twenty five years.
Since 1977 the number of Hindu temples damaged, desecrated or destroyed by the bombing, shelling, arson and over weapons would be in the region of two thousand. A more accurate figure could not be obtained because of the escalating war. But the Department of Hindu Affairs was able to gather some information on the number of temples damaged between 1983 and December 1990 and the estimated cost of the repair. According to the Department’s report 1,479 temples had been damaged in eight districts of the North East Province, but they too were cautious concerning the accuracy of this figure.
The destruction of temples is only one aspect of the Sri Lanka’s cultural genocide. There are many other methods,
  • such as arrest of Hindu priests, removing their sacred thread, beating them up, or humiliating them by keeping them incarcerated as Tiger suspects;
  • firing shells on the devotees gathering at the temple on festival days so that no festival can be conducted;
  • arresting and detaining devotees on their way to temples especially during festival seasons;
  • desecrating the temples and prayer hall of Ramakrishna Mission by the police entering with their boots on;
  • not appointing teachers who could teach Hinduism in the schools while at the same time appointing teachers of other denominations to teach religious studies other than Hinduism to Hindu students;
  • appointing Sinhala Buddhist teachers in the places of Tamil Hindu teachers thus forcing students to follow their studies in Sinhala medium and to study Buddhism;
  • indiscriminate bombing and strafing from naval gun boats;
  • artillery shelling on the Deepavali Festival day and other festive days;
  • ‘discovering’ ruins of Buddhist temples in the Tamil homeland by Sinhala Buddhist Ministers and Buddhist archaeologists working for the Sri Lankan Government’s Archaeological Department;
  • forcibly removing Tamil residents in their thousands to refugee camps and settling Sinhala Buddhists in their place offering armed protection and new amenities including new Buddhist temples and Buddhist monks;
  • erecting Buddha statues in prominent places in the ‘Emil homeland; creating Sinhala Buddhist settlements in the lands belonging to Hindu temples;
  • converting Hindus as Buddhists by enticing them with the offer of economic advantages; implementing permanent birth control methods among Hindus living in plantation areas; destroying schools, libraries and community centres;
  • killing experts in herbal medicine, art and culture, in particular folk drama and art.
At this juncture the inevitable questions arise: why do a large number of people following a religion which preaches love, compassion and tolerance, act in complete contrast to these Buddhist principles? How do they become imbued with such deep seated racism?
Why did members of the Buddhist Sanga, including the prelates of Asgiriya and Malwatta actively involve themselves in fostering and promoting Buddhist fundamentalism? Why do Buddhist monks join the armed forces to kill Tamils, and why does the Maha Sanga donate money to the government’s war fund?
How have they arrived at a situation where members of the administration, from the President to the ordinary security guard and the members of the armed forces prostrate themselves before the Buddhist political monks and imbibe their chauvinism?
Here one thing in particular must be made clear and that is that there is no religious conflict between the Hindus and the Buddhists. Sinhala Buddhists are making fiery attempts through the World Fellowship of Buddhists to portray the national liberation struggle of the Tamils as a mere religious conflict….. (and) to use this false portrayal to seek the help of Buddhists all over the world, pretending that Buddhists and Buddhism are being attacked by Hindu Tamils….
In the past Buddhist fundamentalists and members of the Maha Sanga were successful in scuttling attempts to solve the national question. In 1957, S W R D Bandaranaike, the then Prime Minister and leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party,negotiated an agreement with S J V Chelvanayakam, the leader of the Federal Party. In 1965 Dudley Senanayake, the Prime Minister and leader of the United National Party, entered into an agreement with S J V Chelvanayakam.Subsequently, in 1984, when J R Jayawardane of the United National Party was in power as President of the country he convened an all party conference to find a solution. Again, in 1987 the Indo-Sri Lanka agreement was entered into between President J R Jayawardane and the Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi…..
The prevailing unfortunate situation in Sri Lanka is the result of merging the concepts of country, Sinhala race and Buddhism, the cumulative effect of which has emerged as Sinhala Buddhist fundamentalism.
It was Mahanama, the author of the Mahavamsa, a Buddhist chronicle, who set the stage for this painful drama. Actors carrying the myths, fantasies, superstitions and fables from the Mahavamsa, particularly the Duttugamunu episode, gave birth to “superior race”,  “sons of the soil” and “dhammadipa” theories. The actors at each period in history varied the form but the substance remained the same. These myths and superstitions were put forward as historical facts and whilst propagating militant role of Buddhism they pronounced that ‘only a Buddhist had the legitimate right to rule…’
In the 1930s Aryan racial superiority propagated by the Nazis in Germany, was echoed in Ceylon through Don David Hewavitharane who changed his name to Anagarika Dharmapala. Others like Munidasa Kumarathunga (writer), Piyadasa Sirisena(editor: Sinhala Jathiya), A. E. Goonesinghc (trade union leader and publisher of Viraya), followed the footsteps of Anagarika Dharmapala.
The origin of the Sinhalese people was traced to the Aryan race and they were elevated to a “master race” by these “historians”. People other than Sinhala Buddhists were called as “infidels of a degraded race” and “unbelievers and men of evil life”. Sinhala Buddhists were called upon to unite under one flag and to wage a holy war under a leader equal to that of Hitler’s calibre, against the non Buddhists.
The Sinhalese are a unique race in as much as they can boast that they have no slave blood in them and never were conquered either by pagan Tamils or European vandals…the Sinhalese stand as the representatives of Aryan civilisation,” Anagarika Dharmapala said
The racist policies of Hitler and Mussolini were well received and emulated by local   (Sinhala) leaders during this time.
“We are one blood and one nation. We are a chosen people. The Buddha said that his religion would last for 5000 years. That means that we as the custodians of that religion shall last as long”.
These words were uttered in 1939 by D S Senanayake who later became the first Prime Minister of Ceylon after independence. The present President Chandrika Bandaranayake’s recent launch of the programme “We are Sri Lankan: One people One nation’ at Anuradhapura is the modern day equivalent of D S Senanayake’s Mein Kampf….
Did Buddha ever come to Ceylon is another question which no one dares to raise now. Professor Paranavitana, an ardent Sinhala Buddhist, absent mindedly said in one meeting that there was no justification for the belief that the Buddha did visit the island of Ceylon. This caused a huge outburst and a torrent of abuse was heaped on Paranavitana. Though Buddha’s visit to Ceylon is described in Mahavamsa, Dipavamsa, and Vamsatthappakasini, each account varies in certain respects. However all three allege that the Yakkhas, the original inhabitants of the island. were harassed and tormented by Buddha who forced them to flee. According to Vamsatthappakasini
“Buddha used his supernatural powers to harass the Yakkhas with eleven different types of afflictions. Torrential rains and hurricanes descended on them. They were pelted with showers of stones, weapons, burning embers, hot ashes and mud. Cold and humid winds, storms, and darkness torment and terrify them”.
Buddha was said to have been “victorious over enemies”, and in another story as “jina” or “conqueror”. To quote from Mahavamsa
“Lanka was known to the Conqueror as a place where his doctrine should shine in glory and from Lanka filled with Yakkhas, the Yakkhas must (first) be driven forth,” so that Lanka would be a “fit dwelling place for men”.
Pujavaliya, a prose work of the 13th Century, says
“This island belongs to the Buddha himself, it is like a treasury filled with the Three Gems. Therefore the residence of wrong believers in this island will never be permanent, just as the residence of the Yakkhas of old was not permanent”.
Here non Buddhists are referred to as wrong believers. The actions attributed to Buddha are now taken as a precedent to justify the continuing myth of racial superiority from Duttagamunu to Chandrika Bandaranaike.
Out of the thirty seven chapters in the Mahavamsa the author Mahananna has devoted eleven chapters to the life of Duttagamunu whose racism and militarism are enthusiastically followed by successive Sri Lankan governments up to and including Chandrika Bandaranaike’s regime.
In his war against Ellaalan, Duttagamunu’s killings of Tamils is portrayed as no more unpious an act than the actions of Buddha as he terrified the Yakkhas and forced them to flee from the island.
“Only one and a half human beings have been slain here by thee O Lord of men. The one had come unto the refuge the other had taken on himself the five precepts. Unbelievers and men of evil life were the rest, no more to be esteemed than beasts”.
This is how the exploits of Duttagamunu were recounted to him by eight men of Bikkuhood – arahats – after his victory over the Tamils which entailed the “killing of thirty Tamil Kings” and the “destruction of millions”. It is no surprise therefore that the present day…. killings of Tamils are put forward by modern “historians”, as “erasing out Tamil terrorists”.
It is also disturbing to note that Duttagamunu’s mother, Vihara Mahadevi, who accompanied her son with five hundred monks in the war against Tamils, was filled with a Hitler-like blood thirstiness. According to the Mahavamsa, when pregnant with Gamunu she would long to “eat the honey that remained when she had given twelve thousand Bhikkus to eat of it, and then she longed to drink (the water) that had served to cleanse the sword with which the head of the first warrior among King Elara’s (Ellalan) warriors had been struck off, (and she longed to drink it) standing on this very head…”
Here we must understand the connection between this description of Duttagamunu’s mother and the pinning of a Vihara Mahadevi badge to the uniforms of young Sinhala women of the Sri Lankan army women’s corps as recently as a year ago, when they completed their training under the rule of President Chandrika Bandaranaike.
Over the years (Sinhala) Prime Ministers and Presidents have participated in such events, implanting the same blood thirsty racism into the war mission of the newly qualifying cadets. Chandrika Bandaranaike’s call upon the armed forces to save the country, publicly praising them, promoting them to the highest positions of office, glorifying war and allowing Buddhist monks on to the battle field to bless the army for their victory,   are all part of her ‘military solution‘ to the Tamil national liberation struggle.
An advertisement appearing in August 1996 in a leading Sinhala newspaper “Lanka Deepa” called upon the “Brave sons of Duttagamunu’s lineage to join the navy”. The imagery used confirms the racist nature of the actions of the present government. No wonder that the continuity of racism in Sri Lanka and its nightmarish growth into fascism, have become a horrifying spectre on the world stage.
The victory ceremonies that took place in Jaffna and Colombo after the capture of the vacated Jaffna peninsula in December 1995 by the Sri Lankan army were made to remind the “conquests” of Mahavamsa fame. Chandrika Bandaranaike, who is both the President of Sri Lanka and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, General Anurudha Ratwatte, the Deputy Defence Minister, and the Commanders of the Army, Navy and Air Forces, all became reincarnations of Duttagarnunu, Sapumal Kumara and their retinue. They were praised for bringing Lanka ‘under one parasol of State” and ‘making Lanka fit for humankind’ by destroying Tamil ‘terrorists’.
The war and the killings of Tamils were rationalised and celebrated by them whilst evoking the past legends and myths. “Not for the joy of sovereignty but for the religion do I wage this battle” Duttagamunu has declared during his war. The present regime too declared and glorified their war in similar fashion.
Duttagamunu, the old conqueror, marched with “Buddha’s relic in his spear”, proclaiming violence in the name of piety. Whereas the new avatars paraded with the latest weapons supplied by the USA, China and Israel, and their Buddhist lion flag, proclaiming “war for peace”.
In a pompous ceremony held in Colombo, the ”exalted one”, President Chandrika, was presented a scroll on a platter that proclaimed the capture of Yappa Patna (Jaffna) reminiscent of the conquests of the past, by General Ratwatte. The President and the Generals of today were of course masked   with symbols of acceptability, with white lotuses and doves, using kind, compassionate words to present an attractive humane face to the outside world.
Like the eight arahats who told Duttagamunu that he had killed only one and a half human beings, the sons and daughters of Goebbels employed by the media today, say that all who are killed in the North and East provinces of Sri Lanka are not Tamil civilians, but terrorists, murderers, and megalomaniacs. A selected few sons were sent abroad by President Chandrika to propagate her “Dhamma”. It was not the branches of the Bo tree that they took with them, but instead lessons of deceit, lies and disinformation learnt from international masters.
Since ‘independence’ in 1948 the sons and daughters of the ‘master race’ who graduated from the school of Buddhist fundamentalism have successfully institutionalised racism through the Citizenship Act, Parliamentary Elections (amendment) Act, the Srima – Sastri pact, the Sinhala Only Act, the new Republican constitutions, the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the Emergency Regulations etc.
Realising that “only a Buddhist had the legitimate right to rule”, Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike (President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s father) abandoned Christianity and become a Buddhist when he entered politics.
He formed the first communal organisation called the Sinhala Maha Saba (Sinhala Great Council) in 1937, four years after the death of Anagarika Dharmapala. Since then he became the political heir to Anagarika Dharmapala’s Buddhist fundamentalism.
He came to power with the slogan “Sinhala Only” and the support of the United Monks Front. His wife, Srimavo (the present Prime Minister of Sri Lanka) carried forward the same fundamentalist principles while also declaring that
“Tamil people in Sri Lanka have always been among the most privileged minorities in the world… You speak of oppression of the Tamils. That is your propaganda. There could have been administrative mistakes, errors of judgement; but oppression or deliberate discrimination never”.
She and her government promulgated the first Republican Constitution in 1972, in which Buddhism was elevated to the “foremost place” and it became the government’s duty to “protect and foster” same…
By this act she became the first person to destroy the secular nature of the state by recourse to the constitution itself. Further,constitutional status was given by her to Sinhala as the country’s only official language.
In 1961, during the non violent struggle of the Tamils (Satyagraha) Srimavo declared a state of emergency and sent the state army to the Tamil homeland and in justifying it she declared, ‘at times like these we must lay aside political and religious differences. This is the hour of everybody to unite against the enemies of the nation and of the people’. Here non-violent Tamils were referred to as enemies of the nation and people. This worst rhetoric of nationalism was the result of her close association with two Sinhala Buddhist fanatical organisations called Campaign for the Protection of Motherland and the Sinhala Bala Mandalaya.
Junius Richard Jayawardane, former President of Sri Lanka, preached “Dharmishta Society” and Buddhist values, but practised fascism. His espousal of  “one nation one people” and his perception of the Tamil national liberation struggle as “terrorism” was aired publicly in his opening address to the Parliament in February 1984, when he said
“The borders of Sri Lanka are Point Pedro and Devinuwara in the north and south; Batticaloa and Colombo in the east and west We have to combat “terrorism and defeat it with all the resources at our command. We may have to equip ourselves to do so at the expense of development and social and economic welfare plans. Let us then unitedly decide to do so and as one nation and one people bend ourselves to this task”.
In an interview with the correspondent of London Daily Telegraph (11-7-83) he reflected his fascist stand:
“I have tried to be effective for sometime but cannot. I am not worried about the opinion of the Tamil people now. Now we cannot think of them. Not about lives or of their opinion about us. Nothing will happen in our favour until the terrorists are wiped out. Just that. You cannot cure an appendix patient until you remove the appendix. The more you put pressure in the north the happier the Sinhala people will be here. Really’ if I starve the Tamils out, the Sinhala people will be happy”.
Walpola Rahula, a Buddhist Monk and a University Vice Chancellor, justified violence to ‘save Buddhism’. There were many others. L H Mettananda, F R Jayasurlya, K M P Rajaratna, Cyril Matthew, Iriyagolla, Gamini Dissanayake, Lalith Athulath Mudali are but a few. The new “conqueror” Chandrika Bandaranaike, by following the crude racism of her parents, descended quickly to a level of fascism that would delight modern day neo Nazis.
At first Buddha asked the Yakkhas, the aborigines of Ceylon, only for a place to sit, but finally he drove them from their homeland. Vijaya, the supposed founder of Sinhala race, invaded the island of Ceylon with his followers and married Kuveni, a native Yakkhini princess, He conquered the island and its people with her help. When he achieved full control and power he did not proclaim her as his queen but chased her and their two children away and banished them.
Chandrika Bandaranaike, following the footsteps of Buddha and Vijaya and other Sinhala Buddhist political leaders who reneged on the agreements and pacts with the Tamil politicians since the 1920s, asked the Tamils to cast their vote to her “for peace and not war” and after they did, she removed her mask and terrorised them from their homeland with her programme of “war for peace” to create “one people one nation”.
The original inhabitants, the Yakkhas and the Nagas, were dehumanised and demonised by the Buddhists, and the Veddas (another indigenous people of the island) have now been stripped of their language, culture and way of life and forced to assimilate with the Sinhalese. Tamils living in the plantation areas are facing a similar fate. In the case of the Tamils living in Tamil Eelam, where assimilation was not possible, Chandrika Bandaranaike chose destruction by war. Does she know how many thousands of bombs her forces have dropped on Tamils so far? Does she know the extent of death and destruction caused from shelling by her forces?
We were told that King Asoka had a troubled conscience after his mass killings. Similarly it was suggested that Duttagamunu too had a troubled conscience after he killed millions of Tamils. But we have yet to see a President, Prime Minister or General in Sri Lanka with a troubled conscience. This is the terrible consequence of the reality of a deeply ingrained Buddhist fundamentalism that has been revived and rejuvenated time and time again.