27 November, 2021

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Arumuka Navalar: Fake Images And Histories

By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Prof S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

In our article The Truth About the Jaffna Bible in Hri by the Southasia Trust we show that Arumuka Navalar has been built up by Tamil Saivite extremists – Tamils’ Bodu Bala Sena. The Rev. Peter Percival, a great Tamil scholar, founded the Wesleyan Mission School (later Jaffna Central College) in 1834 and held the first Chair in Vernacular Literature at Madras University. But he was a Christian. To advance their notion noted by Prof. K. Sivathamby that anything good in Tamil must have Saiva inspiration, Percival’s accomplishments are claimed as Navalar’s. His 1850 revision of the 1840 Revised Tamil translation of the Bible by C.T.E. Rhenius, is claimed as Navalar’s. That revised Percival revision was further claimed as the first Tamil translation ever to inflate Navalar. Percival, a priest to the end, they add, lost his Christian faith because of Navalar. To make 4 year old Navalar Percival’s Tamil teacher, Percival is mislocated from Trinco and Bengal to Jaffna.

Little about Navalar can be believed. Harvard trained Dennis Hudson (Smith College) – besides Bernard Bate (Yale), and John Carman (Harvard) – is a rare western scholar who has examined Jaffna Hindu responses to Christian missions. He correctly interprets the work of Navalar as a response to Christianity. His interpretation, however, rests on sources of doubtful reliability. All three have paternalistically built up Navalar, repeating myths by ill-educated Saiva nationalists. They are then assiduously cited by nationalists to prove their own concoctions.

This article shows further fake aspects of Navalar – his portrait, caste and name, and perhaps religion too.

Navalar’s Appearance

The popular image of Navalar in a Colombo National Gallery portrait, is of a dark, bare-bodied man wearing prayer beads and liberally-daubed holy ash. Chaivap-periyaar Sivapathasundaram whose Navalar biography imaginatively embellishes myths like Professor Percival learning Tamil from high school dropout Navalar, however, admits the portrait to be a fake, saying that it is “of recent origin” and “no more gives his true form than the images of the Samaya guravas in temples give their true forms.” It is a friend’s. The government declared Navalar a National Hero, issuing a stamp with this fake image.

No actual image of Navalar is available. Why? Because of his real appearance? Navalar’s adulating nephew T. Kailasapillai and Peradeniya academic, the Oxford-trained P. Poolohasingam, describe Navalar as looking like a tadpole with small limbs and a huge head. Kailasapillai adds that Navalar had tiny ears and a big forehead on a huge head, thin hands and legs, strong facial hair, and huge body without any strength. Chaivap-periyaar tells us that Navalar “had a delicate constitution and he never took any kind of bodily exercise. His head alone was massive.” These descriptions do not match the portrait.

We may safely assume that under Percival Navalar wore trousers and coat and no holy ash. The Jaffna Freeman (March 1, 1871) shows that wearing symbols of the Saiva faith was prohibited at mission schools on pain of expulsion.

Navalar’s Religion

Prof. Sivathamby says that Navalar’s father Canthan was an Aratchy at the Kachcheri, a lowly government servant fluent in Portuguese, Dutch and English. Indeed, the Rev. William Howland says the Dutch made “assent to the Helvetic confession of faith necessary to the holding of any office of profit or trust under the government.” Canthan therefore must have been baptized.

Did Canthan baptize his children under the more tolerant British? Navalar’s brothers included two Notaries, an Udaiyar and an Aratchy, all serving loyally in the colonial service.  Why did Canthan send all his sons to Percival at the Wesleyan Mission where the best would become Christian ministers?

Dr. Poolohasingam quotes one Veerasamy Mudaliyar as stating that Navalar lived as a Christian and was sent by Christian missionaries to Chennai to observe and learn how the Christian missions converted Hindus. It is untrue that Navalar translated the Bible but those who claim so must cede he was a Christian Pastor! For St. John’s College’s Rev. David Good of the Bible translation committee describes mission policy as having as many as four European missionaries and six “ordained, educated, able” natives, two each from the American, Anglican and Methodist missions, on the committee.

Navalar’s Name and Caste

Navalar has gone by many names. His confusion about his own name reflects his inability to complete high school after 6 years in Tamil school and 13 years under Percival.

Navalar’s Vellala caste is broad, ranging from the DMK’s Karunanithi’s Isai Vellalas (called Nattuvar in Jaffna) to the Karkaththa Vellalas claiming superiority. But not in Jaffna where there are simply Vellalas. Dominating Jaffna’s cultural life, Vellalas, as people who labour, are Sudras, the lowest of the caste groups of Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Sudra. (Dennis Hudson says Navalar’s caste is elite, something that Vellalas must have told him). Prof. Bryan Pfaffenberger calls Vellala control of Jaffna “Sudra Domination.” (Vellalas are a living contradiction, at once claiming to be high caste and also that the four-fold classification is North Indian and therefore not ours – a classic case of not wanting to be low Sudras and not wanting to give up their high status within Sudras. Caste is from North India and Vellalas need to take it or leave it.) The power of Saiva Vellalas is seen in Tamilnadu classifying them as forward while classifying the equivalent Telugu Reddys as backward, whereas Kerala regards Saiva Vellalas as backward.

Another Vellala problem is our traditional Sudra names being short whereas generally short names, particularly those ending with the letter n, denote a low-caste status. Thus the Tamilized Chuppan is low caste while pluralized Chuppar conveys a little respect, its longer form Chuppiramaniam is higher, Subramaniam is even higher, and the fully Sanskritized Subrahmaniam is Brahmin. Thus we had a Hensman (a descendant of the first Jaffna Anglican priest who adopted that English name) going as Hensmar for respectability. Similarly C.W. Thamotharampillai’s parents with their good Tamil names Vayiravi and Periyai in his baptismal records are recast in Saiva histories as Wyravanather and Perunthevi.

Like everything about Navalar, his name for caste reasons is also manipulated. Dr. Poolohasingam gives Navalar’s pre-Saivite Christian name as Pairaat. The Rev. John Walton asserts that Navalar’s real name as a youth was Ca. Arumukan (ending in n not m). In an early written reference to himself, Navalar signed a letter (Morning Star, 18.11.1841) as Canthar-kumaran Arumugaven – literally “Son of Canthar, Arumugaven.” This reflects the absence of surnames. We already see the common Canthan rendered as the plural Canthar. The Morning Star (1847) on Navalar leaving Percival protesting the admission of a Nalava boy refers to him simply as Aroomoogayar – we may note the status enhancing ending in r, changing from the previous n. Navalar signed off as C. Arumuka Navalar on a letter dated Aug. 31, 1872, one of his last documents.

Navalar has spelt his father’s name Canthar with K sometimes:  His notice in the Ceylon Patriot (06.01 1872) is signed off as M.R. Ry. K. Arumukha Navalar. Many now write Kanthar and Kandhar. His petition to the governor (15.12.1852) is signed C. Arumugam with a status enhancing Sanskritized g in the middle of Arumugam.

After receiving the title Navalar – “Him of the powerful tongue” – Navalar who had never been sure of his name, wanted to reject a letter from Rev. Walton addressed to Arumukam.

Claiming Caste through Names

Adding to confusion are western scholars who are fed false information by their Saiva Vellala informers. Thus Prof. Dennis Hudson, although said to have been fluent in Tamil, incorrectly explains to us that Navalar means “The Learned” and that his real name at birth was Nallur Arumuga Pillai. The unreliable Kailasapillai gives a letter from Madras where Navalar signs as “Yalpaanam Nallur-Arumukanavalar.” But the tradition of village name as part of one’s name is not of Jaffna. The additional Pillai by Hudson is also fiction. It was common for Tamils like Navalar travelling to India to add pillai to their name, more usually as a suffix as done by Thamotharampillai and Viswanathapillai (two of Jaffna’s most eminent persons as the first two graduates of Madras University) to show themselves off as from the Pillai caste because Indians often assumed Jaffna Tamils to be Dalits (outcasts below Sudras). Pillais are landowning Vellalas, feebly aspiring to be trader-caste Vaisyas using their property.

Adjectival Names

To impute respectability to Navalar’s biographer Kanakarattinam, writers use Kanakarattina Pillai or Kanakarattina Upattiyayar (Teacher).  Kanakarattina is an adjective. But westerners who do not know Tamil refer to him as Kanakarattina and, worse, scholars who are Tamil follow and do the same. We note that Prof. Dennis Hudson mistakes the adjectival Kanakarattina for a name, and uses the title Pillai as a standalone last name without the adjectival Arumuka. Similarly in Arumuka Navalar, Arumukam as adjective becomes Arumuka. Then foreign scholars like Eugene Heideman pronounce Navalar’s name to be Arumuga.

Conclusion

Little about Navalar is true. The problem with history is that once a mistake is committed to writing, the document remains in circulation even after it is corrected. Further theories are tested by reference to past writings. Thus I am afraid that these Navalar myths are here to stay.

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Latest comments

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    Why does not Hoole reserach on Jesus and tell us whether Jesus Christ’s resurrection is really true and whether Virgin Mary concieved without sinning. Being Christian, He should he shoudl be able to research into this better than researching about a Hindu Scholar and his Caste and all that unwanted things. He should not hurt the feelings of another religious followers, just to say Faher Percival was great, Undoubtedly Father percivals contribution to the Jaffna Tamils was immense. Two great schools of Yesteryears Jaffna Central College and Hartley College were his greatest contributions to the educatioon of Jaffna Tamils

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      Well said Raja. What about reseraching his family history? Why did they become christians?

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      There are one in a couple millions chance that an egg or ovum can start dividing without being fertlized by a sperm and become an embryo. The phenomenon is called parthenogenesis. Virgin births are thus a biological possibility. In the Mahabharatha, Kunthi gave birth to Karna through such a process, although Sooriya Bhagawan – the Sun- was credited with bestowing this boon.

      Prof. Hoole thus should not be called to research this aspect.

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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      These SHUDRAS imagine there was an inverted hierarchy

      That is; 10 LORDS SERVED BY 1 SERVANT !!!

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    For this silly man Hoole, whose background is the boring field of Electrical Engineering, to indulge in some do-it-yourself Anthropology of Jaffna on the weekends is a highly thrilling activity – like GODAYATTA MAGIC. When it comes to Arumuga Navalar he also derives some kinky pleasure by telling a slanted story. This man has been trying to prove for the last 2 or 3 decades that C.W. Thamotharampillai, another Tamil scholar from Jaffna whom he claims is his relative, is superior to Navalar. Poor Hoole doesn’t understand these things are not proven like mathematical problems, but are matters of interpretation. The man seems to be suffering from an obsessive compulsive disorder related to his caste. In his fixation with caste his little mind thinks raising doubts about Navalar’s caste is comparable to the demystification of social reality undertaken by people like Marx, Freud or Nietzsche. He himself says Navalar is a tadpole and yet goes on to attack him like there is no tomorrow.

    Doesn’t this man realize it would be just child’s play if someone wants to turn the tables on him by exposing all the myths, fabrications, historical revisions, selective narration and outright lies involved in the concoction of the history of Christian missionaries and the institutions founded by them in Jaffna?

    The man and his preoccupation are awesomely irrelevant.

  • 0
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    I beleive this guy hoole need a good blow job,any christian women out their… i knew thease guys from uduvil from jaffna. Most of them fuse cases, need a good brain transplant. Simply fucked up brain, never used good purpose..tragedu of tamils…

  • 0
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    Prof Hoole,
    Your next article should be about your family history. How did you get the name Hoole? Was your father a hindu or your grand father? Where do they come from? Uduvil??? have you got hindu uncles?

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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

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    Hoole [Edited out]
    Tell me who is worried about Navalar now. It does not matter how he looked physically or whether his caste is high caste or low caste. The fact is that Navalar stood up against the spread of Christianity and the conversion of Hindus into an alien religion at a time when your forefathers crawled before the Portuguese, Dutch and British colonial masters for favours of office after becoming Christians. You cannot take the moral high ground and write abusively of a person who is held in high esteem by the Jaffna Hindus.

    I say once again that you are a pathetic Tamil Christian trying to create a Hindu-Christian divide among the Sri Lankan Tamils at a time when Tamils are trying to raise their heads from the disaster of a stupid war foisted on to them by Prabaharan.

  • 0
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    Is Prof Hoole obsessed with casteism and Saiva -Christian rivalry of yester years because he suffers from an inferiority complex- of having a low caste background. His obvious hatred towards the Vellala caste says nothing else.

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    According to Hinduism, all are equal before God. The oldest scripture on Hinduism asserts that there are no castes in Hinduism but Varnas. Varnas is not caste. The Hindu scriptures mentions of four Varnas, but they are not based on birth in a hereditary line, but on innermost preferences and aptitudes, according to which man chooses occupation as spiritual (Brahmin) or mercantile or managerial (Vaishya), military or police (Kshatriya) or manual work (sudra) demanding manual work. Accordingly the scholars and priests were known as Brahmins; warriors and rulers were known as Kshatriyas; merchants were known as Vaisyas; and manual labourers were known as Sudras. Rig Veda specifically states that anyone can become either as a Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaisya or Sutra. Even in the great epic Ramayana, Rama calls the boatman as ‘Friend’ and never treated him on the basis of caste, which sends the message that during the Vedic period that all were equal. Moreover, Baghavad Gita gives a perfect explanation of Varnas and that it differs from the present day caste system. All Hindu scriptures categorically state that to speak of caste is sin as all being are created by him, the Almighty. But with the passage of time on account of the might of rulers or invaders, there was a gradual change in the society. For example, during the mid-part of the Kalabrar’s rule in Tamilakam (combination of the present States of Tamil Nadu and Kerala) the Maravas and the Kallas tribes in Tamilakam mingled themselves with one another and engaged in agriculture which gradually known as Vellaalars. Velaamai is agriculture and so people who engaged in agriculture as known as Vellaalars. This was the beginning or the birth of the caste known as Vellaalars. The anti-Brahmin movement, which was started to restore Hinduism to the casteist from Varnas, has degenerated into a anti-Hindu movement. It is not possible to separate Tamil from Hindu or Hindu from Tamil in the name of imaginery secular Sangam Age. The future of Tamil as a living language lies with Hinduism. I am of the view that Tamil and Hinduism mean the same. In the premises the concept of caste is man-made and God-created. Had he read the complete works of Swami Vivekananda he wouldn’t have uttered this statement. As such, it appears pure stupidity on the part of Prof.Hoole to make reference to caste system without having a deep knowledge on its origin. It was during a period of transition in the field of education that Arumuga Navalar rose up and was instrumental for the revival of Hinduism in North Sri Lanka. Briefly he infused life to Hinduism, like curing his ailing mother.

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      There is an error. In the premises the concept of caste is man-made and not God-created. The word ‘not’ was accidentally missed or omitted. My apologies.

    • 0
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      Citizen,

      A prominent Christian Tamil in Jaffa described his people as Christian- Hindus. He was right.

      Dr. RN

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        Dr.N.R.
        When I was in the Law Faculty, a prominent legal figure was asserting that Thesawalamai Laws was meant for Christians. But he has conveniently avoided that Malabars were originally Jaffna Hindus and was indirectly insisting that Malabars took up Christianism. But our legal Head knew the Indian history as well and agreed that Malabars were, in fact, Cheras. It is a small group that was trying to be dominant over Saivaites. But after independence especially after 1958 events changed with revival of Hinduism again. There are similarities between the Jaffna people and the Kerala people, between the Jaffna people and the people from Karur and between the Jaffna people and people from Ramanathapuram in Tamil Nadu. It is from Tanjore, Ramanathapuram, Madurai, and Karur that the Pillais and Udaiyars came and the Vellalars originated during the Kalabrar’s period. This is a subject of controversial debate. However, poetess Auvaiyaar and Thirvalluvar stuck to Hinduism that all are equal.

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          Citizens,

          The Kandyan Sinhalese also had these Malabari connections. The historical links between the Kanyan Sinhalese and particularly the Jaffna Tamils originated from this connection.

          The spoken Tamil of the Jaffanese was very close to Malayalam in intonation and shared many words. Unfortunately, Madras/ Chennai Tamil has because of the pervasive influence of films and tele-dramas almost destroyed this heritage. Further, before the advent of Malayalam as a distinct entity in 9th century AD, Sear/chera Nadu shared a common language- Senthamil ( pure and original Tamil). This is why the Tamils in the north and east were called Malabaris by the colonialists.

          Dr.RN

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            Agreed. Kandyans also had some links with Nayakka dynasty from Madurai. Generally they have some link with Tamil Nadu. But the Hill country Tamils were brought by British as employees to look after their tea, rubber and coffee plantations preferably after 1840s.

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          Citizen
          Could you please let me know the source That described ThiruValluvar was a hindu? I read somewhere Thiruvalluvar may be following Zainism, In Madurai samana caves are still there

          • 0
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            Dear Jay, Yes, Thiruvalluvar was a Zain. But there is a verse in one his Kural ‘Aathi Bahavan muthatre ulahu’. Then there is an instance where he placed his works in the Golden Lotus Pond and it floated. The fact is both Zainism and Saivaism grew hand in hand. All are offshoots of Hinduism. Hinduism accommodates every religion including Christianism, Catholicism, Islam and even Marxism within its fold. This is a subject of deep analysis. Anyway it is a good question.

            • 0
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              Archeological proof in India proves Jainism was before Hinduism

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    I welcome Hoole’s essay.

    We Tamils should join Hoole in exposing the dirt we are protecting in the name of culture, tradition and other glorified concepts. Caste structure is something we Tamils should be ashamed of, and eradicate as part of a much needed social awakening among us. It is part of the centuries old bad habits and superstitions we hold on to, and for which we cannot blame the racists among the Sinhala politicians. Just look at the marriage proposal pages of Sunday Virakesary, and you will know that this shameful caste structure is very much alive in our community.

    Attacking Hoole, as some are doing here, is meaningless in this instance. We have to learn to critically examine the value systems in our community. Much myth about Navalar is propagated through textbooks, as Hoole rightly points out. It is no different from Mahavamsa / Dutugemunu rubbish that gets injected into Sinhala kids at school, and look at the damage that has done (to them and us).

    We should thank Hoole for raising such issues.

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      The caste system has to be dismantled amongst the Tamils. However, the downtrodden among all castes should be first helped to rise from their present lows. The Vellahlas are not dictating societal norms now and are being given credit and damned to the extent they are, by those who are not acquainted with current realities. What I observe in Jaffna is that the individuals who have become educated and or financially enabled, are beginning to identify themselves as Vellalahs and look down upon their yet downtrodden kin. While the Vellalahs are not a force any more, Vellalahism yet has allure in Jaffna society. A class system is replacing the caste system, while yet retaining its perniciousness.

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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        I doubt Dr. Rajasingam,s observation, apart from political dimension Vellahlas are still dominating the the jaffna society caste/class tier systen. eg temple festivals, property transfers or sale, selective marriage proposals, etc. If the basic norms of caste system survived after a 30 years of devastating war a human tragedy we are going to see a prolonged castism in Jaffna and their larger society, Its wrong to presume that “other castes” economic development alone will eradicate castism in Jaffna, in past and present we had lot of school principals, businessmen from other castes but still they are from other castes, its kind of behaviour that’s amount to discrimination and when ever necessary and possible that will show its ugly face.

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          Jay,

          The Vellalahs are a minority in Jaffna now and do not have the advantages they enjoyed once. The lower castes are upwardly mobile. Unfortunately, those that reach a particular level in this climb, adopt Vellalahism as their credo. The upwardly mobile lower castes are buying the houses and property in Jaffna from the Vellahlah Diaspora Tamils and Tamils who prefer now to live in the south of Sri Lanka. The low caste Tamils in the Diaspora are funding this process.

          I generally avoid words like high and low castes, as they are abhorrent to me. I had to in this instance do so, because it was unavoidable. my apologies to those who may be hurt.

          Dr.RN

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            Dr.R.N. I too like to associate with your view.

          • 0
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            What you are saying as a standard Vellan not a Rasa that
            Hinduism is not a religion , it is a caste based social order.

            Jainism is atleast 8000 years old as researched in Canadian universtieis and German universties.

  • 0
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    This exercise is quite unnecessary and counter productive especially in the current climate of religious dissension and intolerance and should be abandoned.

    Bensen

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    Not sure why Kovian’s blog was not removed by the moderator. Hoole is not a simple man, he is a PHD holder and a former vice chancellor to Jaffna university who got the guts to attack Douglas and Rajapaksa. I can see few goons here in this comments acting like intellectuals but the truth is these idiots are washing dishes and cleaning toilets to survive in day to day life. I can only feel sorry for Mutalkal or Modayas.

    • 0
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      Prof.Hoole has more than a PhD. He has earned his DSc.

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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    Navalar was reacting to Anglican Christian missionary activities in Jaffna. To call it a response is an under statement. He used the techniques of the missionaries to give a new lease of life to Tamil and Saivaism. He copied the missionary school system to establish a large number of Hindu schools that imparted a western model of education, but with importance given to Tamil and Saivaism. He was definitely not a Saivite philosopher or saint. He was Instrumental in reminding the Saivaites of their religious practices of old and teaching the fundamental principles of Saivaism to a generation that was being alienated from its traditional base and values. Navalar also contributed immensely to the development of Tamil prose. Tamil was written in poetic form in his day . He is yet given credit for his pioneering efforts in introducing Tamil prose. Unfortunately, the poetic form was sacrificed as a result.

    Navalar was also a product of his times and was a captive of prevailing social values. He was not a social reformer or a revolutionary. He was a Saivaite – Vellalah at birth and was so until his demise. He was an intellectual who was also conversant in English and Sanskrit. He was also deeply knowledgeable about the Bible and hence was able to defend his faith and promote it from a position of strength. I believe he had a hand in translating the King James Version of the Bible under the direction of Rev. Percival. I do not think anyone has seriously contested this fact.

    Arumuga Navalar was the messiah the Saivaite Tamils needed at that point in history. If not for him, the Tamils would have not in later years demanded a Tamil Eelam, but an English Eelam! A majority of Tamils would have adopted English surnames and been ashamed of their origins. He revived the pride of the Tamils in their heritage and halted the anglicising and Christianising waves. The Tamils had because of his efforts remained largely Tamil and Saivaite, while yet learning English and benefitting from a western model of education. He did not throw the baby with the bath water, as many have done in this country and others in later years. He definitely was a wise man,with foresight. The Tamils were able to learn their mother tongue, while learning also English. Latin and Greek were thrown out from the curriculae of the schools he established. The Tamils of course were the beneficiaries of the education provided by the competing forces.

    In his time he emerged as the heir to Kalladi Velan of Vasavilan, who resisted the brutal conversions carried out by the Catholic Church in Jaffna, during the early years of Portuguese rule. The Catholic missionaries of that era, forced conversions to their faith by branding the cross on the foreheads of the Saivaites. Kalladi Velan, led the resistance by branding two more arms to the cross. The cross became a trident ( Soolam) as a result. The Catholic missionaries were helpless in the face of this resistance. The first burning of a library in Jaffna was also carried out in Nallur by the Portuguese. They also destroyed many temples, including the temple at Nallur and used the bricks and stones to build Catholic Churches.

    While Kalladi Velan resisted the Catholic missionaries using their own methods, Navalar resisted the more sophisticated and humane methods of the British and American Anglican missionaries using their methods.

    I wonder how Prof. Hoole could have dreamed of becoming a successful VC of the Jaffna University with his ingrained prejudices, phobias and attitudes. If I remember right, his great grand father ( or was it his grand father?) was also a Vellalah-Saivite-Tamil who owned a Saivite temple.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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      Dr.N.R. Totally agreed. Even Luxman Kadirgamar’s grandfather was a Hindu priest in Point-Pedro. Prof.Hoole had forgotten about Jaffna Hindu College which appreciates Navalar’s works on Hinduism. There were number of stories about Kallady Velan who had hinted at these Missions.

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      Thank you Dr RN.

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      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

      “Arumuga Navalar was the messiah the Saivaite Tamils needed at that point in history.”

      He was the Tamil/Saivaite version of Sinhala/Buddhist Anagarica Dharmapala,(The Homeless One).

      Anagarica probably learnt his trade from Arumaga Navalar.

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        I think it was Col. Olcott’s of the Buddhist Theosophical Society who copied Navalar’s methods. anagarika Dharmapala was following in Olcott’s steps.

        Dr.RN

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    The Hooles,Anketells,Marshes,Underwoods,Winslows,Brodys, and many other families with english names blossomed after the advent of protestant and catholic missionaries in the nineteenth century.
    These names became exinct in most cases later on as the progeny expanded and married into non-christian familes.
    But the Hooles from Elijah downwards appear to persist.
    Whether Percival or Navalar translated the bible is not important – it must have been a joint effort.Hundreds of tamil hymns too were authored.
    To write grammatical tamil prose and verse,a thorough knowledge of Nannool and Yaparungalakkarihai is necessary.
    These two books were among many required to be known by those sitting the Pundit exam conducted by the Ariya Thiraveda Pashapiviruththi Sangam in Jaffna,and the exams conducted in Madurai by the Mathurai Thamil Sangam, for the Pundit degree which had three parts – Piravesa Panditham (entrance),Paala Panditham (intermediate) and Panditham (fianal).
    An englishman mastering all these books would have been impossible.
    Why this denigration of Navalar now by Hoole?

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    One must applaud Narendran’s accurate and sober response to Hoole’s tendentious piece.Hoole must stick to working in engineering and leave historical and sociological matters alone.It appears that he has to engage in these vindictive essays periodically to reinforce his fundamentalist religious beliefs and his wounded ego.
    He should learn to relax and keep on praying rather preying!

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    Thank you all commentators for your contribution. All I can say is; I have learned a great deal about anthropology of Jaffna Tamils by reading comments than the weighted original article. I wish there will be more discussions of this sort.
    Leela

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    Dr.Hoole has some axe to grind with the poor old Dead Navalar. What is his Mission in resurrecting these Caste issues? It must be his ingrained anti-Hindu prejudice and nothing else. Thank God he did not become the ‘de facto’ Vice Chancellor of the Jaffna University. This prejudice against Navalar is nothing new. There are scores of his writings available to Google where his deep seated Bias can be read by anyone who cares to look.
    There are 64 pages of titles/Headings about him or his academic articles or his diatribes against Navalar and Hindus and some responses to these as well on Google.

    When he attacked Nadesan Satyendra,some years ago, he called him a “failed chemist” from Peradeniya University;whereas Satyendra holds a Physics Honours Degree from Colombo University.Please see link:
    http://www.sangam.org/taraki/articles/2006/12-30_Response.php?uid=2148

    He has previously written proudly about his forefathers,Hooles and his grandfather,Canon Somasundaram as High Caste Vellalas,with the latter associated as with the Mavittapuram Kandasamy Kovil.When he was campaigning to become Vice Chancellor of the Jaffna University,he even obtained a letter from the then Mavittapuram Temple High Priest endorsing his candidature. From Bishop Kulendran’s Biography of Canon Somasunderam,one can see that in spite of converting to Christianity for some unknown reason,Canon Somasunderam remained a simple man,a Gandhian,and perhaps a Hindu at heart.
    But when it suits him, Rantnajeevan denigrates the Vellalas as Sudras! The South Indian Caste system does not fit into the Varnas described in the Vedas,except for the Brahmins who officiate at the temples.The Vellalas also had the suffixes Mudaliar (or Pillai) in India and among the forefathers of many present Vellalas,who are said to have come from Tamil Nadu. There are others in the North,East and even South,who had come from the Kerala(Malabar) as well.
    Ratnajeevan has never given the credit Navalar deserves as the pioneer of Tamil prose,and one who has rewritten in prose several well known Books of Saiva and Tamil Literature,which existed only as verses. This facilitated more Tamils to read and understand these Literary works. Navalar learnt all the techniques of the Christian Missionaries to counter their Conversions tactics. The Honorary suffix, Navalar, was conferred on him by an Ashram or Madam in South India for his oratorical skills,with which he exhorted the Tamil People to resist the Conversions of Tamil Hindus to Christianity. He established Hindu Schools as the Christian Schools were at the forefront of providing education,jobs and the Conversion to Christianity. Navalar’s accomplishments do not need endorsement by biased Christian Professors of Engineering! They are well-known among the Tamil Academics and Scholars in South India and elsewhere. His Books are essential part of the Academic Studies in Hinduism and Tamil.
    Why should this Christian,a descendant of those who became Christians merely for an education, for employment,especially as Teachers and for promotions as Principals,called “Sotru Christians” meaning “Rice Christians”,denigrate a great Reformer,Scholar and one who brought Revival of Saiva Religion under foreign Rule-not only in Jaffna but also in South India? This Hoole cannot pardon him for putting a Halt to the March of their brand of Christianity in Jaffna? This is mere snobbishness of these so called Christian Elite of Jaffna who have got a Higher education. This is very much like the name calling of ‘Godayas’ in the South Sri Lanka and ‘Panangottais’ in the North by such people.
    Another observation that needs to be told to this intemperate Prof. is that you don’t find anyone of his Faith(the Protestants,the angicans,etc.)in Jaffna doing any job requiring physical effort-like Farmers/Cultivators,Fishermen or other menial jobs.All these Christians are all “White Collar” and above.Even the lowliest of them will be employed as peons/Office Attendants in a School etc.
    My apologies to other decent Christians,who may feel hurt by this. There are many good Christians,better educated (not mere Higher Doctorates! in Engineering) who will not descend to this man’s level of abuse of the Religion of their forefathers.
    When will this abuse of Navalar and Saivaites cease,when will this Snobbishness stop and he learns to respect others.
    His brother,Rajan, who is also a Professor or his Cousin Devanesan will not descend to the levels Ratnajeevan has descended over the years.

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      Thanks Pro Bono Publico SL. for the link http://www.sangam.org/taraki/articles/2006/12-30_Response.php?uid=2148

      The last paragraph of the above article is worth copying here
      The tenor, the language, the falsehoods, the grandiosity, and the paranoia in his letter is quite revealing of a man who is in need of serious help with his mental health. ******The least he can do is a public apology******** to the two people who he so viciously maligned in his letter.

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      Jeevan Hoole ..

      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

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      Dear Pro Bono Publico SL, I agree with you. I am eagerly expecting someone to write an article on Hinduism, so that I can point out the glory of Hinduism and the beauty of Hinduism that it never critizens other religions.

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    A NOTE TO HOOLE:
    Let me introduce you to a secret: THE HINDU CHRISTIAN CONTEST IN JAFFNA ENDED DECADES AGO!

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    Before I came to know that Hoole guy, I always thought him as a white man till I saw his picture. He certainly is a coconut – white inside and brown outside!

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    One wonders why when there is a plethora of urgent social needs in Tamil Society in Jaffna a gifted intellectual like this Hoole keeps harping on Arumuga Navalar and the Jaffna Vellalars? The Hooles are by
    no means untouchables or from the depressed classes. So why all this fuss? Hoole must use his knowledge and talent to first help settle the Tamil Question and everything else can be done later.

    On the other hand Hoole has a propensity to unnecessarily court controversy. He attacks almost each and everybody – the latest being that gracious lady of learning Prof Savitri Gunasekera.

    Senguttuvan

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      Dear senguttuvan, Hoole is wasting his talent. why he is against hindus or saivites, only god knows.

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      …and eventually at the plumb headed Sangochavan.

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      I once asked a friend who teaches at Jaffna University why Hoole was not accepted as VC. [Edited out]

      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

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    Before calling Navalar images fake, does he realises that Jesus Christ, his saviour, is also a fake.

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      No compromise. Navalar himself was a fake is the issue.

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    Professor Hoole

    Now you know sir, how hard it is to make people open minded to any thing? it doesnt matter Sinhala or tamil, same mind set pl dont forget its Srilanka. Thanks for your research.

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    Ratnajeevan Herbert Hoole is a vicious man as witnessed in his utterly unprofessional criticisms of Professor Savitri Goonesekere. But let me respond to this Christian fundamentalist’s latest attack.

    As always, Hoole never misses an opportunity to attack Hinduism in his westernized Christian zeal. Sri Lankan Tamil Hindus are faced with the challenge to help restore the lives and livehood of those displaced by the confrlict. We need to attend to the forsaken, the poor and the war-maimed in the Vanni. This is our foremost Dharmic responsibility at this junction. But we can not take attacks on our religious identity lying down. It is in that spirit that I respond.

    One needs to revert to primary sources if one is to accurately describe Arumuka Navalar. Navalar lived between 1822 and 1877 CE. Works of his including the ‘Prabandha Thirattu’, ‘Saiva Thooshana Parihaaram’, ‘the Prohibition of Killing’, and his classic deconstruction of the Bible helps one to understand the person. Hoole is unlikely to have ever read these texts in Tamil, more familiar as he is with Milton, Shakespear and Cardinal Newman. One has to also rely on the earliest two 19th century biographers of Navalar. Relevant here are the Tamil language biographies by Kanakaratna Upadhyayar and T. Kailasapillai.

    One discovers herein an astonishing man who grasped the imperative to establish Hindu primary and secondary schools in the 19th century, modernize and broadbase Hindu education, use simple Tamil prose to disseminate Saivite Hindu doctrine and leverage the printing press to republish the Tamil classics, Saivite Hindu scripture and Hindu doctrine. Navalar made it a point to study Christianity to more effectively combat the white missionary enterprise. Navalar worked in North Sri Lanka and in neighboring Tamil Nadu. He established schools in North Sri Lanka and in India of which the Saiva Prakasa Vidyalayam was the first. He was the first person to avail of the modern printing press to publish rare Tamil classics in the mid-1800s anticipating the subsequent seminal work of U.V. Swaminatha Iyer and the other Sri Lankan Tamil Hindu stalwart C.W. Thamotherampillai.

    Professor Dennis Hudson of the State University of New York has chronicled Navalar’s use of the printing press on both sides of the Palk Straits in the 19th century. Navalar published 97 Tamil language documents. He published rare works of Tamil grammar, literature, liturgy and religion that were previously unavailable in print. Navalar established a printing press in Sri Lanka and in Tamil Nadu. The one in Jaffna was called the Vidyanubalana Yantra Sala. Noted Czech scholar of Tamil, Kamil Zvelebil, demonstrated that Navalar was the first author to use modern Tamil prose in a manner understandable to the layperson. Professor Meenakshisundaram echoed this view when he reiterated that Navalar was the first to use simplified and unadorned lay Tamil. So yes, Navalar made stellar contributions to Hinduism, the Tamil language, Tamil prose and Sri Lankan Tamil Hindu identity.

    The Hindu revival preceded the Buddhist revival in Sri Lanka by a full generation. Both movements were robust in their origins. Arumuka Navalar’s emphasis on a modern Hindu education in Sri Lanka was the prelude to the later Hindu Board of Education in Sri Lanka. It was Navalar who first articulated in modern times that the Sri Lankan Tamil identity was parallel to and not the same as the South Indian Tamil identity. As Bishop Kulendran of the Church of South India in Jaffna conceded, it was Navalar’s Saivite Hindu revival that stemmed the conversions to Christianity in northern Sri Lanka in the 19th century. This perhaps explains Hoole’s harsh invective. It is irrelevant therefore whether Navalar played a key role ini the translation of the Bible into the Tamil language or not. I care less about the Tamil translation of the Bible!

    The origins of Tamil prose go much earlier to the medieval Brahmin, Saivite and Jain commentators on classical Sangam and post-Sangam literature. I refer here to the Urai-asiriyarkal i.e. Ilampuranar, Senavaraayar, Per-asiriyar, Parimel-alakar, Nachi-naar-kiniyaar and Theiva-chilaiyaar. That prose however was medieval and archaic. It had to be modernized and this is where Navalar helped. Hoole is unlikely to have ever heard of or read these medieval commentators, more familiar as he is with Christian theology.

    Christianity had been linked to the colonial enterprise, to the murder of Jews in the Inquisition and the Pogroms which constituted the cultural-religious backdrop to the Holocaust, the murderous crusades against Islam, the extermination of the Maya and Inca civilizations in the Americas, the extermination of the Australian aborigine and the trans-atlantic enslavement of the African. The roots for the bloodshed, persecution, genocide and enslavement of the infidel lie in the Bible. Its time we Hindus write on that, on the historicty of Jesus and the like.

    We also need to deconstruct the role of post-independence Tamil politics with particular reference to the destructive anti-Buddhist role of the Federal Party. Relevant here would be Samuel James Velupillai Chelvanayakam, E.M.V Naganathan, K. Nesiah and Joseph Pararajasingham, all of whom were Tamil Christian. Let us include here the imperative to deconstruct contemporary Tamil Christian clergy such as S.J. Emmanuel and Jagath Gasper Raj. It would be similarly useful if one were to dissect Canon Somasundaram, Elijah Hoole and the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora in North America in the very same spirit.

    And lastly, we need to unite with the Buddhists and Muslims of Sri Lanka to counter this colonial remnant in our midst that continues to attack our hallowed traditions and cause disarray in our land.

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      Romesh,

      There was an incident in Jaffna soon after the new (before it was burnt ) library was declared open. Some leading Chritians demanded the Sarawathy statue be removed. If I remember right, a few of the arms of the statue were also broken by vandals inspired by them.

      Some Christians also looked down upon the Hindus as inferior cultural entities. Fortunately, they did not represent a wholesome whole. Most Christians were Hindu- Chritians and reciprocated the ‘ Em Mathamum Sammatham( all religions are acceptable)’ concept of the Saivites.

      My mother was an Anglican and her brother- Ven. Dr. Donald Kanagaratnam- was the Archedeacon of Jaffna ( residing in Vavuniya), during the war years, until his death in 1995. I remember that in many of his sermons he would use verses from the Thevara-Thiruvasagams and the couplets from Thirukural. I learned as much of Hinduism from him, as from my Hindu father. I remember by attending our Hindu weddings dreesed in Vertti. My mother transformed herself, starting the day after her wedding, into a better Hindu than my father, in order to bring us up the way he wanted. In fact the more accurate word would be demanded. She is our saint!

      After her murder by the IPKF, my maternal uncle, Donald Kanagaratnam, conveyed to me her wish that she be accorded a Chritian funeral. Although, the circumstances of her death precluded any funeral, I handed over her ashes to my uncle to be buried at the cemetery in Chundikuli. There were a large number of Christians of their calibre amongst us.

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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      Romesh,

      Your comment is very informative. Thank you. I found the following line very interesting: “We also need to deconstruct the role of post-independence Tamil politics with particular reference to the destructive *anti-Buddhist* role of the Federal Party.”

      As I read more and more of the history of Theravada Buddhism in Sri Lanka, I am beginning to understand the hardline Sinhalese position. I am realizing that Sinhala Buddhists have contributed much to the humanity by preserving the original Pali texts of Buddha’s discourses, something which are totally lost in India. There is tremendous interest in the West for these Pali texts. It is amazing that Sinhala kings took active part in preserving the most complex and immense Buddhist Abhidhammic texts such as Dhammasangni and Patthana.

      If the Tamil leadership had recognized the contribution of the Sinhala in preserving the true form of Buddhism and expressed support for continued preservation of propagation of the Buddha Dhamma, history may have been different. We may have avoided so much animosity and bloodshed and dukkha.

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        Uccai Siravas says:

        “If the Tamil leadership had recognized the contribution of the Sinhala in preserving the true form of Buddhism and expressed support for continued preservation of propagation of the Buddha Dhamma, history may have been different. “

        If the Sinhala/Buddhists leadership had recognised unity in diversity history may have been different.

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          I am not trying to white wash the Sinhala leadership. Burning of the Jaffna library and the killing of Tamil civilians in a serious of riots (actually pogroms) can never be acceptable.

          However, I feel, the Tamil leadership too made mistakes. They did not comprehend the Sinhala mind and their world view as the preservers of original Buddhism in the face of constant threats from brahmanical India to obliterate Buddhism. If our leadership had clearly understood the Sinhala mind and their fears and positioned themselves as non-threatening to what the Sinhala-Buddhists see as their holy mission, namely, the preservation and propagation of Theravada Buddhism, then such an understanding may have helped bring about mutual harmony among Tamils and Sinhalese. Instead, Tamils appear to be hostile to Buddhism. They generally have no or very superficial understanding of Buddha’s contribution to the world. While Sinhalese show no opposition to building Hindu temples in the south, we Tamils seem to oppose any attempt to install Buddha statue or Viharai in the north.

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      Romesh

      Your anti Christian sentiments do not hide Navalar’s contribution to caste consciousness.

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      We must all be grateful for Romesh’s learned contribution to this debate.He has hit every relevant nail on the head re the work of Navalar.
      It is however his comments on the politics of the Tamils in the half-century that merits particular commendation.It is the foolish,fanatical and fundamentally impractical politics of SJVC/EMVN etc and those of their “intellectual” descendants that have brought the Tamils to their present disastrous situation– perhaps never to recover.And it does not seem to be abating as one can see in the comiocal/tragic antics of the Overseas fanatics and fools.
      I hope Romesh would expand on his ideas and arguments and publishes a full-fledged article in the print media as well as in the the CT,

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    It does not matter how Navalar really looked and what his original name was. Do we know how Jesus looked or what his real name was? It also does not matter who really translated the Tamil Bible. Really, who cares! As my comment above indicated, Navalar’s brilliance lay elsewhere. Hoole is no sociologist. He is no academic. He is a cheap Tamil Christian fundamentalist who repeatedly attacks Tamil Hinduism.

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    Dear Prof.Hoole,
    I came to know that my great great grand father was from Uduvil.He was a Tamil teacher and lived behind the Uduvil Girls School.His name was Sinthamani.He sent his son to Jaffna College Vaddukodai.His name was Vellupillai.He was later sent to Chennai for further studies.He did well in Chennai and became a Professor or teacher.He had two prominant sons 1.Deivasihamani Pillai (Engineer) and the other Masilamani Pillai.(High Court Judge).
    If you know their history in Uduvil please let me know.
    Thanks you.

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    Funny how people are reacting exactly like expected when their own biases are called into question. If you read the article, Prof. Hoole is not expounding on fantasies and made-up theories but on historical evidence – which is much more than what most of these fanciful comments are based on! There is a lot of readily available evidence that Navalar isn’t all Tamils claim to be. It’s rather simple minded to attribute the translation of the Tamil bible to an barely educated high schooler. So instead of hating the writer, why don’t we all dig into real history!

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      True Story

      You are pulling wool over your eyes. Mr. Hoole is attacking Hinduism, he is attacking the Hindu revival. Read Romesh’s excellent rejoinder. Hoole is no sociologist. He comes across as a bigot. His earlier attacks on Savitri Goonesekere revealed a sad mind.

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    Most tamil texts – ancient and modern have been now published on the web by the Madurai Project – a collaboration of tamil scholars and web engineers.
    Tamil translation of the Bible too is available – The Bible is referred to as ‘viviliam’.
    http://www.infitt.org/pmadurai/pmworks.html
    http://www.tamillibrary.org/index.html

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    I believe Arumuga Navalar’s contribution to the Jaffna Tamil identity cannot be and should not be ignored. He asserted the Saiva identity in the face of immense Christian missionary activities in Jaffna during the 19th century. If energetic activists like him had not lived in Jaffna during the crucial period of 19th century, we (Jaffna Tamils) would have turned out more like the Philippinos or worse. I believe it was people like Navalar who molded the Jaffna people so much so that a few decades later, Einstein wrote in his diary that “he found nobility among the Hindus of Ceylon,…”

    Having said that, it is time we move beyond Navalar and Saivaism and seriously look at non-theistic systems of thought such as Humanism and Buddhism. I feel that fanatical adherence to theism is making us either superstitious (like Hindus) or invidious (like Hoole).

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      “Having said that, it is time we move beyond Navalar and Saivaism and seriously look at non-theistic systems of thought such as Humanism and Buddhism. I feel that fanatical adherence to theism is making us either superstitious (like Hindus) or invidious (like Hoole).”

      Secular humanism is good not because of the reason you gave, but because it is founded on the truth that there is no evidence of any God.

      The latest research in neuroscience shows there is an area of the brain responsible for religious beliefs. Incidentally, one of the world’s leading neuroscientists today happens to be an Indian Tamil based in California by the name V.S.Ramachandran, who is often listed by Time magazine and others as among the world’s 100 most important thinkers. He made many seminal contributions to understanding ‘phantoms’ in the brain, including the phantom limb phenomenon experienced by amputees. Research by him and other scientists has shown that faith in God is largely a phenomenon in the brain.

      So all religions are problematic; those religions that deify individuals who lived a few millennia ago, are even more problematic.
      It is often a misconception to think the West is largely Christian. Though it is practiced among the less educated, the educated West is largely secular, and its most important scientific leaders and thinkers are often agnostics or atheists. Of the scientists admitted to the National Academy of Sciences, an honor often reserved for the most accomplished among them, 95% of are not believers. Even Obama was an atheist who joined a Black church later for political reasons and of course he has to publicly pretend to be Christian for electability.

      So Prof.Hoole and others who go around thumping their chests about their ‘credentials’ need to reflect on such truth rather than indulging in trivial pursuits. What Rambler says above is largely true in that it can boomerang.

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        Navalar is to be recognized as a pioneering trail blazer, one who had helped modernize Tamil Hinduism. Hinduism is a civilizational inheritance that its adherants will remain loyal to and we need to respect that. Hoole on the other hand is an intolerant ‘crusader’ who has undermined his own credentials by his fanaticism and manipulation of the evidence in pursuit of his own narrow-mindedness.

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          I agree that Navalar’s historical role can be celebrated, and if there are indeed any myths about him, the proper people who need to bring that out are objective historians, anthropologists and sociologists. Hoole’s motivation in showing his own family in a positive light and his ancestors’ involvement in that subject matter taints his papers, and therefore his assertions cannot be taken seriously. I only gave a cursory read. He can ask objective scholars to make a study if he feels this is something so important.

          What is more, Hoole talks about caste, degrees, etc. in a way that makes him appear to be someone who never grew out of his elementary school quarrels with fellow kids.

          My interest in neuroscience has made me aware of there being “multiple intelligences,” with different areas of the brain handling different functions ( or “intelligences”). So the fact that Hoole has some academic degrees and professorship points to him having certain kinds of intelligences in abundance, but he seems to lack other functions such as what is termed as emotional intelligence, interpersonal skills, ability to see the glaring contradictions in one’s beliefs , etc.

          But what to do—we are all prisoners of our brains, with our own strengths and weaknesses. I hope he sticks to areas where is strong to minimize conflicts caused by the weaknesses.

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            Agnos,

            It is a pleasure to read your ‘ scientific’ explanation . As a reproductive physiologist cum endocrinologist, I see ‘ God’ in the normalcy and deviations that govern the macro- world: the physical and life that is exterior to us and the micro-world : the anatomy and physiology, that is within all life. That logic or system is to me God. We define God as the, ” Munnai palamaikum Munnai paramporulay ; Pinnai puthumaikum paytrum up petriyaney ( the ONE who is beyond what we know of the old and the ONE who is also beyond what we see as the new)”. It is an eternal search for the truth of the past and of the future. This is the truth we seek through science.

            Spirituality and yoga, also stimulate neural centres and hormonal systems. We have also genetic factors and environmental factors that interact to define what we are- our thoughts and actions. The genes are switched off and on in our life time and we pass this genetic inheritance to our children. They thus become the continuation of us, while also representing a change. The spiritual and the scientific approach to explain what we perceive, meet at some point.

            Einstein , Oppenheimer and Frijof Capra, saw meaning in The ‘Dance of Siva’ through science. The Hindus conceptualised the ‘ Dancing Siva, to exemplify motion, sound ,light etc., which are manifestations of energy. The ‘Dancing Siva’ , defines energy and the amazing movement of the subatomic particles. I can visualise an actively dancing Siva- flaying arms, rapid and rhythmic movement of legs and flying hair, in the depictions of the movement of subatomic particles. Many scientists prefer to call the recently confirmed Higgs particle as God’s particle, for this reason.

            Unless we see religion as also a path to explain what we are and what everthing around us mean, we will fail them and they will fail us. We seek the truth through religion and science. The pursuits are complementary. That is why truth /fact, is God. Religions tell us only that we have God within us and exterior to us us – kadavul. This is the known that is amazing and the unknown that is intriguing.

            Dr. Rajasingham Narendran.

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              Thanks for your comments, but I am sorry I don’t agree–once people start accepting religions, they are also saddled with their internal contradictions and plain falsehoods, and it is not moral to gloss it over. This “search for truth” via religions has been going on for millennia with no (or dubious) results, while science has advanced at a rapid pace with tangible results.

              The number of believers in the world has been steadily declining. Just last week, a columnist with The Washington Post who is a religious conservative and ex-speech writer for George Bush, lamented the ‘astonishing’ decline in religious beliefs in the US. Considered as the most religious among Western nations until now, the US is inevitably going the way of more secular Europe, possibly on way to becoming another Sweden–the least religious of the West. And it is just a matter of time before most Asian nations become secular. I believe that most Southeast Asian nations already are. I would think even India is becoming more secular, though it will take more time there..

              If religions have any truth or relevance to life, this won’t be happening. No use blaming the young for their lack of faith when elders can’t show religions have truth and provide moral clarity. I have to stop at that as I have got to leave. Thanks again.

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            “The number of believers in the world has been steadily declining.”

            Have you factored in the number of Bibles sold in China?

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        // Research by him and other scientists has shown that faith in God is largely a phenomenon in the brain.//

        And who do you think controls that part of your brain, huh?

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          Do you really think your brain is controlled by an outside entity called God? If so, you are just a puppet in the hand of your God. Thank you, I don’t talk to puppets; I only talk to the puppet master. Do you realize the implication that all your accomplishments, all the things that hold dear in your life or take pride in, are nothing but due to the actions of your puppet master?

          Seriously, the research I alluded to involved stimulating certain areas of the temporal lobe that caused the subject to have religious experiences including seeing God. I will leave it at that and save my time. There is always Google for you to find out more.

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            I have asked my close associates over several years whether we call the same thing , God or Dog, matters? Does a name matter? The three alphabets in both names are the same ? I am sure many will call this blasphemous.

            It is the principle behind the concept, that matters. In fact the belief in God, the name we call the principle, as any strong desire or faith , mobilises the same forces within the self to make things happen. Willpower and hard work backed by faith in oneself or God make things happen, within ones potentials. Thus, goes the proverb, ” God helps those who help themselves”. Our design makes this possible. The concept given credit for this design is what we also call God.

            Please read the little book ‘ Jonathan Livingston Seagull’ by Richard Bach. It should be a text book at the grade six level for students, the world over. All adults who have not done so, should make haste to read it. Many of us are like the other seagulls living with Jonathan.

            Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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              Variant forms of the name Odin such as the Lombardic ‘Godan’ may point to the Lombardic form actually comes from Proto-Germanic ‘gudanaz’. Wodanaz or Wodiinaz is the reconstructed Proto-Germanic name of a god of Germanic paganism, known as Odin in Norse mythology. Woden in Old English, Wodan or Wotan in Old High German and Godan in the Lombardic language. Godan was shortened to God over time and was adopted or retained by the Germanic peoples of the British isles as the name of their deity in lieu of the ‘Deus’ as used by the Latin speaking Christian church, after conversion to Christianity. There are many instances where the name Godan and Wodan are contracted to God and Wod.One instance is the wild hunt (a.k.a. Wodan’s wild hunt) where Wod is used.

              [Proto-Indo-European neuter passive perfect participle gutóm. This form within (late) Proto-Indo-European itself was possibly ambiguous, and thought to derive from a root ǵheu̯- “to pour, libate” (Sanskrit huta, see hotṛ), or from a root ǵhau̯- (*ǵʰeu̯h2-) “to call, to invoke” (Sanskrit hūta). Sanskrit hutá = “having been sacrificed”, from the verb root hu = “sacrifice”, but a slight shift in translation gives the meaning “one to whom sacrifices are made.”]

              As Watkins opines, depending on which possibility is preferred, the pre-Christian meaning of the Germanic term may either have been (in the “pouring” case) “libation” or “that which is libated upon, idol”.

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            Agnos,
            You should read “The God Illusion” by Richard Dawkins.
            We, along with all other living beings,are lumps of specialised matter formed out of the energy streaming from the sun.
            The sun is the lifegiver on this planet – not any supreme mythical being.

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              Sorry – The God Delusion.

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    Hoole’s expose on Navalar can make Jaffna people highly worked up. Navalar carried not much weight in true spiritual sense as some one like Yogar Swami and his disciple German Swami.
    I find it intriguing that Hoole is convinced that his own caste The Vellalas ( so called) are Dalits. Amusing.

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    Dr Hoole

    This has been asked already. But I will ask again

    (1) can you write about whether a dead person can become alive?

    (Of course I have great respect for Jesus, but not to the resurrection fantasies)

    Your scientific view is highly appreciated.

    (2) can a virgin give birth to a ‘baby’? Again scientific views welcome.

    ——–

    You are just a fundamentalist Christian wearing a mask of neutrality. Simple as that.

    ———-

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      I will answer your second question. Yes. It is called parthenogenesis in biology and can happen once in a million times. The ovum or egg starts dividing under some stimulus other than fertilisation and develops into foetus, Kunthi probably gave birth to Karna through such a process.

      As to your first question there are many mystical possibilities such as transmigration. From a mundane point of view he could have been in a deep coma after his ordeal on the cross.

      Dr.RN

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    Non-farming or land-less VELLALAs are in Jaffna only. That is a fake claim of many current VELLALAS. Christians who are from lower castes also now tell they are vellaalas.

    Hoole himself belong to a fishing caste(sempadava) of Tamil nadu and their converted ancestors arrived during the Dutch period.

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