21 May, 2019

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Sri Lankan Reflections on Siva: A Response To Hoole

By Romesh Jayaratnam

As a Sri Lankan, I reflect on Siva, the Lord Most High. I enumerate several of his names, allude to His grace and describe his ancient shrine in Trincomalee, East Sri Lanka. The intent is to celebrate His place in the Sri Lankan Tamil inheritance. Siva presides over our destiny amidst our turbulent history.

The Names of Siva

Siva, God almighty, has many names in the Hindu tradition. The 9th century Tamil text, the Tiruvachakam, uses several to designate him. Amongst others, Siva is called the First (Munnon), the Great One (Periyon), the Ancient One (Pazhaiyon), the Precious One (Ariyon) and the Wonderful (Athpudan). He is termed the Sage (Ayyan), the Helper (Tunai Aalane), the Giver of Every Grace (Karunai Aalane) and the Only Ruler (Aal-udai Oruva). He is referred to as the Teacher (Tesane), the Guardian (Kaakum En Kaavalan), the Great Light (Per Oli), the Only Wise (Arivane) and the Lord of the Southern Pandya Land (Ten Paandya Naataane). He is named the Warrior Strong (Por Ere) and the One (Oruvan). These names illustrate the supremacy and benevolence of Siva. He is the Infinite, Almighty Lord (Alavilaap Pemaane) who is The First and Last (Muthal Antham Aayinaan). He is infinitely kind and compassionate.

The Grace of Siva

His grace is manifold. One prayer in the Tiru-vachakam is the Tiru-chatakam or ‘the one hundred verses’. This song of triumph narrates the spiritual journey of the Tamil saint Manikka vachakar and describes Siva’s benevolence. Manikka vachakar speaks figuratively of ‘being alone’, ‘tossed by the turbulent waves’, ‘troubled by a storm mid-sea’ and ‘caught in the jaws of a monster’. In desperation, he ‘seized Siva’s raft’ and was in turn ‘shown the boundless, fertile shore’. Siva provided him ‘a royal seat’ and ‘revealed things not shown before’. The Lord caused him to ‘hear things not heard before’ and ‘dispelled his fear’. Here was a metaphor of Siva’s grace in the unsteady journey of life.

The Tiru-chatakam teaches us that a devotee has none to fear. He is no longer any one’s vassal. Siva will ‘lift him high’ and ‘take him for His own’ despite the imperfections and failings. As Manikka vachakar narrates, Siva is the remover of all ills ‘even if it be through hell’s abyss or house and home on fire’. He is the sole refuge and ‘in mercy teaches the devotee all’. He causes one ‘to know the higher path’. Siva is the ‘giver of every grace’ and is the Only Light (Tani chudare).
Its important to add that Hinduism is not a monotheistic faith. It has never been and will never be one! In Hinduism, truth is one, the paths are many. The religion upholds the unity of all being, not just the divine.

Sacred Trincomalee

There are numerous centers of old Hindu worship that dot the Sri Lankan landscape. The ancient temple in Trincomalee is one. The word Trincomalee is derived from the Tamil ‘Tiru-kona-malai’ which translates as ‘the sacred hill of the Lord’. Megalithic urn burials were excavated in Nilaveli a few kilometers away from this site. The archeological findings included black and red ware pottery and iron tools dated to the 3rd century BCE. Remarkable parallels exist between these urn burials and those excavated in Tamil Nadu. Both regions had evidently shared the same early iron age culture.
The Siva temple in Trincomalee is located in a region of considerable antiquity. Chapter 35 verses 40 and 41 of the Pali chronicle, the Mahavamsa indicates that King Maha Sena had destroyed three Deva temples, one of which was in Gokarna, another name for Trincomalee. He built a Buddhist vihara on the site of the earlier Deva temple in the 4th century CE. Trincomalee was called Gokarna in Sanskrit and Gokanna in Pali. Gokarna in Sanskrit translates as cow’s ear and signifies a place of Saivite Hindu worship.

The new Buddhist Vihara evidently did not last long if one were to accept the tradition of the Vayu Purana also dated to the 4th century CE where Chapter 48 verses 20 to 30 refers to a hallowed Siva temple on Tri-kuta hill on the Eastern seaboard of Lanka. Tri-kuta refers to Trincomalee. The Tamil Saivite saint, Tiru-Gnana-sambandar sang of the glories of this Siva temple in the 7th century. The Nilaveli inscription in the 10th century refers to a land grant of 1,710 acre equivalent donated for the upkeep of this same shrine.

Kachi-appar Siva-acharyar, author of the Kanda-puranam, compared the sanctity of this temple in Trincomalee with that of Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu. Aruna-girinathar visited this shrine in the 15th century. An unverified tradition has it that Patanjali, the author of the Yoga Sutras, of the 2nd century BCE was born in Gokarna ‘situated to the South East of India’. This uncorroborated tradition was reiterated by Tiru-mular in his 10th century Tiru-manthiram. The Yoga Sutras is the cornerstone of Yoga, a school of Hindu philosophy intended at the development of one’s mind through discipline. If this tradition is indeed correct, it would place Trincomalee in the pan-Indic intellectual arena, much as Anuradhapura already is given the latter’s role in the development of Theravada Buddhism and the Pali language.

Portuguese travelers in the 17th century described this Siva Temple of ‘a Thousand Columns’. They referred to Trincomalee as the ‘Rome of the Pagans’. In April 1622, the Portuguese General Constantino de Sa Noronha razed the temple to the ground and used its materials to build a fort. The Sinhalese king Rajasinghe II of Kandy took immediate steps to construct a successor Siva temple in Tampalakamam 24 kilometers to the west of Trincomalee. Tampalakamam was then part of the Kandyan kingdom. This was an act of Hindu piety by a Buddhist king. The main temple was rebuilt in its original location, albeit on a smaller scale, three hundred and forty one years later in March 1963. In September 2008, the Chief Priest of the Temple – Sivasri Kuharaja Kurukkal was killed in an event not unrelated to the conflict. The shrine has had a volatile history.

Conclusion

Its time to repose our trust in the God of our forefathers who stood by us in the past, will stand by us in the present and will protect us in the days to come. The verses of the 7th century Tiru-Naavuk-arasa Naayanar assume a salience here.
We are subject to no one;
We do not fear death.
We will not be deterred by hell’s tortures, we do not tremble.
We shall exult, we do not know disease, we will not submit.
Eternal joy is our lot;
Sorrow is not for us.
We are the irredeemable slaves of Siva.

Related posts;

Arumuka Navalar: Fake Images And Histories

The Jaffna Version Of The Tamil Bible: By Peter Percival Or Arumuka Navalar?

Heritage Histories: What They Are And How They Operate Through Jaffna

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Latest comments

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    It is very funny to see that comparatively powerless humans are trying to safeguard their gods and religions which they claim having ultimate power.If there is a god and it have all the powers then it should be safe itself and safeguard the followers,not the other way.

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      Oi, Doubting Thomas- God… a being whose only definition is that he is beyond man’s power to conceive. Get that into your head.

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      Great point Newton :)
      God is one,the self sufficient master whom all creatures need, God begot none, nor was God begotten, and there is non comparable unto God.

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    Nice, informative article. Very illustrative. Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed the read.

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    Prof.Hoole’s contention that Hindu temples were once Jain and Buddhist temples cannot be accepted. Hinduism was in existence before Jainism & Buddhism. Prior to the Kalabra’s rule in Tamilakam (combination of Tamil Nadu and present Kerala it is Saivaism was the predominant religion. Moreover Saivaism was also a predominant religion in Gujarat, Kashmir and Nepal. Buddhism, Jainsim, Sakthism, etc are all offshoots of Hinduism. Even in the Rig Veda, Lord Shiva is described as Rudra. Moreover, the language during Indus Valley civilization was Sanskrit. Mount Kailash is the abode of Lord Shiva. The words ‘Kailash’, ‘Himalaya’, ‘Saraswathi’, etc are Sanskrit words. The worship of Lord Shiva was not only prevalent in Sri Lanka, but also in the lost continent of Lemuria known as Kumari Kandam. When continent of Lemuria was submerged in sea on account of natural disasters, it is believed that Sri Lanka was part of the continent of Lost Lemuria. There are references that Ravana worshipped Lord Shiva at Trincomalee which are all a matter of considerable debate. I think Romesh Jayaratnam has given some correct version of Lord Shiva from the Hindu scriptures.
    However, there is a misconception among the people that Lord Shiva is a fierce deity. The manner in which Lord Shiva is portrayed with adoring skulls and snakes together with a trident in his hand tends one to think that he is the God of Destruction. Upon a close examination, the clarification of Lord Shiva demolishes the concept of the God of Destruction. Lord Shiva is infinite and eternal.

    Shiva means auspicious and perfection. There are various factors that establish that Lord Shiva is a merciful and loving God to his devotees. First, the realization of God will lead to the discovery of his supreme potence and glorious qualities. Second, even the great Devas worship Lord to receive boons. There are various instances in Ramayana, Maha Bharatha and Puranas where devotees worship Lord Shiva ro receive boons to achieve their objectives., all of which establish the fact that Lord Shiva is one with pleasing characters and always merciful. Thirdly, the worship of Lord Shiva is not out of fear, but through love and affection towards the Lord. The devotees experience the glorious qualities of Lord Shiva. It is the love, knowledge and experience which pave way for the spiritual success through the worship of Lord Shiva. Fear just wades away. This is the speciality of the worship of Lord Shiva. In short, Lord Shiva is not a God of Destruction, but is the Supreme Being who is instrumental for the five activities of Creation, Protection, Destruction, Concealing and Blessing. Moreover, Lord Shiva is also described as a deity popular among the Dravidians, but he belongs to all of humanity.Lord Shiva is impartial and hates nobody and shows no discrimination whatsoever even to those who have demonic characters, if they worship him with love and reverence. Ravana of Lanka is a case in point. .

    Lord Shiva is considered as the Supreme Ascetic and portrayed in deep meditation in his usual abode in Mount Kailash in the Himalayas. As such Lord Shiva remains as the God of Yogis and ascetics. The manner of performing Yoga on the slopes of Mount Kailash demonstrates the glory of the Supreme Being – as possessed of all knowledge, all power and all renunciation. He is the embodiment of serenity, renunciation and indifference to the world. He is also depicted with a long matted hair in a topknot, in which the Crescent Moon is positioned, and from which the sacred river Ganga flows. The third eye is in the centre of forehead, symbolizing his superior wisdom and insight. His neck is shown as dark blue, resulting fromthe scars caused by a deadly poison which he drank to save from protection. The encircling of his neck by the snakes symbolizes that all dangerous evils or elements are under his control. Moreover, his body is covered with ashes. Holy ash symbolizes that as Lord Shiva appeared as a Supreme Flame, ash becomes the symbol that indicates the association with that Supreme Flame. His weapon Trident, which is also shown beside him, stands for air, life force and aspects of time (past, present and future). The central dent represents life force (known as Prana), while the dents on both sides represent air movng from from the right and left nostrils to the lungs and back.
    Apparently Lord Shiva is not only depicted as an ascetic, but also as a householder.

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    This precis on a distinctive Tamil Hinduism in a Sri Lankan island context is most valuable. Sinhalese Buddhist nationalists would be uncomfortable with the literary and archeological evidence provided that situates the strategic port town of Trincomalee in a Tamil Hindu religious context, one that had antecedents for at least 1,500 years. It is clear that Sri Lanka has had plural identities from the start of its history, one that a unidimensional mono-ethnic nationalist discourse epitomized by the JHU and BBS would find irritating.

    This explains why the Sri Lankan administration had destroyed the Murukan temple in Ilankaiturai in nearby Sampur, renamed Ilankaiturai as Lankapatuna, built a Buddhist Vihara in the Hindu sacred site of Kanniyai, placed Buddhist statuary within the Koneswaram temple precincts, financed the building of a stand-alone Buddhist vihara next to Fort Frederick, built another Vihara on the otherside of Fort Fredereick and has successively refused to declare Fort Frederick a Hindu sacred area. This refusal that led to the collapse of the United National Party- Federal Party (read Sinhalese Tamil) coalition in 1969 which ushered in the hard-line Sirimavo administration. The rest is history. Sri Lanka is still a divided fractured island and the Tamil issue has once again become internationalized. When will people ever learn!

    Thank you, Romesh for this thought provoking editorial.

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    The ‘ Dance of Siva’ in its essence represents the dance of the subatomic particles. It thus represents energy , a fundamental in this universe. Energy cannot be created nor destroyed, but it can manifest in many firms. It is in the living and in the non-living. It is in light, sound and electricity. It is in the thunder and lightening. It is in the heavens, on earth and within earth. By extension it is the dance of the universe. The genius of our ancestors who could depict this principle in sculpture, has to be indeed marvelled. In honour of this genius a newly discovered subatomic particle is also called God’s particle , although officially named Hobb’s particle. A huge statue of the Dance of Siva has been placed in the lawn of the European atomic research centre on the Franco- Swiss border and casts a beautiful shadow over the building at sunset . This honours the Science behind the concept of Siva.

    I always think that it is unfortunate that a great scientific concept in our religion and philosophy which probably had origins even before the Harappa and Mohenjadaro civilisations, has not been yet understood by most modern humans, who call themselves Hindus.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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      It can also create, preserve and destroy.

      Dr.RN

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      Dr. Narendran,

      I think you are referring to the Higgs-Boson.
      FYI, the popular usage of the term ‘God’s particle’ for the Higgs-Boson was really intended as a joke from the beginning, and the media knows it was a joke. Many people mistakenly assume it was intended as a fact.

      Peter Higgs himself was very much an atheist.

      Dance of Siva is used more as a metaphor and art, not as any valid science. It was fashionable for Western scientists in the 1960’s and 70’s to talk about Hinduism. It was a time when all manner of Swamis from India arrived in the West to capitalize on the insecurities and capitalist guilt of wealthy people. And Westerners went to India to seek enlightenment.

      But after several decades of such interaction, there has been no finding of any significance. Maybe more people in the West discovered Yoga and meditation, but these are practiced as a way of handling stress (Nothing wrong with that, but there are often exaggerated claims about the benefits), not as anything to do with God.

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        Agnos,
        Thanks. Please read the book, ‘ The Tao of Physics’ by Fridjof Capra, described as an exploration of the parallels between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism. He is a well known high-energy physicist and author. Although, the book precedes the identification and recent confirmation of the God’s particle (Higg’s particle) by decades , he refers to the Dancinf Siva as following words in his preface;

        ” Five years ago, I had a beautiful experience which set me on a road that has led to the writing of this book. I was sitting by the ocean one late summer afternoon, watching the waves rolling in and feeling the rhythm of my breathing, when I suddenly became aware of my whole environment as being engaged in a gigantic cosmic dance. Being a physicist, I knew that the sand, rocks, water and air around me were made of vibrating molecules and atoms, and that these consisted of particles which interacted with one another by creating and destroying other particles. I knew also that the Earth’s atmosphere was continually bombarded by showers of ‘cosmic rays’, particles of high energy undergoingg multiple collisions as they penetrated the air. All this was familiar to me from my research in high-energy physics, but until that moment I had only experienced it through graphs, diagrams a d mathematical theories. As I sat on that breach my former experiences came to life; I ‘saw’ cascades of energy coming down from outer space, in which particles were created and destroyed in rhythmic pulses; I ‘saw’ the atoms of the elements and those of my body participating in this cosmic dance of energy; I felt its rhythm and I ‘heard’ its sound, and at that moment I knew that his was the Dance of Siva, the Lord of Dancers worshipped by the Hindus.”

        Dr.Rajssingham Narendran

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          Correction:
          –refers to the Dancing Siva in the following words in his preface:

          Dr.RN

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            Dr. Narendran,

            Capra wrote that in 1975. He was precisely the kind that found Hinduism fashionable at that time.

            He himself said that was using psychedelics, and the kind of experiences you quote above are precisely those induced by such drugs. It is really easy for me to dismiss his hallucinations. I have no doubt about it.

            His work has been roundly criticized by serious physicists for his use of outdated physics theory, even for his time.

            The real scientists behind such particles who are still alive–such as Peter Higgs and Leon Lederman ( a Nobel laureate)– are atheists. Actually it is said that the latter in a book wanted to call the particle ‘Goddamn’ particle, as it was difficult to find, but his publisher wanted to change it to ‘God particle’ for fun.

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              Agnos,

              You have presented the scientific perspective. However, there is a point at which science and mysticism find confluence, without either acknowledging it. I think Capra was far ahead of his genre in understanding this. I do not take drugs of any sort and am not prone to hallucinations, however, from the little I have learned of modern, non-physical , intangible physics and Hindu mysticism , I can also perceive the Dance of Siva, as a Cosmic Dance in words described by Capra.

              Further, why should the Nataraja (Dancing Siva) statue have been placed in the lawn of CERN where the Hadron Colllider which confirmed the presence of the Gods Particle is located? I think it affirms the acknowledgement of the science behind Hindu mysticism. I have also seen photographs of Oppenheimer’s ( The father of the atom bomb) office, where a large statue of the ‘Dancing Siva’was placed as a backdrop to his desk. I surmise this was also a recognition of what this symbolism represented.

              Leon Lederman, whom you refer to, in fact says as follows in his book of 1993, ” This boson is so central to the state of physics today, so crucial to our final understanding of the structure of matter, yet so elusive, that I have given it a nick name the God Particle? Two reasons: One, the publisher wouldn’t let us call it the Goddamn Particle, though that might be a more appropriate title, given its villainous nature and the expense it is causing and two, there is a connection of sorts , to another book, a much older one– “.

              What he is referring to is the book of Genesis and its theme of man not obeying God’s guidelines, over and over again, which makes God send Abraham and Noah to put mankind back on track. The word ‘Goddamn’ is used in the context of the trouble and exasperation mankind was/is causing God, according to Christian beliefs.

              I once again believe that Lederman, chose the right nickname, without intending to do so, for something so elusive, intangible, but yet proven to exist rather indirectly. This is definiition of Siva for the Hindus.

              As an aside, I remember sitting with a great modern day Saivite mystic from Jaffna as a teenager, to try to convert the distance between the earth and the moon mentioned in the Andakola Padalam of the Kanthapuranam in classical Tamil units of measurement, into the equivalent of modern measures. It was quite illuminating to learn that the Kanthapuranic figures were no different from modern scientific estimates!

              Dr.RN

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    Not sure why you are invoking Hoole ?

    It seems that you are paying your obedience to lord Shiva.Not sure if Hoole objects too that. You are also state that you do so as a “Sri Lankan” . You may want to check with BBS if that is permissible.

    Don’t think Prof.Hoole would have any issue with your relationship with Lord Shiva. Except for the fact that is one of the most scholarly post I have read in the Colombo Telegraph – of some one doing a Puja.

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    Dear Dr. Narendran,

    Over ten centuries ago, Rishi Tirumular praised God Siva’s never-ending dance with loving eloquence: “In all worlds He is, the Holy Lord. In darkness He is, light He is. In sun He is, in moon He is. Everywhere He is. The Lord is in all creation. None knows His coming and going. He is distant. He is near. Multiple He is. One He is. Water, earth, sky, fire and wind, the spark within the body–all these He is. He is the walking jiva here below. Deathless He is”.

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      Tamil woman,
      I think the never ending dance of Lord Shiva has to be analyzed in the context of science. Dr.R.N. has explained has correctly pointed out the movement of subatomic particles originating from energy – a fundamental in this Universe. The dance of Lord Shiva is, in fact, referred to as the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva. It deals with the creation of the Universe. Some scientists believe that the Cosmos came from nothing or that everything began with nothing. If this is the case, then from where does the cosmic egg of creation come from which the Big Bang Theory suggested. Big Bang Theory fails to answer this issue otherwise its explanations of how the Universe was created from the Big Bang of the cosmic egg to the present day state is immaculate. Multiple universes suggest that there are many universes and that there are multiple dimensions in space. Is it possible the the earth came from such multi-dimensional universe and through an invisible dimension which is unknown to humanity. Many physicists now believe in multi-dimensional world. Even Albert Einstein proposed his theory of relativity based on four dimensions of space that is three dimensions as well as time.
      Every religion states that the Universe was created by God. However, the definition of God is a controversial subject. God is a conceptual phenomenon which is unique to our universe and our existence.
      There is also a misconception that God is only a fiction (a propaganda carried by atheists) on account of the vast advancement of science and technology. The ancient sages of Hinduism (including Buddhism and Jainism) have seen both religion and science as parts of the great search for truth and enlightenment through their inspiration. Hence according to Hinduism, both religion and science are not viewed as opposing factors. Both religion and science are seen as parts of the great search for truth and enlightenment that inspired the sages of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

      Actually time, space and causation are not separate entities outside, they all exist in God., i.e in God’s mind. Science is the finding of unity and after finding unity, it would stop from further progress. But in religion, especially in Hinduism, the finding becomes perfect when the Soul unionize with the Supreme Soul, which is responsible for the changing world.

      Though Science is considered as an expanding base of knowledge, it cannot find out an ultimate answer about the concept of existence. Knowledge may increase, but the mystery of existence will always remain undiscovered. It is very difficult to provide sufficient evidence that will satisfy the requirements of Science relating to the origin of the Universe and the origin of the life. (The origin of the Universe and the origin of life cannot be manipulated in a way to provide convincing scientific evidence.) Any experiments and observations relating to the origins of the Universe and Life can only lead to speculations. It is at this juncture that Hinduism in its true perspective, found out and provide the suitable answer for the creation of the Universe and Life Spirituality, which can only be felt through experience of deep meditation. Accordingly, in Hinduism God is not only transcendent, but also immanent in all his creations. God is part and parcel of the Universe and dwells in the human beings as much as God is in the phenomenal world outside. Briefly it can be said that God is all pervading. (Isavasyam Idam Sarvam).
      According to Hindu theory of creation, Time is a manifestation of God. Creation begins when God activates his energies and creation ends when God withdraws all his energies into a state of inactivity. God is timeless because time is relative and ceases to exist in the Absolute. The past, the present and the future co-exist in God simultaneously.
      It is the ancient sages or Rishis with their super-sensuous truth discovered the nature of the Supreme Being, the God. According to Hinduism, God is omni potent, omni scient and omni present. The Hindu theory of creation stipulates that Time is a manifestation of God. Creation begins when God activates his energies. Similarly when God withdraws his energies and remain in a state of inactivity, destruction begins. God is timeless because time is relative and ceases to exist in the Absolute. As God performs creation, preservation and destruction, it is evident that the past, the present and the future co-exist in God simultaneously. According to Hinduism, God and the Universe are essentially the same. God manifest himself as the Universe at the time of creation.

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      Tamil Woman

      Was Rishi Tirumular aware of VP’s incarnation as the sun god?

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        Native Vedda,
        Incarnation is the appearance of a God in a new form, mostly but not necessarily as a human. The usage of the word ‘rebirth’ is meant for common men and women. The doctrine of re-incarnation concerns the re-birth of the soul in a series of physical or pre-natural embodiment which is customarily human or animal in nature, but are in some instances divine, angelic or demonic.
        The Law of Karma covers a very wide field from the principle of ‘he who sows will have to reap it’. This occurs in everyone’s life. Accordingly, a person’s course of life is determined by his conducts in his previous birth. For instance, if a person had done meritorious acts in his past life, he is likely to continue the same path in the next life. Similarly, each Soul born in this world has a purpose in its life. According to the doctrine of Karma, the ability to make choices remains with the individual. An individual is subject to the doctrine of Karma just as our physical behaviours on earth are subject to the law of gravitation.

        Souls are regarded as emanations of the Divine Spirit. Each Soul passes from one body to another in a continuous cycle of births and deaths, their condition in each existence being determined by their actions in previous births. Transmigration is closely interwoven with the concept of Karma, which involves the inevitable working out, for good or evil, of all actions in a future existence. The whole experience of life, whether happiness or sorrow, is a just reward for deals (good or bad) done in earlier existence. The cycle of Karma and transmigration may extend through innumerable lives; the ultimate goal is the re-absorption of the Soul and occurs when the individual realizes the truth about the Soul and the Absolute (Brahman) and the Soul becomes one with Brahman.

        So in stead of verifying Rishi Tirumular about the soul of VP, you can have your own judgment as to what he will be in the next birth.

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    In Sri Lanka, we associate the Sinhala people with Buddhism. Yet there were Sinhala kings, very few in number, who were Saivite Hindus. Rajasinha of Sitawake comes to mind, a fervent devotee of Siva.

    He was a heroic king who laid seige to the Portuguese held Kotte twice i.e. in 1563 and 1564. Kotte fell to the forces of Sitawake, a defeat that the Portuguese had until then not encountered in the Straits of Hormuz, South Asia, Malacca, Macao or East Timor. The Portuguese after all had only arrived in South Asia in 1505!

    Rajasinha then laid seige for one year to Colombo in 1579 but failed. He later attacked Kandy in 1582 and annexed it. All of Sri Lanka except the north and Colombo was at that point under his rule. Rajasinha of Sitawake returned to lay seige in Colombo in 1587. But the Portuguese, who were encircled with Colombo reduced to severe food scarcity and plague, then cultivated Don John, alias Konappu Bandara, alias Vimala Dharma Suriya, ‘defender of Buddhism’, to launch a revolt in Kandy.

    This led to Rajasinha of Sitawake fighting a two pronged battle. This saved Colombo for the Portuguese. With his death in 1593, the Portuguese were able to recapture Kotte, Sitawake, Bentota, Galle and Hambantota in quick succession. Jaffna fell in 1621.

    Rajasinha is largely ignored in Sri Lankan text books, as are last four kings of Kandy. The Culavamsa account of Rajasinha of being a parricide and persecuting those Buddhist monks who had collaborated with the Portuguese needs to be complemented with Portuguese accounts of his military prowess and fierce determination to know the historical role that he, a Sinhalese Saivite Hindu, had played in the resistance against European colonialism.

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      Yes, you are correct. These Rajasinghes had their roots from Nayakka dynasty in Madurai. The Sinhalese and the Tamils were in good relations and used to marry Pandya Princess. Rajasinghe was not against Buddhism, but against people who collaborated with the Portuguese. There were trade between the Sinhalese of the South and the Tamils of the North. After the invasion of the Cholas there two Siva temples built in Polonnaruwa. It is the Hindu sculptors who were brought from Tamil Nadu (then Tamilakam) for costruction of Buddhist temples which has Hindu influence. An old Buddhist temple at Kadugannawa is a case in point, where even Lord Shiva was given prminence. Moreover, the script were in Tamil which could be seen in treaties between the Sinhalese and the Tamils. Similarly the Sinhalese kings also built temples in Jaffna. It is reported that a Sinhalese king had contributed a major role in the construction of Vallipura Alvar temple (Vishnu temple).

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    Was not the temple at Dondra now taken to have a Vishnu Kovil, originally a Shiva Temple?

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    Dear Citizen

    You make a valid point. Successive Sinhalese Buddhist kings had imported Tamil Hindu artisans, craftsmen and stone masons to build their shrines. This pattern is visible in the Polonnaruwa, Dambadeniya, Gampola and Kandy periods. Even independent Ceylon did the same. Kelaniya temple was rebuilt by the Wijewardene family using South Indian stone masons and craftsmen. The annex to the famed Temple of the Tooth in Kandy was built using South Indian stone masons in the 1920s. Independence Square in Colombo 7 was built by Don Stephen Senanayake also using South Indian stone masons and craftsmen. The very construction of the modern Sinhalese Buddhist identity owes much to Tamil Hindu elements. This includes the celebration of the traditional new year in April, the draping of a Kandyan bride with her atikal and padakkam, the ceremony of the Aluth Sahal Mangalya which is akin to Thai Pongal, the wearing of the Arya Sinhala which is a version of the Tamil vetti and the architecture of modern buildings such as Independence Square. It is odd therefore when the Sinhalese Buddhist nationalists then proceed to dismiss the Tamil Hindu as an intruder into their sacred space!

    The Natha devale in Kandy, next to the Temple of the Tooth, may be dedicated to Siva although latter day Sinhalese Buddhist nationalists now claim it as dedicated to the Bodhisattva Avalokiteswara venerated in Tibet and China.

    The 10th century Bronze iconography posted in this article was excavated in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. There is a huge inheritance of Tamil Hindu sculpture that is indigenous to Sri Lanka.

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      There is NOTHING in Sri Lanka without the Indian connection. Even Sigiriya was built by King KASYAPA 470-488 AD – son of King Dhatusena by a TAMIL Pallava woman using the South Indian labor. The hunchbacked, misshapen, top-heavy women of Sigiriya, about which so many misplaced raves have been written, but copies unworthy of the prototypes of the cave paintings of Ajanta, Elora, Pappadakkal, and Sittannavasal in Tamil Nadu, South India and from which they were drawn. The Sithannavasal cave contains earliest frescoes in South India. The paintings in Siththannavasal are of Pallava style of Tamil Nadu.

      The earliest paintings of Sri Lanka are found in a cave atop the massive Sigiriya rock. The 5th century paintings, in their graceful lines and deeply thoughtful expressions, carry forward the traditions of art born at Ajanta. It is wonderful to see the close similarity of these with the contemporaneous Ajanta paintings. It appears as if the same hands could have made them.
      http://www.frontlineonnet.com/fl2124/stories/20041203000106500.htm

      On closer inspection the frescoes, executed in tempera on the rock face, were adjudged to date from around the time of Kasyapa. Exquisitely painted in brilliant colours, they are strongly reminiscent of contemporaneous Gupta cave paintings at Ajanta near Bombay.
      http://www.cpamedia.com/history/sigiriya_cloud_maiden/

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        This why recently said that Sri Lanka is more Indian than India!

        Dr.RN

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    Totally agreed. I have visited all these places in connection with the printing of new stamps. There was cordial relationship between the Sinhalese and the Tamils. But it is sad that some mushroom politicians of extreme nature had taken measures to erase evidences of Hindu influence. Even the Archelogical Department couldn’t escape from the sight of these politicians.

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    To the urbane and the learned Ananda Coomaraswamy, steeped in that exciting intellectual era of his times in Boston/New England, where intellectual giants of men and women were placing the cultures and religions of the world under microscopic scrutiny – that ancient Dance of Shiva and studies in Lord Shiva, brought in a new focus and respect for the religious reality of the Indian Sub-Continent. That speaks volumes of the validity of the subject Shri Romesh Jayaratnam describes in such great elegance and profundity.

    Senguttuvan

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    Some interesting facts – please correct if otherwise

    1. Pre-Buddhist Vedic religion did not consider Siva a major deity. In fact he was an ‘outsider’ as a native God
    2. However after the Buddhist and Jain critiques of certain Vedic practices and reforms within Indian philosophical thought we find Siva making a spectacular return as a major God in the Hindu Trinity – not just as a God but as the greatest God or Mahadev.
    3. He is the destroyer of evil just as much as Buddha overcame all defilements to attain enlightenment
    4. As yogiraja he is the lord of all ascetics

    Understanding how Buddhism and Hinduism influenced each other in the second half of the first millenium BC is a fascinating story.

    In some ways Buddha embodies the concept that is Siva and Siva is the perfect conceptualization of enlightenment. Together they make a formidable pair. Siva is not worshipped as such because he is within you. Siva has to be experienced and realized in meditation

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    From the caption, I thought this article was going to give a point-by-point rebuttal to Hoole’s article. But I don’t see anything like that.

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    Dear Blind man,
    Lord Shiva was not considered as an outsider. Though Rig Veda do not mention about Lord Shiva, there are references about Rudra. However, Yajur Veda (being one of the four Vedas) mentions about Mahadeva which is identified with Lord Shiva. It is not clear whether Lord Ganapathi was described as the son of Lord Rudra or Lord Mahadeva. But references of Lord Shiva being worshipped in the great epics Ramayana and Maha Bharatha, shows that Lord Ganapathi as the son of Lord Shiva. Perhaps since Rig Veda mentions ‘the Truth is One, but the wise call it by many names’, Rig Veda would have avoided the possibility of showing the relationship of Lord Rudra or Lord Mahadeva with Lord Ganapathi, in order to maintain that there is only one God (the Supreme Being), while others are manifestations of the Supreme Being.
    Rig Veda was the original Hindu scripture during the period of the Indus Valley civilization. It is during the Vedic period that the great epic Ramayana was composed. In the Ramayana there is reference to King Ravana worshipping Lord Shiva. Similarly there is also reference to Rama, Sita & Laksmana worshipping Lord Shiva at Rameswaram, before crossing to Sri Lanka. Likewise in the great epic Maha Bharath there are numerous references of the worship of Lord Shiva.
    Moreover, the predominant language during the Vedic period was Sanskrit. The words Himalaya, Kailasa, Saraswathi, Ganesha etc are of Sanskrit origin. The usage of these names continued to exist for the past 12,500 years or more, the worship of Lord Shiva was in practice for the last 12,500 years. Lord Shiva is considered as the Supreme Ascetic and portrayed in deep meditation in his usual abode in Mount Kailasa in the Himalayas. As such Lord Shiva remains as the God of Yogis and ascetics. Lord Shiva is the embodiment of serenity, renunciation and indifference to the world.
    According to Hinduism, Yoga is considered as part and parcel of the religion. Yoga is a means through which a person can experience God. Yoga refers to the integration of a person’s own consciousness with the Supreme Reality. Yoga is a way to achieve this objective. The concept of Yoga began to surface with the excavation of stone seals from the archeological findings of the Indus Valley civilization and the Mohenjadero-Harappa civilization. In fact, Lord Shiva was mentioned as Harappan God in an ascetic position.
    Lord Buddha was a Hindu prince, who began to meditate the truth after finding the sufferings of man. I think he chose a middle path, but proceeded on the lines of Lord Shiva.

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      Dear Citizen

      thank you for reply.

      I am grateful for the information. As you say it may be possible to affirm the supremacy of Lord Shiva prior to Buddha.

      There is just one more point.

      The religion of India that is now referred to as Hinduism is a syncretistic ideology that combined native (tantric) and foreign (vedic) elements. The natives worshipped the mother goddess while the incoming aryans had a patriarchal bent. The richness of Hinduism is this ability to integrate theology of vedas with the experiential yoga or theosophy of the natives

      To me it does not really matter at what point Shiva became Mahadeva except as a historical question. But there is clear evidence of the conceptualization carried out after Asoka in the Shwetasvatara Upanishad and Bagvad Gita which provided great clarity on Shiva and Krishna

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      in any event Shiva is the God of all marginalized people – is he not?

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    The said Yoga Swami of Jaffna said ‘we do not know’
    The subject is so complex, arguments are many ‘who knows the truth?’
    My limited knowledge of Vedanta and other Hindu/Sivaite teaching is that the so called God is ‘That thing’ that with no shape or form.

    One tend to believe that religion is the opium of the masses.
    In the name of this shapeless, formless ‘Thing’humas have argued, manipulated and killed.

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      Janakan Srikhanta,
      Vedanta is a very wide topic. According to Vedanta the individual Soul is the focus of the infinite Brahman. Hinduism asserts that God created the universe. Before the creation of the Universe, no one knows the nature of the Universe or its energy. All what Hinduism says Lord Brahma created the Universe and the beings. Hindu scriptures assert that Universe precedes humanity. Hinduism arose from discoveries through revelations by way of deep meditation ascetic practices. But Science had not discovered the creation of Universe, but relied on theories which are still not conclusive. Hinduism relies on the concept of ‘Brahman’ as to the existence of the Universe. Brahman represents the Ultimate Reality. Further, as the language during Verdic period was Sanskrit, the word Brahman derived from Sanskrit root ‘brh’ leading to expansion., perhaps followed by an explosion. Brahman is described as impersonal absolute of pure timeless existence. Hence in the words of Swami Vivekananda Creation is beginnningless cycles of manifestation and non-manifestation of Brahman. Vedanta always describes Creation as the out-breathing and in-breathing of Brahman.

      According to Hinduism God created the universe. Before the creation of the Universe, no one knows the nature of the Universe or its energy. All what Hinduism says Lord Brahma created the Universe and the beings. Hindu scriptures assert that Universe precedes humanity. Hinduism arose from discoveries through revelations by way of deep meditation ascetic practices. But Science had not discovered the creation of Universe, but relied on theories which are still not conclusive. Hinduism relies on the concept of ‘Brahman’ as to the existence of the Universe. Brahman represents the Ultimate Reality. Further, as the language during Verdic period was Sanskrit, the word Brahman derived from Sanskrit root ‘brh’ leading to expansion, perhaps followed by an explosion. Brahman is described as impersonal absolute of pure timeless existence.

      The Vedanta teaches five principles of Hinduism.
      Existence of one God. Manifestations of many forms apart from Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma.
      God dwells in every being. Hence all human beings are divine.
      Religious harmony. It accommodates the principles of all religions.
      Asserts Unity of existence through love and compassion.
      Bhagavad Gita is a central text of Hinduism for Knowledge and Gayatri (sacred mantra)

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    This article mixes up historical evidence with popular beliefs(yarns). It avoids reference to what the celebrated Portuguese chronicler, Queyroz, recorded in the 17th century that the three ‘pagodes’ on the Trincomalee rock were owned by Ma[h]aterunnanse (Chief Prelate) of Arakan and was administered by a [local] Therunnanase and the Ganzes (white robed members of Sanagha (Gana)of the Sect of Budum.which is the most followed in Ceylon and that Francis Xavier came there and converted the Therunnanse and some Ganzes.(Queyroz: Bk 2,pp.236-237). The information is repeated in Bk2 ,p256-257 where Q confirms that “the state of Trincomalee belonged to the Ganzes and the surrounding of the pagodas partly to the Vanea who received the holy faith. (Bk 2 p245. (See Journal of Royal Asiatic Society of Ceylon, New Series, Vol LII)- Trincomalee-Arakan connection.

    He refers to the temples as ‘pagodes’ without any Hindu identifiers such as he uses for Ramancior,(Rama nagar or Mussesarm)near Chilaw, and Jaganath in Orissa whose Hindu connection cannot be missed. But he is keen to mention that the Trincomalee pagodes were under the Materunnanse/ Ganzes of the Sect of Budum.

    All Tamil commentators, including that in the Wikepedia enterd recently, however,have avoided this important observation by Queyroz which he has repeated. Why has this important historical evidence been suppressed?
    They only quote that Trincomalee pagodes were “the Rome ofthe Gentiles of the Orient, and more frequented …. ” It is following that Q says the place was frequented by many Ganzes of the Sect of Budum.
    There is clearly no reference to Brahamins, Yogis or Hindus.

    K Indrapala,the Tamil historian, writes in his new book, “Evolution of an Ethnic Identity…” that there are no ancient temples even in Jaffna peninsula except perhaps Nakulesvaram. But even this temple appears to be an ancient Yakkha temple dedicated to the Yakkha Jambala (Kuvera)whose emblem was a mongoose (Nakuala).The Mongoose- faced rhisi who was cured by the waters of the Kirimalai Pond, is certainly a later popular yarn, like the Buddha’s visit to the island among the Buddhists. The reference in Hindu texts are usually brought up and have no historical value. The only earliest valuable historical record is Mahavamsa which referes to King Mahasena destroying ‘Devalayas’. The se need not be Siva Devalayas. They could be Yakkha temples like later Nakuleswaram.Even Mirisa- wetiya Dagoba semms to have been built on the site of an ancient Yakkha temple, dedicated to Yakkha Marichi. The yarn of the King Dutugemunu buildng it because he had forgotten to offer a parcel of Capsicums (Miris) is a big yarn like the one concocted about Trincomaleeby Tamils.

    An inscription nearby is quoted (Gunasingham)of a donation to a temple of Macchesvara which is but taken as reference to a Vishnu temple.But the nomenclature Macchesvara was used in Tibet to refer to Avalokitesvara.The entire belt north of Trincomalee including Tiriyaya and Kuchchiveli, and the interior was the Mahayana belt of Sri Lanka.So, it is probably, Avalokitesvara who was the Bodhisatva of sea farers who was worshipped at Trincomalee till the Portuguese destroyed the place.

    Whether there is any evidence of syncreticism can be suggested using the evidence of forms of worship at Trincomalee as present in south East Asia, has not been studied so far.

    How does one know if the Gokkana where Devalayas were the same spot as where the pagodas destiryed by the Portuguese Captains were? King Rajasimha II built a Hindu temple at Tampalagama. That seems to be the one recorded in Dutch accounts. the evidence in Mahavamsa Tika (11th /12th century) is sometims brought up to show that Mahasena destroyed siva temples. But the account does not say where such Siva temples were.Besides, the Tika was compiled after the trauma of Chola invasion in 10th/11th centuries.So it is not surprising that he refers to the destruction of Siva lingas.
    Like at Kataragama, Devinuwara, Munnesaram, Turuketisvaram and other places,both Buddhist and Hindu places could have existed side by side.
    The evidence has to be examined judiciously and not to perpetuate yarns

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    Mr Malle Pol!!

    You remind me of Mr. Susanta Goonetilleke, the arch anti-Tamil Sinhala Buddhist nationalist. You are perhaps him given your references to the Royal Asiatic Society of which he (you?) is a key member. He (you?) helped steer that once august body to subsequently legitimize the Rajapakse agenda of the Buddhicization of Tamil Hindu sites.

    Let me challenge your sources. You quote ‘Father’ Fernoa de Queyroz the author of the ‘Temporal and Spiritual Conquest of Ceylon’. Queyroz was born in 1619 in Portugul. He arrived in Goa for the very first time in 1635 at the age of 16! He had never ever been to Sri Lanka. He wrote his monumental book in 1688, almost 70 years after the Trincomalee temple had been demolished. He was not an eyewitness to that event.

    The Trincomalee temple was razed to the ground in 1621 – two years after Queyroz had been born. Queyroz, who had never traveled to Ceylon ever, was not a witness to the destruction of the temple and hence his record is untrustworthy given the numerous other countervailing evidence.

    A few more points. The Temporal and Spiritual Conquest of Ceylon was only translated into English for the very first time in 1930 by one S.G. Perera and printed by the Ceylon Government Press. These were the days of the Donomough discussions when the Sinhala Tamil divide first surfaced. Lets look at the original Portuguese text before we jump to conclusions and even then, lets realize that the text did not represent an eye-witness account but hearsay from far away Goa!

    Now, to Professor Indrapala. He never ever mentioned that the Trincomalee temple did not exist in ancient times. He did not cover that subject in the publication you cite i.e. ‘Evolution of an Ethnic Identity’.

    Now to the subject of Machchendranath – who you call Machesvaram. In Nepal, Machchendranath is referred to as the God of Rain and is identified with Indra, Siva and Avolokitesvara. There has been no scholarly research what so ever that the Trincomalee temple was dedicated to him or to Avalokitesvara. You are pulling wool over our eyes. Further there was no connection with Arakan, Burma and Trincomalee in the 7th century when this very Hindu temple in Trincomalee was referred to in South Indian hagiographic literature.

    The temple in Trincomalee was Saivite Hindu. It was dedicated to Siva. Mahasena had destroyed it in the 4th century. It was rebuilt soon thereafter. It was referred to once again in Tamil literature of the 7th century, 10th century and 15th century. There were also inscriptional evidence that refers to land grants, not to mention medieval Tamil texts like the Dhakshina Kailasa Puranam and the Koneswar Kalvettu that Romesh Jayaratnam did not refer to. The evidence is there and can not be easily overlooked!!

    Let me end with the Temporal and Spiritual Conquest of Ceylon that you refer to Mr! This was a lament by Fernoa de Queroz that the Calvinist Dutch had taken Ceylon from the Portuguese 32 years before his time. The Dutch had similarly evicted the Portuguese from Malacca and the Indonesian spice islands – Moluccas. Here was an exhortion that the Portuguese needed to retake Ceylon from the accursed Protestants, a plea that led to the despatch of Joseph Vaz to Ceylon 9 years later in 1697! Needless to add, the Portuguese never retook Ceylon and thank Siva for that!!

    That publication has been compared to the Mahavamsa as a historical saga of Ceylon. Well, the comparison is perhaps not entirely irrelevant as both are a mix of fact and fiction!

    Remember Mr. that Ceylon is ours as well and we will not concede an inch of land and of our heritage to the likes of Mahinda and you – we never will!

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      Tamil woman,
      Thanks for the information you have provided regarding Queroz. Our college (Hartley College) had a copy of The Temporal and Spiritual Conquest of Ceylon at our Historical Association Library (which contained about 200 books including Mahavamsa & Culavamsa). Unfortunately this library was burnt by the Sri Lanka military. Since Queroz was in Goa, my impression was that he collected information from others and wrote this book. It is history that since the aim of the Potuguese was to spread their religion, they were bent on destroying the Hindu temples in Sri Lanka and even in Madu, a Hindu Temple was destroyed. But in Queroz’s book, there were drawings that he had been associating with the inhabitants who were chewing betels. There were also drawings about the mode of transport by bullock cart and various other pictures depicting the customs & practices of the people together with an account of the people and of their cultures. But the Portuguese were successful in their mission in the Mannar district, Modera region and in the Pasaiyoor region in converting the people to Catholicism. However, the Dutch had visited Sri Lanka somewhere before the 1650s in Batticaloa and Portuguese were losing ground. It is at this juncture i.e. about 28 years before the arrival of the Dutch, it is amuzing to find out how Queroz could have witnessed the destruction of the Koneswaram Temple. As you said Queroz’s book is a mixture of facts and fictions like the Mahavamsa & Culavamsa.

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    Its the Dhakshina Kailasa Maanmiyam, not Puranam that I referred to above. Then there is also the Mattakalappu Maanimiyam that also refers to the Thirukonamalai Siva temple. The Mahavamsa Tika or commentary to the Mahavamsa refers to Mahasena’s destruction of a Siva temple in the 4th century while King Rajasinghe 2 built the Siva temple in nearby Thampalakaamam to house the sacred icons that had been removed from the original temple in Swamy rock just before its destruction.

    There is a more important point at stake. The historicity of Tirukoneswaram and Tirukethiswaram are inconvenient to the Sinhalese Buddhist project that the likes of the JHU epitomize.

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    I urge Malle Pol to read Queyroz and to a publication by two Sinhalese “Prematilleka, Leelananda; and Seneviratne, Sudharshan (1990). Perspectives in archaeology : Leelananda Prematilleke festschrift. p. 99” where they mention: “Queyroz compares Konesvaram to the famous Hindu temples in Rameswaram, Kanchipuram, Tirupati, Tirumalai, Jagannath and Vaijayanthi and concludes that while these latter temples were well visited by the Hindus, the former had surpassed all the latter temples.” The amount of inscriptional evidence that refers to the Hindu temple in Trincomalee alone would suffice to establish its existence.

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    Dear Reader,(28th April)
    Thank you for making an ill-infomed person like me, as it looks like, aware of what it seems better informed persons, like Prematilleke, Leelannda and Seneviratne, Sudarshan ((1990)had written. I do not read my texts third hand as presented in this Festschiif. I try to read them in original even with my little knowledge of foreign languages. I can at least claim a little close familiarity with Portuguese history which I suppose, neither Prematilleke nor Seneviratne possess and of having breathed the air around Portuguese archives in Lisbon and Coimbra on at least a dozen times.
    I am a bit surprised about Prematilleke for whom i had great respect as a scholar in archaeology- was his name dragged in unnecessarily?- but I can very well understand Seneviratne,whom I would put as Darshani Rtnawalli did in today’s lead article in THE NATION” in respect of Leslie Gunawardana, as a man after publicity rather than one who presents the truth.One can see how he has distorted the evidence in Queyroz’s book, which the respected chronicler had repeated.It was to avoid details that I referred to an article in the RAS Journal by a well known researcher.

    My copy of Queyroz which I picked up from the Colombo pavement in the 1940s is in tatters now. I have put it in an envelope just as a memento. Bu I have a copies of Queyroz’s New Delhi Reprint 1992 which contain the folowing description: (Bk, 2 pp.236-237).

    “At this time St Francis Xavier was going about the Coast of Fishery, and Father Friar Villa de Conde came to know his spirit during the voyage, they say, he wrote to him from Ceylon about the condition of of heathendom, of which the Saint could not but have learnt from the Ambassadors with whom he came, and from the many things that were known in India and Europe about this nation. And because the ‘Pagodes’ of Triquilmale was at this time the Rome of gentiles of the Orient, and more frequented by pilgrims than that of Ramanocir near Chilao and that of Xilavarao, eight leagues from Nagapatam and that of Canjivarao, two days journey from S.Thome, and Tripati, and Tremel in Bisnagga, and Jagarnati of Orixa,and Vixante in Bengal, which are the most frequented these days by the Gentiles, and there were many Ganezes of the Sect of Budum, which is the one most followed in Ceylon, who as Administrators of Materunnanse of Arakan, to whom those in Ceylon were subordinate, received the produce of some fields, in which, as we have already said, they sowed 3000 amunams of ‘nele’, in two crops, into this pagan Rome came St.Xavier, and immediaetly managed to approach the Terunnanse, and though the devil interposed some obstacles, he soon had an interview with this Minister, a man of 40 years of age,a penitant of good parts and capable of good doctrine….” .
    This is the original text as translated by Fr.S.G Perera.
    I do not see in the text I have quoted only in brief above any comparison of Konesvaram to the famous Hindu temples. The temples mentioned are not even mentioned as “Hindu Temples” but one assumes they are. It should be clear to any serious reseracher that Queyroz’s objective was not to place the Trincomalee pagodes in the category of the same worship as others mentioned to highlight their significance as Hindu pagodes. In contrast, he refers to the presence at the pagodes at Trincomalee, of many Ganezes of the Sect of Budum, which is the one most followed in Ceylon, who as Administrators of Materunnanse of Arakan, to whom those in Ceylon were subordinate. he even gives details o revenue received by them from fields. What comes out of the description is that the pagodes were under Buddsists. This is why one should investigate if any syncretism was present at the Trincomalee as was the case in Indonesia and South East Asia where such practices later developed. Queyroz even says elsewhere that Trincomalee was a place where moral remains of Kings of CEYON were interned.if anyone was blind to this distinction that the venerated chronicler makes, that must be attributed to the level of perception one possesses.

    It was to avoid details that I referred to an article in the RAS Journal by a well known researcher.

    Dear Reader! You can stick to your third rate misinterpretation found in Prematileke Festschrift. I stick to Fr.S.G.Perera’s translation which is at least closer to the original, thanks to the panstaking work of the departed scholar.

    About the “amount of inscriptional evidence that refers to the Hindu temple in Trincomalee alone (I believe you mean Koneswaram), could you kindly enlighten me by giving their references? Thank You.

    M/P

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    Dear Reader

    I think you have touched a raw nerve vis a vis Malle Pol whom I am now convinced is Susanta Goonetilleke given that they sound so much alike. Here’s my take looking at the reference that you had provided. Queyroz had never traveled to Ceylon. He had completed his magnus opus almost 70 years after Koneswaram had been destroyed. He likely confused the Portuguese sources he had with him in Goa that described the destruction of the Kelaniya Vihara (or perhaps another Buddhist shrine in the South) with those sources that described the destruction of Koneswaram Temple. He never knew Ceylon first hand and the individuals who were participants in the iconoclasm were likely all dead. The mix-up in a pre-modern era was only too possible. I assume so with the caveat that Malle Pol/Susantha’s read is correct. But you have given a different read with appropriate citation altogether, one that seems to annoy him entirely. So may be, your cite is more correct.

    Let me end with a note of applause for Colombo Telegraph. This website has truly become a platform where all Ceylonese irrespective of religion, race or language can contribute and not be censored by the powers that be.

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    Another reason to doubt Queyroz is his claim that Francis Xavier had visited Trincomalee. This is not corroborated by Francis Xavier’s own memoirs which detail his travels to Goa, the Coromandel coast of South India, Mannar, Malacca, Moluccas, Japan and China. He had only visited the Ceylonese north. He had traveled to South India and Ceylon between 1542 and 1544, long prior to the destruction of the Trincomalee temple in 1619. So the linking of the destruction of that temple with the subsequent conversion of the population in that locale by Xavier is spurious. Xavier was noted for his evangelism amongst the paravar on either side of the Palk Straits, no where else in Ceylon. Queyroz had confused different locales in the island based on second hand sources he had with him in Goa, the individuals concerned having been long dead.

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    “Like at Kataragama, Devinuwara, Munnesaram, Turuketisvaram, and other places, both Buddhist and Hindu worship could have existed side by side. The evidence has to be examined judiciously and not to perpetuate yarns.”

    That was my conclusion. S.Pathmanathan has pointed out how Hindu gods were held in veneration in the 14th century Buddhist temples of Gadaladeniya and Lankatilake. This is seen even in modern Buddhist temples.

    Why did the ‘Tamil Woman'(T/W)jump the gun and plunge into polemics straight
    away and bring out an accusation that the President of the Royal Asiatic Society, Susantha Goonatilake as “an arch anti-Tamil anti-Tamil Sinhala Buddhist nationalist” and thinking that the post was by him, just because I referred to an academically valuable article which appeared in the Journal of the Society recently on Trincomalee, and accusing that the Society is serving the Rajapaksa agenda by “helping to steer that once august body to subsequently legitimize the Rajapakse agenda of the Buddhicization of Tamil Hindu sites”?. She even challenges saying: “Remember Mr. that Ceylon is ours as well and we will not concede an inch of land and of our heritage to the likes of Mahinda and you – we never will!” The objective of the Tirukonessaram temple which commenced in the 1950s is made very clear by this person.

    my reference to the Journal was made because it contains a valuable contribution by a well known researcher. He had followed up an earlier research article by Dr Waagnar, who is the Curator of the Royal Dutch Archives in Netherlands. What has that got to do with the President of the RAS? Nuts!

    So T/W claims something that the Sinhalese are generally accused of saying that this is Buddha’s land. I remember however, C.S.Navaratnam writing on Hindu Temples furnished information of the claim of the land as ‘Siva-bhumi.’ So what is the difference? These claims go on.

    Since T/W has raised polemics, over a subject I tried to keep at an academic level, let me point out that there was no move about by Hindus on Tirukonessaram till the mid 1950s after the distructions of pagodas in 1672, when it was decided to build a Konsessar temple on the Trincomalee rock. That is for close upon three centuries it was forgotten. All that happened there was the performance by certain parties of rituals under a tree. In 1803, the British Gunner Alexander in the Trincomalee garrison had observed such performance of sorcery which has described. Queyroz wrote that even after the killing of the last Ganezes by Captain Constantine de Saa, a Jadecas who performed sorcery was killed by the Factor Fereira.(Fr.S.G.Perera translated the term as ‘Yakdessa’ a term used for a person engaged in witch-craft’). So it seems, since the destruction of the pagodes the place had fallen into a place of practice of sorcery. Even Mahavamsa alludes to the existence of such a practice earlier.
    If this was the warped mind that T/W displayed, why does she try to meet the points I have raised academically, at all? I was only pointing to some historical evidence recorded by a celebrated Portuguese chronicler who was an independent observer, who had no interest at all in any [heathen ] practices of the Hindus or the Buddhists, which had been suppressed by Tamil writers on Tirukoneswaram. This was in the interest of balanced academic research and not with the idea of raising polemics. But unfortunately, T/W has introduced polemics as pointed above.

    Though it is not may intention to enter polemics, in view of T/W’s accusations, let me make a few remarks on that as far as Tirukonesssaram is concerned. There was no Tiruketeeswaram before 1956 when the foundation was laid to build the present temple shortly after the Vadukkodia Resolution of 1951 which also declared that Trincomalee shall be the Capital of Eelam. Before that, as noted above, there was a tree under which rituals/sorcery were carried out by different individuals belonging to different groups.
    When a new market was built in Trincomalee there was a move to oust the Sinhalese vendors who dominated the market from around 1880s (see Hugh Nevil) when it was first built. It was reported that the Sinhalese had to obtain subleases of stalls from PLOTE under the new arrangement as the whole lease was given to PLOTE. The Sinhalese feared that the move was also to make a new roadway to the new Tirukonessaram temple. The temple premises were later polluted as a result of the Hindu priest killing his wife and burying her body parts here and there. There was a court case and records are available. These are irrelevant to the line of my earlier posting but T/W has left no alternatives but to bring up these unpleasant episodes.

    Be that as it may, T/W has not answered my main question why all Tamil writers on Tirukonessaram suppressed the evidence in Queyroz’s book (repeated by him) that the pagodes in Trincomalee which were destroyed by the Portuguese were under the Ma[h]terunnanse of Arakan and administered by a Terunnanse and Ganezes of the SECT OF BUDUM”. To avoid the issue, she has brought the issue of authenticity of the account as Q was writing 70 years after the destruction, and on grounds that he never visited Sri Lanka. True. Then this leading chronicler’s entire accounts of Ceylon as much as those of other Portuguese chroniclers who did not visit the island, have to be rejected.

    There is a thing called textual criticism applied when evaluating a text for their historical validity. Historians like Fr.S.G.Perera and TBH Abayasinghe have gone into textual criticism of Q’s work, found some minor short comings, but no one has questioned the reliability of the account on Trincomalee. Q compiled his work on sources on which were available to him in Goa and elsewhere. He clearly refers to Fr.St. Francis Xavier who converted the Treunnanse and the Ganezes as his principal source, by giving an introduction to his work when he relates the account on pagodes of Trincomalee. Xavier has left even details of the character of the Terunnanse and how he had to meet him stealthily. He also gives details like the pagodes being under the Ganezes while the interior was shared with a Vanea who too was converted but subsequently stoned to death.

    In contrast,T/W does not question the accuracy or the historicity of what she calls “South Indian hagiographic literature” which are quoted in support of the tradition. But is there any South Indian historical literature on Tirukonessaram? As Pathmanathan ponts out, there are three Tamil accounts on Tirukonsssaram . The first is a work attributed to Cekrasacecaram, a ruler of Jaffna which is claimed to be petic version of a Sanskrit work, the Dakshina kailasapuranam.
    Though Pathmanathan gives the ruler a 14th century chronology, the King lists in Tamil tradition is not so clear about such a ruler, nor is any chronology before Cankilli I (1478-1415 ) accepted. (See KM de Silva, A history of Sri Lanka, p.743). The second, is the Konecar Kalivettu, a work which he assigns to the post –destruction period of the temple, referring to a mythical ruler Kulakottan. The third is an eighteenth century work, which is based on the other three works referred to. These are then doubtful sources for reconstruction of history.
    The South Indian sources quoted for the earlier period, e.g. the hymns of Campantar , attributed to the 7th century, are equally problematic. The Gokarna referred to by them could even be Gakarna in Kalinga, if not that in Western India. Consequently, the two clear points of reference available are that of Mahavamsa (5th or 6th century AD) and Queyroz (17th century).
    As I observed, Tamil writers quote only Queyroz’s reference to the pagodas as “the Rome of the Gentiles of the Orient” and have dropped the reference to the pagodes being under Materunnanse of Arakan and administered by a Trunnanse and Ganezes who received the yields of the fields. That information was unpalatable.

    It should be clear to any serious researcher that Queyroz’s objective was not to place the Trincomalee pagodes in the category of the same worship as othertemples mentioned to highlight their significance as Hindu pagodes. In contrast, he refers to the presence at the pagodes at Trincomalee, of many Ganezes of the Sect of Budum, which is the one most followed in Ceylon, who as Administrators of Materunnanse of Arakan, to whom those in Ceylon were subordinate. He even gives details of revenue received by them from fields.

    What comes out of the description is that the pagodes were under Buddhists.
    This is why one should investigate if any syncretism was present at the Trincomalee as was the case in Indonesia and South East Asia where such practices later developed. Queyroz even says elsewhere that Trincomalee was a place where mortal remains of Kings of CEYON were interned. If anyone was blind to this distinction that the venerated chronicler makes, that must be attributed to the level of perception one possesses.

    What does T/W try to suggest when she says that the translation of Queyroz by Fr. S.G Perera took place when the debate on Donoughmore Report was taking place and by asking readers to have a look at the original? Is she trying to suggest that this venerable historian is guilty of misrepresentation? This is only trying to draw wool over the issue of suppressing Queyroz’s very clear statement about Buddhist connection of the pagodes when they were destroyed.

    Who said Indrapala referred to Tirukonsessaram? Though he refers to Tirukonssaram and misinterprets the evidence in Mahavamsa Tika , I did not refer to it. I only referred to him saying that Hindu temples in the Jaffna peninsula were late traditions except perhaps that of Nakulessaram. (Indrapala .p 229) he quotes only an uncertain tradition about Gnana Cambandar singing the praise of Gokarna in the 7th century to connect with Tirukonessaram but this not satisfactory historical evidence.

    On Macchesvara what does T/W tries to say except confirm that in Nepal the term was used for Avalokitesvara as well. That is good enough. Gunasingham referred to an inscription (Nilaveli?) dedicated to Macchesvaram, a reference to Vishnu, as I recall. that may not be a reference to Tirukonessaram. This is why I say that it has to be studied if Tiruketisvaram pagodas were dedicated to a hetergenous worship as at other shrines like Kataragama, Devinuvara, Munnesara etc. This pursuing of one track inquiry based on myths and traditions presented by one group is not the correct way of proceeding with historical research.

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    Correction:

    There was no Tiruketisssaram before 1956 should read Tirkonessaram. Sorry for the mistype.

    M/P

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      There was no Thiruketheeswaram before 1956? The ancient Thiruketheeswaram temple on the banks of the Paalaavi was destroyed by the Portuguese . The present temple was rebuilt by an effort led by Sir Kandiah Vythianathan in the 1950’s.

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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    Malle Pol

    The evidence for a Hindu temple at Trincomalee is there – Vayu Purana, Thevaram, Thirumantiram, Arunagirinathar, Kachiappar Sivaacharya, bronzes excavated, the inscriptions of land grants and of the temple proper, later literature in Tamil – Konesar kalvettu, Dhakshina Kailasa Maanmiyam etc etc. not to mention several historians. Your point on Queyroz is important – that is the countervailing evidence. But the point is that the evidence in support of an early Hindu temple exceeds the evidence against it. Add to this the Vayu Purana, the Mahavamsa and 11th century Mahavamsa Tika, I think the case for a Hindu temple at the Trincomalee site is pretty strong. Tamil Woman makes a good counter to you as well – Queyroz, in light of all the opposing evidence, may well have mistook Buddhist and Hindu shrines in Sri Lanka, not knowing the difference between the two. As you yourself point out, both were heathen in his eyes anyway. If Francis Xavier had traveled to Sri Lanka circa 1542 and the Trincomalee temple had been razed to the ground in 1621, then Queyroz’s account of Francis Xavier’s conversion of the natives after the temple’s destruction is evidently flawed. Queyroz is a source that evidently has flaws given that it contradicts Xavier’s own account of his (Xavier) life. I will not deny the fact that Queyroz needs to be factored in. But there are multiple other sources that you deny.

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