22 May, 2024


Whither Spirituality On Sri Lankan Political Leaders ?

By Ayathuray Rajasingam

Ayathuray Rajasingam

Ayathuray Rajasingam

The recent visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Sri Lanka and his advice raises an issue whether Sri Lankan politicians receive such advice with spiritual mind. His advice is based on healing of the past wounds, resulted from the internal war, and beginning of a fresh life for all, in a democratic manner. This advice in no way amounted to an interference into the domestic affairs of Sri Lanka, especially when democracy was at its peril during the previous regime.

Though he was an ardent Hindu nationalist, his speech sent signals of spiritual aspect for the unity of Sri Lanka. As he hails from a country of several religions where there are community of believers with specific dogmas and practices which helped shape and form India’s rich spirituality, his motive is that all religious people should live happily in an atmosphere of friendship and mutual understanding. His speech is concerned with the basic human good qualities such as love, compassion, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, a sense of harmony. The consequence of the absence of spiritual mind among the Sri Lankan political and religious leaders is seen as a threat to cultural and ethical values of the people who have faith in democracy.

Religion should not be confused with spirituality. Religion can help an individual to be spiritual, but spirituality is not dependent upon religion. Spirituality helps to abandon ego. An individual is said to be spiritual if any action or thought that alters his or her state of mind. He shows love and compassion towards others irrespective of any differences whatsoever. Non-violence is central to spirituality. Gandhi had no problem in blending spirituality and politics together. The issue whether Sri Lanka politicians possessed such qualities involving an implicit concern for others’ well-being is questionable, when they were reluctant to implement the 13th Amendment. This was evident when the Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran said that he was unaware of the re-settlement activities in Valikamam North and East and that he was not officially invited, all of which sends the signal of reluctance of complying with the 13th Amendment. Had the Chief Minister been officially invited that would have amounted to a new way of giving voice to the 13th Amendment. Though President Maithipala Sirisena asserts that he has an agreement of humanity with the Tamils, the issue is whether he will face the issue of implementation of the 13th A which has Federal features. The Prime Minister of India had asserted that the 13th Amendment or even further would pave for unity of all communities.

JaffnaIf spirituality and politics do not co-exist, then politicians are bound to be corrupt. The reluctance of the ruling politicians to share powers with the Provincial Councils conveys the message that the ruling politicians do not possess a broader vision of life. The manner of their reluctance to share power demonstrated that they are not spiritual. At this juncture, attention should be drawn that the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Justin Trudeau demonstrated his spiritual mind when he spoke of the significance of Canadian liberty. His vision was a smooth co-ordination between the Federal and the Provincial governments in the best interests of the Canadians. Justin Trudeau talk of solutions and attending the problems. Moreover, his approach has and still been to unite the entire communities which is the aspect of spirituality. His speech sent the signal that Canada is a democratic country of diversity and secularism, in spite of the threats from the Islamic terrorism. As such Canadians are proud to belong to a country where the political leaders taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance by exposing their spiritual mind remarkably when expressing the Canadian liberty, but never allowed room for sectarianism or fanaticism to use violence drenched with human blood and sent the entire nation to despair. Sri Lankan politicians do not have that spiritual mind and failed to realize that no room should be allowed to dictatorial attitude which is diametrically opposed to democratic feelings.

Since spirituality can inspire people to approach politics in a friendly spirit, the Sinhalese political leaders should believe in the concept of Federalism as a first step and not to let the mind roam backward. If they look forward, it will lead them to the path where they can accomplish great deeds. Even in Great Britain, there is devolution of powers by virtue of the Scotland Act 1998, the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and the Government of Wales Act 2006. There is a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which stresses the principles of good communication, consultation and co-operation. Such a MOU is a necessity in Sri Lanka to defeat the birth of a cold war between the Central Government and the Provincial Councils and to promote spiritual line of thinking on Sri Lanka’s politicians for the benefit of all Sri Lankans.

Moreover Ranil Wickremesinghe’s statement to the effect that any Indian fishermen poaching into the Sri Lankan territorial waters would be shot, nullifies the spiritual mind, because he had not abandon egoism. He has even forgotten that Kachchaitivu was handed over to Sri Lanka as a token gift and the role played by India in defeating terrorism. However, the Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj’s reply ‘to look into humanitarian and livelihood of the fishermen’ sends the signal that she was addressing the issue with the spiritual mind. These are matters which should be thrashed out with negotiated settlement. It is not the issue of appeasing the Sinhalese, but the strengthening of the friendly bond between India and Sri Lanka. Shushma Swaraj was very diplomatic and if Ranil Wickremesinghe continues with such arrogant approach, it would not be a surprise that Maithiripala’s government might fall within a short period.

The inability to discuss and attending the problems from the spiritual aspect, saw the number of deaths commencing from the 1958 communal riots to the battle with the LTTE until they were defeated. Had Sri Lanka fought a bloody war for independence like the USA and India, today this tragedy would not have occurred. Recently the same lack of spirituality was seen when the Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran was allegedly forbidden to present a Gift to the Indian Prime Minister N.Modi during his visit to Jaffna. Moreover, the adamant attitude of the Sri Lanka Armed Forces in denying access to the Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran to the Valigamam area also demonstrated the clumsy handling of the Sri Lankan politicians and signals the failure to realize the human values. No one knows whether President Maithiripala Sirisena was helpless in exercising his powers over the Sri Lankan Forces. The behaviour of some members from the Islamic community after their Friday prayers in staging a protest instead of greeting the Indian Prime Minister also conveyed the message of lack of spirituality.

It is time to realize for Sri Lankan politicians to demonstrate that human nature is characterized by humanity and differentiate from animism. Humility is not cowardice, Meakness is not weakness. Humility and meakness are indeed spiritual powers according to Swami Sivananda. Spiritual realization is religion. Mere going on pilgrimage to Thiruppathy or Buddha Gaya alone is insufficient to expose spirituality. The love of God includes the acceptance of the basic rights of others. This is what is lacking among the Sri Lankan politicians. It is spirituality which could refine both religion and politics. If religion is to be spiritual, there should be freedom of worship and the liberty to embrace a faith of an individual’s choice for which there should not be any punishment. Sri Lankan political and religious leaders have yet to absorb this truth.

Non-violence is wisdom and violence is cowardice. Peace is a reflection of spiritual consciousness. People who relies on violence never believe in the progress of humanity. These are the teachings preached by Jesus Christ, Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Dalai Lama and other great religious and some political leaders who were possessed with spiritual mind, and never punished anyone, but showed mercy. They demonstrated that religious leaders are not expected to stumble upon spiritual experience without proper training. After Justin Trudeau delivered his speech on Canadian liberty, one Pakistani terrorist was arrested by the Canada Border Services Agency for plotting to target and launch an attack on financial buildings in Toronto. No sooner he was arrested the Canadian Imams issued a Fatwa or Verdict that those Islamic terrorists can no longer be considered as non-Muslims which appeared to be a right direction after a long delay. But if the Fatwa of the Canadian Imams consider them as non-Muslims, does it mean to include people embracing other faiths who have discouraged the mode of punishments like beheading, stoning to death and lash of raped women. It is time for moderate Islamists to declare that such mode of punishments do not amount to religious duty, because the behaviour of these Islamic terrorists has brought unimaginable amount of suffering upon mankind. If they fail to change their stand from these savage punishments, then it prompts one to think that these Islamic extremists behave like violent misogynists. History has shown that all Nations have attained greatness by paying proper respect to women. It would have been meaningful if the Canadian Imams declared those ‘Islamic terrorists as a curse to Islamic community’. Likewise there was a news item that the Indian Police have alerted its people of the Islamic terrorists belonging Laksha-e-taiba which had planned to target Tamil Nadu and Gujarat from Sri Lanka. To date Sri Lankan Islamic political and religious leaders have failed to condemn these terrorists at least in a similar fashion as that of the Canadian Imams. The behaviour of Islamic political and religious leaders only demonstrates that they too have stumbled with spirituality and so with the Sri Lankan political leaders.

The time is ripe for Sri Lankan political and religious leaders to realize that the aim of spirituality is to boost morality and human values and therefore spirituality is a necessity for good governance. There is a moral obligation on the political and religious leaders to preach tolerance for everyone. When politicians realize that spirituality refines both religion and politics, then both politics and religion will go hand in hand. If the politicians declare that religion is a personal matter and should not be blended with politics, then Sri Lankan politicians can easily demonstrate with the implementation of the 13th Amendment by clipping the powers of the President, that Sri Lanka is a democratic country of diversity and secularism, like the Western political leaders.

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Latest comments

  • 5

    Whenever this writer presents an article, I read it word by word to find everything is connected well. Spirituality and religion is clearly differentiated. In my view, neither politicians are religious or spiritual, excepting the NP Chief Minister, C.V.Wigneswaran. Others are all money-making minded or savage-minded. When they fail to condemn the terrorist activities, how on earth can they be considered as spiritual-minded. Not only Muslims, even others have stumbled with spirituality. So long as egoism is there, they cannot be spiritual. These Sri Lanka’s politicians cannot be compared with Canadian Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau, because he has a broader vision of life. What is their answer in respect of 13th Amendment. Will they learn how Britain dealth with Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland.

  • 4

    I think Sri Lanka does not deserve independence if the politicians fail to respect human values for which spiritual mind is essential. As the writer says had Sri Lanka gained independence through a bloody war like the USA and India, they would have possessed spiritual mind. However, Sri Lanka politicians cannot be compared with the Canadian political leader Justin Trudeau who knows the value of liberty. Sri Lanka’s politicians are famous for detaining or murdering journalists, who also possess spiritual minds. Islamists never respect women in relation to mode of punishments. That is why majority of the Islamic countries are bleeding for failure to treat women with honour and dignity.

  • 4

    This should be translated and published in a Sinhala news paper. Well done Mr Rajasingam.

  • 2


    Mythology, Religions had created personalities, with multifaceted talents, skills, creativity in this world from immoral times for the benefit of the world, for progress of human kind.

    Lord Skanda, Murugan, Hindu god, had six faces and each face or head, had six different subjects to handle, direct, execute, the total of all is, all encompassing Lord Muruga.

    The king of Sri Lanka, Ravana, had Ten Heads, and ruled all over the world, with multiskills, talents, creativity, manifesting so much power and aura, which was feared and admired by all, including his foes.

    A baby thrown out of Bath Tub was Singapore. No resources, no one to help, hostile forces and hostility within and without, all around. The baby was taken adopted, takencare, looked after, nurtured.The father who adopted the child, did not have the skills and knowledge, to bring up the baby. He cried realizing his inability.From the cry, inability, the determination of the personality bloomed. Each face started unfolding, from each angle, of the cut of the diamond.
    The modern world has many creative personalities, who are living scattered world over, doing innovative creations, attached to governments or as private personalities with inputs, resources and supports. These creative gems were assembled and made as garlands in Singapore.

    Knowledge seeking, creative insights were sought, mobilization of resources, talents sourcing, problem solving, understanding human & mass psychology, aspirations, managing multitudes, of human desires, aspirations, greeds, temptations, to create a vision for the good and happiness, prosperity and satisfaction of the needs, controlling the greeds of desires of individuals, collective groups, meeting the challenges of the foes, enemies, ignorant, foes in friends garbs, dispassionate, objective analytical decision making, for short term and long term objectives / achievements, should be the qualities of a leader, who will guide the people, to be loved by them, as their mentor avathar.

    Philosophers, dreamers are generally not talented to make /translate their philosophy a reality applicable. Except, a few like Mahathma Gandiji who illumined and dispelled darkness of ignorance, of slavery to imperialism of all kinds, and created,initiated a new world of 20th century, which was based on persuasion.
    Skills, knowledge, methodology, wisdom, technology, human behavior, all bloomed and blasted for spectacular proportions to the wonder of man’s imagination in 20th/21st century.

    The art of mobilizing all these new dimensions of new knowledge, for the benefit of the people, and country is a herculean task, demanding a new personality to create the model, for years to come.

    The present day personalities, who are in the helm of affairs, are mearly repetitions of words, slogans philosophies coined long years ago , outdated, not relevant to the changed needs of the present world.

    As a norm setter, path director, or a beacon, light house to direct the uncharted human sea to progress, Lee created, innovated new philosophies, new meaning for words and methodology to change the environment of the present and future.
    Lee Kuan Yew, a multi faceted diamond of thousand faces, shining and beaming rays of luminous light rays for the world, to make in depth studies, adopt, translate them in to reality in action, for the benefit of newer models to bloom.

    He is a modern philosopher, innovator, implementer, creator of new models, a new manifestation of dharma in action, compassion of different form, a manifestation of the present day polities and governance.

    The life philosophy of Lee was based mostly on Confucius and methodology based on Sree Krishna’s Bhagavat Geetha of action, of Karma, and doing his duty and fight the battle of polities to establish his dharma, Suwa Dharma, suitable, appropriate for futuristic trends and needs. In that he was Arjuna and Krishna, two in one, reengineered, re interpreted, which he had designed and fashioned, to new directions of 21st century.

    Having understood the impending futuristic changes, he carefully synchronized activities of change for developments, to that is needed for the future 21st century. This resulted in, all the Forward Change Agents of the world ,made Singapore as their center base, for Asian operations.

    As practitioner of meditation, he had broken the barriers of the mind limitation, grouse and expanded in to the wider arena of universe, in every science, fields of knowledge and spheres which is the essence of spirituality of the higher levels, which unifies, with the vibrations of the higher universe/ forces.

    He manifested union of Tender Heart and Though mind, Compassion in Action by his thoughts and his actions to reach his target of model state and, be an ideal leader who vibrated, for the whole world to synchronize and follow, for modern Nation building.

    The soul in the body of Lee Kuan Yew is a reflection of illumination from the galaxy of light sources of the universe.
    Let us jointly pray for the Noble soul, which illumined radiated in the modern world of, 21st century.

    Dr.K.Sivam M.V.Sc

  • 9

    Spirituality transcends religion. Religion, by its nature , entraps spirituality within narrow confines of preset boundaries of beliefs, myths, dogma and rituals. Spirituality seeks. Religion traps. A spiritual man as a seeker can be in any profession as seeks the truth, breaks out if the confines of religious labels and tries to make the world around him a better place through whatever he does. A spiritual man sees the world in a universal light and is blind to labels of whatever hue. Lee Kuan Yew was such a man. He made the Singaporeans a better people and through them made Singapore an example to the world. He was a doer and ascetic combined. He was part of the world, but yet was above and beyond it.
    The readers are referred to read the book ‘ Jonathan Livingston Seagull’ by Richard Bach to understand what spirituality ( seeking) was in the life of the Seagull named Livingstone, as it soared above and beyond that of other seagulls.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

  • 3

    This Muslim hater could not refrain from making a reference to Muslim even though the subject of his reference had no relevance in his farticle. What obsession!

    • 1

      I know you are unable to digest what the writer has stated. What is wrong if the writer has given utmost importance to women, when the Muslim women are being beheaded, stoning to death and also being thrashed with whip for being raped. Is there any spirituality when such punishments are executed. Recently there was a news that a Muslim woman was beaten to death though she loved Quran. Further why are the Muslim and religious leaders silent when there was a news item in the Indian papers that terrorists belonged to Laksha-e-taiba had planned to target Tamil Nadu and Gujarat from Sri Lanka. I think Canadian Imams are sensible than you are. Moreover, do you support Rizardenn throwing stones at the Magistrates Court and what about the death of Kumari and where is the spiritual mind on Rizardeen and Rauff Hakim. Atleast accept the fact that some Muslims have stumbled with spirituality.

    • 2

      Why do you label the writer as a Muslim hater. There are so many prominent figures who have criticized Islam. Sir Winston Churchill, Philosopher Voltaire, many Westerners in their comments when a bombing takes place, etc. Even Gandhi has stated that Islam is the only faith which cannot be compromised. When are they going to stop this beheading and stoning to death? Why should they whip a helpless Muslim women who were raped. Who gave the right to punish these helpless women. Didn’t you read ‘the aim of spirituality is to boost morality and human values’. Why can’t these Muslim extremists respect human values.

      • 1


        Muslim extremist by definition is not a Muslim. Muslim extremists were created by Reagan and the U.S. of A. When the world was sinking in male superiority and injustice to women 1400 years ago, it was Islam that restored honor and dignity to women. At that time for example Hindus burnt female babies at birth. Europeans burnt women at the stake for being witches. Read the history of the Prophet Mohammed and his first wife Kadija. You will understand how Islam mandated how a Muslim should treat a woman.

        Read Surah Nisa in the Quran. You will then clearly see the exalted place, including property rights accorded to women, and how society is expected to treat them.

        Even after that if you want to heap more insults on Islam, may Allah have mercy on your soul.

        I agree with Indra that this this Tamil LTTE man Ayathuray is a Muslim hater. He is angry that the Muslims of Sri Lanka did not support the murder and mayhem unleased by Velupillai Pirabaharan. Read the previous dozen articles published in CT under his name.

        • 1

          Talk of today. At the beginning there were uncivilized methods. True. But with the passage of time people refined themselves. Today you can see that France and Germany are co-partners in the European Union. There is a Charter of Human Rights in the Western democratic world. Always try to look forward. But from the inception of Islamic invasion, they have not stopped their barbaric mode of punishment. Today are women respected with honour and dignity? Even recently in Afghanistan, a Muslim woman was beaten to death because of her freedom of expression. Do you justify the beheadings, stoning to death, lashing of helpless raped women? By exploding bombs in the western democratic countries what have they achieved. Are those places not homes for a number if various communities. Every time when a bomb explodes, it is non-Muslims who always raise a voice to protect the Muslims in the West. But the vital issue is why can’t the moderate Muslims stand up against such terrorism and condemn such terrorist activities. Certainly all liberal Muslims can get together and form a Front as against such terrorist organizations and demand for reforms in their faiths and take necessary steps to use the name of Islam by these terrorists. Liberal Muslims can take appropriate steps to apply pressure on the Imams to condemn such terrorism and call for justification of their evil deeds. Think positively. As one commentator said number of prominent figures have criticized Islam. And why do you want to say Ayathuray is a Muslim hater. Do you know that Ayathuray discourages terrorism including that of LTTE. Time and again he has said Muslim means ‘One who bows down to God’. I think you are trying to mislead everyone. Every one in various faiths bows down to God. Here he is only concerned how the ruling politicians try to evade the functioning of the Provincial Council. C.V.Wigneswaran is still under the impression that spirituality can inspire people to approach politics in a friendly spirit. But the politicians in the government have shattered all hopes of that friendly spirit.s
          Now why don’t you come to the subject matter. The writer only says that Sri Lanka’s politicians lack spirituality which is evident when they were reluctant to implement the 13th Amendment.

  • 2

    If u believe India and its leaders observe morality one would be i a fools paradise. Look at India leave alone anything the vast amounts of money spent on the armed forces whilst a large portion of the citizens do not have a latrine and clean water does not speak of morality of its politicians. What Modi identified was the geo political interests of India and morality has nothing to do with it.
    With regards to the article it self Tamils nor muslims have the moral right to demand enclaves based on a communal basis without causing concerns in the majority sinhalese. The moral of it is such enclaves will only result in disharmony be it under the 13th amendment or otherwise. It is time in this day and age when corruption is rife for all the communities to act together to prevent disharmony specially by allowing what ever grouse they have to be highjacked by India or any other nation. That is immoral. Sri Lanka will only survive if the communities are united and it is in the interests of SL for all communities to have a common agenda but not one of division as we see now . Be it Bodu Bala, Muslim fundamentalism or TNA and the remnants of LTTE are a reflection of the fundamental flaw in the political thinking. They do not augur well.

  • 2

    ‘Though he was an ardent Hindu nationalist, his speech sent signals of spiritual aspect for the unity of Sri Lanka’ – Is it possible for the PM of India which is a hot bed of racial tensions to offer spiritual advice to Sri Lanka which is comparatively peaceful country after the demise of VP?

    What is Hindu nationalism?

    Hindu nationalism is a movement of right-wing nationalism and social conservatism combined with a Hindu political identity that calls for Hindu supremacy and Hindu hegemony to the detriment of the 20 percent of Indians who are not Hindu.

    Modi is an avowed Hindu nationalist. He’s a member of a Hindu nationalist group, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, since the 1970s, and the group has endorsed him for the post of prime minister. The RSS has been previously banned for violence. Its members are responsible for many attacks on minorities, muslims, christains, dalits.

  • 4

    He is such an stupid racist who writes all about Islam and living on his own ‘Muslim Hate’ world.

  • 2

    Well written. Spotted the defects among the Sri Lankan politicians. Egoism is seen in their action. This is the curse among the Sri Lanka’s politicians. Thank you CT. At least the these politicians should have followed the path of Lord Buddha who had a broader vision of life. Birth of a cold war between Ranil Wickremasinghe and C.V.Wigneswaran was clearly brought out. Moreover, they have to learn from the Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj how to handle issues. All the politicians have stumbled with spirituality, excepting C.V.Wigneswaran. He has a formidable task to tune these politicians.

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