I am ageing fast and am not sure how long I can live because of my deteriorating
health conditions, naturally, I am now inclined reading and educating myself
on spiritual lines. A reader from Urumpirai, in Yaalpanam, K.Sivalingam
has presented me with a booklet titled," Path to Enlightenment". This reader
had been in active service with the North East Province Council and is
presently interested in spiritual values for peace and development- social
and personal. He is also interested in the development of the Siddha Ayurveda
Medicine and is very keen to promote spiritual and humane values for future.
The booklet contains a discourse
delivered by Swami ogeshwarananda at Swami Gangatharanantaha Samadhi, Sivayoga
Samajam in Thirukoanamalai on December 18 and 19, 1995.
Now, who is this Swami? The
blurb in the back cover states: "Swami Yogeshwarananda is a monk of the
Shankaracharrya Order. Born in SriLanka, he spent 25 years in the Himalayas,
India in spiritual seclusion, studying the Hindu scriptures and leading
the life of an ascetic. In 1984 and 1986, he made an extensive tour of
the U.S. delivering talks at various universities and religious centres.
We learn that this Swami is
now 44 years old and the son
Muthubalasuriyar, who was
the General Manager of the Electrical
Department in Colombo. He
studied the scriptures in the original
Sanskrit and his spiritual
study was at Kailash Ashram, which was the centre of learning for the 'Sadhus'
in the Himalayas. He studied for 12 years in 1974 he was ordained as a
monk in the 'Shankara Adwaita' order. He had been living in Rishikesh,
Uttara Kasi and Gangtri. The latter is 10,000 feet above the sea level.
Presently he is based in Rishikesh. He had lectured in the U.S., U.K.,
Canada, Australia and Switzerland.
The Sadhu has published the
following: The Yoga of understanding, Divine Virtues, Holistic View of
Life, Mind and the State of No-Mind, Path to Enlightenment and Wisdom in
This booklet is published
by Hamsa Publications, 34, Castle Lane,
Colombo 04. Since excerpts
cannot be published without the permission of the publishers, I leave it
to you to read for yourself what really is the path to enlightenment? God
experience and 'Moksha' also mean enlightenment. From what I gather from
the discourse is that ' when one gets enlightened, one gets enlightened
to the Truth of Life.
God is Love
I am a born Hindu. I believe
in God. There is much truth in what the late Kannadasan, a great poet of
the latter half of the last century
from Thamilnadu in India
had said about Hinduism: 'Arthamulla Indu
Matham ' meaning that this
is religion is meaningful and explains how. Basically, as we know, all
religions say almost the same thing on any matters spiritual and religious
virtues. All great religions speak the same truth in different ways. I
have reduced my basic belief in religion (I am not very particular about
religious observances or rituals) that God is love and that god resides
in all of us.
I find that the sayings of
Sri Sathiya Sai Baba more in line with my way of thinking (even though,
some have expressed skeptical harangues on him and his beliefs - he has
done immense service to society at large all over the world through health,
education and the like. Personally he has guided me in many ways invisibly.
May I take this opportunity
to glean a few of his sayings which could help us to arrest the evil way
of our doings things.
Here are a few Honey drops in his Universal
* Life is a bridge across
the ocean of change. Pass over it. But do not build a house on it.
* Nothing is beyond the intelligence
and will of man. But will alone is absent in many. With a will, spirit
of devotion and dedication
everything is possible.
* The need of the hour is
fusion of modern knowledge of science and technology with the spiritual
knowledge and cultural traditions of
India, a country which plays
the role as spiritual Guru of the world for ages.
* Modern time is the most
important among past, present and future
times. Make the best use
of the present with value oriented development
*Politics without principles,
education without character, Science
without humanity and commerce
without morality are not only useless but also seriously dangerous.
* There is nothing on earth
or beyond it which is equal to Divine Love. To make all endeavours to earn
that Love is the whole meaning and purpose of human life.
* Honour every religion,
each is a pathway to one God. Work for the unity of all religions and faiths.
There is only one religion, the
religion of Love.
*Love is an emotion. It is
a form of energy which each individual
transmits and receives every
moment. It affects all forms of life. It is
a peculiar possession which
grows with sharing. Love is God. Where love is, there God certainly is.
Love more and more people. Love them more and more intensely, transform
the love into service, transform the service into worship that is the highest
discipline in spirituality.
Let's move on to Consciousness
from Spiritualism. We are now introduced to a new term - 'Sinhala Consciousness'.
In fact there is a new book published by Vijitha Yapa Publishers. The book
is really a political history or more than that. The exact title of the
book is" Sinhala Consciousness in the Kandyan Period - 1590s to 1815".
From the title itself you would have guessed that this is a very serious
academic work. It is an ambitious work and it is the scholars who can assess
or critically comment on this book. I must admit in the first lace that
I am not a historian or a Sociologist or for that matter anything but a
literary journalist with a multidisciplinary approach to literary criticism.
That's all. Why I write these columns to report, educate and express my
views on at least some of the topics I write about. The basic intention
is to share my responses with like-minded readers.
Having said that that as a
piece of information, what I can do is to
give you some details about
the book and the author, if you still don't know him. He is none other
than a Lankan-born international scholar, now an Adjunct Associate Professor
in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Adelaide in Australia.
His name is Michael Roberts.
Sinhala consciousness is not
merely a political concept evolved after
the advent of the British.
It predates as expressed in 'verbal
compositions, poetry, visual-iconic,
kinesics and dramatic
I liked the statement made
by Christopher Bayly in his foreword to the book: 'Interpretation should
be a matter of weighing probabilities, not proving contentions with 'facts''.
Bayly concludes that 'This is
which is both critical of the idea of nation
and nationalism and also
of 'modernist' stance towards the origins of
This 274 + page book consists
appendices and charts and plates and of course of index to persons and
powers and subject index.
Here is one of the many observations
by the author, Prof Michael Roberts on Thamil and Thamilians with which
I am particularly interested. This is because in the name of 'recorded
history' a lot of things remain unsaid and hushed up, which one reason
for the present ethnic malady.
Incidentally, in these columns
what I quote from several writers may not necessarily be mine. I merely
report such beliefs are there by people whom I quote. For instance if I
quote Paulinus Tambimuttu, it doesn't be my view too. Some readers do not
seem to read my columns as it should be read. If I say something as my
own, then these readers can take me to question.
I think a better way to avoid
this confusion is to say where the quote begins and where it ends.
Quote begins on page 14: "There
were interstitial and marginal regions, for instance, those areas sparsely
peopled or the coastal fringe from Modera North of Colombo to Puttalam,
where bilinguality and cross-ethnic marriages seem to have been relatively
more prevalent. Again, with the backwood regions of the Vanni that were
part of the kingdom of Kandy there seem to have been several areas where
the distinctions between Sinhalese, Vaddas, Vaggai, Mukkaru and Tamil were
not clear-cut. However, these were marginal regions and one' appreciation
of social process must necessarily allow for the distribution of power
as it is spatially inscribed and re-configured over time." Quote ends.
One more quote on page 107,
where the author ends his Chapter seven:
"...While I am inclined to
reject Ahalepola's alleged letter of 1815 as
a subsequent invention, a
solid body of evidence from the war poems
enables me to conclude that
there was a was a pronounced Sinhala
consciousness that was brought
into play at specific moments and existed as a strand of ideology at most
levels of Sinhala society during the late middle period. The patriotism
was king-centred and thus devotional and hierarchical. T had Buddhist religious
connotations as well as clear linkages with a place, the island of Trisinhalaya.
Gathering up threads on this issue is the task of the next chapter." Quote
The politicians of all hues,
if they can understand English, should
please read such books and
form their opinion before uttering utter
nonsense twisting history
and making it as a showpiece of anachronism. When are we going to get educated,
well informed, humane and non-corrupt politicians? Inside and outside parliament
we see only 'thuggery' and intimidation. Where have the noble Buddhist
and other religious values have gone?
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