Are we heading with speed towards Solar Relief? The Avurudu highlights of solar tradition were completed with joyous participation of the people, and we had the recognized leader of the nation, President Sirisena, travel at speed to India the next day, to participate in a ritual at the Thirupathi Kovil.
For those who follow the Hindu tradition and belief, we are now living in the Kali Yuga – the period of darkness and divisiveness, hatred and greed, warfare and inequality. The deity at Thirupathi – Lord Sri Venkateswara, an incarnation of Vishnu, who is believed to have appeared to save mankind from, the trials and troubles of the Kali Yuga.
Let’s get it all straight. Thirupathi is the divine hope and expectation of all our political leaders. It is the place of worship and pleading to divinity by Maithripala Sirisena, Mahinda Rajapaksa, Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Hindu Tamil leaders, and almost all other political leaders and catchers, who make a very big noise about this being a Sinhala Buddhist country and society.
How can a people who claim to be Buddhists have so much belief and faith in a Hindu deity; and how does a society that is largely organized on the lunar calendar and customs, such as the Poya Day, leap with such speed and distance to the deities in the solar tradition?
How can a country that seeks to accept the Thripatakaya as a national heritage of Sri Lanka, and also call for inscription of the Thripatakaya in the World Register of Monuments, be so wholly committed to the worship of Hindu deities, and beliefs in the power and help of divine forces in politics, governance and day-to-day living?
The Sri Lanka Government organized special Thripitaka events to ensure its international recognition at special diplomatically organized ceremonies in the US, Europe and other parts of the world. Doesn’t the acceptance of the Thripitakaya and its values of Buddhist teaching pull one away from any belief or faith in the deities of Hinduism, or any other faith based on divinity – of one or many gods?
The problem the country faces today is that of a competition between the Thripitakaya and Thirupathi, and all signs are that Thirupathi is racing ahead, with the Thripitakaya possibly being confined to Aluvihara, even after any national or international recognition.
All the rituals of the Avurudu Sirith are drawn from the solar traditions, and that is how it has been through the years. But, what is now seen in a dominance of the belief in the power of deities, moving far away from the rationalist thinking of Buddhist teaching. Our people are being fast moved away from the values of meditation and rationality, which is the Buddhist Way of Life, to that of an increasing and overriding faith in the deities, – at Thirupathi and elsewhere.
We need not look very far. Just look above the wrists of all our political and most social leaders and you will see the threads of divinity tied there. From the white ‘pirith noola’ that is said to bring divine favour or protection, these hands have threads of many colours too, often stretching upwards towards the elbow, bringing the blessings of many deities. Around the necks of many are amulets that carry the charms assuring deity assistance, and on their fingers are also gold rings with coloured and costly stones, with assurances of the help of deities.
As our education system crumbles we see increasing influence of the deities in helping students to pass their examinations, strongly supported by both parents and teachers, including the tuition earners.
The Bodhi Pooja, a tradition of offering gratitude to the Bodhi Tree that gave shelter to Siddhartha Gauthama to become enlightened as the Buddha, is now given divine powers that no tree can have, to help in exam passes, cure of patients, winning of sweep tickets and also sadly, to cause harm to enemies.
The Avurudu anointing of heads at the Nekath Velaava is a tradition of warm good wishes, both to humans, elephants and other pets. It must be kept as such, and not moved into an ascending faith in deities beyond the richness of a human blessing of good intent, and not a call to the power of deities.
Thriupathi Vandanaa will soon gain both prominence and dominance in the play of politics in the country, as elections – both presidential and parliamentary – draw closer. The Executive Presidency and office of Prime Minister will be the plea to Lord Sri Venkateswara, to bring the nomination and later results in favour of the pleading politicos. The Thirupathi deity will certainly have a problem of choice, unless he is moved by the load and value of offerings made and prayers chanted.
How much can the deity at Thirupathi influence the millions of voters in this country? Let’s keep looking at the miracle threads round the wrists, the widening amulets round the necks and the shining gems on the costly rings of politicians.
Let the people decide, and not any god or deity, on saving us from the trials and troubles of the Kali Yugaya.