Category Archives: Saivism

The Guard Stones Of Ancient Sri Lanka

Shannine Daniel, courtesy of Roar Media, 6 December 2017, where the title is  “When Architecture and Buddhism Came Together. The Guard Stones Of Ancient Sri Lanka”

The ruins of Sri Lanka’s ancient kingdoms are a testament to the architectural skill of our ancestors. They have several unique architectural features including intricately carved stairs, the moonstones that lie at the foot of the stairs, and the guard stones that are placed on either side of the stairs at the entrances to these historic and religious sites. Among these, the guard stones, known as muragal in Sinhalese, are particularly fascinating. These features of Sinhalese architecture have both practical and decorative purposes.

 Some academics believe that the concept of guard stones found its way to Sri Lanka from India

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Sinhala-Tamil Tussles in the Mythical Netherworld of Rāvanā

Ranga Kalugampitiya, courtesy of Colombo Telegraph, dated 20 July 2015, where the title runs ‘Rāvanā & Sinhala Buddhism: A Strained Relationship Ridden With Contradictions”. The version here being embellished with Editorial highlighting.

Rāvanā, one of the principal characters in the Rāmāyana, emerges as a villain in the mainstream (Hindu) understandings of the text. Given the important position that Rāmā (Rāvanā’s opponent), who is believed to be a manifestation of Viśnu, occupies in the Hindu religious tradition, Rāvanā becomes a symbol of evil in those readings of the text.

Nevertheless, the conceptualizations of Rāvanā within the context of Sinhala Buddhist nationalism point to alternative perspectives on the character. One such perspective that has emerged in the post-2009 Sri Lankan context shows a tendency to idealize Rāvanā as a national hero. The present paper argues that the relationship between Rāvanā and Sinhala Buddhism that this conceptualization suggests is ridden with certain contradictions that Sinhala Buddhist nationalism fails to address successfully. Continue reading

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Fire-Storm Images, IV: Tamil Commitment to Their Cause

A road junction memorial for Annai Poopathi in Batticaloa District, Annai Poopathi, a mother of ten  children and aged 55, fasted unto death in protest against the IPKF presence in Sri Lanka, breathing her last on 19th April 1988.  –thereby backing Thileepan’s fast-unto-death earlier in Jaffna in 1987. A permanent memorial in her homage was also constructed at Kiran … but the tsunami  destroyed it. Her memory is evoked to this day.  Her sacrifice is remembered and hallowed today among Tamils in many lands –Germany, Netherlands, UK et  cetera –see http://www.tamilguardian.com/content/annai-poopathy-remembered?articleid=4700.

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Perinpanayagam’s Study of the LTTE Strand of Tamil Nationalism

Anushka Perinpanayagam, paperback, 2010 …

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is a nationalist organisation which has been a key player in Sri Lanka’s ethnic war. Like the early Tamil nationalist groups in Sri Lanka, the LTTE professes to be a secularist organisation. This tradition of secularism distinguishes Tamil nationalism from its Sinhalese counterpart. A small group of academics, however, has debated whether the LTTE is truly secularist. The debate focuses on the LTTE’s ritual calendar and commemorative events which draw on religious symbols and which, according to some critics, have the character and quality of religious events. This project intervenes in this debate by analysing how scholars use the terms ‘religion’ and ‘secular’ when discussing the LTTE and Sri Lankan politics. In addition, this book investigates how the LTTE’s claim to be secular impacts upon its narration of history and its discourse around death and dying. This work is useful not only for those interested in the Sri Lankan situation but also for those who wish to explore nationalism, modernisation and the categories of religion and the secular.

 https://www.facebook.com/anushka.perinpanayagam

The book can be purchased via AMAZON = http://researcharchive.vuw.ac.nz/xmlui/handle/10063/1784… with illustrations below being from the Thuppahi stock associated with my work on the “sacrificial devotion” of the Tamil Tigers — work which is considered intelligently by Perinpanayagam in association with the writings of Peter schalk Dagmar Hellmann-Rajanayagam and others.  Continue reading

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Tiger Martyrdom: Architectural ‘Marks’ in 2009 as the SL Army captured LTTE Terrain

Sinharaja Tammita-Delgoda,  courtesy of the Daily Mirror, 26 April 2017, where the title rune thus: “Martyrdom and LTTE. The worship of death” … with highlighting and additional bibliographivcal references at the end inserted imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi

Dr. SinhaRaja Tammita-Delgoda is  one of the few non-combatants allowed into the war zone during the final stages of the Eelam War. On his own initiative, he made an application to visit the operational areas and was granted permission to do so by the Defence Ministry. He toured these areas on three occasions between March and April 2009.   His work has been published in international media and military journals, and presented to audiences in the U.K., India and Canada. Dr. Tammita-Delgoda has never been an employee of the Sri Lankan Government nor the Defence Ministry.  These impressions and supporting photographs are original and based on firsthand experience in 2009 when the war was still raging and had entered its final stages.   


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Hardline Ethnic Mind-Sets: Jane Russell’s Findings and Reflections

Michael Roberts

Rajan Hoole is now presenting his studies of Sri Lanka Tamil political ferment in the 20th century via the Colombo Telegraph and local newspapers. This earnest endeavour is to be applauded. However, such surveys are not without their problems. Serious commentary on his arguments – as distinct from off-the-cuff blog comments – will have to dwell on the “depth and reach” of his documentation.

JR in 1976Jane Russell in 1976Rajan-Hoole-3 Rajan Hoole today Chandra-w-borderChandra de Silva today

The historical material, whether secondary literature or primary sources, on the politics of the period extending from the 1920s to the 1980s is considerable. For one hand to delve into the readily available data at depth in brief articles[1] is well-nigh impossible. Even with this caveat it is surprising that Hoole has made no reference to Arasaratnam’s and KM de Silva’s essays on the constitutional agitation of the early 20th century, Ranjith Amarasinghe’s study of the Trotskite movement (2000) or the documentary material on GG Ponnambalam’s approaches to the Colonial Office in Documents of the Ceylon National Congress and Nationalist Politics in Ceylon: 1929-1950 (1977). Continue reading

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Encompassing Empowerment in Ritual, War and Assassination

Michael Roberts, courtesy of Berghahn Press and Social Analysis and Doug Farrer, the Editor of the Special Volume on “War Magic“, Social Analysis, 2014, vol 58/1…….. see http://berghahn.publisher.ingentaconnect.com/content/berghahn/socan/2014/00000058/00000001;jsessionid=brf7pbpqi52o9.Victoria….. Note that the article has a sub-title: Tantric Principles in Tamil Tiger Instrumentalities.

Abstract: This study highlights the Tantric threads within the transcendental religions of Asia that reveal the commanding role of encirclement as a mystical force. The cyanide capsule (kuppi) around the neck of every Tamil Tiger fighter was not only a tool of instrumental rational-ity as a binding force, but also a modality similar to a thāli (marriage bond necklace) and to participation in a velvi (religious animal sacrifice). It was thus embedded within Tamil cultural practice. Alongside the LTTE’s politics of homage to its māvīrar (dead heroes), the kuppi sits beside numerous incidents in LTTE acts of mobilization or military actions where key functionaries approached deities in thanks or in preparation for the kill. These practices highlight the inventive potential of liminal moments/spaces. We see this as modernized ‘war magic’—a hybrid re-enchantment energizing a specific religious worldview.

Keywords: cosmic encirclement, enchanted practices, liminality, LTTE, regeneration, sacrifice, suicide attacks, Tantrism

28c-vipoothi lad Figure 1 Young Tiger Fighter with Holy Ash on His Forehead Heads for the Battlefield in the Late 1980s —Photograph © Shyam Tekwani

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