Annual Festival of Nallur Kandaswamy Temple
Nallur was the celebrated capital city of ancient Jaffna. After
“Kathiramalai” (Kantherodai) Nallur flourished as capital of the Jaffna
Kingdom. The chronicle of Jaffna history, the “YALPANA MALAI” described
in detail how the city of Nallur was founded.
It mentioned how Singai Ariyan arrived at the request of Pandi
Maluvan accompanied by priests and advisers and assumed the kingship of
Jaffna. He built a city for his residence and named it as Nallur. Thus
was founded the celebrated city of Nallur by Singai Ariyan, also
referred to as Kulankai, who commenced his reign as the first “Ariya
Chakravarty” king of Jaffna.
God Kandaswamy with his consorts Valli
Further, there are two schools of thought regarding the time or the
era when Singai Ariyan arrived to assume the Kingdom. Rasanayaga
Mudaliyar, basing his inferences as the Jaffna chronicles, had deduced
Kulankai's reign as having been from 1210 A.C. To 1256 A.C. When
Kulasekera Singai succeeded him.
In fact, the Jaffna chronicle also records that during the reign of
Singai Ariyan, Minister Bhuvaneka Bahu completed the erection of the
outside walls of the city and the Kandaswamy Temple. But, when
Portuguese captured Jaffna in 1620 they demolished the Nallur temple and
with the bricks of the demolished temple they built the Jaffna Fort.
Subsequently, the Dutch, who found a Catholic Church there,
demolished it and erected a church of their faith, which may be the
Nallur Church that is seen today. Eventhough the Dutch spread their own
religion, they did not interfere with other religion and the Nallur
temple was rebuilt by Ragunatha Mapana Mudaliyar in 1749 and daity
poojas and rituals were conducted according to Agama principles.
The annual festival of Nallur Kandaswamy Temple commenced with the
flag hoisting ceremony on July 24, 2012 and will end up with the chariot
festival on August 16, 2012 and water-cutting ceremony on August 17,
In fact, the hoisting of the flag ceremony will be followed by
various Yaagams, Abhisekams, Poojas and other ceremonies over a period
of 25 days. These ceremonies are conducted in the Moolasthanam and in
the Vasanthamandapam where poojas are offered to Utsava Murthi.
Even the Panchalati ritual at the end of the pooja is performed at
all the shrines simultaneously creating a beautiful experience to the
devotees. The chariot festival is a colourful festival followed by
water-cutting ceremony on the next day. The Thirukkalyanam, the symbolic
wedding ceremony is also conducted and finally the lowering of the flag.
Indeed, each of these events has a deep significance corresponding to
the Panchakritiyams or five activities of Godhood namely creation,
preservation, dissolution, obscuration and granting of grace in one's
one life. The highlight of the festival is the Ther or chariot festival.
On the day of the chariot festival the God Kandaswamy is colourfully
decorated and illuminated and placed on the chariot and drawn by the
devotees with the words “Haro Hara”. Further, the chariot festival is
followed by the water-cutting ceremony where the deities taken to the
temple pond or Kerni and is dipped in the water. Thereafter the devotees
plunge into cleanse themselves of their sins. The origin of Murugan or
Kandaswamy and the story of his veneration are of ancient interest. Even
the puranas extol his legendary origin.
The Devas, when they proceeded to Mount Kailas to complain to Lord
Shiva of their persecution by the Asuras, found him in deep meditation.
On being awakened, a divine spark emanated from his frontal third eye.
This was received in lake “Saravana Poikai”. There it was nurtured by
the constellation Pleiads (Karthikai) and became six infants. They
became one when they were fondly embraced by Divine Mother Goddess
Parvathi. Therefore he is also known as Karthikeya.
Kandaswamy or Muruga, as a volourious youth is said to have performed
several brave deeds including the imprisonment or Brahma and imparting
the meaning of the sacred word AUM to Lord Shiva. Besides, God Skanda
fought with Asura Leader Surapadman and defeated him.
Though Surapadman assumed several monstrous forms and shapes, he
finally sought refuge in the form of a mango tree. Surapadman was
ultimately defeated, but was not slain and he was commanded to serve God
Skanda in the form of a peacock and was also given in his banner as a
rooster cock. Thereafter, the Devas were released and they celebrated
In fact, the leaf shaped spear in God Skanda's hand signifies that a
man's knowledge should be sharp. It should not only be sharp, it should
also be wide. Further a man may be very intelligent and knowledgeable,
but he should be humble in all his dealings.
As such, let us pray to God Kandswamy and receive His Divine
Swamy Vivekananda A unique personality in the history of religion
The “Colombo Vivekananda Society Founders’ Day” was celebrated
recently at Vivekananda society hall, Kotahena, Colombo 13 presided by A
R Surendhran (President's Counsel) President of the society. Birender
Singh, Counsellor (Press Information and Culture) High Commissioner of
India was the chief guest.
Swamy Vivekananda was a unique personality in the history of
religion. In an all-too brief life of 39 years, he traversed the entire
gamut of spiritual experience by his Saddhanas and confirmed by his own
personal testimony the profound truths enshrined in all religions.
He once said that “before flooding India with socialistic and
political ideas, they should first deluge the land with spiritual
ideas”. He felt deeply persuaded about the universal message of India's
spirituality blazed forth by the contemplative seers and thinkers. He
was agonized at the poverty, superstition, violence, disunity and other
evils in India and he wanted to eradicate them.
He saw that a sound religion which satisfied the demands of realism
and the needs of humanity can get right the world. He found that message
not in the theoretical but in the practical Vedanta. He carried this
message to the world.
It was a great day for Hinduism when in the parliament of religions
in Chicago on September 11, 1893 the bell like voice of Swami
Vivekananda's speech made an imperishable impression in the west. He
caught the attention of the American press on the first day of
parliament with his graceful presence dignified apparel and large
lustrous eyes like spark of fire.
The Editor of the ‘Daily Chronicle” described the Swami as an
excellent specimen of his race, very well proportioned as regards both
body and brain. His roaring words of brothers and sisters of America
made him all who heard him their master.
Value and virtues
Rooted in the past and full of pride in India's prestige, Swami
Vivekananda was yet modern in his approach to life's problems. He wanted
to combine western progress with India's spiritual background.
He defended the values and virtues of his faiths and opened the eyes
of the Hindus to the glories of their heritage. As a loyal son of India
Swami Vivekananda threw out a challenge and vindicated his cause in the
forum of the world.
To him, religion was the manifestation of perfection in every human
being. According to him “Service to Humanity means service to God”.
He heralded the dawn of a near era in human civilization by
worshiping the living God, that is Man. By that he brought the whole
world so near, made it so pleasant a family bound in a fraternal tie.
“Universal love was the core of the religions of man,” Swami
Vivekananda said. Further, his tender heart bled for the teeming poor
millions. He preferred serving the unfortunate lot and came in close
touch with the masses of India. He inspired the whole of India, touching
the whole country from Kashmir to Kanya Kumari and everywhere
emphatically said the same thing.
His image of India mirrored the deep love, the vision, the wisdom of
the spiritual Guru of millions. It also ranked him as a prophet of New
He once said that India would be raised, not with the power of the
flesh, but with the power of the spirit, not with the flag of
destruction, but with the flag of peace and love the garb of the
Sannyasin, not by the power of wealth, but by the power of begging bowl.
Talking about the great role of Swami Vivekananda, the former President
of India late Dr S Radhakrishnan once said,’ It is not merely the people
of India that require Swami Vivekananda's message.
The whole world today is passing through a crucible of doubt.
Everywhere there is conflict between faith and doubt. Conviction on one
side and the lack of conviction as the other. Throughout the world the
people are having these problems. As such, human beings should adopt a
religion for social transformation.
Indeed, as a Prince of Patriots Swami Vivekananda insisted on
Character building and man made education combined with high degree of
discipline, strength of mind, physical and spiritual. To him, love for
the motherland was the first commandment, religion came next.
He raised the status of man by calling him, a child of immortal
bliss, trials and tribulations, sufferings and setbacks, success and
failure, doubts and despondency, disappointment and despair have never
made him siverve from the path of righteousness and truth.
He devoted and dedicated his energy to build a new nation on the
foundation of strength, equality of human beings are the universal
religions of tolerance. He taught the higher truths through delightful
parables and illuminating illustrations that solved the problems in an
astonishingly simple way.
Good looking, ever smiling and the soul of wit and wisdom he
attracted to himself all manner of people – men and women, young and
old, scientists and nationalits, intellectuals and philosophers, pandits
and traditionalists, ascetics and social reformers, dramatists and
Indeed, Swami Vivekananda's compassion knew no bounds. He taught the
service of God through man. He spoke of many things, but the one
constant refrain of his speech and writings were “Abhay – be fearless,
be strong”. Undoubtedly, he was energy personified and action was his
message to men.
Aadippoora Mahotsavam of Mayurapathy Bathrakali Amman Temple
The 25th years Aadippoora Mahotsavam of Mayurapathy Bathrakali Amman
Devasthanam Wellawatte, Colombo – 6 which commenced on July 23 will
conclude with water-cutting ceremony at the sea (Charlemont Road Beach).
Further in one of his poems T S Eliot has described the predicament
of man who with all the progress and success made in science and
technology finds that endless inventions and experiments bring us
knowledge of motion, but not of stillness. Knowledge of words and not of
the word. Lord Shiva without Sakthi is all stillness since it is Shakthi
which stirs him to motion and speech.
Shiva is the word and it is Shakthi which moves him to words. The
union between them is represented by the image of Shiva as
“Arthanariswaran”, half man and half woman. Further, Shakthi herself
takes different forms, sometimes, she is stern and formidable.
Infact, of the many Gods in the Hindu Pantheon, none if reversed more
than mother Goddess, she is Parvathy, Durgai, and Kali. Indeed, the
compassion a mother shows not only to his Children, but also to the
community has no parallel.
In the religious parlance the ‘Divine mother’ is termed as the
extraordinary intermediary who pleads with God to show mercy to a real
penitent when he may not be inclined to do so in view of the enormity of
Indeed, the Hindu temples are intended to instruct men in the art of
removing the veil of attachment that covers their heads. Thus the
renowned Poet “Thiyagarajah” cried in the temple at “Thirupathi” Remove
the Veil, O! Remove the veil of attachment, the veil of pride and
The temples are the centres of discipline where the aspirant is
guided step by step to attain a vision of the truth.
They are the schools for the training of the spirit, the promotes of
They are meant for the testing of the values of life and inducing men
to believe that the physical frame in which he lives is itself the House
of God. In Hinduism, the Supreme Lord is represented by Maheswara and
his power is represented by his consort Shakthi, Devi Durgai and Kali.
Just as the husband and wife take care of the families so does Shiva
and Shakthi look after the affairs of the universe. Shakthi is the
embodiment of power and she is the supreme power by which the world is
made to function.
The Colombo Mayurapathy Bathrakali Amman Temple is a miraculous
temple and several devotees of this temple have been cured of their
sickness. Even the President Mahinda Rajapaksa has visited this temple
as several occasions to receive the divine blessings of Bathrakali
The late Pon Vallipuram who was the Chief Trustee of this temple
built “Chithira Thera” “Pancharatham” with the financial contributions
of several philanthropists, devotees and well-wishers. Today, this
temple has a wedding hall, a hall for cultural activities and an
“Araneri” school for the benefit of the Hindu students.
During the Chariot festival the statue of Goddess Bathrakali is
decorated and illuminated and taken alms the streets in chariot followed
by Poojas, Bhajans and Archanai by devotees. The chariot is pulled by
ropes by thousands of devotees with no racial differences where the rich
and the poor mingle shoulders to shoulders, sweating together in pulling
the body politics of the divine state, giving the Lord a chance to
witness the peaceful progress that the community has made, clustering
around the temple where the Goddess preside.
Furthermore, in the tradition of the Hindu literature, the “Chariot”
or “Ther” is the replica of the human body. The duty in the sanctum or
as the chariot reminds use of the truth that God is seated in the heart
of each individual. In fact, the Gopuram in the temple with their
marvellous decorations and motifs denote man's aspiration to “Godhood”.
Deities are taken and from the temple decorated and mounted on
Vahanas or vehicles like the horse, elephant etc, for two reasons. The
first is to help even those who are unable to
visit the temple and secondly to show the Maker of all creations.
In fact, the chariot which represents our body is yoked to four
horses (the sense organs) wherein the individual sits, dejected and
despondent, driven by the intellect which the mind guides the horses.
The horses represent human passions and the reins symbolise the
necessity of restraining and guiding the passions.
The journey of the charist through the streets is an emblem of the
progress of life and the lessor is that throughout his life one must
control and guide the passions with the help of the soul. These passions
are the driving force of life, but unguided will wreck a man's life.
This is the symbolic meaning of the chariot or their festival.
Indeed, to a world lost in error and weighed down by forces of
darkness of ignorance and arrogance, conflicts and contradictions,
trials and tribulations, let us worship Mayurapathy Bathrakali Amman at
Wellawatte, Colombo – 6 and utter Her pure name and contemplate and
surrender ourselves at Her lotus feet for the progress and success of
our lives and also for the everlasting peace, eternal prosperity, racial
harmony, unity, amity and sanity.