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Thursday, 14 February 2013

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Matale Muththumari Amman Annual Ther Festival

The annual festival of Matale Sri Muththumari Amman Temple commenced last week and the chariot festival will take place on February 25, 2013 followed by water-cutting ceremony.


Matale Sri Muththumari Amman Temple

In fact, the Hindu temples are intended to instruct men in the art of removing the veil of attachment that covers their hearts. 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 hatred.

Temples are the centres of discipline where the aspirant is guided step by step to attain the vision of truth. They are the schools for the training of the spirit. They are meant for the testing of values of life and to awaken the Divinity in humanity 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 Sakthi, Devi, Durgai and Kali. Just as the husband and wife take care of the family so does Shiva and Sakthi look after the affairs of the universe. Sakthi is the embodiment of power. She is the supreme power by which the world is made to function. In one of his poems T S Eliot has described the predicament of man who with all the progress and success he had 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 Sakthi which stirs Him to motion and speech.

Sakthi

Shiva is the word, it is Sakthi which moves Him to words. The union between them is represented by the image of Shiva as "Arthanariswara" half man and half woman. Sakthi herself takes different forms. Sometimes, she is stern and formidable. Furthermore, of the many Gods in Hindu Pantheon, none is revered more than Mother Goddess. She is Parvathy, Durgai and Kali. Indeed, the compassion a mother shows not only to her children, but also to the community has no parallel. In the religious parlance the Divine mother is termed as an extra ordinary 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 his sins.

In fact, the Matale Sri Muththumari Amman Temple is an ancient and historical temple which is worshipped by Buddhists and Hindus alike. Indeed several miracles have taken place in this temple. Once, a woman was robbed of her "Gold Thali" which is considered to be a sacred one during the Chariot festival of this temple. When she lost this gold chain (Thali) she started crying and searched for her Thali everywhere in the massive crowd. But, to her surprise, a young girl appeared before her and handed over the lost "Gold Thali" and suddenly vanished.

Troubled times

Further, during the ethnic disturbances in 1983, this Temple's chariots were burnt down and thereafter with the grace of Sri Muththumari Amman five chariots (Pancharatham) were constructed with tremendous effort and dedication of late Marimuththu Chettiar and members of the Board of Trustees and devotees of this temple.

The five chariots (Pancharatham) carved out of pure silver and laden with Gold Deities, studded with Diamonds, Rubies, Amethyst etc move slowly from the temple surrounded by thousands of Devotees from all parts of Sri Lanka, symbolises peace, communal harmony and prosperity.

Symbol

Furthermore, the chariot symbolises human body and the statue of Sri Muththumari Amman is the soul. In front of the chariot are the wooden horses depicted as galloping and the reins are attached to their mouths and held in the hands of the image of Sri Muththumari Amman. These horses represent human passions and the reins symbolise the necessity of restraining and guiding these passions.

The Journey of the chariot through the streets symbolises the progress of life. This shows that throughout one's life a man must control and guide his passions. These passions are the motive powers, the driving force of life, but unstrained and unguided they will wreck a man's life. This is the symbolic meaning of the chariot festival.

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