Likes and Dislikes become Rights and Wrongs when we use our discriminative thinking. Rights and Wrongs become Paavam/Sins and Punyam / Virtues when they become a natural part of us – our Truth beyond the physical. In other words the two worlds are separated. Sins are in the Underworld of Asuras / Demons and Virtues come with those of us going to the Kingdom of Heaven.
l by Gaja Lakshmi Paramasivam
(November 14, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) I read with interest, the article ‘The Struggle: Spirituality and the Tamil Nation’, by Mr. Nadesan Satyendra. I was happy to identify with our cultural commonness in relation to Lord Muruga’s Mango story and Maha Bharatham, the values of which are now being shared through our work in remote parts of Northern Sri Lanka.
Mr. Satyendra quotes Kittu, who was very much part of the LTTE “Annai, in the Maha Bharatham, it was Karnan who truly knew his duty. He was stead fast in his commitment to his friend Duryodhana – he had no doubts about his ‘Nanri Kadan’ and in the end Karnan willingly gave away all his ‘punyam’, knowing that by doing so, he would die. Karnan knew well his dharma – he did not need a ‘Upadesam’ to clarify his doubts – and so, in the Maha Bharatham, there is no ‘Gita Upadesam’ for Karnan.”
In Mahabharatham, Karnan was born through celestial powers to Princess Kunthi before Kunthi was married. Kunthi was also the mother of the five Pandavas who led the Good-side in the Great War. Out of the five Pandavas – Arjuna was the Chosen One for Lord Krishna’s medium to educate us – the People. It was NOT Dharma – the academic nor Bheema the physical ‘doer’. Karnan was Arjuna’s parallel but without the status due to being born before Kunti was married. In this regard, I see, the LTTE of which Kittu was very much a part, as the parallel of Karnan.
To me it is interesting that Kittu naturally identifies with Karnan. Someone close Vanni area, living in Northern Sri Lanka also said to me that he identified with Karnan more than any other hero in Maha Bharatham. This person is also a strong supporter of the Tigers and also fathered a child before marriage.
If as Kittu said, he identified with Karnan, then the question arises as to who Thuriyothanan – the leader of the Bad side and also the cousin of Pandavas was? Directly applied – Thuriyothanan would then be Velupillai Prabhakaran – VP? Who are then the Pandavas? – Tamil politicians who were denied their leadership by the LTTE. The ‘right’ fit as per Kittu’s own natural identification of himself as Karnan says that he was with VP – his cousin due to ‘ Nanri Kadan’ – Debt of Gratitude.
Most LTTE carder known to me felt this towards VP. To my mind, LTTE became a powerful armed force due to the hierarchical structures which helped bring about dignity of work to those who felt disenfranchised and/or unjustly discriminated against. Mr. Satyendra says in this regard ‘The struggle becomes linked with the expatriate Tamil’s own present need to live with dignity (in Tamil we say ‘thanmaanam’).’ LTTE Tamils were able to respect and value each other’s work through their military structures. The fact that like Karnan, they demonstrated cleverness and discipline with each other, confirms that they had the warrior / Shatriya genes in them. That is like getting the grades to qualify as an academic or professional. But being that class in practice is confirmed through one’s cultural-conduct (Pannpu in Tamil). One with PhD qualifications with little respect for Research is merely a teacher or worse custodian of paper qualification only. Similarly, a soldier who fails to protect the people against unjust actions, is merely a fighter. Protecting / Defending the People and their work – is built into the lawful structures of Governance. In the case of Tamils of Sri Lanka, we had this through our Thesawalamai and Mukuwa laws, in addition to the Roman Dutch Law and the English Law. These structures helped give ‘form’ to both sides of the work – costs and benefits; rights and wrongs. Like the laws of marriage – that render status to children of the marriage – the outcomes of the work done by us are given status through the laws. The authority to apply the laws and deliver judgment is as per the status. To the extent, the LTTE judged as per its status only those within its structures, they were upholding Dharma / Righteousness. To the extent they damaged the work others by judging those who genuinely earned status above themselves ( most of the politicians killed by the LTTE were above them in civil issues ) they damaged their own opportunity to step into those positions truly earned by those Tamils. It is towards preventing such damage through hasty acquisition of authority – that we have laws and official structures that lead us to the bigger picture. Illegitimate children/rebel armies – do not have this protection. In a hierarchical system which was practiced by the Government of Karnan’s times and the LTTE of our times, birth makes all the difference to whether they have the status to judge or not. They are born with or without status as per their past karma. If we took Karnan out of the group and saw him as an island – identified with him through his qualities without relating to anyone else or a position – that would be fine for us to know the Truth about ourselves. But if we then put Karnan back into Maha Bharatham structure which has high status beyond our local circles – then we would end up concluding that our side – the LTTE side in this instance was the bad side – the side Karnan was with!
Kittu said that Karnan gave away all his punyam/virtues. Neither Paavam (Sin) nor Puniyam (Virtue) could be given away. They are both shared. At the physical level – without any particular rule or law – we take and give as per our likes and dislikes. This to my mind, is the way of animal world. This would work harmoniously if our tastes were different and therefore our likes or dislikes did not clash. The problem with this is that we would tend to produce what we like – beyond our needs. Mr. Satyendra says in this regard ‘On the other hand, action divorced from theory, is a mindless reaction which, sooner rather than later, ends in the dead end of frustrated endeavour.’
I interpret this as : ‘If we produce beyond our needs and do not market our produce to outsiders, there would be no takers and hence we hoard and feel frustrated that there is no demand for our produce.’
Karnan liked to fight to win. Winning beyond our need would lead to hoarding and frustration. If the excess is taken beyond our physical borders, they would go without the protection of our local system. If they are damaged in that wider world, we lose confidence at home. This is currently happening to most Sri Lankans.
To prevent this we have laws that tell us rights and wrongs. These rights and wrongs need to cover our whole world – for us to feel ‘secure’ by staying on the ‘right’ side. Karnan did not have the protection of the position and therefore of the laws, to regulate his production of wins, like his ancestors before him did. Karnan did not have the path through which he could connect to his real ancestors. Likewise, the LTTE. Karnan was however, born with the Sun god’s armor / life-jacket/kavasam which protected him from death. It’s parallel for the LTTE was the support of Intellectual Tamils including the likes of Mr. Nadesan Satyendra. Sun represents the intellect and moon represents the mind. These intellectuals included as part of themselves, the LTTE, without isolating them.
Karnan was known for his generosity. Karnan donated/gave anyone who ‘asked’. Giving money without discriminative thinking, needs to be limited to our identity with the common need. Those who give beyond that need, need to know that it is ‘right’ as per the laws and rules of that activity, if they are to prevent hoarding followed by wastage and frustration. Without those laws, rules and discriminative thinking, we risk hoarding popularity (a weakness of the LTTE also) by doing something beyond common need. It is like academics publishing books beyond the common needs of their readers and themselves.
Just before the Big Battle of Gurushetram started – Indran – the King of Divine World / Angels and also Arjuna’s father – disguised himself as a Brahmin and asked Karnan for the Kavasam/Life-Jacket as alms. Karnan gave it despite knowing that it was Indran who had come in the disguise of Brahmin. As per knowledge based discrimination – Indran was not entitled to that and Karnan was wrong in giving the Kavasam / Protection away, without the approval of his father – Sun god. Foreigners led by Norway and the UN (Angels who do not show ground reality and therefore do not have rigid rules for grades) who went physically to LTTE area – were the parallels of Indran in disguise. They ‘took over’ the Intellectual Tamil Shield/Life-Jacket from the LTTE – by sharing their credit of global status, with the LTTE through their mere presence. The influencing factor in both cases is the desire to produce ‘wins’ through charity. The wins that LTTE had were NOT theirs to give away. Their wins came from the wider world due to their Intellectual fathers without whom they would have been merely a local armed group. Those close to the LTTE are now being labeled ‘welfare groups.’
Even though Karnan gave away all this wealth and thus allowed himself to be defeated in the battlefield, he was still mentally ‘attached’ to his wins / credits through charity. It is customary amongst those who follow old Tamil traditions to place some ‘coins’ in water and then feeding a dying person to release her/him from attachment to money. I learnt this when an elderly relative was struggling between life and death. Then another lady relative told me about this ‘money dissolving and pouring’ ceremony to detach and free the person. I was able to identify this ‘attachment’ in that elderly relative – not to money – but to children. Soon I had the opportunity to be alone with him and then I whispered in his ear saying he had lived a good life and asked him to go peacefully and come back again. The elderly gentleman passed away just before his children returned to the room. I felt, that I, who considered myself to be his child connecting him to society whose power helped him release himself. Children release their parents through funeral ceremonies for this reason. Those ceremonies and mantras help invoke ancestral powers through the vertical system. These ceremonies at the physical level, without deeper feelings or belief have little value when seen from one side. When we connect to the departing through our true strengths of Independence, we release their soul for the next stage in their journey.
As per my interpretation of Kanran’s actions, Karnan was suffering from mental attachment to his credits through Charity/Donations. Hence he was lingering on and suffering after he was wounded. Krishna went in the guise of Brahmin and asked for Karnan’s ‘credits’ to be donated to the Lord / to society. That was needed to be done by Karnan to free himself from the credits and debits of his environment during that birth. The Head of that Royal Family – Bhishmar himself lay on a bed of arrows to bleed off his wrongs by being part of the side that was doing wrong. Bhishmar saw Arjuna as the ‘right’ side of the family. To match the right side – the wrong side needed to be elevated to the higher level – to complete the bigger picture. Towards this they needed the status of Bhishmar who like Tamil Intellectuals including politicians remained silent when Pandavas were unjustly cheated, judged and punished.
Likes and Dislikes become Rights and Wrongs when we use our discriminative thinking. Rights and Wrongs become Paavam/Sins and Punyam / Virtues when they become a natural part of us – our Truth beyond the physical. In other words the two worlds are separated. Sins are in the Underworld of Asuras / Demons and Virtues come with those of us going to the Kingdom of Heaven. Unless the consequences of our actions are redeemed before they get to the last stage – the essence of it comes with us into our next life. Krishna the highest human present at that time and place, helped Karnan convert his mental credits through generous charity / philanthropy into Punyam. Wise Tamils who take on the mental credits of the LTTE are thus converting the LTTE credits into Governance Punyam/Virtue.
Mr. Satyendra quotes Kittu ‘Karnan knew well his dharma – he did not need a ‘Upadesam’ to clarify his doubts – and so, in the Maha Bharatham, there is no ‘Gita Upadesam’ for Karnan.”’
Karnan did receive the Upedesam / Preaching he needed. It was given in action due to the Grace of Krishna. Karnan was too proud to ask. Arjuna was humble and continued to be hungry for Krishna’s words of Wisdom. All of us who use our intellect and also act physically, in the conscious of the needs of all members of our world, are Arjunas.
Mr. Satyendra says in this regard, using Hindu Deities – ‘And, it is in this way that Tamil children have come to learn, whilst seated, on their mothers knees, something about the dialectical reality that theory is a practical thing – and that the inside and the outside go together. We need both Ganapathy and Murugan.’
Ganesh believed that his parents were His world and therefore did not need to do much physical work. That is the intellectual/academic path. Murugan went around the world on a peacock and completed the physical observation from above – independent of the two sides of physical outcomes. Murugan did not possess. He observed from above and did a full circle – i.e. observed both sides from above the level at which the outcomes happened. Hence Murugan is known as the Commander of Divine forces./Thevar Senaathipathi. This is why Murugan is on Hilltops. LTTE did not follow the path of Ganesh. They got rid of their elders and started from zero base. To lead like Murugan they need to have equanimity of mind in defeat and victory. Those Tamils who are able to accept the LTTE defeat as costs and use their own determination and forbearance to convert those costs into investments – are the Murugans of our Tamil Community.