Jainism: An ancient religion which teaches the way to liberation and bliss to live lives of harmlessness and renunciation

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

“Oh soul,
you worry too much.
You have seen your own strength.
You have seen your own beauty.
You have seen your golden wings.
Of anything less,
why do you worry?
You are in truth
the soul, of the soul, of the soul.” ~Jalal ad-Din Rumi, (Persian Poet and Mystic), (1207-1273)

Jainism is an ancient religion of India. Most Jains live in India, and according to the 2001 Census of India there are around 4.2 million living there.

According to community estimates and Jain leaders there are 6 million to 8 million Jains in the world. About 100,000 live in North America, including 4,000 in the Bay Area in San Francisco, Northern California.

The Jains worship 24 Tirthankaras. They are seen as the ideal of perfection that the Tirthankaras have achieved. 24 Tirthankaras are as follows:

Adinatha, Ajita, Sambhava, Abhinandana, Sumati, Padmaprabha, Suparshva, Chandraprabha, Suvidhi, Shital, Shreyansa, Vasupujya, Vimala, Ananta, Dharma, Shanti, Kunthu, Ara, Malli, Muni Suvrata, Nami, Nemi, Parshva and Mahavir.

The Jain Center of Northern California (JCNC) was founded in 1973 with 20 families and now it has a membership of more than 600 families from the Bay Area in San Francisco. And the Jain Center of Northern California (JCNC) was built in 2000.

The architecturally designed Jain Center of Northern California sits in Silicon Valley. The authentic center attracts many Jain worshippers.

Temple worship is of more importance to lay Jains than to Jain monks and nuns


Fasting purifies the body and mind

A view of the temple in the City of Miltipas

White Marble structure at the main entrance of the temple in the City of Miltipas

Usually the worshipper makes eight symbolic offerings to the image of a Tirthankara

Offerings are made in the main shrine hall of the temple

Jains believe that the universe has always existed and will always exist

Pavapuri Tirth

Girnarji Tirth

Ranakpur Tirth

Shatrunjay Tirth

Jainism is a religion of equality

Jains believe that the soul exists forever

Jain Principles make worship both unnecessary and futile

Jains worship the icons of Jinas,Arihants and Tirthankars who have conquered the inner passions and attained divine consciousness, and study the scriptures of these liberated beings

Jainism encourages non-violence,peace and harmony

Jains must be vegetarians

There have been 24 Tirthankaras

The philosophy and practice of Jainism emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation

Lord Mahavir found enlightenment after 13 years of renunciation, and soon made 11 converts at the age o 30

Lord Mahavir is regarded as the man who gave Jainism its present-day form

Every worshipper says “nisihi” while entering the temple. This means “giving up” and indicates that they are moving from the secular activities into spiritual ones

An array of deities

Jains believe that to attain enlightenment and ultimately liberation, one must practice the ethical principles such as non-violence, truthfulness,non-stealing,celibacy and non-possession or non-materialism

An image of Lord Mahavir

Worshippers in the main shrine hall

A kind notice to the devotees

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Sri Krishna Jayanthi: Spread the Melody of LOVE

By Dushiyanthini Kanagabapathipillai

“Share our similarities, celebrate our differences” ~ Morgan Scott Peck,American Psychiatrist and best-selling author,( May 1936 –September 2005)

Sri Krishna Jayanthi was celebrated on 1st of September 2010 with pomp and splendor.

Lord Krishna was born to King Vasudevan and Devaki. Lord Krishna was born on Rohini star during the Tamil month of Aavani. Sri Krishna is considered as the eighth avatar (incarnation) of Lord Vishnu’s. It is also known as “Krishnashtami”,”Saatam Aatham” ,”Gokulashtami”, “Ashtami Rohini”, “Sri Jayanthi” or sometimes merely as “Janmashtami”.

Special celebrations were held at Arulmigu Sri Venkadeswara Mahavishnumoorthy Devasthaanam in Nedimala-Dehiwala. Special poojas were held to mark the occasion. Devotees sang devotional songs praising the Lord Krishna.

The two days long festival ended with Uriyadi Utsavam on 2nd of September 2010.

Many devotees who gathered to celebrate the birthday of Lord Krishna spent the night at the temple and witnessed the rare event of Uriyadi Utsavam. Lord Krishna’s birthday was observed with fasting and feasting.

Instrumental ~ Violin ~ Alaipayuthey ~ by Dr. Kunnakudi Vaidhyanathan & Slide show featuring Krishna Jayanthi clebrations at Sri Venkadeswara Mahavishnumoorthy Devasthaanam in Nedimala-Dehiwala

Other Lord Krishna melodies in Violin by by Dr. Kunnakudi Vaidhyanathan:

Krishna Mukunda

Krishna Nee Begane

New born Baby Krishna is bathed and adorned with new cloth,fresh flowers and Gold jewelleries

Selected shades are used for the sculptures

Devotees believe Lord Krishna is the ultimate savior

Thaalaattu is being sung to put the Baby Krishna to a beautiful sleep at midnight

The whole temple is decorated for the celebration

He was born on a dark and stormy night

Traditional decorations around the temple

Lord Krishna can be regarded as a lover,friend,divine guru or even one’s own child

Conch is a symbol of existence

Sri Krishna Jayanthi is a promising day to start a new relationship or to strengthen the existing one

Priests carry out a special prayer

On September 1st,the planet of romance Venus comes out of its debilitation sign Virgo, and enters Libra, which rules beauty and harmony

Tumeric shower for the just born baby

The history of Janmashtmi dates back to thousand years

Pure Milk shower is being offered to the Baby Krishna

Lord Sivalingam at Arulmigu Sri Venkadeswara Mahavishnumoorthy Devasthaanam in Nedimala-Dehiwala

Cool shower for the Baby Krishna

Rows of conch are purified and decorated

Milk Rice is being offered

He is the darling of the gopis (cowherd maidens) who are charmed by the melody of his flute

He is considered to be the Lord’s most glorious incarnations

Devotees observe this day as a day of fortune

This transit augurs well for attracting loving relationships

Kumbam is being taken on a parade

Sacred water is being poured on Lord Krishna from the main Kumbam and Valampuri Sanku

Worshipers pray Dhanvantari seeking his blessings for sound health

The Chief Priest of Arulmigu Sri Venkadeswara Mhavishnumoorthy Devasthaanam Somaskantha Chandrakantha Kurukkal performs the special pooja

Dramatic enactments of the life of Krishna are depicted in many scupltures

Religious parade in the night

Devotees gathered in large numbers for the festival

Lord Krishna rides the chariot for Prince Arjunan during the Kurushethra war

Festive look and devotional mood are set

Celebrations are extremely colourful

Sculpture of Srisakkaraththaazhvaar

Valampuri Sanku (Valampuri Conch) is set in a Kumbam

The day is treated as one of great rejoicing

Idols of Lord Raamar,Seetha and Lakshmanan

According to Hindu legends Lord Krishna has taken birth in the jail where his atrocious maternal uncle Kansa was keeping his parents in prison

Lord Krishna’s enchanting form with flute in hand is worshipped in myriads at homes and temples

Decorated deity of Sri Venkadeswara Mahavishnu at sanctum at Arulmigu Sri Venkadeswara Mahavishnumoorthy Devasthaanam in Nedimala-Dehiwala

Aathi Naaraayana Perumal

Beautifully decorated Lord Krishna sits in the Vansantha Mandapam

Worshiping Lord Krishna brings perfect harmony

Idol of Lord Krishna is covered with incense smoke

Mahavishnu and Mahalakshmi

Wooden carved Chariot

Lord Krishna is the source of joy

Traditional musicians continue to play for the ceremony

Several sages and seers have paid homage to Lord Krishna

Ghee lamps are lit

Special Sandalwood dress for Paarvathy Ammaiyaar

According to the Hindu legends Lord Krishna saves the good people from the evil

Many Saint have sung glorious verses in praise of Lord Krishna

“Marunththu” is a special item made and shared with the devotees on this special day

An array of beautiful sculpture

An earthen pot of fresh curd hangs on a branch of Banyan tree

An idol of Lord Iyappan

Lord Krishna loves milk and milk products

Baby cots hang on Banyan tree which are vows by the devotees

The Vedic scriptures depict Lord Krishna as playing multiple roles during different phases of his life

Sweet sculptures of Pathmaavathy Kalyaanam

Krishaan Karunakaran who pretended to be the Lord Krishna managed to hit the earthern pot of fresh curd

Cute sculptures add colour to the temple

Lord Krishna performed many divine sports (Leelai) as a child

Lovely line of birds at dawn in Nedimala-Dehiwala

Baby Krishna is in a beautiful flower cradle at midnight

Lord Krishna is a provider of courage, hope, knowledge, intellect and devotion

Snakes were seen as entities of strength and renewal in cultures and religion

Krishaan Karunakaran is being polished with fresh curd on his cheeks

Broken earthen pot

Fresh curd spilled over on the temple ground

Lord Krishna is known for his bravery in destroying evil powers throughout his life

Beautiful sculptures depicting Sri Lakshmi Kalyaanam

Lord Krishna represents a person of perfection

Lord Krishna was the unchallenged hero of his times

Lord Krishna is known for his mischievous nature

“Krishnaism” consider Lord Krishna to be “Svayam Bhagavan” or the Supreme Being

“I am very happy to be dressed as Lord Krishna and hitting an earthernpot of fresh curd” says Krishaan Karunakaran (9)

The Moon which represents the mind and emotions is exalted in the Rohini star

Prasaatham is being shared with the devotees

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HumanityAshore.org ~ Email: dushi.pillai@gmail.com

“Noothana Prathishda Maha Kumbabishekam” at Naattukkottai Nagaraththaar Srikathirvelaayuthaswamy temple

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasbapathipillai

“A woman whom we truly love is a religion” – Anonymous

Three new deities namely Lord Murugan, Goddess Valliyammai and Goddess Theivayaanai have been installed at Naattukkottai Nagaraththaar Srikathirvelaayuthaswamy temple recently.

Instrumental: Slide show featuring Thullumadhavetkai (Thirupugazh) Nadhaswaram ~ by Sheik Chinnamoulana

“Noothana Prathishda Maha Kumbabishekam”- a ceremony to officially install the new deities took place at Naattukkottai Nagaraththaar Srikathirvelaayuthaswamy temple on 29th of August 2010.

A large number of devotees attended the ceremony.

Audio: Instrumental ~ Thullumadhavetkai (Thirupugazh) Nadhaswaram ~ by Sheik Chinnamoulana

Anointing of oil to the three new devotees took place on 28th of august 2010. The devotees thronged the temple to take part in the religious rituals. It is a very rare occasion for the devotees to enter the place where the deities are placed permanently.

The temple is usually dedicated to one primary deity, the presiding deity, and other subordinate deities associated with the main deity

The Hindus believe that one must go through several births and rebirths before attaining liberation

Yaagasaalai is decorated for the ceremony

Anointment is freely practiced in Hindu beliefs

There were more than 850 million Hindus worldwide in the early 21st century

Temple carvings in Bambalapitty

Many Gods and Goddesses are worshiped by the Hindus

Granite Idols are soaked in Gingelly oil

A Silver Kumbam is kept permanently on top of the newly built shrine for Lord Murugan,Goddess Valliyammai and Goddess Theivayaanai

A devotee anoints oil to the deities

Hinduism is based on the Eternal Truth

Lord Murugan with his consorts Goddesses Valliyammai and Theivayaanai

Fire has a very prominent place among the Hindus

Hindu worship involves all five senses of touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing

Hindus consider light, fire, earth, air and water are the five basic elements

Lotus petals are being showered by the priests

Final Pooja is being held before the parade

The Kumbam bearer is being prepared

The new deities stand in a row

An Ash Pumpkin is cut into two pieces to chase the ill evils

Kumbam symbolises prosperity

According to the Vedham states that the world, its beings and the souls originated from water during creation and disappear in water during destruction

May you feel a garland of blessings surrounding you with beauty

Kumbam is being taken on a parade

Temple torch is called “Theevatti”, which is usually carried in front of the procession

Special Poojas will be held for 40 days

“OM” is a solemn and sacred exclamation

The traditional musicians accompany the Kumbam

A torch bearer for the ceremony

The main Kumbam is being carried by Ratnasabapathy Sasithara Sharma

Temple worship plays and important role in cultivating the spiritualism in people

A view from the main entrance

The Chief priest of Naattukkottai Nagaraththaar Srikathirvelaayuthaswamy temple Nagarajah Kurukkal pours the purified water on the newly built shrine for Lord Murugan and Goddess Valliyammai and Theivayaanai

Panchchaararthy is being offered

Purified water from the Kumbam is being poured on the new deities by the Chief Priest of Naattukkottai Nagaraththaar Srikathirvelaayuthaswamy temple Nagarajah Kurukkal

Sacred Kumba water is being shared with the devotees

Panchchaararthy is being offered

A crow sits quietly on the Kopuram

According to Indus civilization theory Lord Murugan worship is many thousand years old

Colouful sculptures inside the temple

A cow is decorated for the ceremony

Prasaatham-Sacred Food or Gracious Gift to the devotees

Newly built shrine for Lord Murugan and Goddess Valliyammai and Goddess Theivayaanai

Garland makers are seen busy in Bambalapitty

Boiled and light fried Chick Pea is kept to be shared with the devotees after the offering

Devotees view the newly installed deities on the mirror

Newly installed deities soon after the special religious rituals are over

Graffiti on a temple wall

Sweet rice is kept to be shared with the devotees after the offering

Lord Vinayagar is decorated in the sanctum

“I have been working as a garland maker for 10 years. And, I enjoy making garlands or all deities” says Pragalaathan Dileepkumar (28)

Sour Rice is kept to be shared with the devotees after the offering

A view of a garland shop in Bambalapitty

Main bell tolls

Beautifully decorated Lord Murugan and Goddess Valliyammai and Goddess Theivayaanai

Devotees queue up to get their share

A view of Sammaankodu Sri Maanikka Vinayagar temple from Naattukkottai Nagaraththaar Srikathirvelaayuthaswmay temple

Banyan tree at Naattukkottai Nagaraththaar Srikathirvelaayuthaswmay temple.It is also known as கணவம் or அரச மரம் in Tamil

Devotees flock to view the new deities

Prasaatham is being distributed to the devotees
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HumanityAshore.org ~ Email: dushi.pillai@gmail.com

Lord Krishna’s divinity in everything from a crow’s feathers to the branding fire

Sri Krishna Jayanthi is being celebrated today. Vishnu temples in Sri Lanka conduct special poojas to mark the occasion.

The festival Sri Krishna Jayanti is also known as Gokulashtami and Janmashtami.

Sri Krishna is Lord Vishnu’s eighth avatar (incarnation) on earth. He is considered to be the Lord’s most glorious incarnations.

Lord Sri Krishna was born on the ‘Rohini’ natshatram (star) on Ashtami day.

Sri Krishna Jayanti marks the celebration of the birth of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. [from twitter pages Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai]

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Marking Sri Krishna Jayanti with Nhakavi Subramaniya Bharathiyar’s “Nanthalala” ~ Where the Poet experiences Lord Krishna’s divinity in everything from a crow’s feathers to the branding fire.

Here is a collection featuring ~ 14 compositions, as Vocal and instrumental – out of the scores of musicians who have rendered this song:

Pithukulli Murugadas

Aruna Sayeeram

Bombay Sisters

Bombay Jayshree

K.J. Jesudas ~ I

K.J. Jesudas ~ II

Rajkumar Bharathi

Rajasekharan & Roopa

Sujatha

P. Unnrishnan ~ I

P. Unnikrishnan II

Instrumental ~ Veena: Rajhesh Vaidhya

Instrumental ~ Saxaphone: Kadri Gopalnath

Instrumental ~ Mandolin U. Srinivas

Mahakavi Bharathiyar, in Nallur, Jaffna

Mahakavi Bharathiyar, in Nallur, Jaffna ~ Pic by: Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

A translation of the song:

crow feathers therein – nanthalala
thy ebony hue beholds – nanthalala

trees around seeing – nanthalala
thy green glows – nanthalala

sonance heard all – nantahala
thy poesy arias – nanthalala

finger midst aflame – nanthalala
pleasures savor thee – nanthalala

Visual Reponses During the War: Selected Works of Artists

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

“In peace prepare for war, in war prepare for peace. The art of war is of vital importance to state. It is matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence under no circumstances can it be neglected”~ Sun Tzu , Chinese Military commander, (722–481 BC or 476–221 BC)

Visual Responses During the War:

Selected Works of Artists Painting,Drawing,Sculpture,Installation and Photography is currently being held at Lionel Wendt Gallery&Harold Pieris Gallery in Colombo. The exhibition will remain open from 28th of August 2010 till 31st of August 2010.The gallery hours are from 10am to 7pm.

22 artists are participating in the Visual Responses During the War:Selected Works of artists.The exhibition is organised by Vibhavi Academy of Fine Arts.

Participating artists are as follows:

Jagath Weerasinghe, Chandraguptha Thenuwara, Kingsley Gunatillake, Anoma Wijewardene, Muhanned Cader, T. Shanathanan, Kamala Vasuki, G.R. Constantine, Anoma Rajakaruna, T.P.G. Amarajeewa, Sujith Rathnayake, Inoka De Silva, Chammika Jayawardena, Kusal Gunasekara, Anura Krishantha, Vaidehi Rajasingham, Niluka Weerasinghe, Sanath Kalubadana, Prasanna Ranabahu, Bandu Manamperi, Sajeewani Hewavitharana and Kiko.

Artists have responded in various ways – some artists have chosen to respond directly to what was happening before them, while others responded indirectly

When tracing back the history of the responses, it is clear that the pogrom of July 1983 was a critical turning point for many artists

The history of Sri Lankan art turned a new page to respond to this new era and with it came the dawn of a new appreciation and audience

“I have enough guilt to start my own religion”, Acrylic on Paper, 1992-93 by Jagath Weerasinghe

“Barrelism Tourist Map”, Mixed Media, 1997 by Chandraguptha Thenuwara

“War & Culture”, (Detail),Installation, Mixed Media, 2007 by Kingsley Gunatillake

“Quest”, 2006 by Anoma Wijewardene

“Missing”, Etching, 1995 by T.Shanaathanan

“Nightscape”, Oil on Plywood by Muhanned Cader

“Broken Palmyrah”, Acrylic on Board, 1998 by G.R.Constantine

“ My Child is Not For War”, Acrylic on Paper, 2003 by Kamala Vasuki

“Women sharing life building peace”,1998 by Anoma Rajakaruna

After the Town Hall Bomb” ,Photocopy,Photograph, Acrylic Paint, Lace, Board,2000 by Sujith Rathnayake

“Welcome to Eastern Province”, Acrylic on Board, 2000 by T.P.G. Amarajeewa

“The Charming explosion”, Installation, Mixed Media, 2000 by Prasanna Ranabahu

“Camouflage”, Oil on Canvas, 2001 by Chammika Jayawardana

“Woven Boot”, Reeds, 2001 by Kusal Gunasekara

“Wreaths”, Installation, Mixed Media,2004 by Anura Krishantha

“The Instant Nirvana Private Ltd”. Installation, Mixed Media, 2001 by Bandu Manamperi

“Transit- I”, Etching,and “Transit- II”,Mixed media, 2008 by Vaidehi Rajasingham

“Letters”, Mixed Media, 2008 by Inoka De Silva

My Friend in the Corner Stand”, Installation, Mixed Media, 2003 by Sanath Kalubadana

“Camouflage lace”, Mixed Media on embroidery frame,2008 by Sajewani Hewawitharana

“ Stress Wheel Chair”, Oil on Canvas, 2008 by Niluka Weerasinghe

“Ganesh”, Acrylic on Paper, 2004 by Kiko
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