Vedda priest of Saiva temple murdered in Chella Kathirkaamam

[TamilNet, Sunday, 09 June 2013, 23:46 GMT]
70-year-old, Rajapaksa Mudiyansalage Premadasa of the aborigine Vedda culture, and the chief folk priest (Kapuraala) of the Siva temple at Va’l’li Kukai cave in Chella Kathirkaamam, was hacked to death by unknown assailants in the jungle area near the temple on last Tuesday night. The killing took place amidst the currently on-going drive against Saiva temples in the country of Eezham Tamils occupied by the Sinhala-Buddhist State in the island. The Vedda aborigines are either Tamil-speaking or Sinhala-speaking, depending on the territories they live in. The Kapuraala tradition of them worshipping Saiva deities Murukan, Siva etc., is a unique strain of religion in the island. Sinhala-Buddhist priests spearheading colonisation marginalising the Veddas and erasing out their culture have gone on record in the past several decades.

A considerable number of folk Saiva temples in the East are officiated either by Vedda priests or priests coming from that Kapuraala tradition.

In sharp contrast to Brahmin priests and Buddhist monks chanting Mantras, the Vedda priests tie their mouth by a piece of white cloth and perform rituals in absolute silence.

According to the myth related to the famous Murukan temple of Kathirkaamam (Kataragama), God Murukan, displeased with both Tamils as well as Sinhalese has assigned the right to worship him to the Veddas.

During the times of the Kandyan Kingdom, even the protection and custodianship of the Sacred Bo Tree at Anuradhapura, then ruined and forested, was vested with the Veddas. Until recent times the Kapuraalas, seated under the Bo Tree with a picture of God Murukan, were seen giving Veepoothi (sacred ash) and tying sacred threads on the wrists of pilgrims coming to the Buddhist sacred place.

Today’s Buddhism backed by an exclusive Sinhala military operates not only against the places of worship of Brahmanical Hinduism, Islam and Christianity, but also against the folk religions.

A unique Tamil folk temple for a collective deity called Kooddaththaar located in I’lavaalai in Jaffna, in the so-called High Security Zone occupied by the Sinhala military for two decades, was found with its rare bronze idol sawed off when people went back last year.

Killing priests of Saiva temples was carried out in Sinhala military occupied Jaffna itself, as part of a terrorisation campaign after the genocidal war.

Attacks on religious places of Tamil-speaking people, appropriation of their lands by the occupying military, building of Buddhist monuments throughout the country of Eezham Tamils where there are no Buddhists and colonisation by bringing in Sinhalese have become a daily routine of structural genocide just like the mass killings were a daily routine during the last months of the genocidal war.

Meanwhile, India’s BJP, RSS, Shiv Sena team led by Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad met Sri Lanka’s public relations minister Mervin Silva on Friday and discussed building religious relationship, press reports said. Mahinda Rajapaksa presiding over genocidal Colombo was recently invited by BJP Establishment ruling the State of Madhya Pradesh to open a Buddhist University.

Kathirkaamam, a major pilgrim centre for Saivites in the island, attended by Sinhalese too, has become almost exclusively Buddhicised in the recent decades, discouraging Saivites attending the temple.

Chella Kathirkaamam, which according to myths, said to be the place of Va'l'li, the consort of God Murukan, is located a few kilometres away from the Kathirkaamam temple.

Even after the Buddhicisation of Kathirkaamam, Chella Kathirkaamam remained as a centre, frequented largely by Saiva pilgrims.

The Kapuraala priest, Rajapaksa Mudiyansalage Premadasa, killed in Chella Kathirkaamam last Tuesday is survived by his son who is also a Kapuraala at the Siva temple.

Mudiyansalage is a title held by Vedda chieftains. It is related to the term Mudiyanse in Sinhala, meaning a Mudaliyar/ Muthaliyaar (native chieftain). It is also related to terms such as Muthun and Muthunmuththo in Sinhala, meaning elders, ancestors etc., and to Moothi and Muthiyoan in Tamil. All the terms are of Dravidian origin.

The word Vedda itself, which is a cognate of Veadar in Tamil and means pursuers or hunters, is taken as a word of Dravidian etymology (Dravidian Etymological Dictionary, 5527).


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