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Sunday, 05 June 2016

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Gangaramaya:

A shelter for the flood victims

People talk of wonders today as they did in the past. The legendary Guthtila-Moosila story is as valid today as it was in ancient times. In accepting Moosila's challenge, Guthtila said that he could not play the violin as he did in his prime of life.

 Ven. Galaboda Gnanasara Thera (exploresrilanka.com)

That one should endeavour what one could, is an axiom for all rulers, especially those in Sri Lanka. This was written to me by a villager. When the Portuguese asked for a small space in Colombo, the ignorant islanders gave in without knowing its consequences.

Lesson

How the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British Colonial rulers made every effort to destroy our history and culture is a text book lesson for the young in this country.

The same villager had said that the city of Colombo, a legacy of the Portuguese needed to shift to Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa or Sigiriya, the ancient kingdoms of Sri Lanka. Colombo, a city bereft of all natural resources is literally a desert wherein a nucleus of people with a weak mindset rule the country.

Will there be a future for Colombo after destroying its natural order by cutting and levelling the landscape and reclaiming the sea, is the view of the ordinary people.

Every country after being released from colonial rule shifted its capital. Has this ever struck our people? The damage wreaked on the lands adjoining the sea in Muthurajawela is a fact to reckon with.

While Premier Premadasa and Ranil Wickremesinghe were away in China, the Rajiv-J.R. Jayewardene 'peace talks' were initiated and the country turned into a 'fireball'!

It was claimed that it was the appropriate time for Premier Premadasa to leave the country. At the airport, I explained to him the prevailing situation in the country and advised him not to leave the party, even if he were to be 'expelled'. He accepted my advice. We too protested against the Government by hoisting black flags. Some people lost their lives while some of those who survived became scarecrows.

Premier Premadasa succeeded in driving out the Indian army. By then Prabhakaran too had understood the stark truth.

Only when the Indian army robbed not only the northern residents' kitchenware, but their treasured children too, Prabhakaran woke up. It was pathetic that Rajiv Gandhi was killed at the hand of a Sri Lankan assassin - a woman!

As a bhikkhu what I preached and did to defeat terrorism is well known to the security forces top brass. Had General Janaka Perera not been killed, he would have borne testimony to what the Gangaramaya did to protect Welioya and Padaviya.

Deserves accolade

It was during the stewardship of Ranil Wickremesinghe as Minister of Youth Affairs, the lives of the youth in the country were largely moulded in the national interest.

After his victory, when Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe visited the Gangaramaya to pay homage, the speech made by me turned unpalatable to one and all. His delay to give effect to what was said by me, was a victory for some people. Mahinda Rajapaksa who eliminated terrorism from the country deserves accolade today as well as tomorrow.

At the religious function held at the Queen's House following the Republic Day national ceremony presided over by Prime Minister Srimavo Bandaranaike at the Royal College, I was the only member of the Maha Sangha to deliver a sermon.

In my sermon, I said, "The Prime Minister should not repeat her mistakes. Do the right thing irrespective of what others say. The slow-moving government should be made dynamic! Failure to do so will result in reducing the Party to a mere eight seats, like the UNP."

It appears our people have still failed to rectify the wrongs of President J.R. Jayawardene. If those voted to power could join in unison with friend and foe and eschew all vices and muster their support to rule the country for one year in peace, Sri Lanka would then be a true Buddhist country. Compassion and loving-kindness need to be the guiding spirit.

During Vesak, a festival held in veneration, it is incumbent on all of us to pursue the right path. Devotees could pay homage to the precious Buddha statue made of jade by the Thai Royal craftsman, now enshrined in the Gangaramaya.

Devotees could also visit the Gangaramaya pilgrims rest at Kataragama which could accommodate about 3,000 pilgrims. There is also a heli-pad. They were built on the initiative of President Premadasa and Ranil Wickremesinghe. President Premadasa bestowed the Vedihitikanda Shrine on the Gangaramaya with a Sannaspatra. Today, the Gangaramaya is an oasis for displaced families, children, physically handicapped and the old as in the past.

On a concept by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, arrangements have been made to provide shelter to the homeless by donating roofing sheets throughout the next year. Devotees may subscribe to this worthy cause.

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