Friday, February 26, 2010

Companion [Sriya Kumarasinghe]


I lived in a desert
Alone and tired
It was an oasis
To the rest of the world

I cried to be moist
With the drops on my lips
It was only you
Who served me the most

Though it moves
My little caravan
From desert to desert
In days and night

You are the shadow
I want all the way
To make me cool
And to heat my soul

-Sriya Kumarasinghe-

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Poet -[Richard de Zoysa]

I am the eye of the camera
Can only reflect, never reject
Never deflect.

I am the eye of the Camera
Silent recorder of life and death
Eye that can only reflect
Never conjure up images
Probe the reality
Never reject.

I am the eye of the Camera
I reflect nothing, but the truth
The external reality
Can not deflect
The mind of the viewer
From the picture to passion.

I let them all fashion
Their truths through my magic
I can not reject, the external reality
That passes for truth

And what is rejected
By natural selection
Has nothing to do with me
When I am impotent
Robbed of my power
My eyes in the dark at the moment of crisis
See nothing, but well favoured men of the hour.

I am the storm’s eye
Ceaselessly turning around me
The burning the death the destruction
The clichés that govern the world of the words
Of the prophets and preachers, and may be the savior
Are lost to my peering
Blind eye in the dark.

Richard de Zoysa (1989)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lost Land [Kalpana Ambrose]

Lost Land

The Frozen breeze,displaced, so squeezed
Voiceless birds which lost their beaks
Trees that were left without shades and leaves
Born, but not bloomed, the flowers that weep

Just one teardrop that feels afraid to fall
Just one deep sigh that fights to break the wall
The  great nobel song, no one to sing at all
The heavenly land, lost its spirit and soul

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mythology of tribal Asia

Pre – historic tribal stories began with legends. The antiquities and legends assist reliable evidence to study of our ancestors. The origin of Chinese, Greeks and Romans are based on epics and legends. Therefore, the evaluated civilization on Sindu River banks rich in Hindu epics and folk stories. The word yakkha is first found in Veda called jayaminiya brahmana, written between 2000 – 1500 BC. Kubera, the leader of yakkha, was a black skinned native. He wasn’t included in the order of Brahman gods. Harithi, female deity was his wife, settled in alakapura at kailasa kuta. According to the Hindu epics, god shiva also lived there as well as other tribes such as kinnara, gandharwa and muni etc……..

Anthropologists found remnants of early humans at sivalic near Himalayas in 1915 – 34 AD. Future remnants have been found in Java Island, china, Rhodesia and Germany. The evidence of humans dwelt in India was supported by the early stone instruments of the stone culture, which belonged to the 2nd glacier age around 200,000 – 40,000 BC. The stone instruments spread from England to Africa and china is of stone culture too……

The early humans who used the blunt Paleolithic instruments came out of the forests only in Neolithic era. They developed their skills of pottery, weapons, animal husbandry and cultivation. They found fire at the end of the early Stone Age. The greatest discovery of this era is the usage of iron. The entire world, tribes begun based on maternal tradition. Every man of the tribe was a husband to all women and every woman was a wife to all men. Anthropologists clearly mentioned the maternal grand mother decided the rights of children, because the mother of the child is a definite identification. The soul of the grandmother became the protector of the tribe, after her death. Thus, the concept of rakshini, a female deity was born from this cult, rakshini was known as vasundara near Sindu River at mohenjodaro and jaganmatha, near pancanadie basin at Harappa. The goddesses of maternal rights were called erani in Greece. In Greek mythology, eranis bore serpents instead of hair. The female deities of Hindu mythology, very pretty as shown by the images of the dancing girl in Harappa, yakshanis in didarganji, sculpture of sanchi, mature and barhut. The santal, indigenous people in west Bengali believe in yakkhani durga. Further two other female yakkhanis, namely bhadra and subahadra were mentioned in associate with Wasundara. The Romany nomad gypsy people in Europe, who believe in black – skinned goddess, it could be a yakkhani. Further there are believes of yskkhsnis curing diseases, such as sibala for measles, balabibi for cholera.

The belief of seven grand mothers (sat pattni) in Sri Lanka is based on pattini cult. According to Hindu mythology, pattini was a yakkhini appearing in the male from of prajapathi. Hariti, the female protector of rajgir belongs to Magadha territory. The Chinese pilgrim, hieun tsang recorded hariti as the mother goddess. Most of the female protectors of south India are from yakkha tribe. Manibadhra, manicara, manimat nagas were frequently mentioned with rakshas and nagas.

According to Chinese pilgrim hieun tsang (629 – 645 AD) pataliputra (Patna) was built by yakshas. Emperor Asoka (269 – 232 BC) built budhgaya receiving help of yakshas and nagas, as recorded in Tibetan Buddhist texts. Thus, we can conclude that yakshas and nagas dwelt in Magadha, rajgir, budhgaya and Patna. Inscription have been found mentioning that Patna belonged to nandi and vardana yaksha brothers; also evidence of existence of yaksha and nagas, namely nandi, nandivardana, manibadra and poornabhadra in sanchi. Bharhut scriptures mentioned the name of yakshas such as susiloma yakko, supavasa yakko, virudhaka yakko, gangitha yakko, kupiro yakko, sudarsana yakki and gandha yakki.

The concept of gopalu yaksha, the protector of herds of cattle, entered the tribal society. The tribal leader was born to protect the number of cattle, crops, lands other properties. Man left the nomad life and started near water resources where he could get water for cultivation. They created a common language, cremation ground and symbol of tribe. These tribes which based on blood relationships were named after the species of animal such as lions, tigers, bears, eagles and bulls. For example, the saka tribe adopted the symbols cart wheel and bull. Murunda tribe dwelling at sindu nadie basin and kalabara tribe at panca nadie basin were adopting the symbols of lion and bear respectively. Crows and eagles symbolize even the modern aborigine’s tribes, wurundjery willam in Melbourne at Australia.

Under the paternal dominancy, marriage between the blood relatives was prohibited. Thought monogamy replaced polygamy, the tradition of polygamy and polyandry did not ceased completely. The fading of intra marriages of blood relatives lead to inter tribal marriages, spreading believes of yakkshas and nagas of one tribe to the other. Tribes widen to from villages, the tribal leader becoming the gramini / gamini village headman)
During 1400 – 2000 BC The Aryan migrated from middle Asia to sindu nadie and panca nadie basins in northern India, Crossing Persia. (Iran) they brought more advanced beliefs of ancestors as devas (gods) in Latin deva means bright) this white – skinned devas attracted more respect than black – skinned yaksha of indigenous people at the region, through the customs hardly changed. After formation of Yakshas, nagas and Devas, their duties of the society were determined; Yakshas protecting the earth, nagas water resources and devas protecting plants and seeds. With the corporation of all three parties, the agricultural civilization flourished, which separate into sub tribes at a later stage.

The new political policy of Aryan lead to relationships with yakshas in both friendly and forceful ways, Aryans took responsibility of maintaining the leadership of rakshas and rakshinis, while introducing their own gods and goddesses such as indra, varuna and soma etc…… in the past times, where the female dominancy transferred to male dominancy, marriages between the yakshas and devas happened in the present. The daughter of kubera, minakshi married god shiva; kubera enhanced to the state of god vaishravana. The above mentioned yakshas are mentioned as deities in Hindu, Buddhist and Jain manuscripts; further vaishravana. Dhartrashtha, virudhaka are considered as the sataravaram devas / lkapalak devas. (Deities protecting the world) protecting the north, east south and west sides of the universe. Some of the other yakshas who got promoted to divine state are katikeya, shanker, vibhishana, suprabuddha, kamadeva and some mentioned in jain bhagvat sutta such as punnabhadra, manibhadra, salibhadra and atanatiya sutta, the yakshas and devas are equally invited, but yakshas are considered as mityadrushtika. In the epic Mahabharata, the yakshas panca pandava (including arjun and duryoja) and pancali / droupadhi have sent to heaven for divine states lately. Parallel to Greek goddesses, ataitis – goddess, preiya – goddess of prosperity; lakshmi – goddess of wealth and saraswati – goddess of art born at this era….

Contrary to the tradition of consideration of grand parents as deities, the new deities were not blood relatives. They appeared to be higher than the human and stepped to heavens via the skies above Kailasha Mountain in Himalaya. As Gods dwelt much higher than the human, Brahmin was born to act as an agent between the human and the gods, breaking the tradition of the tribal society. Brahmin spread the idea that only he can pray and offer the deities on behalf of the society.

The tribal leader, now known as Gamini, the village leader upgraded himself as Jeshta Gamini, the leader of many villages following the concept of kingdom; according to the Buddhist legends, Bimbisara was a Jeshta gamini for eighty thousand villages. Thus, the combination of many villages built a kingdom, with the development of herds of cattle and cultivation lands, privatization of property begun. Having extra wealth and food strengthen the concept of kingdoms, thus loosing the power of Brahmins, the king became higher position of the society, the loved one of god giving rise to kshatriya clan, the cast of kings; but according to Aeiteriya Brahmana, the gods would not accept the offerings unless done via a Brahmin, thought in Upanishad, kashtriya are stated as higher than Brahmin. Kashtriya has predominates all the other cast including Brahmins in the Buddhist literature as shown in Ambatta sutta in Diga nikaya.

In the tribal society, this was based on privatization of the property, kashtriya / king ruled the lands and cattle; vaishya acted as merchants and shudra fulfilled the other duties of the society. Pancamas were excluded from the society as they refused to follow this hierarchy. The great service of kashtriyas such as Gautama and vardamana, supported Kashtriya to be the ruling party over Brahmins, most prominent examples been King Chandragupta and Asoka establishing their empire throughout India.

Sunil Ranasinghe

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings [Maya Angelou]

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

The free bird leaps
on the back of the win
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and is tune is heard
on the distant hillfor the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
an the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn

and he names the sky his own.
But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

*Maya Angelou is an American autobiographer and poet who has been called "America's most visible black female autobiographer. Her books, centered on themes such as identity, family, and racism, are often used as set texts in schools and universities internationally. Some of her more controversial work has been challenged or banned in US schools and libraries.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

no one left to speak out. - Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I was not a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

A poem of Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) [1]
(1976 version)