C V Wigneswaran on Pathmanathan’s book | Sunday Observer

C V Wigneswaran on Pathmanathan’s book

16 June, 2019

This is a review of a review. The original An Overview appeared in Tamil in the Quarterly of All Ceylon Hindu Congress, No. 3 (2005). The reviewer was the distinguished retired justice C. V. Wigneswaran. The author of the reviewed book is Prof. S. Pathmanathan, a well known academic. I wish the book had been written in English so that it could have had a wider readership. The book is important to us all who hold at most times extremist views contrary to the reality, substantiated by concrete evidence.

In the first place the reviewer compliments the author for his balanced and objective display in stating facts supported by evidence.

I shall briefly state some of the salient points that CVW makes on SP’s authentic book.

Saivaism was prevalent in Sri Lanka even before 3rd century A.D. (Emperor Asoka was ruling North India then). This is evident by the fact that several references are found with regard to the name “Siva” in Brahmi inscriptions. Since the reign of Pandukabhaya in Anuradhapura, the worship of Sivalingam and the construction of a monastery for the Brahmins to recite the Veda continued.

Buddhism was introduced in Sri Lanka only during the reign of Devanampiya Tissa. Before the presence of Buddhism in Sri Lanka there were trade relations between Sri Lanka and South India. There were ancient Hindu temples in Thirukeatheeswaram, Thirukkoneswaram, and Munneswaram.

The evidence available to show the existence of Hinduism in Sri Lanka before the coming of Mahinda include the availability of more than 60 Brahmi inscriptions bearing the word Siva. Besides, in pieces of broken clay pots belonging to very ancient times, Thirisoolam was engraved. Those who worshipped Siva worshipped this implement - the three forked spear. Even the mode of worship proved the existence of Hinduism in ancient times in this country.

The reviewer points out that the author does not accept books written on the ancient history of Lankan Tamilians as they were all written after the 16th century only. Prof S. P. referring to a note that Vijayarasan constructed a few Sivan temples as stated in Yaalpana Vaiba Maalai is baseless. The author also states that no one had seriously researched into Sri Dhakishinnam, Konaesar inscriptions, and Thirikoanamalai Puranam.

The author of the book also bemoans that annual reports on excavations in Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa in recent times are not made available to students of history and others. Further the unearthed artifacts are not displayed in museums.

The reviewer, Justice CVW, brings to the notice of the reader a statement by the author that due to progress made in the field of archaeology, Puthumutha had been a commercial centre in terms of inscriptions in regard to Vickramasala Megapuram Veerakodi.

Source books on ancient Lankan history like the Mahavamsa do not mention the tradition of the Tamilians and the spread of Hinduism in the country. No research has been done on the Mahavamsa’s omissions. However, the Mahavamsa mentions that there were three Siva temples in the east coast of the country. They were the Thirukoanamalai temple known as Goharnam, the temple at Erahavilla, the Pali name for Eruvil, which is near Poratheevu in Maddakalappu, and the temple at Kalanda, the dwelling place of the Brahmins. These three temples were a hindrance to Buddhism states a commentary on Mahavamsa called the Vamsaththapakasini. The influence of Tamilians and Malyalees could be traced in the Buddhist buildings. Hinduism has had its influence in the Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Kandy, Matale, Kurunegala, Puttalam, Amparai and Hambantota districts. The Brahmins and monarchs had had a close relationship.

The reviewer in his critique elucidates further the scientific approach of the author in deciphering Lankan history and the influence of Saivaism in the country.

The publication also includes interesting and useful articles by Kumarasamy Somasundaram, Justice K. Sri Bhavan, Aaru Thirumurugan and Selvanayagi Muttiah. It’s available at the All Ceylon Hindu Congress (ACHC) office in Colombo Fort.

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