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Karthikai Dheepam etc

Dear Mr. Pillay,

Thank-you for raising these questions. Since  a number of other individuals have also asked these questions , are of general interest and can invite participation from others as well,  I am posting my views in Tamil Net and Meykandar egroups. Please encourage more people in S.Africa to join Tamil Net and other forums so that their presence is actively felt throughout the world. Next to Malaysia it is only in  S.Africa that we have a sizable population of Tamils and who,  interestingly enough, have developed Saivism in ways that are quite interesting .

At 01:16 AM 25-10-99 SAST, you wrote:
Respected Sir,
Please help with the following questions.
Can a Saivite go into the Sanctum of the temple and touch the Sivalingum, be
the person a meat eater or vegetarian?


Yes certainly he can whether he is a vegetarian or not. God doesn't neglect or prohibit  anybody He being LOVE itself. In my visits to Nepal and parts of N. India I have seen devotees worshiping the Sivalingam on their own. It is only S.Indian  Temples and other overseas temples where the S.Indian influence is strong, we have prohibitions of this sort. Women are also denied priesthood;  they argue that menstrual blood is a Thiittu and therefore they shouldn't enter the sanctum sanctorium. All these are superstitious ideas that should be thrown out. Men too ease themselves in the toilet and the discharge of menstrual blood is NOT less natural than this.

But I  also see ORGANIZATIONAL problems because of the architecture of temples. The KaruvaRai is so small and if there are no controls of a sort there will be chaos.So my suggestion is that, the Sivan temples should also erect another open shrine for Sivalingam within the temple  precincts EXCLUSIVELY for the public so that anyone  can touch the Sivalingam and pray  in the way  he chooses to make divine presence within himself sparkle.

We must also always remember that the Sivalingam is just  another presentation of AMMAIAPPAR, Siva Sakthi together and they are everywhere including our body and mind. Thirumular talks in terms of Andalingam Pindalingm Athtmalingam Njaanalingam etc. Immature individuals see only the pindalingam and conclude that Sivalingam represents the union of sexes without realizing that  it is actually Natham and Bindhu and BECAUSE of which there is sexual differentiation  and union not only biologically but also cognitively , spiritually etc.

Regarding non vegetarian food being thidduu, I don't understand it at all.  I love vegetarianism as an expression of universal LOVE, love extended to all living creatures, a reverence for LIFE as a whole as Albert Sweitzer would put it. But when it is made simply  a ritual practice where there is NO attention to humanitarian principles at all, it is self deceiving.  One of the earliest Nayanmars, Kannappar was  not only a nonvegetarian but also one who dared to offer choice meats to Sivalingam and because of which Siva graced him with divine disclosure. What matters are not these petty rules but rather REAL LOVE FOR GOD. Where there is this real Bakthi, an individual endears himself to Siva. These priests and other yelders are more concerned with rules and regulations rather the practice and enhancement of the LOVING DISPOSITION. The caste ridden Hindu society does not PRACTICE love but  only rituals and cheat themselves with a false sense of sanctity. The sacred heart, as the Christians continually remind the world,  is a LOVING heart, a heart that is willing to sacrifice self for God; kill the ego and merge within the divine presence and through that become a SivaththoNdan like the  Nayanmaars.

Do persons who pray in a temple need a brahmin to do the prayers for them?
Can they not do their own prayers if they know how to do it.


Yes certainly. We don't need not only Brahmins' but also any priest at all. We need not be very adept in reciting mantras and hymns.  God understands the sincere heart and genuine requests in whatever language it is articulated. They  are heard and  understood by Him.  God is within, one with the soul understanding it even if the soul does not communicate. And He provides the consequences for the actions whether one requests or not. As Meykandar would put it, God remains like agricultural fields, ready to yield for anyone who would plough it water it and plant the seeds the yields depending on the seeds sown.Actually it is not even necessary to pray as long as you are  mindful of the divine presence everywhere and there is continuous cognisance of it in everything you do. However we ordinary individuals, can easily become forgetful of that. Prayers and temple worship and so forth are  necessary only for  keeping in our understanding the truth of the Divine Presence firmly implanted in our mind. Prayer is not necessary for those individulas  who live habitually in the divine world.

Also please tell me if a  fireworks display is part of Karthigay Theepam.
The reason for asking is that a group is to spend 10,000 rands to   celebrate this occasion.
Thanking you .
W.Pillay. Lenasia S.Africa


This is only of the SYMBOLIC activities that we find in almost all celebrations. The Chinese here celebrate it with fire crackers and other kinds of fireworks. Even Malysian Muslims celebrate their Hari Raya like this. It is a symbolic act where they seek the help of the divine powers for happiness and prosperity. But of course such celebrations can be overdone just like the marriage ceremonies and others. I have seen many parents squandering all their savings for the sake of their daughters or son's wedding. The symbolic activities, such as these. have a function in maintaining the psychological health of the individuals. So I have nothing against them,  in fact as psychologist would recommend it strongly but all within moderate limits.

I hope these views of mine will arouse more questions views from yourselves, your friends in Lenasia and elsewhere.