The Prelate’s Pathetic Plight
Posted on February 11th, 2010

By Mario Perera, Kadawata

Sri Lanka is a country which loses no opportunity to polish and brandish its image of religiosity. Even the highest of the land punctuates every important utterance made in public with a subservient “ƒ”¹…”Ehema netha apey hamuduruwane?’ Countless films introduce the figure of the monk as being the ultimate reference on all important issues; political, social, religious. There is no major ceremony, especially political without recourse to gatherings of monks. In this context one will still remember the mammoth assembly of Buddhist priests endorsing the candidacy of MR. It was a sea of yellow, and they all sang the praises of the “ƒ”¹…”experienced, sensitive candidate’, of “ƒ”¹…”the man with the heart’. We even see our sports teams invariably receiving this religious patronage. What is the impression derived from seeing such outflows of devotion to these religious leaders? It is that they count. What they say counts, and especially must be adhered to. Why else should one ask: ehema netha apey hamuduruwane?

 Here I recall the story of the school boy returning home with a report replete with the letter “ƒ”¹…”F’ and a couple of solitary “ƒ”¹…”P’s for a change. He soon won his village father to his side. “ƒ”¹…”Appachchi’ he said, the F stands for “ƒ”¹…”Fass’, and the P for “ƒ”¹…”Pail’. I have six “ƒ”¹…”Fasses’ and two “ƒ”¹…”Pails’. The father praised and blessed him and also cajoled him and caressed his head. So that is what religious dignitaries are there for, to look at the F’s the politician school boys show them as being “ƒ”¹…”Fass’, and to praise and bless them. The role of these religious personalities is a “ƒ”¹…”cajoling and caressing function’. Indeed this is repeated over and over again even when the truth has “ƒ”¹…”Paled’ to such an extent even to be unrecognizable, and the “ƒ”¹…”Fass’ has zoomed up and revealed itself for what it really is; a bloody “ƒ”¹…”FARCE’.

 These days we read an avalanche of letters, which like the school boy’s report is replete with “ƒ”¹…”Farces’ and in which the truth has “ƒ”¹…”Paled’. But in this parade of the naked “ƒ”¹…”king’ receiving the thunderous applause of hysteric adulators, some lone voices are raising discordant cries; the “ƒ”¹…”king’ is stark naked, the “ƒ”¹…”king’ is stark naked, there is not a stitch on him. This time the truth is not coming from the mouths of babes, but from the highest religious dignitaries of the land, from the Mahanayakes of Malwatte and Asgiriya. What the prelate of Malwatte recently resoundingly said is that this recourse to him for cajoling and head caressing acts cannot be tolerated any more. The report shown to him with the tell tale “ƒ”¹…”F’ must be declared for what it is, a pure “ƒ”¹…”farce’. The words of the Malwatte Prelate must be heard over the din and clatter of sounding brass and tinkling cymbal of people vying with and rolling over each other for cheap popularity with the power that is.

 The latest “ƒ”¹…”Fass’ and the most glaringly disqualifying one to be added to the others of recent times, is the violent and humiliating arrest of the opposition’s common presidential candidate. To add to it the victim was so mercilessly hounded, dragged away and assaulted by those who stood to rigid attention like broom sticks in his all authoritative presence just a short while ago and would have licked the soles of his feet if he so ordered. This was done in public to a man who was the spearhead that plunged into the heart of the LTTE terrorist army. Indeed memory is so short lived and glory fades so quickly away.

 While a spate of letters condone this act and exalt the leader who perpetrated it, the voice of the Mahanayake of Malwatte has jolted them all. This courageous monk called the spade a spade. He called this shameful act a CRIME. People who perpetrate crimes are criminals whatever be the crowns, gowns and the fluffy headgear they don on the local or international stage. The Venerable Head of the Malwatte Nikaya said so. But what he went on to say is still more revealing. His was a cry of despair. His face said it all. “ƒ”¹…”Various political leaders come to us dressed in white attire and seek our advice. They listen and go and do something different. I feel like stopping politicians coming to this temple to meet me”¦what can I do”¦they do not listen to us’. The man attired in white acting out the “ƒ”¹…”Farce’ was very much identifiable in his discourse. The Venerable Thera went on to say, he could not understand why such liars are voted into power. This is a damning indictment of the voters on whom politicians play another farce by calling them “ƒ”¹…”intelligent’ and “ƒ”¹…”wise’.

 The Mahanayakes, the highest religious dignitaries of this land are shedding their ceremonial role. They do not want to play a part in this contemptuous Farce. They want to be like their Master, heralds of the truth, only of the truth and of nothing but the truth. For once in our modern history a very great religious leader is not applauding the parading all victorious Head of State in his invisible robes. He is shouting it loud for all to hear; the King is stark naked, the King is stark naked. The crying need of the hour is not that “ƒ”¹…”MR’ stand for the obvious, but that it be made to mean “ƒ”¹…”Moral Rearmament’. Yet listening to the Venerable Thera’s pathetic cry makes this appear utterly impossible now. Once the waters have submerged the nose, attempts to stop it going over the head are ludicrous and insane. This tree too will fall on the side to which it is inclined.

 This country is now in the throes of dreadful divisions. The venerable Mahanayake’s lament should send a chill down the spine of every citizen, Buddhist or not. Even members of the monastic fraternity will not dare raise their voices in unison with his. The cancer of politicization has advanced for so long and has relentlessly gnawed at the very fabric of Buddhist monasticism. The highest dignitaries of the Monastic Orders can truly say to themselves; we are leaders but with no following, just lip service and bodies bending to the ground before us, heads down and backsides up with only their slips showing, in displays of disgusting abject hypocrisy.

 The writing has been on the wall since a very long time. Now for once a prophet in the person of the Mahanayake of Malwatte has rent aside the veil and revealed it to all. Yet eyes blinded with the greed for power do not see. We will ultimately become a nation of singing and dancing nominal super stars conforming to the pithy Sinhala saying; neva gilunath ban choon. They like the actors, dramatists, and sportsmen (cricketers included) will be joining the queue for places in parliament. And so the show will continue and its noises will drown the sound of the sinking ship of State.

Gayana geyum, natana netum, ivatha helai, shoka susum

 Mario Perera,

One Response to “The Prelate’s Pathetic Plight”

  1. kumara 1037 Says:

    It is absolutely normal that The leader of the country always blessed by the Buddhist clergy in every important occasion in political cultural or religious ceremony what ever it is.Mr Mario Perera doesn’t want to accept that cultural identity we had through out our 23 century old history except that brief colonial period with less importance . The proud of any Sri lankan what ever his religious background or the faith,That is the Buddhist culture which we carry on through out our history. This is what any of us willing to shaw to the outside world about the traditions and the culture of Sri Lanka. Otherwise we fall in to the category of nothing left nothing to see place in the world.People are not coming here merely to see the nature.They want to see that cultural and religious identity.Buddhist monk gathered to bless MR and SF as well.They chant Pirith for both of them.Do accept that tradition.
    Country is not divided .There should be deferent ideas .Every people have the right to go to the parliament.Even the scavenger must have the right to go there because he is a part of the society.Let the cricketers, Athletes and actors to represent the nation.According to your ideology there shouldn’t be a great American President like Ronald Reagen if no actors were there in politique.

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