The country could experience economic respite by this year’s Esala Perahara season in August, according to President Ranil Wickremesinghe.
The President mentioned this while attending the inauguration of the Nawam Perahara of the Colombo GangaramayaTemple last night (05).
The President declared that celebrating the Navam Perahara festival annually is a blessing and is auspicious for the nation, and he added that it will be a tremendous blessing to get through this difficult period.
The president inaugurated the procession by placing the casket containing the sacred relics upon the royal elephant.
In his address on this occasion, President Ranil Wickremesinghe, stated:
The Colombo Navam Perahara is held in conjunction with the 75th anniversary of Sri Lanka’s independence. This Navam Perahera and the Gangaramaya Temple are linked to the country’s freedom movement. It is worth noting that Venerable Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Nayaka Thera founded the Gangaramaya Temple.
I don’t need to elaborate on the service rendered by him to this country. He assumed the reins of power and worked for the revival of Buddhism. He greatly assisted Migattuwatte Gunananda Thera during the Panadura Debate as well as to establish the Vidyodaya Piriwena.
Col. Olcott established several major Buddhist schools, including Ananda Vidyalaya in Colombo. Through the Piriven movement, Venerable Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Nayaka Thera also worked to create a new generation of followers.
He also worked tirelessly to uplift our culture and give it its rightful place in order to advance Buddhism. It was against this backdrop that he created the atmosphere in the country where our lay leaders were able to contribute to the freedom movement for the country’s independence.
Following the example set by Venerable Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Nayaka Thera, leaders like Mr. F. R. Senanayake, Mr. T. B. Jayathilaka, and Mr. D.S. Senanayake fought to establish Sri a Lankan identity.
Venerable Deundara Sri Jinaratne Thera and Deundara Vachissara Nayaka Thera served in the capacity of Chief Incumbent of the Gangaramaya Temple after Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Nayaka Thera. Both of these Nayaka Theras spoke with and offered counsel to the leaders of the freedom movement.
At this time, I must point out that the Gangaramaya Temple was a silent supporter of the country’s freedom movement. Many of those who donated to this temple have also contributed to the freedom movement. Several people including Mr. D.R. Wijewardhena and former President J. R. Jayawardhea, worked as contributors to this temple.
Today, we are commemorating the 75th Anniversary of our Independence with a temple with which we have a special relationship. On February 4th, we observed National Independence Day. In addition, the Navam Maha Perahara will be held on February 5th.
According to a decision we made in 1978, this perahara could be held annually. The current Gangarama Vihara Chief Incumbent Venerable Galaboda Gnanissara Nayaka Thera proposed that the Colombo Navam Perahara be held, and then President J. R. Jayawardena and Prime Minister R. Premadasa agreed to it. Later, every president who took office in this country supported this movement.
We must not forget to thank Venerable Galaboda Gnanissara Nayaka Thera in particular for his contributions to the development of this temple.
I also want to thank Venerable Kirinde Assaji Thera and other Theras for their efforts to keep this work going.
We are all going through a difficult time right now. We’re working hard to get out of this chaos. We should all strive to recover not as individuals, but as a nation.
At the same time, our heritage should be preserved. This Nawam Maha Perahara was grandly organized on the 75th Anniversary of Independence with the aim of carrying forward those past legacies.
These movements have now become an important part of our culture. No one can rule it out. It is unfortunate that people who care about the country do not discuss it.
In addition, I consider the annual perahara to be a blessing to the country. And I believe that getting the country out of this difficult situation will be a blessing. An auspicious sign is the celebration of Independence on February 4th and Gangarama Navam Maha Peraharat on February 5.
Although we are experiencing difficulties today, I am hopeful that we will be able to find some relief by this year’s Esala Perahera. I’d like to thank everyone who saw the auspicious sign of success and organized this Nawam Perahara.
Ven. Dr Kirinde Assaji Thera – Viharadikaari of the Gangaramaya Temple in Colombo and the, Former President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Ministers Wijayadasa Rajapakse and Keheliya Rambukwella, President’s Senior Adviser on Climate Change Ruwan Wijayawardena, President’s Secretary Saman Ekanayake, Defence Ministry Secretary General Kamal Gunaratne (Rtd), Chief of Defence Staff General Shavendra Silva, and many others were present at the event.
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