1. History of the Munneswaram temple
1 A. The Munneswaram temple is the largest Hindu temple in Srilanka
Shrirama paid homage at Tondiswaram, Koneswaram, Naguleswaram, Keteeswaram and finally reached Munneswaram in the Putalam District of Srilanka. In Tamil ‘Munna’ means Primal (Adi) and ‘Ishwar’ means Deity Shiva. So Munneswaram is that which is existing even before the incarnation of Shrirama. The population of Tamilian Hindus and Sinhalese Buddhists in this village is equal. All villagers in this village have faith in The Deity Munneswaram and it is the largest Hindu temple in Srilanka. The name of Deity Shiva here is ‘Munnainath Swami’ and that of Devi Parvati is ‘Vadivambiga devi’.
1 B. The Portuguese invade and destroy the temple
and its surroundings, later the famous Sinhalese king,
Rajsinghe reconstructs this temple, the present one being
constructed by a devotee Mr. Kumarswami Guruji. On days of festivities
devotees from every nook and corner of Srilanka come here to pay respects.
In the year 1578 The Portuguese attacked the Munneswaram temple and destroyed its surroundings retaining the foundation of the temple. They built a church on the same foundation and commenced preaching Christianity. Till the year 1640 five hundred people from Munneswaram village were converted to Christianity. Before their attack on the temple, due to Divine grace, the temple priests had shifted the Shivalinga and idols of other Deities from the temple to other place . In 1753 the renowned Sinhalese King of Kandy, Rajsinghe reconstructed this temple and also performed kumbhabhishek (consecration using a pot). The records mention that, the king had donated land to the temple and made arrangements for daily worship of Deities in that temple. The present temple was constructed by a devotee from Colombo named Mr. Kumarswami Guruji in 1875. Devotees of Shri Munneswaram from every nook and corner of Srilanka visit this temple on days of festivities.
1 C. The priest showing them the temple and
offering special prayers and ritualistic worship (puja)
to bring Ramrajya (Rama’s Rule of Righteousness) on the earth
When Sadguru (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgil entered the temple, the chief priest sent another priest as a guide to show us the temple. The priest offered special prayers and ritualistic worship for Ramrajya. Sadguru (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgil in turn presented the priests a Sanatan Panchang in Tamil.
2. The sand Shivalinga installed by Shrirama at Manavari
2 A. Before the battle with Ravan, Shrirama installed
a sand Shivalinga at Manavari and performed its ritualistic worship
The village ‘Manavari’ is situated at a distance of 10 kilometres from Munneswaram. When leaving for Lanka to fight a battle with Ravan, Shrirama installed a sand Shivalinga at Rameshwaram and worshiped it ritualistically. Then through Rameshwaram along the Ramsetu Shrirama went to Mannar in Srilanka. Before the battle, Shrirama reached the seashore near Munneswaram, and this is the village of Manavari. Here Shrirama performed ritualistic worship of the sand Shivalinga. Shrirama has installed only two Shivalingas on the entire earth – one is at Rameshwaram in Bharat and the second at Manavari in Srilanka. In Rameshwaram the entrance to the temple faces the sea while at Manavari the sea is behind the temple.
2B. The temple priest performs ritualistic worship
with spiritual emotion and prays for Ramrajya, his assuring
that Ramrajya will certainly be established and our experiencing
Divine Consciousness (Chaitanya) and Peace (Shanti) in the temple
When we entered this temple along with Sadguru (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgil the priest inquired, ‘Who are you and what is the purpose of your visit ?’ Sadguru (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgil said, “We have come from Bharat. We perform spiritual practice. On our behalf please offer a prayer to God to bring Ramrajya on the earth once again.” The priest immediately performed ritualistic worship (puja) with spiritual emotion (bhav) and handing out the prasad (food offered to God first) to her said, “Mataji your wish will certainly be fulfilled. There will soon be Ramrajya on the earth.” This evoked spiritual emotion in all of us. It was as if Shrirama was speaking to us through the medium of the priest. The experience of Divine Consciousness (Chaitanya) and Peace (Shanti) that we got here was exquisite.
3. Getting the spiritual experience
that, ‘Every place where the Divine play
of Shrirama occurred is a pilgrimage site’ ,with the
grace of Paratpar Guru (Dr.) Athavale and Sadguru (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgil
‘Every spot on the earth where Divine play of Shrirama occurred is a place of pilgrimage and we were able to experience this with the grace of Paratpar Guru (Dr.) Athavale. It is due to Sadguru (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgil that we learnt ‘what spiritual emotion to keep when entering each temple, which prayer to offer and what to learn from that temple’. We All seekers accompanying her on this tour offer gratitude a million times at the Holy feet of Paratpar Guru (Dr.) Athavale and Sadguru (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgil.’