Take a look at this temple in the picture. It is the Tiruchendur temple right on the coast in Tamil Nadu. I wrote about it in my previous post that it escaped the Tsunami. I have been told that the normal sea waves come as close as 100 metres of the temple in normal times. Looking at the wide spread devastation caused by the Tsunami waves, my rational mind cannot understand as to how this temple can escape.
This temple – dedicated to Lord Murugan, the second son of Siva – is in fact a cave, with the entrance at the sea level and the cave slides down to the sanctum sanctorum of the Lord Subramaniam (Murugan). When one stands in front of the deity, the sea water level outside is higher than our heads. It is mentioned in the history of the temple that the water god (Lord Varuna) has promised Lord Murugan, that he would not cross the boundary of the temple. It seems that the Water God has kept his promise. While the Tsunami lashed and inundated almost all the places near the coast, it did not enter the temple. On the contrary, at 10.00 hours on the fated day, the sea near the temple receded by a Kilometre – the people could see a big crater with rock formations visible – gradually the sea came back to its original level. But the sea water entered areas nearby the temple, all the coastal areas near Tiruchendur were affected.
To me it is yet another manifestation of things beyond the comprehension of our rational minds.
This post comes courtesy Jayan Moorkanat.
A disaster of this magnitude has left thousands psychologically scarred for the rest of their lives. The relief material if distributed well may help alleviate the material suffering to some extent, the real healing has to happen from within and I am not sure if scars like these can be erased in a lifetime. This is where Art of Living and its relief activities stands out. Apart from providing relief material, there is a significant emphasis on providing trauma relief. AOL in association with IAHV has provided trauma relief through meditation and pranayam’s to the affected persons from Iraq to Gujarat and are doing it right now in the affected parts from Indonesia to Srilanka to India.
In this situation, what Art of Living gives them directly affects the
state of their mind. I was myself surprised at the response we got
after a half hour session of bhastrika and meditation….. despite the
language barrier (we had a translator, that’s why we need people who
know tamil). They themselves said they were feeling calmer and at
peace. An emotional loss cannot be compensated by any amount of
material given to them. A few ladies who had lost family members and
were going around collecting whatever was being distributed because
they didn’t know what else to do. We gathered a few of them alongwith
some men and started. Later others joined when they learnt a "prayer"
session was going on. One lady was sitting completely expressionless, holding her head. She did not even do anything properly. But
when so many people meditate in one place, it changes the atmosphere,
which in turn affects individuals in that place. She softened up when
we started speaking to her. A few cried as they told their stories and
became emotionally lighter.
Rediff reports on some of the activities that AOL is carrying on in the affected areas.
Guruji who was in Germany flew down to Chennai and visited the affected areas in India and Srilanka. There is a news item that the Art of Living Foundation has donated Rs 1.5bn ($34 million) towards aid. It is also astonishing to hear that certain places did not get affected at all:
One person said that none of the 250 people, who had undergone the Nav Chetana Shibir (Breath Water Sound Workshop) were affected by the tsunami !!! These people are residents of Foreshore Estate slum which is the worst tsunami affected area in Chennai city.
Also the temple near the slum where we regularly had satsangs also was surprisingly unaffected. But the hall just next to the temple was damaged. Both the temple and hall were right next to each other facing the sea.
Guruji said that in Kanyakumari Devi temple on the sea was unaffected. Similarly no water entered the Tiruchendur temple (in Tamil Nadu) which is right on the shore.
There were also news items in the media about the church in Velankani that wasn’t damaged.
While destruction and creation are part of the cycle since times immemorial, it is also important to recognize the signs that places that have satva (contributed by prayers, satsangs, chantings etc.) have escaped the nature’ wrath.
To streamline the relief work and communication at Bangalore, a group of volunteers coordinators has been set up to monitor the operations. These members
are in direct touch with the IAHV Disaster Relief team in Chennai and
will have the updated information on the requirements at various relief
Ravi (Malleshwaram) – 94487-02121
Subramanya A.M (Subbu Jayanagar) – 98443-07907
Murugendra – 98451-86775
Yadav – 98455-29251
All are requested to contact
only the above mentioned coordinators for any relief-related queries.
Update: The most compelling need of the hour is potable water.
This piece in Deccan Herald today morning, brought tears to my eyes.
“They bring old clothes in trucks and throw them on the streets,
thinking we’ll pick up everything. Otherwise, someone in the truck
hands out whatever clothes that come in his hand — be it a sari that
falls into men’s hands and a dhoti for children. Why do they treat us
like beggars, we have our dignity. We used to own boats that cost at
least Rs 50,000 till recently,” he says. Lots of clothes can be seen on
the streets, untouched by refugees.
While so many agencies are falling over each other to collect material and money, is this how it is being distributed?
The print edition of DH, had a photograph along with above story that showed clothes lying scattered on road. Question is why?
Notwithstanding the good intent of the agencies, are people on ground trained to handle relief work?
Are they treating the victims with compassion? Or is the outlook like that of how one treats beggars in the cities?
Questions for which I have no answers. And would want to hear from those on ground.
Be cautious while donating. Donate only to recognized agencies. Do ensure that your money and material is not wasted like this.
Our Finance Minister talks of 1% cess to collect funds for relief. When I look at my Tax deductions, I don’t know how many chess charges and surcharges I am already paying and I have no idea whether the surcharge really goes where it was intended to …. but that’s a different story. I would rather see that instead of collecting surcharge, the Govt should train citizens in carrying our disaster relief for natural calamities such as earthquakes, flooding, cyclone, Tsunami, Drought etc. In fact make it mandatory that every civilian goes through a day or two day workshop on this. It would help in making sure that next time when a calamity strikes, we are sure that at least some of the folks on ground are better trained and are doing the right things on the ground.
A team of Doctors from Bangalore are on their way to Chennai. They are leaving for Chennai tomorrow (thursday night) and again on 1st Jan. They are in need of the following medicines and equipments. If you can contribute, please call Dr. Jayashree at 26648774 or you can drop it at our collection center in Jeevan Bheema Nagar, Round Table Community hall (contact: 98450-91292).
Here is the list
List of medicines / medical tools (not sure if I got all the spelling
Betadine solution & cream
Candid ear drops
Tetanus toxoid (injection, TT)
I.V. set (I think I.V. stands for intra venus)5% dextrose
Amoxcycillin - 250 gms & 500 gms
Ampicilon - 250 gms & 500 gms
Metrogyl - IV injection & tablets (200 & 400 mg)