Message of the National Organising Committee
Second International Conference on Skanda-Murukan, April 2001
An academic conference on Muruga is more than an intellectual feast for scholars. It is a unique opportunity for the eternal seekers of truth to put across the outcome of their research for the pride and benefit of the Tamils all over the world and for mankind at large. Such conference on Murugan cult and worship indeed is not only an intellectual feast, but also a search which transcends the ordinary feelings and understanding to revisit a spiritual treasure which has not yet revealed all its greatness.
Murugan faith and tradition, as you know has its roots in the dreary desert sand of the most ancient times, and is considered to be the mother of Religions. Its mysticism cannot be understood easily by a worldly logic.
At the same time, Muruga is anchored within the sphere of spirituality and only faith, bhakti and emotions can enable mankind to understand his message and can help man to understand its symbols and rituals and to grasp the essence of God. So, the question is whether an academic conference can help to size up the greatness and virtues of Lord Muruga?
The pursuit of our scholars is noble, but is it enough to understand Muruga, our supreme God? The approach of academics is to use empirical knowledge, syllogistic reasoning, experience and observation and other methodologies. Such approach is certainly not complete, because faith, meditation and positive actions are among the surest ways to be a devotee of Muruga. However, when concrete scientific evidence consolidates our feelings, faith and rituals, then it becomes a complementary appendage to spirituality.
The aim of the academic findings is to try to enlighten us on the greatness of the God and to dispel malicious observations and statements on our religion and culture. We know that some people have tried to make us believe that our 'God Muruga' and other deities are occult and a few even went to the extent of blasphemy by associating our belief and cult with superstition. Enough is enough.
This conference is a golden opportunity to demolish the unfounded theories or pseudo-theories and unsupported allegations by scientific evidence. So, we should congratulate our academics and professors for this towering task.
For the Tamils in Mauritius, it is a dream to host such a conference in the midst of eminent scholars and intellectuals from Chennai, Malaysia, Australia, Switzerland, Fiji, Singapore and others. At the same time, in spite of all attempts to create confusion in Mauritius, Muruga remains our Supreme God (Periya Kadavul). The specfic contexts of spirituality and religion cannot be disassociated from the politico-social context. Muruga is the unifying factor among Tamils, which also consolidates our identity. It is in fact a tryst with destiny, that at a time when our sovereign Parliament is passing the bill on a Tamil cultural centre, on the same historical date and day and time, we are inaugurating the Second International Murugan Conference. This cannot be a mere coincidence, but the wish of Lord Muruga.
Let us join the train of unity, love, mutual respect to forge ahead our way. However, our unity as Tamils and love for Muruga should not undermine the emergence of national unity. On the contrary, we should pray for the ignorance of those who attack us and ask for the forgiveness of Lord Muruga.
This conference is a turning point for solidarity among Tamils in Mauritius and also within the international Tamil diaspora. Let us muster our energy forces to do positive things instead of bickering over petty issues. Let us also not be lured and distractcd by people with selfish designs.
Finally, let us use all the vibrations of intellectual energy to foster a better environment for Tamil and devotees of Muruga.
Let us also hope that Lord Muruga will help us to solve the problems and to stop oppression, that some of our brothers and sisters have to face in Fiji, South Africa, Sri Lanka and other places.
Muruga for us will be the supreme God and he will be the one who help us to meet all the challenges of this millennium. We should also uphold the challenge of being staunch Tamils and great Mauritians at the same time.