Arumuka Navalar

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Arumuka Navalar
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Arumuka Navalar
Kandharpillai Arumukapillai

18 December 1822
Died5 December 1879(1879-12-05) (aged 56)
NationalitySri Lankan
Other namesSrila Sri Arumuka Navalar
Sri Arumuka Swamigal
Education Tamil Pandithar
OccupationHindu missionary
Known for Hindu reformer

Arumuka Navalar (Tamil : ஆறுமுக நாவலர், translit. Āṟumuka Nāvalar, lit.  'Arumuka the Orator '; 18 December 1822 – 5 December 1879) was a Sri Lankan Shaivite Tamil language scholar, polemicist, and a religious reformer who was central in reviving native Hindu Tamil traditions in Sri Lanka and India. [1]

Tamil language language

Tamil is a Dravidian language predominantly spoken by the Tamil people of India and Sri Lanka, and by the Tamil diaspora, Sri Lankan Moors, Douglas, and Chindians. Tamil is an official language of two countries: Sri Lanka and Singapore and official language of the Indian state Tamil Nadu. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and the Indian Union Territory of Puducherry. It is used as one of the languages of education in Malaysia, along with English, Malay and Mandarin. Tamil is spoken by significant minorities in the four other South Indian states of Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and the Union Territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India.

Literal translation, direct translation, or word-for-word translation is the rendering of text from one language to another one word at a time with or without conveying the sense of the original whole.

An orator, or oratist, is a public speaker, especially one who is eloquent or skilled.


He and others like him were responsible for reviving and reforming native traditions that had come under a long period of dormancy and decline during the previous 400 years of colonial rule by various European powers. A student of the Christian missionary school system who assisted in the translation of the King James Bible into the Tamil language, he was influential in creating a period of intense religious transformation amongst Tamils in India and Sri Lanka, preventing large-scale conversions to Christianity. [2]

Christianity is a religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, as described in the New Testament. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament. Depending on the specific denomination of Christianity, practices may include baptism, Eucharist, prayer, confession, confirmation, burial rites, marriage rites and the religious education of children. Most denominations have ordained clergy and hold regular group worship services.

As part of his religious revivalism, he was one of the early adaptors of modern Tamil prose, introduced Western editing techniques, and built schools (in imitation of Christian mission schools) that taught secular and Hindu religious subjects. He was a defender of Shaivism ,which is the oldest sect of Hinduism , against Christian missionary activity and was one of the first natives to use the modern printing press to preserve the Tamil literary tradition. He published many polemical tracts in defence of Hindu Saivism, and also sought and published original palm leaf manuscripts. He also attempted to reform Hindu Saivism itself – an effort which sometimes led to the decline of popular deities such as Kannaki Amman and worship modes and confrontation with traditional authorities of religion. [3]

Hinduism is an Indian religion and dharma, or way of life, widely practised in the Indian subcontinent and parts of Southeast Asia. Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world, and some practitioners and scholars refer to it as Sanātana Dharma, "the eternal tradition", or the "eternal way", beyond human history. Scholars regard Hinduism as a fusion or synthesis of various Indian cultures and traditions, with diverse roots and no founder. This "Hindu synthesis" started to develop between 500 BCE and 300 CE, after the end of the Vedic period, and flourished in the medieval period, with the decline of Buddhism in India.

Kannaki Amman

Kannaki Amman is the deified form of Kannagi, the heroine of the great Tamil epic Silapathikaram, worshipped mainly in Sri Lanka and Kerala. As the goddess of chastity, rain and fertilization, she is well praised by the Malayalis and the two main ethnicities of Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan Tamil Saivites and also by the Sinhala Buddhists as Pattini Deviyo.


Navalar, born in 1822 as Kandharpillai Arumukapillai, belonged to the Vellalar caste. He grew up in the Tamil dominated regions of Sri Lanka. His home was in the town of Nallur on the Jaffna peninsula, a strip of land (40 by 15 miles) separated from South India by the Palk Strait. The principal town Jaffna and the peninsula (as well as the East of Sri Lanka) were predominantly Tamil Saiva in culture distinct from that of the Sinhalese Buddhists elsewhere. It was closely linked to the Saiva culture of South India. [4] [5] It was also home to the Jaffna Kingdom that had patronised this culture before it was defeated by the Portuguese colonials in 1621 CE. Nallur was also the capital of the defeated kingdom. [6]

Sri Lanka Island country in South Asia

Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island country in South Asia, located in the Indian Ocean to the southwest of the Bay of Bengal and to the southeast of the Arabian Sea. The island is historically and culturally intertwined with the Indian subcontinent, but is geographically separated from the Indian subcontinent by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait. The legislative capital, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, is a suburb of the commercial capital and largest city, Colombo.

Palk Strait strait

The Palk Strait is a strait between the Tamil Nadu state of India and the Mannar district of the Northern Province of the island nation of Sri Lanka. It connects the Bay of Bengal in the northeast with Palk Bay in the southwest. The strait is 53 to 82 kilometres wide. Several rivers flow into it, including the Vaigai River of Tamil Nadu. The strait is named after Robert Palk, who was a governor of Madras (1755–1763) during the Company Raj period.

Jaffna City in Sri Lanka

Jaffna is the capital city of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. It is the administrative headquarters of the Jaffna District located on a peninsula of the same name. With a population of 88,138 in 2012, Jaffna is Sri Lanka's 12th most populous city. Jaffna is approximately six miles from Kandarodai which served as an emporium in the Jaffna peninsula from classical antiquity. Jaffna's suburb Nallur served as the capital of the four-century-long medieval Jaffna Kingdom.

Arumugam's father Kandharpillai was a Tamil poet and provided a foundation in Tamil literature to Arumuga Navalar. [5] [7] His mother Sivakami was known for her devotion to supreme Saiva deity Lord Siva. Arumugam studied the Indian classical language, Sanskrit as well as Tamil grammar. Arumugam studied English in a Christian mission run school as a day student. After his studies, he was asked to stay on at the Jaffna Central College to teach English and Tamil. [5] The missionary school principal, Peter Percival also used him to assist in the translation of the King James Bible and other Christian literature. [5] Arumugam worked with Percival from 1841–1848 during which time he formulated his ideas as to what it meant to be a modern Hindu, under the influence of a progressive, secular and ascendant Western culture based on Judeo-Christian values. [4] [8]

Tamil literature one of the oldest and richest literatures of the world

Tamil literature refers to the literature in the Tamil language. Tamil literature has a rich and long literary tradition spanning more than two thousand years. The oldest extant works show signs of maturity indicating an even longer period of evolution. Contributors to the Tamil literature are mainly from Tamil people from South India, including the land now comprising Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Sri Lankan Tamils from Sri Lanka, and from Tamil diaspora. The history of Tamil literature follows the history of Tamil Nadu, closely following the social, political and cultural trends of various periods. The early Sangam literature, starting from the period of 2nd century BCE, contain anthologies of various poets dealing with many aspects of life, including love, war, social values and religion. This was followed by the early epics and moral literature, authored by Hindu, Jain and Buddhist authors, lasting up to the 5th century CE. From the 6th to 12th century CE, the Tamil devotional poems written by Nayanmars and Alvars, heralded the great Bhakti movement which later engulfed the entire Indian subcontinent. It is during this era that some of the grandest of Tamil literary classics like Kambaramayanam and Periya Puranam were authored and many poets were patronized by the imperial Chola and Pandya empires. The later medieval period saw many assorted minor literary works and also contributions by a few Muslim and European authors.

Sanskrit ancient Indian language

Sanskrit is a language of ancient India with a history going back about 3,500 years. It is the primary liturgical language of Hinduism and the predominant language of most works of Hindu philosophy as well as some of the principal texts of Buddhism and Jainism. Sanskrit, in its variants and numerous dialects, was the lingua franca of ancient and medieval India. In the early 1st millennium CE, along with Buddhism and Hinduism, Sanskrit migrated to Southeast Asia, parts of East Asia and Central Asia, emerging as a language of high culture and of local ruling elites in these regions.

Much of Tamil grammar is extensively described in the oldest available grammar book for Tamil, the Tolkāppiyam. Modern Tamil writing is largely based on the 13th century grammar Naṉṉūl which restated and clarified the rules of the Tolkāppiyam, with some modifications.

As he immerged himself in the study of Vedas, Agamas and Puranas, Arumugam Navalar came to the awareness that Hindu Saivites needed a clearer understanding of their own religion to stem the tide of conversions. With this in mind he relinquished the job that he had with the Weslyan Mission, although Peter Percival offered him a higher salary to stay on. He also decided not to marry as he felt that it would curtail his freedom. He relinquished his patrimony and did not get any money from his four employed brothers. From then on till the end of his life, he and his projects were supported by those who believed in his cause. [9] Through his weekly sermons at Hindu temples, he also formulated a theory to purify local Tamils of all practices that did not find sanction in a written document such as Vedas and Agamas. The lecture series and its circuit continued regularly for several years and produced a Saiva revival, for an informed piety developed and grew among many Jaffna Saivas. This was a direct tactical response to confront the Protestant's bible based arguments. While he was becoming a popular preacher, he still assisted Percival to complete the translation of the Bible. When there was a conflict as to Percival's version and another competing translation, Arumugam travelled to Madras to defend Percival's version. In 1848 he founded his own school and finally parted company with Percival. [10] [11]

Background information

Tamil people are found natively in South India and in Sri Lanka. During the Sangam period in the early centuries of the common era, Buddhist and Jain missionary activity from North India resulted in Tamil Hindu literati defining their own cults and literature. The result was the poems of the bhakti saints, the Nayanars and Alvars. By the 12th century CE, Saivas and Vaishnavas created a unified approach to religious literature in Tamil and Sanskrit, monastic systems, networks of temples and pilgrimage sites, public and private liturgies, and their Brahmin and non-Brahmin leadership. They institutionalised a definition of a Tamil Hindu on the basis Tamil literary culture. [12]

The mostly Vellala and Iyer Brahmin literati were Shaiva, the largest of the sects. By the 13th to 18th centuries, Shaiva theologians codified their religious traditions as Shaiva Siddhanta. Shaiva theologians did not formally include or confront Muslims and Christians in this classification but they included them along with Buddhists, Jains, and pagans. Arumuga Navalar was one of the first Tamil laymen to undertake as his life's career the intellectual and institutional response of Saivism to Christianity in Sri Lanka and India. [13]

Response to missionary activity

Shaiva Siddhanta influence in India and Sri Lanka Saivism-india-siddhanta.png
Shaiva Siddhanta influence in India and Sri Lanka

The 18th and 19th century Tamils in India and Sri Lanka found themselves in the midst of intrusive Protestant Missionary activity. Although Tamil Saivas opposed Roman Catholic and Protestant missions from the earliest days that they were established, literary evidence for it is not available. But by 1835 Tamils who were able to own and operate presses used them to print palm-leaf manuscripts. They also converted native literature from poetry to prose with additional commentary. Most of these activities happened in Jaffna in British Ceylon and Madras in Madras Presidency. [13]

By the time Navalar was born, Protestants from England and America had established nine mission stations in the Jaffna peninsula. Tamils in Jaffna faced a concentrated effort to convert them as opposed to Tamil in Southern India. The first known Saiva opposition to these efforts emerged in 1828 when the teachers of the American Ceylon Mission (AMC) at Vaddukoddai wanted to learn and teach the Shaiva scripture Skanda Purana in their school. This move angered local Shaivas as they interpreted it as a move by the missionaries to understand and then ridicule a religious material. Although the missionaries were able to translate and study the material, they were unable to teach it, as locals boycotted the classes. [13]

As a response, two anti-Christian poems appeared in Jaffna. The poet Muttukumara Kavirajar (1780—1851) wrote the Jnanakkummi (Song of Wisdom) and Yesumataparikaram (Abolition of the Jesus Doctrine). This was followed up by publications of polemic nature by both sides. AMC's Batticotta Seminary launched a semimonthly and bilingual periodical called The Morning Star (Tamil Utaya Tarakai). The aim of this periodical was to challenge all non-Protestants to stand up to intellectual scrutiny. The 19th century Protestants of Jaffna believed that Hindu Shaivism was "evil" and in the struggle God and the Devil, they intended The Morning Star to reveal the "falsity" of Hindu Shaivism. [13] [14] [10]

Saiva revivalism

To confront the power of the Christian civilisation and to use the instruments of Western civilisation's knowledge to reform their religion, in September 1842 two hundred Hindu men gathered at a Siva temple monastery. The group decided to open up a school to study Vedas and Agamas. The group also decided to start a press with the help of resident Eurasian Burghers. Arumugam Navalar who was part of the organisation wrote about the meeting in The Morning Star in a sympathetic tone. [15]

While Arumugam Navalar was still working on translating the Bible, he published a seminal letter in The Morning Star under a pseudonym in September 1841. It was a comparative study of Christianity and Hindu Saivism and targeted the weakness in the argument Protestant missionaries had used against local Hindu Saiva practices. Protestant missionaries had attacked the idol worship and temple rituals of the local Hindu Saivas as "devilish" and of "no value" but Navalar found evidence that Christianity and Jesus himself were rooted in the temple rituals of the ancient Israelites and that hallowing the Cross was akin to idolatry. [16] [17] His letter admonished the missionaries for misrepresenting their own religion and concluded that in effect there was no difference between Christianity and Hindu Saivism as far as idol worship and temple rituals were concerned. Although The Morning Star editors tried to reply to the letter, the damage was done. [18]

Circuit preaching

The popular Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil in Jaffna, destroyed in the late 15th century by the Portuguese and rebuilt in 1750 was targeted by Navalar as built not according to Agamic requirements Nallur Kandasamy front entrance.jpg
The popular Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil in Jaffna, destroyed in the late 15th century by the Portuguese and rebuilt in 1750 was targeted by Navalar as built not according to Agamic requirements

Using the preaching methods popularised by the Methodist preachers, he became a circuit preacher. His first secession was on 31 December 1847 at Vaitheeswaran Temple in Vannarpannai. It was a weekly event known as Prasangams on every Friday evening. In these secession he read from sacred texts and then preached in a manner that lay people understood. He was helped by his friend Karttikeya Aiyar of Nallur and his students from his school. The sermon topics were mostly ethical, liturgical, and theological and included the evils of adultery, drunkenness, the value of non-killing, the conduct of women, the worship of the linga, the four initiations, the importance of giving alms, of protecting cows, and the unity of God.

Disagreements with Hindus

In his weekly sermons, he attacked Christians and criticized the benighted practices of local Hindus. He specifically reprimanded the trustees and priests of the Nallur Kandaswami Temple in his home town because they had built the temple not according to the Agamas a century ago as well as used priests who were not initiated in the Agamas. He also opposed their worship of Vel or the weapon representing the main deity as it did not have Agamic sanction. [19]

Reformed school system

The school he founded was called Saivaprakasa Vidyasala or School of Lord Siva's splendor. The school did not follow the traditional Tamil teaching system, in which each student worked on his own pace and the teacher pupil ratio was extremely low. Although this system produced stellar experts in subject matter but took too much labour and was inefficient compared to the western system used by the Missionaries. [20] He developed his teaching methods based on the exposure he had with the Missionaries. He developed the curriculum to be able to teach 20 students at a time and included secular subject matters and English. He also wrote the basic instruction materials for different grades in Saivism. [20] Most of his teachers were friends and acquaintances who were volunteers. This school system was duplicated later in Chidambaram in India in 1865 and it still exits. But the school system he founded in Sri Lanka was replicated and over 100 primary and secondary schools were built based on his teaching methods. This school system produced numerous students who had clearer understanding of their religion, rituals and theology and still able to function in a western oriented world. [8] [20]

As an owner of a pioneering new school with the a need for original publications in Tamil prose to teach subjects for all grades, he felt a need for a printing press. He and his colleague Sadasiva Pillai went to Madras, India in 1849 to purchase a printing press. On the way they stopped at Tiruvatuturai Ateenam in Tanjavur, India, an important Saiva monastery. He was asked by the head of the monastery to preach. After listening to his preaching and understanding his unusual mastery of the knowledge of Agamas, the head of the monastery conferred on him the title Navalar (learned). This honorary degree from a prestigious Saiva monastery enhanced his position amongst Saivas and he was known as the Navalar since then. [8]

Literary contributions

Murugan with his two wives. Arumuka Navalar published the Tirumurukarrupatai , a devotional poem dedicated to Murugan. Murugan by Raja Ravi Varma.jpg
Murugan with his two wives. Arumuka Navalar published the Tirumurukarrupatai , a devotional poem dedicated to Murugan.

While in India he published two texts, one was an educational tool (teachers guide) Cüdãmani Nikantu, a sixteenth-century lexicon of simple verses and Soundarya Lahari , a Sanskrit poem in praise of the Primeval Mother Goddess Parvati, geared towards devotion. These were the first effort at editing and printing Tamil works for Hindu Saiva students and devotees. [21] His press was set up in a building that was donated by a merchant of Vannarpannai. It was named the Vidyaanubalana yantra sala (Preservation of Knowledge Press). [21] The initial publications included Bala Potam (Lessons for Children) in 1850 and 1851. They were graded readers, simple in style, similar in organisation to those used in the Protestant schools. This was followed up by a third volume in 1860 and 1865. It consisted of thirtynine advanced essays in clear prose, discussing subjects such as God, Saul, The Worship of God, Crimes against the Lord, Grace, Killing, Eating meat, Drinking liquor, Stealing, Adultery, Lying, Envy, Anger, and Gambling. These editions were in use 2007. [22]

Other notable texts published included The Prohibition of Killing, Manual of worship of Shiva temple and The Essence of the Saiva Religion. His first major literary publication appeared in 1851, the 272-page prose version of Sekkilar's Periya Puranam, a retelling of the 12th century hagiography of the Nayanars or Saivite saints. [22] In 1853 he published Nakkirar's Tirumurukarrupatai , with its own commentary. It was a devotional poem to Sri Murugan. [23] This was followed by local missionaries attacking Sri Murugan as an "immoral deity" for marrying two women. As a response Navalar published Radiant Wisdom explaining how the chronicles embody differing levels of meaning and that numerous characters in the Christian Bible, like King David, who were being claimed as examples of good conduct by the missionaries, were being depicted as having multiple wives and sexual partners themselves. [24] He also published literature of controversial nature. He along with Centinatha Aiyar, published examples of indecent language from the Bible and published it as Disgusting Things in the Bible (Bibiliya Kutsita). In 1852, he along with Ci. Vinayakamurtti Cettiyar of Nallur, printed the Kummi Song on Wisdom of Muttukumara Kavirajar leading to calls by local Christians to shut the printing press down. [24] [25]

The seminal work that was geared towards stemming the tide of conversions was printed in 1854. It was a training manual for the use of Saivas in their opposition to the missionaries, titled The Abolition of the Abuse of Saivism (Saiva dusana parihara). [24]

A Methodist missionary, who had worked in Jaffna, described the manual thirteen years after it had appeared as:

"Displaying an intimate and astonishing acquaintance with the Holy Bible. (the author) labors cleverly to show that the opinions and ceremonies of Jehovah's ancient people closely resembled those of Shaivism, and were neither more nor less Divine in their origin and profitable in their entertainment and pursuit. The notion of merit held by the Hindus, their practices of penance, pilgrimage, and lingam-worship, their ablutions, invocations, and other observances and rites, are cunningly defended on the authority of our sacred writings! That a great effect was thus produced in favour of Sivaism and against Christianity cannot be denied".

This manual was widely used in Sri Lanka and India; it was reprinted at least twice in the 19th century, and eight times by 1956. [24]

Legacy and assessment

Arumuka Navalar Memorial hall near Nallur Kandaswamy temple, Jaffna Arumuga Navalar Memorial-Jaffna.jpg
Arumuka Navalar Memorial hall near Nallur Kandaswamy temple, Jaffna

According to Prof. Dennis Hudson, [26] Navalar's contributions although began in Jaffna, spread to both in Sri Lanka as well as Southern India, thus establishing two centres of reform. He had two schools, two presses and pressed on against Christian missionary activity on both sides as well as against Hindus who he thought were unorthodox. He produced approximately ninety-seven Tamil publications, twenty three were his own creations, eleven were commentaries, and forty were his editions of those works of grammar, literature, liturgy, and theology that were not previously available in print. With this recovery, editing, and publishing of ancient works, Navalar laid the foundations for the recovery of lost Tamil classics that his successors such as U. V. Swaminatha Iyer and C.W. Thamotharampillai continued. [8] He was the first person to deploy the prose style in the Tamil language and according to Tamil scholar Kamil Zvelebil in style it bridged the medieval to the modern. [27]

Navalar established the world's first Hindu school adapted to the modern needs that succeeded and flourished. While the school he established in Chidamharam in 1865 has survived to this day, similar schools seem to have spread only to two nearby towns. In Sri Lanka, eventually more than one hundred and fifty primary and secondary schools emerged from his work. [20] Many of the students of these schools were successful in defending the Hindu Saiva culture not only against Christian missionary activities but also against neo-Hindu sects. [20] His reforms and contributions were added to by scholars such as V. Kalyanasundaram (1883—1953), and Maraimalai Adigal (1876–1950), who developed their own schools of theology within the Hindu Saiva heritage. [20] Although it is difficult to quantify as to how many Hindus may have converted to Protestant Christianity without his intervention but according to Bishop Sabapathy Kulendran, the low rate of conversion compared to the initial promise was due to Navalar's activities. [28]

Arumuka Navalar who identified himself with an idealised past, worked within the traditions of Hindu Saiva culture and strictly adhered what was available in the Hindu Saiva doctrine. [12] [29] He was an unapologetic defender of Hindu Savisim and the resultant class and caste privileges enjoyed by the higher castes. Although he never cared much for his caste identity, as he considered all living beings as equal, his efforts led to Hindu Saiva Vellala and Hindu Saiva Karaiyar consolidation of traditional privileges' and prevention of the emergence of converted Christian Vellala and Christian Karaiyar elites. [30] [30] [31] Although Navalar did not exhibit any Tamil oriented political awareness or pan ethnic Tamil consciousness as opposed to a Hindu Saiva and a defender of traditional privilege, [32] in Sri Lanka and South India, his aggressive preaching of a Hindu Saiva cultural heritage contributed to the growth Tamil nationalism. [33] The Tamil nationalist movement had an element that Hindu Saiva Siddhanta preceded all others as the original Tamil religion. [28] Navalar's insistence on the Agamas as the criteria of Hindu Saiva worship, moreover, gave momentum to the tendency among Tamils everywhere to attempt to subsume local deities under the Agamic pantheon and to abandon animal sacrifice altogether. [34]

Arumuga Navalar's reforms are seen by some as too conservative and is overly conforming to principles of Sanskritization and caste hegemony. [35] His "affirmation" of a "casteist ideology" was officially unacceptable to politically Left sympathizers of both India and Sri Lanka. [10] [36] [37] Even within the various schools of Hinduism, Navalar worked vigorously to marginalise the popular Virasaiva traditions of Jaffna along with Vaishnavism and the popular folk religion. [38] Although Navalar made important contributions towards locating and publishing Palm leaf originals of ancient and medieval Tamil literature, according to Karthigesu Sivathamby, Navalar deliberately minimised the impact of secular literature amongst Tamil Hindus to enhance the position of broad-minded Hindu Saiva religious literature. [39] His legacy still provokes negative reactions from the politically Left oriented Tamil atheist intellectuals and activist Christians. [40]


  1. Holt, John (2011-04-13). The Sri Lanka Reader: History, Culture, Politics. Duke University Press. p. 460. ISBN   0822349825.
  2. Sugirtharajah, R. S. (2005-06-16). The Bible and Empire: Postcolonial Explorations. Cambridge University Press. ISBN   9780521824934.
  3. Pillay, Kolappa Pillay Kanakasabhapathi (1969). A Social History of the Tamils. University of Madras.
  4. 1 2 Jones & Hudson 1992 , pp. 29
  5. 1 2 3 4 Kaplan & Hudson 1994 , pp. 97
  6. Sabaratnam 2010
  7. Social Science Review. Social Scientists Association. 1979. p. 61.
  8. 1 2 3 4 Zvelebil 1991 , pp. 155
  9. Jones & Hudson 1992 , pp. 36–38
  10. 1 2 3 Gupta, Basu & Chatterjee 2010 , pp. 165
  11. Jones & Hudson 1992 , pp. 36
  12. 1 2 Jones & Hudson 1992 , pp. 27.
  13. 1 2 3 4 Jones & Hudson 1992 , pp. 28
  14. Jones & Hudson 1992 , pp. 30
  15. Jones & Hudson 1992 , pp. 33
  16. Goodman & Hudson 1994 , pp. 56
  17. Sugirtharajah 2005 , pp. 6
  18. Jones & Hudson 1992 , pp. 33–35
  19. Kaplan & Hudson 1994 , pp. 100
  20. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Jones & Hudson 1992 , pp. 48
  21. 1 2 Jones & Hudson 1992 , pp. 41
  22. 1 2 Jones & Hudson 1992 , pp. 42
  23. Zvelebil 1991 , pp. 156
  24. 1 2 3 4 Kaplan & Hudson 1994 , pp. 105–106
  25. Jones & Hudson 1992 , pp. 44
  26. Prof. D. Dennis Hudson (1939–2007) was a Professor of World Religions at the Department of Religion, Smith College at SUNY. He taught religious history of India and South Asian religious literature in translation. His research interests focused on the Tamil speaking peoples of South Asia from their earliest appearance to the present, with special attention to two period: the 8th–9th-centuries period of Alvar and Nayanar and the 18th–19th-centuries period of interaction between Christians, Hindus, and Muslims, notably between the Protestants and Hindus. His detailed study of Arumuka Navalar is an attempt at understanding the Tamil Hindu reaction to an intrusive Protestant worldview in the 18–19th century period.
  27. Zvelebil 1991 , pp. 153–157
  28. 1 2 Jones & Hudson 1992 , pp. 49
  29. Schalk 2010 , pp. 116
  30. 1 2 Schalk 2010 , pp. 120
  31. Wilson 1999 , pp. 20
  32. Schalk 2010 , pp. 121
  33. Balachandran, P.K. (24 June 2006). "Cutting edge of Hindu revivalism in Jaffna". Daily News. Lake House Publishing. Archived from the original on 21 October 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
  34. Hellmann-Rajanayagam 1989 , pp. 235–254
  35. Wilson 1999 , pp. 53–54
  36. Wikremasinghe 2006 , pp. 83
  37. "Saiva revivalist Arumuga Navalar remembered on 181st birthday". Tamilnet . Retrieved 20 September 2011.
  38. Schalk 2010 , pp. 119
  39. Gupta, Basu & Chatterjee 2010 , pp. 166
  40. Schalk 2010 , pp. 119–120

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Village deities are a common feature of the Hindu pantheon of deities. They are known as Gramadevatas. Each Hindu region and caste of India and South Asia has its share of village deities. Sri Lankan Tamils venerate their own group of village deities throughout Sri Lanka, specifically in the Tamil-dominated north and east of the island nation.

Jaffna Hindu College

Jaffna Hindu College is a national school in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. It was founded in 1886 by a group of Hindu people who wanted an English language alternative to the Christian missionary schools.

Jaffna Central College School in Sri Lanka

Jaffna Central College is a national school in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. Founded in 1817 by British Methodist missionaries, it is one of Sri Lanka's oldest schools.

Kumaraswamy Pulavar Sri Lankan revivalist

Chunnakam Kumaraswamy Pulavar was a well-known Sri Lankan Tamil scholar and poet from Maylani village in Chunnakam township in Jaffna peninsula in the British held Ceylon now known as Sri Lanka. He lived from 1854 to 1922. He along with other activists were instrumental in the revival of native traditions in Sri Lanka that had been long dormant during the previous 400 years of colonial rule by various European powers.

Vaddukoddai Town in Sri Lanka

Vaddukoddai is small but important town in the minority Sri Lankan Tamil dominated Jaffna peninsula of Sri Lanka. It became prominent with the founding of Asia’s first modern university level collegiate known as Batticotta Seminary by the American Missionaries from New England in 1823.

Swami Vipulananda Sri Lankan Tamil Hindu social reformer, literary critic, author, poet, teacher and ascetic

Swami Vipulananda, also known as Vipulananda Adigal, was a Sri Lankan Tamil Hindu social reformer, literary critic, author, poet, teacher and ascetic from the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka. Vipulanada was an early pioneer associated with the Indian-based Ramakrishna Mission in Sri Lanka. Along with other reformers, Vipulanada was instrumental in the revival of the Hindu religion and native traditions in Sri Lanka after a long period of dormancy and decline during the previous 500 years of colonial rule by various European powers.

Vannarpannai Suburb in Northern, Sri Lanka

Vannarpannai is a notable suburb within the Jaffna town municipality in the northern Jaffna District in Sri Lanka. It is home to many cultural insituitions that are important for the Saiva revivalism of the local Sri Lankan Tamils as initiated by Arumuga Navalar. It is home to Kathiresan Temple and Vaitheeswaran Temple in which Navalar began his circuit preaching. It is also home to schools such as Vaitheeswara Vidyalayam, Srila Sri Arumuga Navalar School and Jaffna Hindu College and the Sivaprakasa Printing Press founded in 1848. The suburb has suffered adverse effects due to the Sri Lankan civil war

Muttukumara Kavirajar (1780–1851), the Ceylon / Sri Lankan Tamil poet, was one of the earliest Hindus to protest via published native literature the conversion attempts by the various Protestant missionaries within the Jaffna peninsula in Sri Lanka. He wrote the Jnanakkummi or Kummi Song on Wisdom and Yesumataparikaram or Abolition of the Jesus Doctrine. These poem were initially published in 1850s by Arumuga Navalar

American Ceylon Mission

The American Ceylon Mission (ACM) to Jaffna, Sri Lanka started with the arrival in 1813 of missionaries sponsored by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM). The British colonial office in India and Ceylon restricted the Americans to the relatively small Jaffna Peninsula for geopolitical reasons for almost 40 years. The critical period of the impact of the missionaries was from the 1820s to early 20th century. During this time, they engaged in original translations from English to Tamil, printing, and publishing, establishing primary, secondary and tertiary educational institutions and providing health care for residents of the Jaffna Peninsula. These activities resulted in many social changes amongst Sri Lankan Tamils that survive even today. They also led to the attainment of a lopsided literacy level among residents in the relatively small peninsula that is cited by scholars as one of the primary factors contributing to the recently ended civil war. Many notable educational and health institutions within the Jaffna Peninsula owe their origins to the missionary activists from America. Missionaries also courted controversy by publishing negative information about local religious practices and rituals.

Viswanather Casipillai was a Crown Proctor and co-founder of the Jaffna Hindu College.

S. Kanapathipillai was a minority Sri Lankan Tamil literary figure and Hindu revivalist in the school of Arumuga Navalar. His father was Sinnathamby Pillai of Madduvil in Chavakachcheri. Kanapathipillai was enrolled at the Navalar Kaaviya Paadasalai, under Kumaraswamy Pulavar, where he pursued higher studies in classical Tamil and literature. He was also guided by Swami Vipulananda, while still a student at the Navalar Kaaviya Paadasalai.

Printing in Tamil language

The introduction and early development of printing in South India is attributed to missionary propaganda and the endeavours of the British East India Company. Among the pioneers in this arena, maximum attention is claimed by the Jesuit missionaries, followed by the Protestant Fathers and Hindu Pandits. Once the immigrants realized the importance of the local language, they began to disseminate their religious teachings through that medium, in effect ushering in the vernacular print culture in India. The first Tamil booklet was printed in 1554 in Lisbon - Cartilha em lingoa Tamul e Portugues in Romanized Tamil script by Vincente de Nazareth, Jorge Carvalho and Thoma da Cruz, all from the Paravar community of Tuticorin. it is also the first non-European language to find space in the modern printing culture in the world.

Bible translations into Tamil

The first Bible to be Translated in India The history of Bible translations into the Tamil language commences with the arrival of Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg at Tranquebar in 1706.

Peter Percival British missionary

Peter Percival was a British born missionary, linguist and a pioneering educator in Sri Lanka and South India during the British colonial era. His work influenced prominent people such as Robert Bruce Foote a pioneering geologist and archaeologist and Arumuka Navalar, a Hindu revivalist. He began his career in British held Sri Lanka and Bengal as a Wesleyan Methodist missionary. His early work was in the minority Sri Lankan Tamil dominant Jaffna peninsula. He was instrumental in starting and upgrading a number of schools within the Jaffna peninsula. His preference of education over evangelism influenced educational programs off all others who sought to improve the literacy rate in the district. During his stay in Jaffna, he led the effort to translate the Bible into Tamil, based on the Authorised Version. After returning to England, he converted to Anglicanism. Subsequent to his posting in South India, he severed his association with the Anglican Missionary Society that had sent him to India and worked as an educator in Presidency College in Madras Presidency. He published English-Tamil and English-Telugu dictionaries as well as a number of books on Indian culture and religion. He died in 1882 in Yercaud in present-day Tamil Nadu.

Methodist Church in Sri Lanka

The Methodist Church of Sri Lanka and in is a Protestant Christian denomination in Sri Lanka. Its Headquarters is in Colombo and was established on 29 June 1814. It is a member of the World Council of Churches, the Christian Conference of Asia, the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka and the World Methodist Council.

Saiva or Shaiva may refer to: