Preparation of the Pooja Offerings to God
|Clean Water Pits|
As the first thing, we had to dig 7 clean pits on the riverbank of ‘Kumbukkan Oya’. Each had to be dug by hand to ensure the purity. After that these had to be carefully covered with tree leaves and branches, ensuring the pits will be clean and away from dirt, animals and tree leaves. This is done to get the purest portion of water of the river, used for Pooja preparation.
The next step is the preparation of sacred offering to God(Pooja). Most of you must have heard of the unique offering of alms called ‘PaniBath’ or ‘Muruthan Bath’, which is a special meal prepared only as a devotion to sacred Gods or to Lord Buddha during holy consecrations. We are now ready to prepare the sacred offering ‘Pani Bath’.
The hearth is made with 3 stones and a canopy to respect the holiness of this preparation. The members taking part of this process should be careful to cover the face to avoid mixing any unclean material to the meal. This holy meal to God is a mixture of cooked rice, Sugar, Jaggery ,Green Grams and Plums. This holy meal has an extremely rich taste. This meal is then arranged to clean bowls and covered.
|'Pani Bath' Preparation|
|Pooja Fruits Arrangement|
Consecration of the Pooja to God
|Ready to Devote the Offerings|
The Devala is situated 100 Metres away from the place we prepared the Pooja. As Buddhists we first did the offerings of flowers and lighting the oil lamps to the ancient Bo Tree resembling Lord Buddha, at Siyabalape before initiating the Pooja. holding the Pooja prepared , we headed to the Sacred shrine ‘Siyabalape Devala’, with the blesses of triple gems in hearts.
The Shrine is extremely holy and mystic. The land is filled with absolute silence. You may experience such a spiritual feeling, rare, holy and godly and will never forget it for your lifetime. As we see in most of the other shrines devoted for gods, here you never see the dark chambers dedicated for gods, trance dances, brutalized chanting , prayers nor the collection boxes of donations.
As the folklore says, it is very hard to exclude the thought that the spirit of god Skandakumar still lives in this ancient sacred land. Indeed it is a land of God and holiness. We cleaned the sacred land and swept the shrine before the Pooja was offered. After that, we offered the Pooja to god Skandakumar, and prayed to god.
As an ancient custom, the devotees never turn back and walk away from the Shrine. Instead the devotees practice the custom of walking backwards to show the respect to the sacred land.
We worshipped the sacred Bo tree again and left the sacred land with full of holy thoughts towards God Skandakumar and lord Buddha.
Miracles at Kebaliththa
After the long discussion about the Pooja, let’s now share some amazing holy miracles about this ancient shrine. As the military soldiers around the land stated, one of the wild elephants seems to have a mystic relationship with this shrine. People call this giant “Devale Aliya’ (The elephant of the shrine). This giant seems to visit the shrine once or twice a week, and destroy all unnecessary constructions, re arrange and clean the sacred shrine before it leaves to jungle back. This is quite mystic and surprising how an elephant is devoted for the holiness of Devala, and respects the sacred Gods and Spirits in the land.
According to Mr.Madhushan, the devotees who are not serious about the customs, or the ones who visit the shrine without proper preparations, have had faced many unexplainable obstacles as a result of not showing respect towards the ancient sacred shrine. Overspillings of the Kumbukkan river, floods, missing the way towards shrine, getting lost in the jungle are some of the mystic interruptions such pilgrims have faced.
We returned from the holy shrine , with the hearts filled with sacred thoughts towards the amazing land of God Skandakumar. We kindly advice you not to test, challenge or experiment the powers of holy Gods and spirits, if you choose to visit this ancient Shrine ‘Siyabalape Devela’ at Kebaliththa.
This is one rare chance to visit a holy land where gods still live, feel the blesses of gods and an unforgettable experience of Sri Lankan customs while traveling.
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