Esala perahera - a meditation
The Esala festive season begins with Esala Purapasaloswaka Poya, which is blessed with
significant of a number of outstanding events pertaining to Buddha Sasana. Kandy Esala
perahera is expected to end in the 1st week of August, which is the Esala season.
considered to be a gorgeous and the most fascinating perahera, which is the conventional
pageant with Sinhala Buddhist features, held annually in this picturesque terrain of Sri
The aim of this
letter is (1) to highlight the patience and concentration or the mental discipline of
people who gather to view perahera (2) to represent views on incorrect steps in the
obstructions by authorities to the freedom of perahera viewers by way of providing for fee
or levy, facilities on the causeway for the purpose of viewing perahera for the privileged
depriving the rights of the ordinary viewer.
With the dawn
of Esala Purapasaloswaka Poya, people in far villages get ready to come to Kandy to view
perahera. Viewing Randoli perahera or maha perahera (as called by people) its glory and
grandeur is the ambition of all and sundry. So these viewers come to Kandy early in the
morning on the days of Randoli perahera.
They find a
free place on the causeway and be seated patiently all day long in the picturesque shades
provided by the surroundings. They remain patiently until late evening despite rain or hot
sunlight or any other inconvenience caused.
of people gathered and are seated on the causeway where there is little space irrespective
of the caste, class or the social status. They are waiting to view the gorgeous display.
Old and young, they are here for hours. They hear from morning the recital of Pirith and
stanzas relating to previous births of the Buddha as retold in Jathaka stories.
restrained speak no harsh words, equanimity in them and
their minds settled and mentally disciplined as they view with unblinking eyes the glory
and grandeur of approaching perahera with caparisoned elephants three in a row walking
with majesties and with all attractive features such as dancers and drummers of artistry
performing as an emblematic of worship to the Buddha. Finally they see carrying Randoli or
ancient palanquins. The viewers were meditative and joyous.
This freedom of
the ordinary viewer is being snatched by crafty money makers dump their swags and provide
for fee, facilities on the causeway for the purpose of viewing perahera by the privileged.
This fee goes up to several hundred rupees.
No one can
endorse this obstruction to the free causeway as a correct step as it is not in the
interest of ordinary perahera viewers.
So, it is the
responsibility of the authorities to think twice before they authorize to provide for fee
or levy, seating facilities on the causeway for the purpose of viewing perahera. The
causeway should be kept free for ordinary viewer.