Shaman Strike in Sri Lanka Sparks Debate Over Spiritual Practices and Earnings

Shaman Strike in Sri Lanka Sparks Debate Over Spiritual Practices and Earnings

Shamans in Sri Lanka Strike Over Pay Dispute

Sri Lankan Shamans, known for their role in assisting pilgrims in placing curses on their adversaries, have initiated a strike due to an unresolved pay dispute.

The strike centers around Seenigama Devale, a shrine located on a small islet off the country’s southern coast.

This shrine conducts daily ceremonies where celebrants perform rituals involving grinding fiery peppers on a millstone as an offering to the deity Devol.

Devol, the deity in question, is known for comforting the faithful and bringing suffering to their enemies.

However, the temple’s chief shaman, D.M. Kumara, along with his nine colleagues, has ceased these ceremonies in protest of new rules that significantly reduce their earnings.

The administrators have decreed that the shamans can now only claim 30 percent of the cash, gems, and jewelry offerings made to Devol, a stark reduction from their previous entitlement.

In their bid to seek intervention, all ten shamans have appealed to the deity Devol.

Nevertheless, they have resorted to a strike in the interim, as immediate results have not been forthcoming.

D.M. Kumara expressed, “Divine influence will take a little time to work.”

On the other side of the dispute, the temple’s interim administrator, Sarath Disenthuwa Handi, argues that the strike is unnecessary since celebrants will still earn approximately $1500 per month, which is ten times the average salary of a new employee in the state sector.

Sri Lanka, predominantly a Buddhist country, practices a form of Buddhism that incorporates elements of Hindu and animistic worship.

While Buddhism typically doesn’t recognize deities, local practices often include reverence for various gods.

Devol is one of the more popular deities in Sri Lanka, with over 1500 people visiting Seenigama Devale each day.

Conclusion: This story sheds light on a unique aspect of Sri Lankan culture, where shamans play a distinctive role in rituals and blessings, even as the country’s dominant religion is Buddhism.

The strike over a pay dispute within this spiritual context is intriguing, as it reflects the intersection of tradition and contemporary economic concerns.

The story also highlights the deep-rooted belief in divine intervention, with the shamans seeking the deity Devol’s help in resolving their issue.

The juxtaposition of traditional practices and modern labor disputes offers a glimpse into the complexity of cultural and religious dynamics in Sri Lanka.

TDPel Media

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