COLOMBO, SRI LANKA, March 19, 2008: A Hindu activist is campaigning to create awareness about the ancient Nandi (sacred bull) flag and revive the practice of hoisting it at religious functions and temple festivals. "Muslims raise the Islamic flag, the Buddhist raise theirs, but Hindus do not hoist any though they have the Nandi flag," says Sinnadurai Dhanapalaa, senior vice president of the Colombo branch of the World Saiva Council.
"Over the years, the practice of hoisting the Nandi flag at temples in Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu has been discontinued. The significance of the Nandi (the sacred bull) and the Nandi flag is not appreciated enough," Dhanapalaa told IANS. "It is Lord Siva's vahana, his guardian, as well as his chief disciple. In Hindu lore, the Nandi represents dharma or righteousness."
Dhanapalaa explains, "For the last 10 years I have been trying to create awareness about the importance of Nandi and getting temples to make the flag an important part of the proceedings. The Nandi flag is to be a rallying point for the Hindus, an object with which they can identify, an insignia of their faith." Dhanapalaa said. "The Nandi stands for selfless work, devotion and ability to be calm. It represents Saivism in its essence."
Dhanapalaa's book, "The Significance and Glory of the Nandi Flag," will be released at the Fourth International Saiva Siddhanta Conference in Madurai in Tamil Nadu March 22.