The minds and memories of pilgrims at the Swamy Rock are inundated with the miracles of Koneswaram hailed as the Rome of the Orient and venerated hailed as the ‘Kailas of the South’ by the Hindus of the world.
A singular miracle that stands out in my memory is the emergence of the ancient statues of sacreed Koneswaram after a long spell of three hunred and twenty five years. This occurred in the early fifties when I had still been a teenage student at Ramakrishna Mission Hindu College, Trincomalee.
The workforce of the Trincomalee Urban Council was digging a public well at Divistion 10 to provide drinking water to the town dwellers. As these workers were digging the ground, they heard a sound as their pick axes struck something underneath. They were stunned.
“What could it be ? –they wondered
‘ In the early forties during the world war when the Japanese dropped bombs in the vicinity of the natural Habour, none of them fell on the dwelling areas and the populace was saved from a great calamity due to the grace of Lord Konesar. Could this, therefore, be an unexploded bomb? This was the apprehension of a worker.
‘During the war, the people who fled the town in fear might have put their jewellery in boxes and concealed them underneath. This could then be one such metal box.’ This was the anxiety of another worker.
‘ Trincomalee is a sacred land, a Linga Boomy, where it was said there could be a Siva Lingam at every inch of land, Iam sure it is a Sivalingam’ –Thus observed a pious worker.
So the workers struck the earth with their tools with great caution and with a sense of piety. To their great amazement, they excavated three statues at a depth of only three feet. When these statues were discovered, the standing and seated Siva and the standing Parwathy were found buried with the base down and the head downwards.
They were the a statues of Lord Somaakanda Siva, His consort Mathumai Amman and Sandrasekara It was on the memorable day 27, 1950 . There other statues, Lord Ganesha ,Parwathy in a seated position, a Trisulam (Trident) and Hamsa bird had been unearthed a few days prior to that in close proximity.
In the early part of the year 1952, these sacred statues of yore were taken in processtion throughout the length and breadth of the Island of Ceylon for dharshan by the people of who floked all along the route in thousands for dharshan of the statues made contributions of cash in the denominations of one cent and five cent coins amounting to an aggregate of rupees 35,000/ towards the cost of the construction of a simple temple on the Swamy Rock to install these statues.
Finally, these statues were enshrined at Koneswaram temple on February 23, 1952. This day was chosen as the most auspicious day according to the Hindu calander to install the statues . As the preparation s for the ceremony were on, a sad news arrived.
The shocking news was that King Geroge VI had passed away peacefully in his sleep in England. As his daughter had been away on a tour abroad, the swearing in ceremony of the new heir to the throne was delayed. So it so happened that on the day that these idols were installed, there was no King in the isle of Ceylon.
It is appropriate , here to quote an observation made by Dr. W. Baladra in his lecture under the auspices of the Royal Asiatic Society chaired by Lord Soulbury, the then Govenor of Ceylon. Here is his observation;
‘There was no king in the island of Ceylon on that auspicious day. It may be a coincidence or it may be ordained.”
However, It is the affirmed belief of the Hindus of Trincomalee, that the emergence of these statues of yore promises them a bright future –peace with honor despite the visissitudes of life.