22nd September 2022 14:31:52 Hours
The series of blessing ceremonies of all faiths as the precursor to the forthcoming 73rd Army Anniversary and the Army Day (10 October) got to a start on Wednesday (21) at the sacred Kataragama Kirivehera and Devaala compounds with the participation of Lieutenant General Vikum Liyanage, Commander of the Army as the Chief Guest, together with a host of Officers and Other Ranks.
Flags of all Army Regiments, Security Force Headquarters, Training Schools, Divisions, Brigades, formations and units that were taken thrice round the ‘Kirivehera’ stupa in devotion, preceded by Army drummers before they were placed for invocation of blessings. At the same time, a section of the attendees took part in the special ‘Kapruka’ Pooja around the pagoda as all joined together to conduct the ‘Gilanpasa’ Pooja after illuminating the premises with coconut oil lamps.
After the Kirivehera incumbent monk, Ven Kobawaka Dhamminda Thera with members of the Maha Sangha performed religious rites, the day’s Chief Guest offered ‘Pirikara’ to members of the Maha Sangha. A special Pooja with garlands of white lotus flowers was afterward offered to the Mahasen Devaalaya before colourful flag-bearers lined up again, to proceed to the Kataragama Devaalaya precincts for religious observances.
Commander of the Army on the same occasion presented a financial contribution towards the development of the sacred place of historic value as a symbolic gesture of veneration. Ven Kobawaka Dhamminda Thera, Incumbent, Kirivehera accepted the donation.
The procession, composed of Army flag- bearers and ‘Hevisi’ groups wended its way to the premises where the flags were symbolically accepted by Senior Officers to be given to the Commander of the Army. Religious observances at the ‘Ashtapalabodhiya’ in the premises saw the Commander of the Army offering ‘Atapirikara’ to the sacred tree.
As the ‘Thewava’ (regular offering) of the Devaalaya got underway, the Commander delivered the flags for invocation of blessings to the inner chamber of the Devaalaya. Another financial donation for the development of the sacred place was also handed over to the Basnayake Nilame of the Kataragama Devaalaya by the Commander of the Army.
Distribution of the special ‘Muruthen Pooja’ afterward inside the premises culminated the day’s event, attended by a host of Senior Officers, including Major General CD Weerasuriya RWP RSP ndu, Deputy Chief of Staff, Major General DGS Senarath Yapa RWP RSP ndu, Commandant, Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force, Major General MKS Silva RWP RSP ndu, Commander, Security Forces - Central, Major General MGWWWMCB Wickramasinghe RWP RSP ndu psc, Adjutant General, Major General AHLG Amarapala RWP RSP psc, General Officer Commanding, 12 Division, et al.