Sri Lanka: Nalin de Silva’s Note on His Will

I do not accept that there is such a thing as truth. Everything is false. Some are outright lies. Here lie is not used as the opposite of truth. It has the idea of zero. All our designs, our knitting.

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Prof Nalin de Silva [File Photo]

The following excerpt, adapted from a note originally written in Sinhala by Prof. Nalin de Silva, a renowned Sri Lankan theoretical physicist and philosopher, on October 20, 2019. Professor Nalin de Silva mentioned that he would prefer to pass away abroad, to avoid insincere mourners at his funeral. A staunch critic of the West, he passed away in the United States of America yesterday. – Editors

Seventy-five years ago today, a bad man was born. It was me.

Most people know my bad habits. But they know little. My parents are not responsible for my bad behavior. They suffered a lot to raise us. Sinhala teachers did not get much salary. Raising eight children is not an easy task. My parents wanted me to become a specialist. When I didn’t like it, they wanted to make me an engineer. I didn’t like it either. Then they thought I would join the administrative service (civil service at that time). But I didn’t want that either. I wanted to be a university lecturer and scientist. It has been my wish since the age of fifteen. But I couldn’t do it. A lecturer was appointed. But once for two years and the second time for ten years, I lost that job. I realized that I cannot become a scientist. That’s a big thing.

Even though my parents suffered for me, I did nothing for them. Often I did what they did not like. I have not been a good husband to my wife either. We have enjoyed forty-eight years only because of her patience. I have not fulfilled my duties to my children either. The first time I lost my job was when my eldest son was about three years old. The little girl was three years old when I lost my job for the second time. All three children were raised by their mother. I am sorry for all this.

I am writing this not because it is important to say a birthday. Because I am close to death. I have a lot to say. But it is not possible to write all of them here. No one wants to congratulate me after seeing this letter. Longevity doesn’t matter. I’m going to leave when my life is over. Even then, no one wants to say anything about me. I may be born in a bad place. My children will bless me.

I will not be learned or intelligent. There are many intellectuals in this country who are more educated than me. I dislike scholars and intellectuals. They don’t like me either. I have not done any service to the country or knowledge. Scholars and intellectuals add something to knowledge. I have not added that. I have tried to create knowledge but I have failed.

Nirvana to me is withdrawal from knowledge. Absent mind is to realize that the absent mind is the absent mind. Even after saying that, those who call themselves Buddhists oppose it. I am trying to eat. But nothing is said to those who say there is no origin. Those who say so must be because they are wise.

I have not traveled. The announcers ask some of them what they can say about your trip. They will not ask me that. It may be because according to them I have not traveled. I had hope. To be a scientist. But I realized that it could not be so. I have not traveled or gone. I am on a journey. Seventy-five years there is an incalculable amount of time.

Anyway, I don’t like journalists. They don’t like me either. It must be because they are educated, intelligent and enlightened and I am not like that. When Mr. Edmund Ranasinghe was the chief editor of Upali newspapers, he gave me space in those newspapers. Gamini Sumanasekara and Gamini Weerakoon also gave me space. But my letters are unenlightened to the enlightened ones. I don’t care about other newspapers. The same goes for electronic media. Derana media helps me from time to time. It must be because of Dilith Jayaweera.

According to the scholars and intellectuals of this country, I am an extremist, a spreader of myths, a person who says there is a God, an idiot who rejects science, a deceiver of children by saying that the scientific method is just a fabrication and science is nothing but lies, a liar who had heart surgery while rejecting science, a rogue who has taken patriotism in his head, who knows nothing about mathematics, science, philosophy, history, political science, Buddhism, and reads nonsense without giving sources. What am I to do that I am neither learned nor intellectual?

I cannot provide sources. My memory is very poor. I can’t memorize short verses. No way now. It is also a bit of a problem to know how to pass the examinations of this recitation education. I don’t remember the details. I only know the essence and concept.

I do not accept that there is such a thing as truth. Everything is false. Some are outright lies. Here lie is not used as the opposite of truth. It has the idea of zero ( soonya). All our designs, our knitting. We don’t understand the world we have. Creating a world that does not exist. We are trying to create a corporate world. But we can’t do that. We create disjointed worlds and live in them. We live in contradictions. That is why politicians get so much space. Scholars, academics, academics and their female counterparts do not need to try to understand any of this. They don’t even understand.

There are very few people who like me. My followers don’t like me at all. Most of the people in the national movement do not like me. It must be my fault. Not only the other scholars and intellectuals, but also the scholars and intellectuals of the national movement do not accept that I have done any work. None of them appreciate anything I’ve done. Gunadasa Amarasekara has never said anything good that I have done in public or in private. Apart from Bengamuwe Nalaka and Omare Kassapa, the leaders of the national movement, there is no monk who publicly evaluates me. No layperson in the national movement has made any public evaluation. I may not have done enough to evaluate.

I feel sorry for this country. Sorry for Sinhala Buddhists. They do not know the value of their culture. Many politicians follow. By preaching ignorance as knowledge, Buddha gave us guidance for ignorance. That ignorance is great. It is possible to create knowledge for living with that knowledge. We have done so before the fifth century. Creating the Hull symbol for zero is our most outstanding work. No matter how much I say about it, I cannot get the attention of the scholars and intellectuals of this country to focus on it.

Mihindu Thero established the Buddhist monastery in this country. Buddhism existed in this country even before that. There were also Buddhists. Male and female Monks lived here. But there was no Buddhism. After King Gemunu, we worked for the perpetuation of Buddhasasana. But Brahmins have entered Buddhism. Brahmins have been a powerful group in this country. Buddhism made the Brahmins into non-thinkers. We cannot think beyond the fifth century.

There is no other place in the world where women are given equal status as men as in Buddhism. We say monks are worshipers. But today that situation has changed a bit. It is a result of the Brahmins infiltrating the Sasuna. We don’t want to be so-called women’s liberationists. There is no freedom for women in western countries.

Nirvana is what we need unconsciously. Until then, knowledge is needed. We created knowledge until Sinhala Buddhism fell into the hands of the Brahmins. Now it has stopped. We are deceived by politicians. It happens because of our lack of knowledge. The Sinhalese today know something only through the obvious. We cannot tell about the bombs before they explode. I am not talking about the intelligence agencies.

I tried to create knowledge. It has not been successful. Scholars and intellectuals rejected me. I am a failure in almost every way. I will live a few more years. Forget me after I die. I would rather die abroad. Then some scholars, intellectuals, politicians, journalists, people involved in the national movement will not come to my funeral to show their lies.

But it is my wish to be born again in this country.

It is to try to restore the Sinhala Buddhist state for the perpetuation of Buddhism.

Nalin de Silva

2010 October 20

SLG Syndication

SLG Syndication is committed to aggregating excerpts from news published by international news agencies and key insights on contemporary issues published by think tanks. Our aim is to facilitate the expansion of its reach while giving due credit to the original source.

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