Introduction / History
Sri Lanka has been called one of the most beautiful places in the world. Unfortunately, a 26-year civil war starting in 1983 took place in the island country. Up to 100,000 died and there was millions of dollars in property damage. The majority Buddhist Sinhalese declared victory over the Tamil Tigers in 2009. Since that time the Sri Lankan economy has begun to rebound, and tourists have returned to the island. As Hindu Tamils, many Nadar sided with the Tamil Tigers. Thousands lost their lives in the war and much of their property was destroyed.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The Nadar people of Sri Lanka have cultivated palmyra palm trees for hundreds of years. They were "palmyra climbers." Nadar men and women would climb the palm tree, cut a branch and collect the sweet sap. Although all parts of this palm tree are valuable, the sap quickly becomes palm wine in the warm, tropical climate of Sri Lanka. The production of palm wine or toddy was the main occupation of the Nadars until modern times. Today some Nadar have obtained college degrees and achieved leadership positions in business and government.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The vast majority of the Nadar people are Hindus. The Goddess Bhadrakali is the chief deity of the Nadar. The Nadar also claim that they are the descendants of Bhadrakali. A Bhadrakali temple is at the center of nearly every Nadar community. She is pictured as a fierce warrior with three eyes and carrying weapons with her many hands. The Nadar also worship Murugan, the god of war and son of Shiva. The Nadar people worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. Hindus believe that by performing rituals and good works that they will attain moksha or freedom from the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. The Nadars visit Hindu temples and offer prayers, food, flowers, and incense to their gods in hope of gaining protection and benefits. They do not have a personal or familial relationship with their gods like Christians do with their heavenly Father. There are many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs. The main yearly holidays of the Nadar people are Holi, the festival of colors and the start of spring, Diwali, the festival of lights, Navratri, the celebration of autumn and Rama Navami, Rama's birthday.
What Are Their Needs?
The Nadar need to learn new job skills outside of making palm wine. They must comprehend that Jesus is more than another Hindu god or guru. He alone can forgive their sins and grant them eternal life. Rural Nadar need access to modern medical and clean water.
Pray that Nadar Christian believers would be trained in discipleship and reach out to their Hindu brothers and sisters with the gospel of Christ. Pray that the Lord would move Christians to help the Nadar obtain other jobs than the production of palm wine. Pray that Nadar believers read and study the Tamil Bibles that are available. Ask the Lord to raise up a Disciple Making Movement among the Nadar in Sri Lanka in this decade.
Scripture Prayers for the Nadar (Hindu traditions) in Sri Lanka.