COLOMBO: Astrology and occultism have been a double-edged sword for former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Belief in them has led him to heights of success as well as depths of disaster.
Currently, an astrological prediction is threatening to deny Rajapaksa the Colombo mansion he is desperate to occupy because astrologers had predicted that his political fortune, now at its nadir, would soar if he occupied the house.
To Rajapaksa’s dismay, A.S.P. Liyanage, a big time real estate dealer who owns the house, wants to back out of the deal to give it out on rent to Rajapaksa. Liyanage’s soothsayer had predicted that he would not be able to get the house back from Rajapaksa.
The realtor is on the horns of dilemma. On the one hand, he owes a lot to Rajapaksa, who had made him Lanka’s Ambassador to Nigeria. But on the other hand, he is loath to sever links with the river-side 18-room mansion surrounded by an acre of fruit trees, because its construction had been a labor of love.
“My wife has threatened to divorce me if I sold the property,” Liyanage told The Sunday Times.
Like Rajapaksa, Liyanage is a firm believer in astrology, Vastu Sastra and Thovil , the traditional Sinhalese method of driving away evil spirits.
When he agreed to rent the house to Rajapaksa, the latter wanted the swimming pool to be filled up with sand because his Kerala-based astrologer had warned that a water body on the Western side of the house would “suck” the powers of the occupant. “This was done because I too believe vastu,” Liyanage told Express.
Rajapaksa then got a Kattadiya ( a Sinhalese man who drives away evil spirits) to do an all night Thovil ceremony. “After the ceremony, the Kattadiya warned me that the occupant will become powerful, and I will not be able to get the house back.”
Meanwhile, a TV station kept putting out the story that underneath the sand in the swimming pool, Rajapaksa had hidden a lot of gold.
“I was not there when the pool was filled with sand, but I do not believe that gold is hidden there. To be transparent, I have asked the police to remove the sand and investigate at my expense. In two or three days, this process will start,” Liyanage told Express.
“I am subjected to much political pressure from all sides. I am helpless,” he said grimly.