iSee Jaffna Public Library

A focal point of knowledge and unity

After my journey through the diverse spiritual landscape, I sought a place where Jaffna’s varied communities could converge. This led me to the Main Library of Jaffna, which was the largest library in Jaffna until it burned down in 1981. Stepping inside, I was drawn to a man at the central table, a member of the library staff with whom I struck up a conversation.

A place for unity and wisdom

“There are many books from different religions, but at the time of the burning, there were close to a million books here,” says Jestin George, the executive director of the Center for Interreligious Dialogues of the Sri Lanka Coexistence Society. The library was not only a place for books but a place for community as well. It was a testament to the power of knowledge and dialogue in bridging divides and fostering understanding among diverse communities.

A tree with roots to connect

In the heart of a hall, adorned with inscriptions, pictures, and flowers was a small tree. Despite its modest appearance, the tree served as a symbol of connection between heaven and earth, bridging the material and spiritual realms. Its branches reached out like pathways to enlightenment, offering a glimpse into universal truths and spiritual revelations.

Unity in diversity

In that moment, surrounded by the rich tapestry of cultures and religions within the library's walls, I realised the profound significance of unity in diversity. Just as the branches of the tree intertwined, so too did the narratives of the people who called this city their home. And in their stories, I found the true essence of Jaffna — a place where history, culture, and faith converged, offering a glimpse into the beauty of human connection, nature and the power of dialogue to transcend barriers.

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