BuddhaSasana Home Page
English Section

The Mahavamsa

The Great Chronicle of Lanka
from 6th Century BC to 4th Century AD

Translated from Pali
by Wilhelm Geiger



WHEN the Guide of the World, having aecomplished the salvation of the whole world and having reached the utmost stage of blissful rest, was lying on the bed of his nibbana; in the midst of the great assembly of gods, he, the great sage, the greatest of those who have speech, spoke to Sakka' who stood there near him: 'VIJAYA, son of king Sihabahu, is come to Lanka from the country of Lala, together with seven hundred followers. In Lanka, O lord of gods, will my religion be established, therefore carefully protect him with his followers and Lanka.

When the lord of gods heard the words of the Tathagata he from respect handed over the guardianship of Lanka to the god who is in colour like the lotus.

And no sooner had the god received the charge from Sakka than he came speedily to Lanka and sat down at the foot of a tree in the guise of a wandering ascetic. And all the followers of VIJAYA came to him and asked him: 'What island is this, sir?' 'The island of Lanka, he answered. 'There are no men here, and here no dangers will arise.' And when he had spoken so and sprinkled water on them from his water-vessel, and had wound a thread about their hands he vanished through the air. And there appeared, in the form of a bitch, a yakkhini who was an attendant (of Kuvanna).

One of (VIJAYA's men) went after her, although he was forbidden by the prince (for he thought), 'Only where there is a village are dogs to be found.' Her mistress, a yakkhini named Kuvanna, sat at the foot of a tree spinning, as a woman hermit might.

When the man saw the pond and the woman-hermit sitting there, he bathed there and drank and taking young shoots of lotuses and water in louts-leaves he came forth again. And she said to him: "Stay! thou art my prey!". Then the man stood there as if fast bound. But becasue of the power of the magic thread she could not devour him, and though was entreated by the yakkhini, the man would not yield up the thread. Then the yakkhini seized him, and hurled who cried aloud into a chasm. And there in like manner she hurled (all) the seven hundred one by one after him.

And when they all did not return fear came upon VIJAYA; armed with the five weapons he set out, and when he beheld the beautiful pond, where he saw no footstep of any man coming forth, but saw that woman-hermit there, he thought: 'Surely my men have been seized by this woman.' And he said to her, 'Lady, hast thou not seen my men?' 'What dost thou want with thy people, prince?' she answered. 'Drink thou and bathe.'

Then was it clear to him: 'This is surely a yakkhini, she knows my rank,' and swiftly, uttering his name, he came at he drawing his bow. He caught the yakkhini in the noose about the neck, and seizing her hair with his left hand he lifted his sword in the right and cried: 'Slave! give me back my men, or I slay thee!' Then tormented by fear the yakkhini parayed him for her life. 'Spare my life, sir, I will give thee a kingdom and do thee a woman's service and other services as thou wilt.'

And that he might not be betrayed he made the yakkhini swear an oath, an so soon as the charge was laid on her, 'Bring hither my men with all speed,' she brought them to that place. When he said, 'These men are hungry,' she showed them rice and other(foods) and goods of every kind that had been in the ships of those traders whoem she had devoured.

(VIJAYA's) men prepared the rice and the condiments, and when they had first set them before the prince they all ate of them.

When the yakkhini had taken the first portions (of the meal) that VIJAYA handed to her, she was well pleased, and assuming the lovely form of a sixteen year old maidedshe approached the prince adorned with all the ornaments. At the foot of a tree she made a splendid bed, well covered around with a tent, and adorned with a canopy. And seeing this, the king's son, looking forward to the time to come, to her to him as his spouse and lay (with her) blissfully on that bed; and all his men encamped around the tent.

As the night went on he heard the sounds of music and singing, and asked the yakkhini, who was lying near him: 'What means this noise?' And the yakkhini: 'I will bestow kingship on my lord and all the yakkhas must be slain, for (else) the yakkhas will slay me, for it was through me that men have taken up their dwelling (in Lanka).'

And she said to the prince: 'Here there is a yakkha-city called Sirisavatthu; the daughter of the chief of the yakkhas who dwells in the city of Lanka has been brought hither, and her mother is to come. And for the wedding there is high festival, lasting seven seven days; therefore there is this noise, for a freat multitude is gathered together. Even to-day do thou destroy the yakkhas, for afterwards it will no longer be possible.'

He replied: 'How can I slay the yakkhas who are invisible?' 'Wheresoever they may be,' she said, 'I will utter cries, and where thou shalt hear that sound, strike! and by my magic power shall thy weapon fall upon their bodies.'

Since he listened to her and did even (as she said) he slew all the yakkhas, and when he had fought victoriously he himself put on the garments of the yakkha king and bestowed the other raiment on one and another of his followers.

When he had spent some days at that spot he went to Tambapanni. There VIJAYA founded the city of Tambapanni and dwelt there, together with the yakkhini, surrounded by his ministers.

When those who were commanded by VIJAYA landed from their ship, they-sat down wearied, resting their hands upon the ground and since their hands were reddened by touching the dust of the red earth that region and also the island were (named) Tambapanni. But the king Sihabähu, since he had slain the lion (was called) Sihala and, by reason of the ties between him and them, all those (followers of VIJAYA) were also (called) Sihala.

Here and there did VIJAYA's ministers found villages. Anuradhagama was built by a man of that name near the Kadamba river; the chaplain Upatissa built Upatissagama on the bank of the Qambhira river, to the north of Anu radhagama Three other ministers built, each for himself, Ujjeni, Uruvela, and the city of Vijita.

When they had founded settlements in the land the ministers all came together and spoke thus to the prince: 'Sire, consent to be consecrated as king.' But, in spite of their demand, the prince refused the consecration, unless a maiden of a noble house were consecrated as queen (at the same time).

But the ministers, whose minds were eagerly bent upon the consecrating of their lord, and who, although the means were difficult, had overcome all anxious fears about the matter, sent people, entrusted with many precious gifts, jewels, pearls, and so forth, to the city of Madhura in southern (India), to woo the daughter of the Pandu king for their lord, devoted (as they were) to their ruler; and they also (sent to woo) the daughters of others for the ministers and retainers.

When the messengers were quickly come by ship to the city of Madhura they laid the gifts and letter before the king. The king took counsel with his ministers, and since he was minded to send his daughter (to Lanka) he, having first received also daughters of others for the ministers (of VIJAYA), nigh upon a hundred maidens, proclaimed with beat of drum:

'Those men here who are willing to let a daughter depart for Lanka shall provide their daughters with a double store of clothing and place them at the doors of their houses. By this sign shall we (know that we may) take them to ourselves.'

When he had thus obtained many maidens and had given compensation to their families, he sent his daughter, bedecked with all her ornaments, and all that was needful for the journey, and all the maidens whom he had fitted out, according to their rank, elephants withal and horses and waggons, worthy of a king, and craftsmen and a thousand families of the eighteen guilds, entrusted with a letter to the conqueror VIJAYA. All this multitude of men disembarked at Mahatittha; for that very reason is that landing-place known as Mahatittha.

VIJAYA had one son and one daughter by the yakkhini; when he now heard that the princess had arrived he said to the yakkhini: 'Go thou now, dear one, leaving the two children behind; men are ever in fear of superhuman beings.'

But when she heard this she was seized with fear of the yakkhas; then he said (again) to the yakkhhini: 'Delay not! I will bestow on thee an offering by (spending) a thousand (pieces of money).' When she had again and again besought him (in vain) she took her two children and departed for Lankapura, though fearing that evil should come of it.

She set the children down outside and went, herself, into that city. When the yakkhas in the city recognized the yakkhini, in their terror they took her for a spy and there was great stir among them; but one who was violent killed the yakkhini, with a single blow of his fist.

But her uncle, on the mother's side, a yakkha, went forth from the city and when he saw the children he asked them:

'Whose children are you?' and hearing that they were Kuvanna's he said: 'Here has your mother been slain, and slay you also if they see you: (therefore) flee swiftly!'

Fleeing with speed they went from thence to the Sumanaküta. The brother, the elder of the two, when he grew up took his sister, the younger, for his wife, and multiplying with sons and daughters, they dwelt, with the king's leave, there in Malaya. From these are sprung the Pulinda

The envoys of the Pandu king delivered up to the prince VIJAYA the gifts and the (maidens) with the king's daughter at their head. When VIJAYA had offered hospitality and bestowed honours on the envoys he bestowed the maidens, according to their rank, upon his ministers and retainers. According to custom the ministers in full assembly consecrated VIJAYA king and appointed a great festival.

Then king VIJAYA consecrated the daughter of the Pandu king with solemn ceremony as his queen; he bestowed wealth on his ministers, and every year lie sent to his wife's father a shell-pearl worth twice a hundred thousand (pieces of money).

When he had forsaken his former evil way of life, VIJAYA, the lord of men, ruling over all Lanka in peace and righteousness reigned, as is known, in the city of Tambapanni, thirty-eight years.

Here ends the seventh chapter, called 'The Consecrating of VIJAYA', in the Mahavamsa compiled for the serene joy and emotion of the pious.

 Top of Page | Index
 Chapter 01 | Chapter 02 | Chapter 03 | Chapter 04 | Chapter 05 | Chapter 06 | Chapter 07 | Chapter 08 | Chapter 09 | Chapter 10 |
 Chapter 11 | Chapter 12 | Chapter 13 | Chapter 14 | Chapter 15 | Chapter 16 | Chapter 17 | Chapter 18 | Chapter 19 | Chapter 20 |
 Chapter 21 | Chapter 22 | Chapter 23 | Chapter 24 | Chapter 25 | Chapter 26 | Chapter 27 | Chapter 28 | Chapter 29 | Chapter 30 |
 Chapter 31 | Chapter 32 | Chapter 33 | Chapter 34 | Chapter 35 | Chapter 36 | Chapter 37

[Back to English Index]

last updated: 20-May-2003