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The Mahavamsa

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

Translated from Pali
by Wilhelm Geiger



(As) commanded by Ummadacitta the serving-woman took the boy, laid him in a basket and went with him to Dvaramandalaka.

When the princes, who had gone a-hunting in the Tumbara forest saw the serving woman they asked her: 'Where art thou going? What is that?' She answered: 'I am going to Dvramandalaka; that is a sweet cake for my daughter.' The princes said to her. 'Take it out.' Then Citta and Kalavela who had come forth to protect (the boy) caused a great boar to appear at that moment. The princes pursued him; but she took (the boy) and went thither and gave the boy and a thousand (pieces of money) secretly to a certain man who was entrusted (with the matter). On that very day his wife bore a son, and he, declaring: 'My wife has borne twin sons,' reared that boy (with his own).

The (boy) was already seven years old when his uncles found out (where he was) and charged followers of theirs to kill (with him) the boys playing in a certain pond. Now the boy was used to hide, by diving, in a certain hollow tree standing in the water and having the mouth of the hollow hidden under water, entering by the hollow, and when he had stayed long within he would come forth in the same way, and being again among the other boys, however much they questioned him, he would mislead them with evasive words.

On the day the (princes') people came the boy with his clothes on dived into the water and stayed hidden in the hollow tree. When those men had counted the clothes and killed the other boys they went away and declared: 'The boys have all been killed!' When they were gone that (boy) went to his foster-father's' house, and comforted by him he lived on there to the age of twelve years.

When his uncles again heard that the boy was alive they charged (their followers) to kill all the herdsmen. Just on that day the herdsmen had taken a deer and sent. the boy into the village to bring fire. He went home, but sent his foster father's son out saying: 'I am footsore, take thou fire for the herdsrnen; then thou too wilt have some of the roast to eat.' Hearing those words he took fire to the herdsmen: and at that moment those (men) despatched to do it surrounded the herdsmen and killed them all, and when they had killed them they (went and) told (the boy's) uncles.

Then, when he was sixteen years old, his uncles discovered him; his mother sent him a thousand (pieces of money) and a command to bring him to (a place of) safety. His fosterfather told him all his mother's message, and giving him a slave and the thousand (pieces of money) he sent him to Pandula. The brahman named Pandula, a rich man and learned in the vedas, dwelt in the southern district in (the village) Pandulagamaka. The prince went thither and sought out the brahman Pandula. When this latter had asked him: 'Art thou PANDUKABHAYA, my dear?' and was answered 'Yes', he paid him honour (as a guest) and said: 'Thou wilt be king, and full seventy years wilt thou rule; learn the art, my dear!' and he inbtructed him, and by his son Canda also that art was mastered in a short time.

He gave him a hundred thousand (pieces of money) to enrol soldiers and when five hundred men had been enrolled by him (he said): 'The (woman) at whose touch leaves turn to gold make thou thy queen, and my son Canda thy chaplain.' When he had thus said and given him money he sent him forth from thence with his soldiers. Proclaiming his name he, the virtuous prince, fared forth and when in the city of Paia near the Kasa-mountain he had gathered together seven hundred followers and provision for all, he went thence, followed by one thousand two hundred men to the mountain called Ginkanda.

An uncle of PANDUKABHAYA, named Girikandasiva, drew his revenues from this district that Panduvasudeva had handed over to him. This prince was even then on the point of reaping (a field) measuring a hundred karisas; his daughter was the beautiful princess named Pali. And she, with a great retinue, had mounted her splendid waggon, and came bringing food for her father and for the reapers. The prince's men, who saw the princess there, told the prince (about her); the prince coming thither in haste and dividing her followers into two bands, drove his own waggon, followed by his men, near her and asked: 'Where art thou going?' And when she had told him all the prince, whose heart was fired with love, asked for a share of the food.

She stepped down from the waggon and, at the foot of a banyan-tree, she offered the prince food in a golden bowl. Then she took banyan-leaves to entertain the rest of the people (with food) and in all instant the leaves were changed into golden vesse1s. When the prince saw this and remembered the brahman's words he was glad (thinking): 'I have found the maiden who is worthy to be made queen.' So she entertained them all, but yet the food became not less; it seemed that but one man's portion had been taken away. Thus from that time onward that youthful princess who was so rich in virtues and merit was called by the name Suvannapali.

And the prince took the maiden and mounted his waggon and fared onward, fearless, and surrounded by a mighty army.

When her father heard this he despatched all his soldiers, and they came and gave battle and returned, defeated by the others; at that place (afterwards) a village was built called Kalahanagara.' When her five brothers heard this they (also) departed to make war. And all those did Canda the son of Pandula slay; Lohitavahakhanda was their battle-field.

With a great host PANDUKABHAYA marched from thence to the further shore of the Ganga toward the Dola-mountain. Here he sojourned four years. When his uncles heard that he was there they marched thither, leaving the king behind, to do battle with him. When they had made a fortified camp near the Dhümarakkha-mountain they fought a battle with their nephew. But the nephew pursued the uncles to this side of the river, and having defeated them in flight he held their fortified camp for two years.

And they went to Upatissagama and told all this to the king. And the king sent the prince a letter together with a thousand (pieces of money) saying: 'Keep thou possession of the land on the further shore, but come not over to this shore.' When the nine brothers heard of this they were wroth with the king and said: 'Long hast thou been, in truth, a helper to him Now dost thou give him the kingdom. For that we will put thee to death.' He yielded up the government to them, and with one accord they appointed their brother named Tissa to be regent.

This safety-giving Abhaya had reigned as king in Upatissagama twenty years.

Now a yakkhini named Cetiya, who dwelt on the Dhammarakkha-mountain near the pond (called) Tumbariyangana, used to wander about in the form of a mare.

And once a certain man saw this beautiful (mare) with her white body and red feet and told the prince: Here is a mare whose appearance is thus and so.

The prince took a noose and came to capture her. When she saw him comin g up behind her she fled for fear of his majestic aspect. She fled without rendering herself invisible and he pursued her swiftly as she fled. Seven timesin her flight she circled round the pond, and plunging into the Mahaganga and climbing forth again to the shore she fled seven times around the Dhumarakkha-mountain; and yet three times more she circled round the pond and plunged yet again in the Ganga near the Kacchaka-ford, but there he seized her by the mane and (grasped) a palm-leaf that was floating down the stream; by the effect of his mer it this turned into a great sword. He thrust at her with the sword, crying: I will slay thee. And she said to him: I will conquer the kingdom and give it to thee, lord! Slay me not! Then he seized her by the neck and boring her nostrils with the point of his sword he secured her thus with a rope; but she followed wheresoever he would.

When the mighty (hero) had gone to the Dhumarakkha mountain, bestriding the mare, he dwelt there on the Dhumarakkha-mountain four years. And having mar ched thence with his force and come to the Arittha-mountain he sojourned there seven years awaiting a fit time to make war.

Eight of his uncles, leaving two behind, drew near to the Arittha-mountain in battle array, and when they had laid out a fortified camp near a small city and had placed a commander at the head they surrounded the Arittha-mountain on every side.

After speech with the yakkhini, the prince, according to her cunning counsel, sent in advance a company of his soldiers taking with them kingly apparel and weapons as presents and the message: Take all this; I will make peace with you. But as they were lulled to security thinking: 'We will take him prisoner if he comes, he mounted the yakkha-mare and went forth to battle at the head of a great host. The yakkhini neighed full loudly and his army, inside and outside (the camp) raised a mighty battle-cry. The princes men killed all the soldiers of the enemy's army and the eight uncles with them, and they raised a pyramid of skulls. The commander escaped and fled (for safety) to a thicket; that (same thicket) is therefore called Senapatigumbaka. When t he prince saw the pyramid of skulls, where the skulls of his uncles lay uppermost, be said: Tis like a heap of gourds; and therefore they named (the place) Labugamaka.

When he was thus left victor in battle, PANDUKABHAYA went thence to the dwelling-place of his great-uncle Anuradha. The great-uncle handed over his palace to him and built himself a dwelling elsewhere; but he dwelt in his house. When he had inquired of a soothsayer who was versed in the knowledge of (fitting) sites, he founded the capital, even near that village. Since it had served as dwelling to two Anuradhas, it was called Anuradhapura, and also because it was founded under the constellation Anuradha. When he had caused the (state) parasol of his uncles to be brought and purified in a natural pond thatis here, PANDUKABHAYA kept it for himself and with the water of that same pond he solemnized his own consecration; and Suvannapali, his spouse, he consecratedqueen. On the young Canda, even as he had agreed, he conferred the office of his chaplain and other appointments on his other followers according to their merits.

Because his mother and he himself had been befriended by him, he did not slay the king Abhaya, his eldest uncle, but handed over the government to him for the night-time: he became the 'Nagaraguttika' (Guardian of the City). From that time onward there were nagaraguttikas in the capital. Flis father-in-law also, Girikandasiva, he did not slay but handed over to this uncle the district of Girikanda. He had the pond' deepened and abundantly filled with water, and since he had taken water therefrom, when victories (for his consecration), they called it Jayavapi. He settled the yakkha Kalavela on the east side of the city, the yakkha Cittaraja at the lower end of the Abhayatank. The slave-woman who had helped him in time past and was re-born of a yakkhini, the thankful (king) settled at the south gate of the City. Within the royal precincth he housed the yakkhini in the form of a mare. Year by year he had sacrificial offerings made to them and to other (yakkhas); but on festival-days he sat with Cittaraja beside him on a seat of equal height, and having gods and men to dance before him, the king took his pleasure, in joyous and merry wise.

He laid out also four suburbs as well as the Abhaya-tank, the common cemetery, the place of execution, and the chapel of the Queens of the West, the banyan-tree of Vessavana and the Palmyra-palm of the Demon of Maladies, the ground set apart for the Yonas and the house of the Great Sacrifice; all these he laid out near the west gate.

He set five hundred candalas to the work of cleaning the (streets of the) town, two hundred candalas to the work of cleaning the sewers, one hundred and fifty candalas he employed to bear the dead and as many candalas to be watchers in the cemetery. For these he built a village north-west of the cemetery and they continually carried out their duty as it was appointed.

Toward the north-east of the candala-village he made the cemetery, called the Lower Cemetery, for the candala folk. North of this cemetery, between (it and) the Pasana-mountain, the line of huts for the huntsmen were built thenceforth. Northward from thence, as far as the Gamani-tank, a hermitage was made for many ascetics; eastward of that same cemetery the ruler built a house for the nigantha Jotiya. In that same region dwelt the nigantha named Gin and many ascetics of various heretical sects. And there the lord of the land built also a chapel for the nigantha Kumbhanda; it was named after him. Toward the west from thence and eastward of the street of the huntsmen lived five hundred families of heretical beliefs. On the further side of Jotiya's house and on this side of the Gamani tank he likewise built a monastery for wandering meudicLnt monks, and a dwelling for the ajivakas and a residence for the brahmans, and in this place and that he built a lying-in shelter and a hall for those recovering from sickness.

Ten years after his consecration did PANDUKABHAYA the over the whole of the island of Lanka . With Kalavela and Cittaraja, who were visible (in bodily form) the prince enjoyed his good fortune, he who had yakkhas and bhütas for friends. Between the king PANDUKABHAYA and Abhaya were seventeen years without a king.

When the ruler of the earth, Pandukabyaha, the intelligent, being thirty-seven years old, had assumed the rule over the kingdom, he reigned full seventy years in fair and wealthy Anurädhapura.

Here ends the tenth chapter, called 'The Consecrating of PANDUKABHAYA' 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

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last updated: 20-May-2003