ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 43
Funday Times- Mahavamsa funday times logo

Foreign Friends

By Halaliye Karunathilake
Edited and translated by Kamala Silva
Illustrated by Saman Kalubowila

1. The Chola prince too had a soft corner for Princess Mitta. This was made known to King Vijayabahu. The king expressed his strong disapproval of the proposal and scolded the prince. King Vijayabahu entertained an enmity towards the Cholas. But later, he had some regrets about scolding the Chola prince. He wondered whether it would lead to a fight with the cholas.

2. The king quickly got Princess Mitta married to a Pandyan prince. The king also sent gifts to the king of Karnata and made friends with him. When the king was fighting against the Cholas, he had another foreign friend. It was King Shri Vijaya of the Kingdom of Malay, who had helped him a lot. This king had a pretty daughter named Thilokasundari.

3. King Vijayabahu married this princess and made her his second queen. This helped to build up a closer relationship between the two kings. King Vijayabahu always made attempts to establish relationships with foreign kings. All these kings were enemies of the Cholas. Because of the king's associations with other rulers, opposed to the Cholas, it was difficult for the Cholas to invade Sri Lanka for some time.

4. This brought about peace in the country for a spell of 11 years, commencing from 1075 AD. However, at this time, the country was in a very bad state. Canals, tanks, bunds and most other buildings had been damaged. Buddhism too had declined. This complete downfall was due to Chola rule which lasted for nearly a century. Some temples were fully destroyed due to the plundering of the Cholas. Religious institutions had lost all avenues of income.

5. The number of Buddhist monks had also decreased. The death of senior monks and lack of fresh ordinations during this period caused this loss. The 'Upasampada' or the 'Higher Ordination' ceremony had not been performed for some time. King Vijayabahu, quite disturbed over this, tried to revive higher ordination. The king had to send envoys to 'Ramanna Desha' (Burma), where King Anuradha was ruling, to get senior monks for this ceremony.

6. This King Anuradha was a good Buddhist. He welcomed the envoys and accepted the gifts sent by King Vijayabahu. He provided them board and lodging and ensured that they were very well treated. There were a large number of Buddhist monks in Burma, well-versed in the 'Tripitaka' - the 'Three Baskets.' King Anuradha spoke to them and requested their help to re-establish the 'Upasampada' ceremony in Sri Lanka. These monks agreed to undertake the task and travel to our country on this mission.

7. King Vijayabahu welcomed them with due honour and respect. Thus, he was able to have the Upasampada ceremony, once again. The king built beautiful temples and donated them to the Sasana. By then, the city of Polonnaruwa was densely populated. So the king arranged to have Buddhist sermons in the city, almost daily. In short, the king made every attempt to create a righteous society. His attempts were successful to a great extent as the people began to lead good lives.

8. Since Polonnaruwa became the capital city, the king tried to make it more beautiful. He also erected centres for training the army, in the event of foreign invasions. To fortify the city, King Vijayabahu got a deep trench dug, right round the city. Around it was constructed a huge wall, which even the elephants could not break. With safety locks fixed to all city gates, he fortified the city.


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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.