ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 47
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King Jayabahu

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

1. It was a very peaceful period, that had dawned on the country. The people were leading plentiful and happy lives. The officials were good. The country seemed prosperous. Many were the religious buildings that were built. A daughter of King Vijayabahu, Princess Yasodhara, by name, had erected a dagaba named 'Kapuru-Mul.' She also got a beautiful image-house built. The subjects too had turned to be quite religious. They did whatever meritorious deeds, they possibly could. The ministers were busy rebuilding and repairing the temples, ruined by the Cholas.

2. King Vijayabahu too was very generous. He made it a habit to offer medicinal drinks to the priests, daily. The needs of the Sangha, were well taken care of. In this manner, King Vijayabahu was able to rule as the sole ruler of Sri Lanka, for a period of 55 years. He passed away in 1110 AD. At the time of his death, the king was 73 years old. There was no king so far, who was able to outshine King Vijayabahu I.

3. The Sinhala nation would have perished, but for King Vijayabahu. This king was instrumental in gaining independence for the entire Sinhala nation. His death was a great blow and after that the country was in a state of turmoil. Conspiracies and rivalries sprang up. King Vijayabahu's younger sister, Princess Mitta – was at the root of all this trouble. Her husband was a prince from Pandya country, in South India. His three sons began to conspire to gain the throne.

4. The ministers and the government officers too joined in the conspiracy. The monks who belonged to the Vanavasi Nikaya also supported the rebels. All of them got together and made the Uparaja the king of the country, without informing Vickramabahu, the son of King Vijayabahu. This Uparaja was Jayabahu by name. As a result of all this, Jayabahu became King in 1110 AD. The elder son of Princess Mitta, Prince Manabharana, was made the Uparaja. King Jayabahu proved to be just a puppet king.

5. The country was ruled the way Prince Manabharana, thought fit. The three brothers, including Prince Manabharana decided to arrest Prince Vickramabahu. At this time, Prince Vickramabahu was the ruler of Ruhuna. This prince was sad that he could not participate in the final rites of his father. In the meantime, Prince Manabharana and his crowd, set forth with their army.

6. This news reached Vickramabahu. Without paying any attention to it, he took an army of 700 – 800 soldiers and marched to Polonnaruwa, to pay respect to his father's tomb. This crowd, reached the village of Kosbukka. The three brothers came to fight them. Prince Vickramabahu won the battle he fought with them.

7. The army of Manabharana and his brothers fled. These brothers who were defeated, got organized again to fight. Prince Vickramabahu had set up camp at a place called Dambapedesa. The brothers came to fight him. Once again, they were defeated. They fled. Again, a few months later, they came to fight. But they had to suffer the same fate. Being defeated, they fled.

8 The brothers did not give up their fight. They fought for the fourth time, when Vickramaba-hu was at Kalawewa. They suffered defeat for the fourth time as well. Their fight continued for the fifth and sixth times too. In all these battles, Vickramabahu emerged victorious. Accompanied by his army, he continued his march to Polonnaruwa.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.