is part of a continuing series on the 'Mahavamsa,' the recorded
chronicle of Sri Lankan history
The kings of Ruhuna flee
1. King Gajabahu spoke to his ministers and commanders thus. "We have faced a very serious situation. Two kings have set up camp on either side. Our Velakkara army too is on their side. They are ready to fight against us. This is a crucial hour, when we should act with the right vision. If we all unite and fight as one, it will not be difficult to defeat the enemy. We should first deal with the stronger one of the opponents. If that succeeds, the rest will certainly run for their lives."
2. The ministers and the commanders listened in silence. The king kept gazing at them. No one spoke out. The king then questioned them as to why they were so quiet. "O King, we approve of your suggestion. Let us go ahead." they all said. The king then added, "My dear ministers and commanders, if we have the necessary unity, courage and the determination, victory will be ours."
3. All of them nodded in approval. Later, bowing to the king to show their respect, they took leave and left the palace. The commanders went straight to their battalions and explained the situation the country was in. The soldiers understood the gravity of the situation and all of them went out of the city gates.
4. These soldiers went to the camp of the Yuvaraja - Siri-Vallabha. He was also preparing for the battle. He had skilled soldiers, among whom were some warriors. They were sons of Ruhuna. All this contributed to make the battle a fierce one. The fighting went on for a long spell of time. Both sides fought well. Everyone was well-armed and well prepared. But finally the royal army won.
5. All strategies of Siri-Vallabha were failing. When there were signs of defeat, they retreated. The Yuvaraja fled the scene of battle and stopped at Ruhuna. The victorious army of the king was jubilant. They raised cries of victory on their way back. The entire Pihiti-Rata was overjoyed over this turn of events. There were celebrations at Polonnaruwa. The king was praised highly for his successful strategy.
6. Meanwhile, the Commander of Gokarna went to the camp of the Yuvaraja - Kitsirimegha. Kitsirimegha was then lamenting over the loss his brother had to face. He then had to face an army that came quite unannounced. Somehow he made up his mind and fought. Though he led the fight, his soldiers were demoralized by this time.
7. The poor morale of the soldiers was a great disadvantage. But he could not let his side down. So he continued fighting. The soldiers of Gokarna were a victorious lot. They were in high spirits and were determined to win. Thus they achieved victory. Kitsirimegha understood that he would be badly defeated. He abandoned the fight and fled to Ruhuna.
8. The Commander of Gokarna was able to win easily. His soldiers were singing with joy. As they entered the city, the people too joined in the celebrations. Even those who were not much in favour of Gajabahu rejoiced over this victory. This state of affairs was favourable for the king.