ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday September 2, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 14
Funday Times - Mahawamsa

United Under one flag

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

1. The victorious warriors of Polonnaruwa kept their flag flying. They took the Tooth Relic and brought it to Polonnaruwa, with due veneration. King Parakramabahu had organized a number of religious festivals for the occasion. Later, a separate palace (Maligawa) was built to house the Tooth Relic. Thereafter, people paid veneration to the Tooth Relic, day in and day out. The people of Ruhuna who opposed the king, also began to take a liking to Parakramabahu. All of them accepted him as the sovereign ruler of the land.

2. In 1153 AD, the coronation ceremony of King Parakramabahu was held. Up to this date, those who ruled the country were sovereign only in name. The country was divided. The rulers of Ruhuna and Mayarata did not respect the orders of the king. They did not pay taxes. They ruled their areas in the way they wanted, quite independently.

3. King Parakramabahu meant to change this entire system. He was able to make the entire country accept his leadership. He put a stop to the power of the Yuvarajas. He wanted the entire country to follow the system of administration that he adopted, when he was the ruler of the southern province. He passed new laws and regulations and succeeded in establishing a law-abiding society.

4. Parakramabahu had four main points to execute, when he became the ruler of the entire country. According to our chronicles, they go like this. 1) The happiness of the masses,
2) To give pride of place to religion 3) The security of the chiefs 4) Help the needy.
To begin with, he selected the people who deserved position and gave them suitable posts, going on merit.

5. Next he wanted to cleanse the Order of Monks, which had been corrupt for far too long. He established a 'Code of Ethics' for all the monks to follow and this was written as a 'Kathikawata'. According to the advice of the chief-priest – Mahakashyapa of Dimbulagala, he got hundreds of monks who did not respect the rules of Vinaya – to leave the Sasana. The monks who were divided into three Nikayas were united as one body.

6. He constructed new Aramas (temples). All the needs of the monks were well catered to. All this is proved by the inscription at 'Gal-Vihara' in Polonnaruwa. He got a special raft erected in the middle of the Mahaweli River. And on this a beautiful 'Mandapa' was made. This was done to have a ceremony, to enroll lay people into priesthood. As the king extended his royal patronage to this ceremony, later on, this ceremony became an annual event.

7. He got four Dining Halls – Dana-salas' erected to feed the poor, the Brahmins and the Buddhist monks, on a daily basis. Dispensaries were put up and doctors were appointed to be in charge of these. On Poya days, the king personally went to supervise all these. The city of Polonnaruwa was beautified by the building of ponds, parks, temples and palaces. Very soon, Polonnaruwa became a royal city.

8. Most of the buildings we see in Polonnaruwa today, were put up by King Parakramabahu. He got the old city walls raised. All city streets were repaired.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.