King Parakramabahu ii
~This article is part of a continuing series on the ‘Mahavamsa,’ the recorded chronicle of Sri Lankan history~
1. Prince Parakramabahu, the elder son of King Vijayabahu III, was trained, from his young days, in the affairs of state. The father got him trained in managing elephants, horses, archers and weapons. Buvanekabahu, the younger one too, was trained in these arts. The two brothers were sent to Venerable Sangharakkhita Maha Thera, for their higher education. The chief-priests as well as the others, taught whatever was to be learnt by princes.
2. The elder prince got the maximum benefit. He learnt Buddhism in depth. Later in life, this prince Parakramabahu was bestowed the honorary title of 'Kalikala Sahitya Sarvagna Pandita.' King Vijayabahu III retired from kingship, by bestowing the reign to Parakramabahu. This prince was crowned as King Parakramabahu II. The younger prince Buvanekabahu was made the 'Yuvaraja.'
3. Prince Buvanekabahu made Kurunegala his seat of power. King Parakramabahu was crowned in 1236 AD. But there is a different theory in another source. According to this source, in the 10th year of King Parakramabahu's rule, King Vijayabahu III passed away and then a person named Vathhimi had come to power.
4. It is said that he exercised the power of the ruler, by deceiving the people. No other source of this period, makes any mention to this. However, the relationship that King Parakramabahu had with the Buddhist priests was a very intimate one. Therefore, the Buddhist monks would have extended all their support to him. This is regarded to be as a result of the efforts made by his father, King Vijayabahu III.
5. During the last days of King Vijayabahu's rule, he gave his sons, one good advice. It runs like this. "Do not try to conquer the Raja-rata and wage war against the Tamils, who are already there and the two brothers, are never to quarrel." Neither of the princes wished to obey the first part of the advice. King Parakramabahu II was determined to follow the path of the heroic kings like Dutugemunu, Dhatusena and Vijayabahu I.
6. However, this king did not wage any battle against the rulers of Raja-rata, in the first half of his rule. His belief was, that as he was the custodian of the Tooth Relic, he was the rightful ruler of Raja-rata as well. The king tried to make this point clear to his chieftains and the ordinary subjects, through the assistance of the Buddhist monks. So he got a new palace built in Dambadeniya to house the Tooth Relic. He held a grand ceremony when the Tooth Relic was deposited there.
7. It is said that the Tooth Relic performed a miracle on that day. To win the hearts of the chieftains who were against him, King Parakramabahu II adopted different strategies in administration. His brother's plans succeeded in winning over the Vanni chieftains. Therefore this king got the support of the majority of people, just as any great king did. This is mentioned with a lot of pride in our chronicles.
8. However, his plan to defeat Magha and his warriors was not successful. In addition to the capital Polonnaruwa, they had spread their power in Kottiyar, Kantalai, Kavudulu and Padaviya areas, Kurundankulam and even Yodha Wewa areas.