King Vijayabahu IV
~This article is part of a continuing series on the ‘Mahavamsa,’ the recorded chronicle of Sri Lankan history~
King Parakramabahu II delegated the powers of rule to his minister named Deva Pathiraja and gave up ruling the country temporarily. He thought it best to take a short break. Being a scholar and a writer, many are the books that he has written. 'Visuddhimagga Sanna' is one such book. Another famous book written by him is 'Kavsilumina', which is based on the 'Kusa Jataka.' King Parakramabahu II had got down a lot of religious books from India. In 1262 AD, he made his elder son, Prince Vijayabahu, the rightful ruler of the
2. This was done in the 26th year of his rule. This Prince Vijayabahu, from his childhood had been devoted to religion. He had been close to the people and had been gaining their love and respect. He learnt the art of warfare. In addition, he mastered the art of riding elephants and horses. He was a non-violent person, who respected even the lives of animals.
This earned him the epithet 'Bosath Vijayabahu.'
He was crowned as King Vijayabahu IV. He got the Temple of the Tooth in Dambadeniya repaired and he got the building
3. He got this temple artificially adorned and had a 'Dalada Puja,' for the benefit of the people. After that he organsied the 'Dalada Puja,' to be held annually. By this time, the city of Polonnaruwa was in ruins. All the religious sites were in utter neglect. Temples were broken. Fields had been just left to fallow. King Vijayabahu wanted to reconstruct this kingdom. So he made his wish known to his father.
4. King Parakramabahu approved of his plan and said "not only Polonnaruwa, but the Ruwanweli dagaba' which he could not repair, should be repaired." Vijayabahu IV, acceded to the king's request. But he did not start on that programme, straight away. He established the security of Maya-rata first of all. He appointed two of his younger brothers, Thribhuvana Malla' and 'Buwanekabahu' to be in charge of two battalions.
5. They stayed in Wattala and Yapahuwa respectively. The king fortified the safety of Kurunegala too. He got an important centre put up at Wakirigala and all the valuables that belonged to the state were deposited there. Even after all these safety measures, he did not want to go towards Rajarata. Instead he got fully involved in religious activities of Gampola, Adam's Peak and Walgampaya.
6. The fact that King Vijayabahu was bent on strengthening the security of Mayarata points to a clear threat of an imminent invasion. He could have entertained a fear of some enemy. This foe was no other than Chandrabhanu. He had collected an army of Malay people and in addition had employed Chola and Pandya mercenaries. With this combined army, he invaded Sri Lanka from 'Mathota.' He established his power there and adjusted his ways to suit the wishes of the people of Pihitirata. The people were deceived.
7. He showed them that he was serving religion and society. With his forces, he came towards Yapahuwa and besieged the fortress. He demanded the crown of the king, authority over entire Sri Lanka, the Tooth Relic and the Bowl Relic of the Buddha. He sent a messenger to the king demanding these things. Prince Veerabahu and King Vijayabahu went to battle well armed. They attacked Chandrabhanu's army.
8. There followed serious fighting and Chandrabhanu was defeated. The ladies, regal items, elephants and other things that were in his court became the property of the Sinhala forces. It is believed that Chandrabhanu died in this battle.