This article is part of a continuing series on the ‘Mahavamsa’, the recorded chronicle of Sri Lankan history
The youth from Matuvelanga

  1. The king was contemplating on the words of Rev. Maha-Tissa. He thought to himself about the bad period he had gone through. The insults he had to tolerate, and the suffering all of them went through was so great. The priest who observed the king’s mood, spoke thus, “O King, what’s worrying you so much?”, the king replied saying he was doubting whether unexpected issues would crop up, if he disclosed his identity.
  2. “Do not be worried over that. The enemy is weak now. They are all divided. The city of Anuradhapura is in a state of great confusion. The people are helpless. They are sad that they do not have a king of their own. This is the ideal time to tell the people who you are. The people will be overjoyed to know that you are their king. The youth will flock round you”, said Rev. Maha-Tissa.
  3. Then the king asked another question. “Rev. Sir, will the killing of Thanasiva, go against us? Are the people disgusted over that matter?” the priest said, “Yes. It may work against us. Though he had been hasty in his actions, he had been loyal to me. He was kind to the people in his province. But what can we do now? It was his bad luck. In a way, what has happened has happened for our good”.
  4. “Why do you say so, Rev. Sir?”, asked the king in surprise. The priest said, “It is only his death, that gave you a chance to tell the people who you are. Maybe, they’ll begin to hate Thanasiva, when they come to know that you were insulted by him. His friends, the more intelligent ones, may even think of joining you”.
  5. “Yes. That is true. I’m not at all angry with Thanasiva. He was an innocent man. I still feel sorry for what happened to him. He treated us well, through respect for you. He never wanted to know our whereabouts. Everything went wrong because of the foolish actions of the females”, said the king heaving a deep sigh. “That is quite true. I too feel sincerely sad about what happened. Thanasiva was my chief lay disciple: said Rev. Maha-Tissa.
  6. “The prince got angry because his mother was humiliated. Furthermore, as Thanasiva had a bow and arrow with him, the prince would have thought that he was attempting to shoot at us. That may be why he attacked Thanasiva. He would not have realized the gravity of it”, explained the king.
  7. Rev. Maha-Tissa then uttered the following words by way of consoling the king. “It is no use worrying over it. Things like this do happen. Let us now try to forget it. There is a greater task ahead of us. So let us get prepared for that. Things will work out in our favour. The people may even begin to hate Thanasiva. The king has to be very sharp and quite alert. We should make use of every minute”. The king consented to act accordingly.
  8. Once their discussion was over, they came to the place where the king’s party was. They worshipped at the feet of Rev. Maha-Tissa and paid respect to him. The priest went back to the temple. Meanwhile a crowd of youth who had come from Matuvelanga, came to meet the king. The king had a pleasant discussion with the youth.

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

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