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