article is part of a continuing series on the 'Mahavamsa', the recorded
chronicle of Sri Lankan history
Dhatusena's final decision
1. It is no wonder that King Dhatusena was so sad to suffer the
fate of a prisoner, all of a sudden after saving the country from
foreign enemies. He began to think that however much good you do
and accumulate merit, if an evil deed has to bear fruit, one cannot
escape it. Thinking so, he controlled himself. The subjects were
very sad about the fate of the king. But they were helpless. The
Buddhist monks too were not at all friendly with Prince Kasyapa.
They too were disgusted with the turn of events. Everybody in the
royal household were sad about the suffering the king had to undergo.
But Kasyapa, who was so power-hungry did not care about the mass
Migara too was not at all concerned about public opinion. He only
wanted to take revenge. The evil commander was not satisfied with
the imprisonment imposed on the king. He wanted to punish him further.
He went to meet Prince Kasyapa, once again and said, "O' King,
there is one more secret that you didn't know".
When King Kasyapa wanted to know what it was, he cooked up a false
story and said, "King Dhatusena has hidden a vast treasure
to be given to Prince Mugalan. When Mugalan comes with a foreign
army, he will defeat you and set his father free. The king will
give the treasure to Mugalan then". The mere mention of Mugalan's
name, and the greed for money, made King Kasyapa, impatient.
Kasyapa went to the place where his father was imprisoned and forced
him to hand over the treasure to him. King Dhatusena then said,
"I have not hidden any treasure for anybody". Kasyapa
then ordered his men to harass the king by causing bodily harm,
until he showed the treasure. The heartless men went on beating
The Chief priest of the Kala-Wewa temple, at that time, happened
to be a friend of King Dhatusena. He was also wishing to see the
king, but had no way. King Dhatusena, on his part, thought it best
to die, rather than suffer. Finally, he decided to see his friend
the priest, have a bath at the Kala-Wewa - that he had built - and
die. So he called one of the men who were kept there on guard.
The king told him thus, "You go and tell your king, that the
hidden treasure is near the Kala-Wewa. If he wants it, he has to
take me there". The man went and reported all this to Kasyapa.
Kasyapa who was so greedy for wealth, asked the men to take the
king, in a carriage, to Kala-Wewa. The king's men did accordingly.
Migara watched the helpless king, getting into the carriage. The
king did not look at him. He ignored him, looked away and cleared
his throat. The king was taken towards Kala-Wewa. In the meantime,
the priest who got to know, that the king was on his way to Kala-Wewa,
got ready to welcome the king. He organized a meal and saw to it
that the king's favourite dishes were there.
The carriage reached the Kala-Wewa. The king alighted from the carriage,
met the priest and enjoyed a pleasant conversation. Then the priest
offered the food specially prepared for him. The king partook of
the meal with such relish. The priest then preached the Dhamma to
him. He advised the king to contemplate on the 'Dhamma' and make
up his mind. King Dhatusena accepted the advice of the priest, with
all due respects. After some time, he begged leave from the priest
saying, "This is our final meeting". The priest felt very
sad but did not utter a word.