ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 46
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Repaying Kindness

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

1. King Vijayabahu organized his army to fight the Cholas in 1100 – 1101 AD. Since that time, till the end of his reign there were no more threats from any enemies. This led to a great development in the country. The Chulawansa states that King Vijayabahu was a poet, and therefore he helped revive literature and art in the country. Because he was a great lover of poetry, he gathered poets and musicians from all over the country and entertained them at his palace. He was happiest when they performed for him and he even got them to create stanzas for his sons and daughters and even his ministers.

2. The king himself would sing these songs and be entertained, and he would also present his favourite poets with gifts, land and titles. King Vijayabahu was indeed a great king and he never forgot all the troubles he went through during his child hood and the people who helped and protected him during that time. He repaid their kindness and loyalty by presenting them with land and titles.

3. The person he favoured most was Dandanayake Budalnawanata of Ruhuna, who had looked after him like his own child. The king bestowed on him titles and land. He also ordered that no one from his family would be punished for any wrong-doing in his lifetime and even in any other kings' reign. Even if accused of murder he was to be forgiven three times before he could be punished.

4. That was not all. The king issued a declaration that all land given to him and his family could never be taken away from them. This was called the 'Paana Kaduwa Thamba Sannasa.' This letter was found in later years by a farmer and can still be seen today, safely preserved at the Museum in Anuradhapura. Another rock inscription made by King Vijayabahu was found in the Nuwara-Eliya district among some stone pillars.

5. This was the 'Ambagamu Sannasa.' This letter was an order describing the land given towards making and maintaining Dansal and resthouses for the pilgrims going to worship at Siripada. This all proves the greatness of King Vijayabahu.

The tragic death of his brother was a day of great sadness for the king. His brother Veerabahu was the Uparaja. He and King Vijayabahu were very close. His final rites were held with state honours and many monks from all over the country came for his funeral. These monks requested the king to give his son, Prince Vickramabahu a title.

7. The ruler of Ruhuna at this time was Prince Jayabahu. He was the king's younger brother. King Vijayabahu called him down from Polonnaruwa to fill the vacant Uparaja seat left with the death of Veerabahu. Prince Vickramabahu was then appointed the ruler of Ruhuna. The prince was the son of King Vijayabahu's Kalinga queen Thiloka Sundari. The prince was also betrothed in marriage to a Kalinga princess.

8. This princess was called Sundaree. Because of this marriage the ties with the royal family of the Kalinga king, Sri Vijaya, grew stronger. This in turn helped improve foreign trade between the two countries and our ships were also given the added protection of their country. By this time the North East and North harbours which were held by the Cholas were totally freed. The whole country was under one Sinhala King.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.