ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday September 9, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 15
Funday Times - Mahawamsa

Commander - Sukharabhathu

By Halaliye Karunathilake
Edited and translated by Niluka De Silva
Illustrated by Saman Kalubowila


1. The commanders of Ruhuna surrendered. But Queen Sugala survived and managed to escape. One commander who was defeated in a previous fight, was kept as a prisoner by King Parakramabahu. He was a brave son of Ruhuna. His name was 'Sukharabhathu.' At the first chance, he escaped from King Parakramabahu's prison. He fled to Hapangamuwa, which was in the northwest Badulla region. He was a shrewd and clever warrior and he met with Queen Sugala. She made him the commander of her army.

2. The commander of King Parakramabahu's army was 'Rakkha.' He had three adikari officers under him and several commanding officers too.
Meanwhile, under Commander Sukharabhathu's leadership, Queen Sugala's army was learning new tactics and became more offensive. They attacked several of King Parakramabahu's battalions, but the Royal army still continued to march forward.

3. Queen Sugala's army made camp at a place called Hatthasupa, west of Monaragala, and waited. They made a strong attack against the King's army. The King's army retreated. Queen Sugala's army made the King's army retreat as far back as Okkampitiya.
At this time, Commander Rakkha fell ill. Although medical treatment was given, it was of no use and he died.

4. Commander Rakkha had been an exceptionally skilled soldier. At first he was King Gajabahu's main commander. But at the very beginning he joined King Parakramabahu's fight to unite the country. He was greatly praised by King Parakramabahu because of his many skills. He was appointed to the highest rank in the Royal army. Therefore his funeral was held with the highest state honours.

5. The King erected a 'Danashalawa' in honour of Commander Rakkha, at the place where his last rites were carried out.
Meanwhile, the armies of Ruhuna gathered at Butthala. Parakramabahu's armies gathered at Tissamaharama. The king sent his officers a message. It stated thus;
"Commanders, take this opportunity and fight accordingly."

6. "Meanwhile, do not take the Sacred Tooth Relic with you as you travel from village to village. I do not like this. Therefore, send the Tooth Relic back to me."
The commanders agreed with the king and prepared to send the Tooth Relic back to Polonnaruwa. They planned to send the Tooth Relic, through the Commanding Officer of the Viyaluwa Korale. Therefore, guarded by a strong army, they sent the Tooth Relic to Viyaluwa.

7. The commanders of Ruhuna learnt of this plan. They laid an ambush and attacked. The King's army managed to beat back the attackers, but the army of Ruhuna did not give up. They divided into three flanks. One flank came from behind and the other two came from the sides and attacked. Because of this, great battles erupted in several places.

8. Amidst great hardship and suffering, the Royal army protected the Sacred Tooth Relic. They reached a place called Kuruwepotha at Madulseema. There, the Tooth Relic was handed over to the Commanding Officer of Viyaluwa. From there, the Tooth Relic was brought to Polonnaruwa without any further incidents.


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