Funday Times - Mahavamsa

Prince Sapumal becomes powerful
This article is part of a continuing series on the ‘Mahavamsa,’ the recorded chronicle of Sri Lankan history
By Halaliye Karunathilake Edited and translated by Kamala Silva Illustrated by Saman Kalubowila

1. When in South India, Aryachakravarti had met the Commander of Vijayanagar. He would have also asked for help, to regain his kingdom. They would have even promised to invade the North of Lanka. In an inscription that he had been instrumental in putting up, it is said that 'Singaya' (Jaffna) and 'Anuraya' (Anuradhapura) were conquered. If it were true, they have not been able to consolidate their power for long.

2. Prince Sapumal was a strong leader, by this time. It is he, who captured Jaffna, during the time of King Parakramabahu VI and ruled this area even later on. Whatever these theories may be, once Jaffna was conquered, King Parakramabahu had sent some envoys overseas. That was to the sea-port of India, to meet one of the leaders there. This was with the intention of seeking his help in a battle against one 'Malavarayar' who was also called 'Varakur Udayan.'

3. This was because Malavarayar had plundered the merchant vessels of the Sinhala king. Later, King Parakramabahu had sent a convoy of ships to the harbour at 'Ativeerarama Pattana' (Adriyampet). There had been a naval battle there and in the battle Malavarayar had died. The Sinhala army had taken a lot of the enemy wealth. After this battle, four villages from that area were made to pay tribute, as a punishment.

4. There was no internal conflict in the Sinhala ruling areas, from the time of King Parakramabahu IV. But towards the end of his reign, the ruler of the hill country, fell out and tried to break free. He was Jotiya Situ. He did not pay the due taxes to Kotte and acted the way he wanted. Prince Ambulugala was sent to put him down. He went with a powerful army and entered the hill country.

5. When fighting broke out, Jotiya Situ fled. His relatives were brought to Jaffna, as prisoners. The princes of Gampola were appointed to rule the hill-country. During the time of King Parakramabahu VI, there lived a lot of scholars, especially poets. The king gave full patronage to them. Some believe that the king
himself was a poet. This king did a lot of meritorious deeds and opened up a number of religious institutions.

6. As a result of his commitment to religion, he was honoured by conferring an honorary name – 'Bodhisatvatara.' This king extended his support to the Brahmins too and they made this king known to the people of countries overseas. There were Brahmins who had come here from Bengal. King Parakramabahu VI, treated his subjects well and he was well-accepted. He is one of our greatest kings. He ruled for a period of 50 years.

7. The king led a virtuous life and passed away at a ripe age. The historian Kuto and even other writers of the time, state that he had sons. But the person selected to be king after him, was his grandson, the daughter Ulakudayadevi's son. But there are others who say, that those princes had died earlier.

8. However, there is no evidence to prove this theory. When Ulakudayadevi was gifted with her son, it was the 35th year of rule of King Parakramabahu VI. So if he became king, he would have been about 20 years of age at the time of ascendancy to the throne, under the name of Jayaweera Parakramabahu. According to the Rajavaliya, he became king as Jayabahu II.

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