Funday Times - Mahavamsa

Prince Sapumal who became Buwanekabahu
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. King Jayaweera Parakramabahu ruled only for a short period. There are two schools of thought about the last days of this king. One is expressed by the historian Kuto. He has described the king by the name – "Maha Prakura Obago." According to this historian's theory, in the 1 ½ years of rule of this king, Prince Ambulugala passed away. He was the brother of the previous king, Parakramabahu VI.

2. The post which fell vacant at his death was filled by the brother of Prince Sapumal. His name too had been Ambulugala. However, King Jayaweera Parakramabahu had got married to a widow. She gave birth to a weak son and a daughter, by this king. This king ruled only for a couple of years and passed away. His death is believed to be due to natural causes.

3. After him, his weak son was selected for kingship, at his sister's request. She was 'Manika Pandar,' by name. However, for two years, this system of rule lasted. All the affairs of the state were conducted, according to the wishes of Princess Manika Pandar. In the meantime, there was unrest in the country and she was unable to suppress it.

4. She was no clever ruler. A strong male would have been more suited to be head of state. Finally, she had to seek Prince Sapumal's help. Prince Sapumal was ruling Jaffna then. She requested Sapumal to take over the rule of her area too. At this point, Prince Ambulugala rose against his brother, Prince Sapumal. However, Prince Sapumal was able to settle matters.

5. He became King as Buwanekabahu VI. In this connection, the reference in the Rajavaliya – is quite different. It goes to say, that at the demise of King Parakramabahu VI, his grandson, Jayabahu came to power, in 1467 A.D. Prince Sapumal who did not accept this appointment, came to fight. In the battle that
followed, King Jayabahu was killed. Prince Sapumal became king in 1469 A. D., as Buwanekabahu VI.

6. Of these two references, scholars have not definitely stated which one is right. Considering the time frame, some historians point out that all what the historian Kuto says, would not have taken place. Rajavaliya says that King Buwanekabahu ruled for seven years. But in one of his inscriptions, even the 8th year of his rule, is mentioned.

7. It is quite possible that the author of Rajavaliya, would not have counted the year the king died. Otherwise, after becoming the king of Kotte, he would have ruled for that period. His period of rule was not devoid of problems. The people who lived along the valleys of Kalu ganga and Walawe ganga, did not like the king. They rose up in revolt.

8. This uprising was under the leadership of two individuals. One was Sri Vardhana Pathiraja of the Kelani valley, in Pasdun Korale. The other was the ruler of Kuragama. In one place, it is mentioned, that this leader of Kuragama was Bikkhu Kuragama.

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