Point of view:From " The Daily News"
Origins of the Hela Race
We, the ‘Sinhala Race’ boast of a proud and civilised society for thousands of years - according to recent findings from the newly excavated ‘stone-inscriptions’ and other archaeological data, our beginning goes well beyond ten-thousands years. And ten-thousand years of civilised people-not stone age ‘barbarians’.
Originally we were known as ‘Hela’ or ‘Helayo’ or ‘Helayan’. This later became to be known as ‘Sivu-Helaya’ as the Helayo comprised four tribes - ‘Raksha’, ‘Yaksha’, ‘Naga’ and ‘Deva’. They were not Iniquitous, Devils, Serpents, Gods, but simply human-beings.
The tribal names would have denoted their habits, behaviour, conduct and ways and means and their respective livelihood. These Helayan or Sivuhelayo were a set of strong, well-built, brave and dare-devil, but very humane lot.
It was the Sivuhelayan who first invented the art (or if we may call it, the science) of writing as amply and aptly proved by the cave inscriptions discovered at Badungala in the Yakkalamulla PS Division in Galle recently.
It is reported and recorded in History that during the ‘Endera Yugaya’ ten thousand or more years ago even wild animals were tamed and domesticated by our people. Similar inscriptions found from Alawwa, Ambilikande and Mawanella recently goes to prove beyond doubt that there lived a set of civilised beings in this country tens of thousands of years ago.
Many important stone and wood inscriptions of ancient eras are now hidden buried deep under the earth or completely covered and engulfed in thick and deep jungles due to natural causes over the years - probably never to be recovered again. But with the emergence of the most powerful, fearless, mighty warrior-King Sri Ravana 4786 years ago, we are claimants of a very old heritage.
The Helayo or Helayan are the direct descendants of Emperor, Sri Rawana who was known as ‘Dasahis’ - meaning ten-heads. Not that he really possessed ten heads, but he conquered and ruled nine regions of South India in addition to Helaya.
He delegated the power to his eight brothers and only sister - ‘Supurnika’ to manage, administer and rule those nine regions whilst he stayed over in Helaya. The Ramayana - though taught to us in school as a fairy tale, is true History.
I remember having read a little booklet in the ‘Fiction’ section of the Jakarta Public Library when I visited same whilst on transit to Thailand in late 70s, the full story of Rama and Seeta.
It goes like this. Rawana was a very powerful Emperor whose superiority was unmatched. He was regarded, respected and venerated as a ‘God’ by the people of Hela. After invading and capturing nine regions in South India he got his brothers and only sister to look after those regions.
His only sister Supurnika was a beautiful young lass. Lakshmana, Rama’s brother enchanted by the beauty of Supurnika tried his best to win her over. But Supurnika was never to agree, since she was aware that Lakshmana was having an illicit affair with his Sister-in-Law, Seeta.
One day when Lakshmana approached Supurnika and expressed his love, she spurned him away like dirt. Angered and annoyed, Lakshmana unable to bear the insult, pulled out his Sword and attacked young beautiful Supurnika who managed to jump back and avert the sword striking her head. In the melee, Supurnika’s nose got cut off and she became ugly.
Hearing this news, King Sri Ravana immediately jumped his ‘Dandu Monara Yantraya’ or flying machine and took off to South India. He was deeply angry and looked all over for Rama and Lakshmana.
The latter knowing who Ravana was, hid themselves not be found by their enemy. As a last resort Ravana captured the beautiful Seeta, wife of Rama and took her to Helaya in order to teach Rama and Lakshmana a bitter lesson. From here on the rest of the history, we are aware of.
It is said that Ravana kept Seeta hidden in a jungle in Seethawaka in a specially built palace. She was provided with everything she wanted from food, jewellery, clothes, security etc.
Though Ravana visited a number of times to see how Seeta was getting on, even the Ramayana does not say that Ravana made any attempts to molest her or made undue advances towards her. To cut a long story short, it is believed that as is the custom in India, once the husband dies, the wife will have to jump on to his pyre to prove her chastity.
In this instance, when Rama died, Seeta couldn’t do it as she had an affair with her husband’s brother. Hence both Seeta and Lakshmana conspired and on a plan to avoid jumping on to her husband’s pyre.
When the pyre was set on fire, Seeta pretended to jump on to it, but Lakshmana immediately leapt forward and tightly embraced Seeta. She showed a ‘made-up’ anger, scolded Lakshmana and announced that since she had been touched by another male, it was useless for her to jump on to the pyre as she was already impure. And thus the story ended there and nothing has been mentioned about Seeta and Lakshmana thereafter.
It is hard to believe that an animal can never be a God and that too supposed to be a powerful entity. If somebody is to tie a ‘live-fire torch’ on to the tail of a Monkey, it would have perished to ashes before it could jump from one tree to the other.
How could it ever be that ‘Hunumant’, a monkey a (a God Monkey) jump several miles from the South Indian tip to Yapa Patuna and set the whole of the North of this land on fire to rescue Seeta? What a calculated and diabolical lie of history? Are we to believe such myths, lies, fallacies and fabricated yarns?
The myths, fallacies and lies of History have to be cleared. When foreigners - specially the Arabs, the Cholas, the Portuguese who were accidentally drifted to our shores due to Thunder and Strong Sea Winds, were so taken up by the beauty of this land, the hospitality of the smiling people and the enormous resources we possessed felt greedy and decided to invade and capture the Sivu-Helaya which by this time has come to be known as ‘Sinhale’. The white men who could not pronounce the word ‘Sinhale’ correctly, called it ‘Seylan’ which came to stay as a ‘Ceylon’ with the invasion of the Britishers.
The story that we, Sinhalese are descendants of the ‘Bandit Prince’ Vijeya is an absolute myth. Vijeya the play-boy cum bandit is no ancestor of the Sinhalese. Sinhala people are direct descendants of ‘Ravana’ and his heritage. Even the advent of ‘Vijeya’ itself is dubious and covered with mysteries.
First he is supposed to be a son of king known as ‘Sinhabahu’ who is said to be an offspring of a Lion born to human woman. This is a biologically impossible phenomenon. Even if some man or woman with a crude sexual desire forcibly had sex with an animal, how on earth can a human be born as a result?
Then this incorrigible Vijeya had been deported by his Father King in order save his Kingdom together with 700 of his followers who had apparently and unfortunately for us, drifted to Tammannar, off Puttalam in Helaya.
The story goes that Vijeya sent several of his followers interior to find out what was up to them and in search of drinking water. As the first set did not return he had sent the others batch by batch, but apparently nobody had come back. What then did actually happened to them, say some 600 odd people?
Last, Vijeya himself went interior to look for his people and that is when he encountered the beautiful princess ‘Quenie’ knitting a dress in cotton. Nothing is said about the nearly 700 of his followers who were lost. What happened - probably vanished in to thin air.
Then thirdly the play-boy Vijeya having fallen for the beauty of ‘Quenie’ married her and had two children. But this ungrateful man deserted both his wife and son and daughter to get married to some woman he got down from India. Why is history silent on Quenie as well her two children? Where were they, what happened to them?
Point four for all what we could think and analyse, the whole story of Vijeya is a total myth, a fallacy, an imaginary illusion of somebody - probably the author of ‘Mahawamsa’. I categorically state that we, the Sinhalese are no descendants of Vijeya or any other Indian origin. We are directly coming from the Sri Ravana clan.
Just because the Mahawamsa says, or simply because some writer wrote so, or because somebody said so, one should not tend to believe all. One must be intelligent enough to logically analyse and try to get at the truth and not blindly follow what somebody says.
I would like to quote what the Most Venerable Weligama Gnanarathanabidhana Maha Nayake Thera of the Sri Amarapura Nikaya once told a few of us. He asserted distinctly remembering (as a young School boy) the Speech made by Lord Soulberry, independent Ceylon’s first Governor-General when he declared ‘Ceylon’ independent from British Rule on February 4, 1948. It goes like this - ‘You people in Ceylon are an intelligent lot. You should be able manage your affairs yourselves.
You are inheritors of a long and proud history spanning well over 2000 years. 2000 years of a civilised society whereas, we in Europe were still Veddas, Stone-Age people even much later.’ This amply describes the ‘Helayan’.