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Sunday, February 14, 2010

A MAHAVAMSA STORY, Vijaya woos daughter of Pandu king

A MAHAVAMSA STORY: Vijaya is consecrated King of Lanka

Vijaya woos daughter of Pandu king

By Elmo Leonard


Vijaya, the son of Sinhabahu, from the land of Lala, in the Bengali region of India was now in the island of Lanka. His union with a yakkhini ( demon with supernatural powers) Kuvenna, bore them a son and daughter.
Vijaya’s ministers were intent on crowning him king. But he told them that it would not be so unless a princess of royal blood was anointed queen, with him.
The ministers then entrusted people with many precious gifts such as jewels and pearls. They set out for the city of Madhura in south India. Vijaya’s intention was to woo the daughter of the Pandu king. The Pandu king consented to send his daughter and beckoned his ministers to follow suit. The ministers agreed. A hundred maidens, heralded with drum beat and bedecked with ornaments, according to their ranks, got ready. They were sent with elephants and horses and wagons, worthy of a king. The Pandu king also sent craftsmen accompanied by a thousand prominent families, with a letter to the conqueror Vijaya. They landed at Mahatittha, now Mantota opposite the island Mannar.

Vijaya rids himself of Kuvenna

Knowing that the princess had arrived, Vijaya told the yakkhini to go away, leaving him with the two children, `for men are ever in fear of superhuman beings.’ The yakkhini, again and again wanted Vijaya to stay, but in vain. And Vijaya said he would give her an offering (bali for she was a yakkhini) to appease her and a thousand pieces of money.
The yakkhini went taking the two children with her to the city of Lankapura, for she feared some evil would come out of it.
The yakkhini sent the children outside and went into the city of Lankapura. When the yakkhas recognised the yakkhini, they took her to be a spy. There was a great stir among the yakkhas and a yakkha killed her with a single blow of his fist.
A maternal uncle of Kuvenna went forth from the city and when he saw the children, asked them whose children they were. So the yakkhini’s uncle told the children that their mother had been slain. If they wait, they too would meet the same fate. `Thus flee swiftly.’

The origin of the Veddah race

The children fled to Sumanatatu or Adam’s Peak. When the brother, the elder of the two grew up, he took his sister to be his wife. Here, they multiplied with issue of sons and daughters and dwelt in the Maya country with the king’s leave. The Mahavansa says, it is from there, in the mountains, that the Pilindu, barbarous tribes or the Veddahs originate.

King Vijaya reigns for 30 years

The Pandu king sent his envoys with the maidens. At their head was his daughter, with gifts to Vijaya. Prince Vijaya treated them with gracious hospitality and bestowed honour on the envoys. The maidens, according to rank were given to his ministers and retainers. Then according to custom the ministers consecrated Vijaya king of Lanka, amidst an assembly of great festivity.
King Vijaya, in turn, anointed the daughter of the king of Pandu, queen. His ministers were bestowed with wealth. Every year Vijaya sent his wife’s father a pearl-shell worth twice a hundred thousand pieces of money.
The Mahavamsa claims that Vijaya forsake his former evil way of life and that he ruled over all Lanka in peace and righteousness, in the city of Thambapani, for 38 years.

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