Dipavamsa (study)

by Sibani Barman | 2017 | 55,946 words

This page relates ‘Panduvasudeva and Pandukabhaya’ of the study on the Dipavamsa conducted by S. Barman in 2017. The Dipavamsa is the base material of the Vamsa literatures of Ceylon (Srilanka or Sri-Lanka) writtin the Pali language.

Chapter 4c - Pāṇḍuvāsudeva and Pāṇḍukābhaya

Prof. B.M.Barua says that the chronicles lead us to think that the hermits and wandering ascetics had penetrated into the island much earlier. The Hindu gods like Viṣṇu or Uppalvaṇṇa and Siva were highly worshipped.

Upatissa (505-504 B.C.), the chief minister of Vijaya, governed the land for one year untl the arrival of Pāṇḍuvāsudeva, the younger son of Vijaya’s brother Sumitta.

Pāṇḍuvāsudeva (504-474 B.C.), when arrived with his thirty-two companions (they landed at the mouth of Mahākandara River, which is not identified and probably one of the rivers falling into the see north of Manaar) in the grab of paribbājakas, the local people offered at once proper homage to them.

Pāṇḍuvāsudeva also sent to the continent for a consort, and obtained a cousin of Gautama Buddha for his wife. It appears from the descriptions of Mahāvaṃsa that the Siṃhapura line became deflected, and was continued through a prince who happened to be the nephew of the kings of the Siṃhapura family after its second king Pāṇḍuvāsudeva.

Bhaddakaccānā who also arrived in Lankā (at Goṇagāmaka-paṭṭana at the mouth of Mahākandara-nadī) with thirty-two other maidens shortly after Pāṇḍuvāsudeva arrived, was the daughter of Pāṇḍu Sakka, who himself was the son of Amitodana, an uncle of the Buddha.

Bhaddakaccānā was immidiately raised to the throne.

Six brothers of Bhaddakaccānā also arrived at Lanka. They dispersed themselves over the Island, and founded principalities.

The chief of the cities which were founded by these brothers, are named after them. The settlement of Rāma is called Rāmagoṇa. Similarly the settlements of Uruvela, Anurādha, Vijit, Dīghāyu and Rohaṇa are named after them. Anurādha built a tank and a palace to the south of it.

Pāṇḍuvāsudeva after a prosperous reign of thirty years, died in peace, in 474 B.C., leaving ten sons and one daughter. The Dīpavaṃsa mentioned this king as Paṇḍuvāsā.

The eldest son of Pāṇḍuvāsudeva was Abhaya, who succeeded the government. The youngest child was the daughter named Cittā. But since people became mad seeing her exquisite beauty, the name given to her was lengthened by an epithet ‘Ummādacittā’.

Abhaya’s reign was disturbed by the jealousy of his brothers, and by the ambition and rebellion of his nephew, Pāṇḍukābhaya, the son of Pāṇḍuvāsudeva’s daughter Ummādacittā. Certain Brahmin foretold that the son of this princess would destroy his uncles and dethrone the king. Having heard this, her brothers wished her to be put to death. Abhaya opposed this but consented to have her confined alone to prevent the prediction from being fulfilled.When Dighagāmaṇī, the son of prince Dīghāyu, heard of Ummādacittā, went, to see her, to Upatissagāma, and there sought out the ruler of the land. The king appointed him together with the vice reagent, to service at the royal court.

Dīghagāmaṇi having seen the princess, who is represented as having been exquisitely beautiful, met her using various means. When the king and his brothers, came to know this, they consented to the marriage, resolving that should the offspring prove a son it should be immediately put to death. Ummādacittā found means to deceive them; and having obtained a female child lately born, by the substitution saved the life of her son Pāṇḍukābhaya.

The brothers of the reigning monarch having heard of the deception used their utmost endeavours to put the dreaded youth to death. But failing, their hatred went on increasing on account of the prophecy which they feared.

The herdsman Citta and the slave Kāḷvela, the two trusted servants of Ummāda-Cittā, were murdered by the princes because they would not agree with the treacherous plot of her brothers, and were reborn as Yakṣas and that both of them kept guard over the child Pāṇḍukābhaya in the mother’s womb.

These two Yakṣas, Citta and Kāḷavela, saved the babe Pāṇḍukābhaya from his uncles by showing them a wild boar in the tumbarakandara forest to divert their attention so that the servant-maid might run away with the basket carrying the baby. He was brought up in Dvāramaṇḍalaka, but several times his uncles discovering his whereabouts, tried to kill him.

Pāṇḍukābhaya was entrusted by his mother to a Brahmana named Pāṇḍula who was wealthy and well-versed in the Vedas. He trained Pāṇḍukābhaya in the arts and sciences necessary for a king, and gave him wealth sufficient to raise an army to fight his enemies. Pāṇḍula’s son Canda was given as friend and counsellor to Pāṇḍukābhaya.

Pāṇḍukābhaya married by force his uncle Girikaṇḍa’s daughter Suvaṇṇpālī and declared war upon his uncles, all of whom, except the eldest Abhaya, had determined to slay him.They gave battle and their soldiers were defeated at a place called Kalahanagara by Pāṇḍukābhaya. Suvaṇṇapāli’s five brothers were slain in the battle-field of Lohitavāhakhaṇḍa by Canda the son of Paṇḍula. With a great host Pāṇḍukābhaya marched from thence to the further shore of the Gaṅgā towards the Doḷa-mountain.

Pāṇḍukābhaya captured and subdued a Valvārūpā Yakkhinī named Cetiā, who dwelt in Dhūmarakkha-pabbata and wanderd about in the form of a mare near the lake named Tumbariyaṅgana. She was greatly helpful to him in his war against his uncles.

Pāṇḍukābhaya lived in Dhumarakkha-pabbata for four years.In the mean time, Abhaya fearing the result of the conflict, sent a secret embassy to him proposing that he should reign over that part of kingdom which he already possessed, and that, thus a partition of the island should be made into two sovereignties. We are not informed of the answer of Pāṇḍukābhaya to this proposal. Perhaps the embassy was sent without the approval of his uncles. When they heard of the proposal, they became angry, dethorned Abhaya and conferred the sovereignty on their brother Tissa (454—437 B.C.), the second son of Pāṅduvāsudeva.

Pāṇḍukābhaya once more took active measures to bring out the desired consummation and lived for seven years in Ariṭṭha-pabbata.Following the counsel of Cetiya, or being assisted by the aborigins, the Yakkhas, he enticed his uncles into a trap and slew them and their followers at Lābugāmaka.

He then proceeded to Anurādhapura. His uncle Abhaya was made Nagara-guttika, and to him was given over the government of the city by night.

It is to be noted here that. Pakuṇḍaka of the Dīpavamsa and Pāṇḍuka Abhaya of the Mahāvaṃsa are same persons. Pakundaka was known as a robber (Coro), up to the King Abhaya’s twenty regnal years. He aquired throne, when he was seventeen and within ten years of his reign, he established a boundary around the city of Anuradhapura and brought peace throughout his kingdom. B.C.Law opines that, the royal line of Vijaya or better to say Paṇḍuvāsa became deflected with rulership of Pakuṇḍaka or Pakuṇḍaka Abhaya.

Operations of Pāṇḍukābhaya:

Geiger, in his inquiry, could not find the village Pāṇḍulagāmaka, where Pāṅḍukābhaya took refuge from the persecution of his uncles. He took Paṇa near Kāsapabbata as the point, where Pāṇḍukābhaya started gatherting his followers, for the battle against his uncles. From Paṇa he did not directly marched northward to the then capital of the country Upatissagāma. He was not strong enough for this. He, at first brought the border-districts under his power. For that he marched first towards the south-east, more or less along the opposite direction which Duṭṭhagāmaṇi followed. Probably the old millitary road ran along here. So he went first into the district of Girikaṇḍasiva between the Kaḷuwaewa and the Riṭigala. Geiger connected this with that of Girilaka, which is mentioned in Mhv. xxv, 47, with reference to Duṭṭagāmaṇī’s campaign.

Pāṇḍukābhaya then marched southward of Riṭigala along with the people of Girikaṅḍaśiva to the spot where the Ambangaṅgā and Mahawaeligaṅgā unite. The battle of Kalaha-nagara had happened at this spot which is the Kalahagala of the present day, situated 7-8 miles distant from the Mineri-Lake. The second battle field of Lohitavāhakhaṇḍa is not far from here.

Pāṇḍukābhaya marched with his army on the further shore of the Gaṅgā toward the Doḷa Mountain. He crossed the river at the Kacchaka-ford, at the Mahaganatoṭa below the spot where the Ambanaganga flows into the Mahawaeliganga.

Pāṇḍukābhaya had done his next operation at the Doḷa-mountain. There is a village named Dolagalawela in the Bintenne district, twenty miles to the north of the aforesaid place bearing the memory. The place is now called Alutnuwara.

The four years that Pāṇḍukābhaya spent near the Doḷa-mountain for the preparation of the battle was possible for the fact that the whole province of Rohaṇa, with all its resources was behind him. Thus the most important or the only ford of Mahawaeliganga was under his power.

In the meantime Pāṇḍukābhaya’s uncles also marched and fortified themselves on the Dhumarakkha-mountain, on the left bank of the Mahwaeliganga, not far from the Kacchaka ford, to prevent Pāṇḍukābhaya from crossing the river.

Pāṇḍukābhaya took the risk of crossing at first and defeated the enemy in fight. He then forwarded on the direct road to the capital.

On the Ariṭṭha-pabbata (Riṭigala) he fixed a camp for the preparation of final operations. His uncles once more marched against him with fresh troops. The decisive battle took place near Lābu-gāmaka, the Lābunoruwa of the present day, on the north-west slope of the Riṭigala. Pāṇḍukābhaya won the battle.

The road of the capital was then open to him. He took possesion of it. Assuming the entire sovereignty, he removed the royal residence to Anurādhapura.

Works done by Pāṇḍukābhaya (437-367 B.C.):

After establishing peace, Pāṇḍukābhaya proceeded to lay out his capital as a city. When Pāṇḍukābhaya entered Anurādhapura after the desruction of his enimies, the old chief offered his house to his victorious grand-nephew and went to live in another house.

Pāṇḍukābhaya did not build a palace for his residence. Rather he removed the seat of government from Upatissa-gāma to Anurādhapura, which was founded by one of the brother-in-Law of Pāṇḍuvāsudeva, and was at that time an inconsiderable village.Pāṇḍukābhaya developed it to a capital worthy of high rank.

Pāṇḍukābhaya ordered the chatta, or the State Umbrella of his uncles, to be brought, and purified by washing it in a natural lake (jātassare) in Anurādhapura. Then he placed it over him and executed his own coronation with the water of the same lake. Then he consecrated himself with Suvaṇṇa-Pālī, his spouse as queen.

Pāṇḍukābhaya did not forget those who helped him in his worst days and who made him enable to meet the goal which he desired.He raised Canda to the rank of a chief minister. He made his eldest uncle Abhaya, to whom he was indebted for his life and protection, the governor for the night time or Nagaraguttika; for it gave him an employment of honour and emolument, at the same time, kept him continually under the eye of the monarch. He handed over to his uncle and father-in-Law, Girikaṇḍasiva the district of Girikaṇḍa.

He had the lake deepened and abundantly filled with water from which he had taken water at the time of his consecration and it was known by the name Jayavāpi.

The Yakkhas, who had helped him in his struggle for the throne, he showed them honour. He settled the yakkha Kāḷavela on the east side of the city, Cittarāja at the lower end of the Abhaya tank, and the Yakkhinī Cittā, who was his mother’s servant in her previous birth was placed at the south gate of the city out of gratitude. He kept with love the Yakkhinī Valvāmukhī within the royal precincts and arranged for yearly sacrificial offerings to them and to other Yakkhas. On festival days Pāṇḍukābhaya sat with Cittarāja beside him on an equal seat, and having gods and men to dance before him the king took his pleasure in joyous and merry wise.

It is asserted that Pāṇḍukābhaya also built a house for the Yakkha Maheja.No other information is available for this deity. But it is recorded that at the time of Devānāmpiya-tissa, the state elephant bearing the sacred relics that were to be enshrined in Thūpārāma proceeded as far as the shrine of Yakkha Maheja. There is no mention of this shrine later.Pāṇḍukābhaya was a king who was able to established his kingdom firmly by granting his favour to all who deserve it and making a strong bonding of affection with all of his persons.

The king constructed large capacious tanks like Jaya, Abhaya, and Gāmin to supply water to the city.

To convert the Anurādhapura-gāma to the great city Anuradhapura, which thenceforth was the capital of Lankā, Pāṇḍukābhaya consulted the astrologers as well as the persons well-versed in the art of town-planning and the general science of architecture.

Four suburbs (dvāragāma) were made around the city. The Yakkha shrines were built on its four sides, and one inside the palace area. He laid out also the common cemetary, a place of execution, chapels of the queens of the west, the banyan tree of Vessavaraṇa and the palmyra-palm of Vyadhi-deva, separate dwelling place for the Yonas, sacrificial place near the western side of his capital. He appointed five hundred Caṇḍālas to attend to the cleanliness of the city; two hundred others to the work of cleaning the sewers, one hundred and fifty superintended the burial of the dead and their removal from the city to the cemetary. To the north-west of the general cemetary there was a village called Caṇḍālagāma for the Caṇḍālas who were employed in the city.

This village seems to have had a population at least of about two-thousand people during Pāṇḍukābhaya’s time. To the north-east of this village there was a cemetary, exclusively for Caṇḍālas, known as Nīcasusāna (Lower cemetary) 94.

He built a line of huts between the Nīcsusāna and Pāsāna-pabbata for the huntsmen. Perhaps these huntsmen supplied meat regularly to the city.

Among Pāṇḍukābhaya’s buildings in Anurādhapura is included a dwelling place for brahmanas (brāmana-vatthuṃ) and Ājīvikas, and a shelter for ladies going to give birth of babies and a hall for those recovering from illness.

Towards the north of the Nīcasuāna, as far as the Gāmanī-tank, a hermitage was made for many ascetics; eastward of that of same cemetary the ruler built houses for the Nigaṇṭha Jotiya, Giri, and Kumbhaṇḍa. He is reported to have built a devakula (chapel) for Kumbhaṇḍa and it was known after the name of that nigaṇṭha. The monasteries (assamapadāni) of these three nigaṇṭhas, have been in existence even during the time of King Devānāmpiya-tissa and they were included within the boundaries or the Mahāsīmā. Pāṇḍukābhaya established the village boundaries over the whole of the island of Lankā after ten years of his consecration.

Pāṇḍukābhaya had assumed the rule over the kingdom at the age of thirty-seven, reigned for full seventy years in fair and wealthy Anurādhapura.

Pāṇḍukābhaya, evidently was the greatest king of pre-Buddhist Ceylon, was the grandson of Dīghāyu, one of the six Sākya princes who came from north India. It was through Pāṇḍukābhaya that the Sinhalese kings traced their descent to the Sākya clan to which the Buddha belonged.

Some confusion arises respecting the successor of Pāṇḍukābhaya. Pāṇḍukābhaya is stated to have reigned seventy years, while his son Muṭaśiva suceeds and reigns sixty years, a period of time quite inconsistent with the ordinary duration of human life. In the chronicles like Rājāvalia, Pāṇḍukābhaya is represented as having associated his son Ganatissa with himself in the government.

According to William Knighton, it would seem more probable that Ganatissa succeeded his father and as the Rājāvaliya asserts, reigned for thirteen years. He is then succeded by Pāṇḍukābhaya’s another son Muṭaśiva. By interposing the reign of Ganatissa the difficulty is greatly diminished. Nothing is known about the reign of Ganatissa.

Little is known about Muṭaśiva’s (367-307 B.C.) reign also. He constructed a royal garden named Mahāmeghavana, so called from a very heavy shower of rain which occurred at the period when it was being laid out. This garden was provided with all kinds of fruit and flower, bearing the trees in the utmost profusion. It may be concluded that the energetic and excellent reign of Pāṇḍukābhaya would cause his immediate successors to reign in happiness and peace over prosperous subjects.

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