09: The Consecrating of Abhaya

THE queen bore ten sons and one daughter: the eldest of all was named ABHAYA, the youngest (child, the) daughter was named Cittia. When the brahmans skilled in sacred texts saw her they foretold: `For the sake of sovereignty will her son slay his uncles.’ When the brothers resolved: `let us kill our young sister,’ ABHAYA restrained them.

In due time they lodged her in a chamber having but one pillar, and the entry thereto they made through the king’s sleeping chamber; and within they placed a serving woman, and a hundred soldiers without. But since she (Citta) drove men mad by the mere sight of her beauty, the name given to her was lengthened by an epithet ‘Ummadacitta’.[1]

When they heard of the coming of the princess Bhaddakaccana to Lanka her brothers also,[2] except one, urged by their mother, departed thither.

When on arriving they had visited the ruler of Lanka, Panduvasudeva and their youngest sister too and had lamented with her,[3] they, hospitably received by the king and having the king’s leave, went about the island of Lanka and took up their abode wheresoever it pleased them.[4]

The place where Rama settled is called Ramagona, the settlements of Uruvela and Anurädha (are called) by their names, and the settlements of Vijita, Dighayu, and Rohana are named Vijitagama, Dighayu, and Rohana.[5] Anuradha built a tank and when he had built a palace to the south of this, he took up his abode there. Afterwards the great king Panduvasudeva consecrated his eldest son ABHAYA as viceregent.

When the son of prince Dighayu, Dighagamani, heard of Ummadacitta he went, driven by longing for her, to Upatissagama, and there sought out the ruler of the land. And this (latter) appointed him together with the vice-regent, to service at the royal court.

Now (once) Citta saw Gamani in the place where he stood opposite her window, and, her heart on fire with love, she asked her serving-woman: `Who is that?’ When she heard: `He is the son of thy uncle,’ she trusted the matter to her attendant and he, being in league with her, fastened a hookladder to the window in the night,[6] climbed up, broke the window and so came in.

So he had intercourse with her and did not go forth till break of day. And he returned there constantly, nor was he discovered, for there was no entry (to the chamber).

And she became with child by him, and when the fruit of her womb was ripe the serving-woman told her mother, and the mother, having questioned her daughter, told the king. The king took counsel with his sons and said: `He too[7] must be received among us; let us give her (in marriage) to him.’ And saying: `If it is a son we will slay him’; they gave her to him.

But she, when the time of her delivery was come near, went to the lying-in-chamber. And thinking: `These were accomplices in the matter,’ the princes, from fear, did to death the herdsman Citta and the slave Kalavela, attendants on Gamani, since they would make no promise.[8] They were reborn as yakkhas and both kept guard over the child in the mother’s womb. And Citta made her attendant find another woman who was near her delivery. And Citta bore a son but this woman bore a daughter. Citta caused a thousand (pieces of money) to be handed over to (the other) together with her own son, and the latter’s daughter to be then brought to her and laid beside her. When the king’s sons heard `a daughter is born’, they were well pleased; but the two, mother and grandmother, joining the names of the grandfather and the eldest uncle gave the boy the name Pandukabhaya.

The ruler of Lanka, Panduväsudeva, reigned thirty years. When Pandukabhaya was born, he died.

When the ruler was dead, the king’s sons all assembled together and held the great festival of consecration of their brother, the safety-giving ABHAYA.[9]

Here ends the ninth chapter, called `The Consecrating of ABHAYA’, in the Mahavamsa, compiled for the serene joy and emotion of the pious.

  1. The allusion is to ummadeti ‘makes mad ‘. [^]
  2. Putta, literally : ‘the sons,’ that is, of the Sakya Pandu. [^]
  3. Probably over the fate of Ummadacitta. [^]
  4. Carimsu belongs to carikam and nivasam both. [^]
  5. Cf. 7. 43 foll, where the names Anuradha, Uruvela, and Vijita also appear. Evidently we have to do with a different tradition as to the foundation of the same cities. [^]
  6. 6-Gavakkhamhi dasapetva rattim kakkatayantakam, lit. ‘making a crab-machine to bite on to the window ‘. For explanation of this passage see Mah. ed., Introd., p. xxvi. [^]
  7. 7-So pi, namely, Dighagamani. [^]
  8. 8-Patinnam adente, that is, they would not fall in with the design of the brothers to kill the boy who might perhaps come into the world. Cf. Mah. ed., Introd., p. xvi. [^]
  9. A play on the word abhaya ‘the fearless’, and abhayada’ bestowing fearlessness, freedom from danger, or security ‘. [^]
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