08: The Consecrating of Panduvasudeva

The great king Vijaya, being in the last year (of his life), bethought him: `I am old and there lives no son of mine. The kingdom peopled with (such great) difficulty may come to naught after my death; therefore would I fain have my brother Sumitta brought here (that I may give) the government (into his hands).’ When he had taken counsel with his ministers he sent a letter to him, and within a short time after Vijaya had sent the letter he passed away to the celestial world.

When he was dead the ministers ruled, dwelling in Upatissagama while they awaited the coming of the prince. After the death of king Vijaya and before the coming of the prince was our island of Lanka kingless for a year.

In Sihapura, after the death of king Sihabahu, his son Sumitta was king; he had three Sons by the daughter of the Madda1 king. The messengers coming to Sihapura handed the letter to the king. When he had heard the letter the king spoke thus to his three sons: `I am old, dear ones; one of you must depart for the greatly favoured and beauteous Lañkä belonging to my brother, and there, after his death, assume, (the sovereignty of) that fair kingdom.’

The king’s youngest son, the prince PANDUVASUDEVA, thought: `I will go thither.’ And when he had assured himself of the success of his journey2 and empowered by his father, he took with him thirty-two sons of ministers and embarked (with them) in the disguise of mendicant monks. They landed at the mouth of the Mahakandara3 river; when the people saw these mendicant monks they received them with due respect.

When they had inquired about the capital, they arrived gradually approaching (the city), at Upatissagama, protected by the devatas. Now a minister there, charged by the (other) ministers, had questioned a soothsayer concerning the coming of the prince, and he had furthermore4 foretold him: `Just on the seventh day will the prince come and one who shall spring of his house shall establish (here) the religion of the Buddha.’ Now when the ministers saw the mendicant monks arrive there, just on the seventh day, and inquiring into the matter recognized them, they entrusted PANDUVASUDEVA with the sovereignty of Lanka; but since he lacked a consort he did not yet receive the solemn consecration.

A son of the Sakka Amitodana was the Sakka Pandu. Since he heard that the Sakyas would (shortly) be destroyed5 he took his followers with him and went to another tract of land on the further side of the Ganges and founded a city there and ruled there as king. He had seven sons.

His youngest daughter was called Bhaddakaccana. She was (even as) a woman made of gold,6 fair of form and eagerly wooed. For (love of) her did seven kings send precious gifts to the king (Pandu), but for fear of the kings, and since he was told (by soothsayers) that an auspicious journey would come to pass, nay, one with the result of royal consecration, he placed his daughter speedily upon a ship, together with thirty-two women-friends, and launched the ship upon the Ganges, saying: `Whosoever can, let him take my daughter.’ And they could not overtake her, but the ship fared swiftly thence.

Already on the second day they reached the haven called Gonagamaka7 and there they landed robed like nuns. When they had inquired about the capital, they arrived gradually approaching (the city), at Upatissagama, protected by the devatas.8

One of the ministers who had heard the saying of a soothsayer, saw the women come, and inquiring into the matter recognized them and brought them to the king. So his ministers, full of pious understanding, consecrated as their king PANDUVASUDEVA, whose every wish was fulfilled.

When he had consecrated Subhaddakaccana, of noble stature, as his own queen, and had given those (maidens) who had arrived with her to the followers who had come with him, the monarch lived happily.

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

  1. 1-Madda = Skt. Madra, now Madras. []
  2. 2-Natva sotthim gatimhi ca (by asking the soothsayers). Tika: nemittikavacaneneva janitva ‘knowing from the word of the soothsayers ‘. []
  3. 3-Not identified. Probably one of the rivers falling into the sea north of Manaar. []
  4. 4-That is, besides the fact of Panduvasudeva’s coming he had foretold the details that follow. []
  5. 5-The Sakyas were annihilated in war by the Kosala king Vidudabha, shortly before the death of the Buddha ; see RHYS DAVIDS, Buddhist India, p. 11. This catastrophe is foretold to Pandu by soothsayers. Tika: Vidudhabhayuddhato puretaram eva nemittikavacaneneva Sakyanam bhavitabbam vinasam janitva ti attho ‘Since he knew, even before the war with Vidudabha, by the word of the soothsayers the future destruction of the Sakyas ‘. []
  6. 6-The golden colour of the skin always, in Sinhalese poems, counts for a mark of particular beauty. Kusajat. 172: ran-ruwak karagena. As a designation of beautiful women ran-liya ‘golden creeper’ is employed at Saelalihinisandesa 55 ; Kusajat. 557. []
  7. At the mouth of the Mahakandara-nadi. Cf. 8. 12. []
  8. The wording is exactly like v. 13, in order to lay stress on the parallel in the proceedings. In the same way v. 26 is based on vv. 14 and 16. []

Comments RSS

Leave a Comment