article is part of a continuing series on the 'Mahavamsa', the recorded
chronicle of Sri Lankan history
1. When King Kashyapa died, the entire city lamented. All the powers
of the king were now in the hands of Prince Mana. He performed the
last rites of his uncle in a fitting way. By this time, there were
a lot of Tamils, living in the North as well as in Anuradhapura.
There were some villages where only Tamils lived. There were government
officers and village leaders too, among the Tamils. They became
powerful as a result of the power struggle in the country.
Princes who had claims to the throne got armies from South India.
Most of the soldiers did not get back. They settled here and even
got down their wives and children. Gradually, they developed their
own villages. The kings who had taken their help had to support
them. Some kings gave them better treatment than even what they
gave to the Sinhala people. High offices were offered to them. There
were times when there were Tamil commanders in the army.
Most of the Tamils who lived in Sri Lanka were Buddhists. Some of
them had even erected temples for the Buddhist monks. As a result,
in later years, they put pressure on the kings. They were opposed
to Prince Mana. He chased away all the Tamils from the capital city.
Because of this, all the Tamils, living in the country grouped themselves
together and worked against Prince Mana. They planned to capture
Days passed by. Prince Mana, one day, had to leave the city on some
business. The Tamils made use of this opportunity and entered the
city. They took power into their hands and sent a message to Hatthadatha
- who had fled to India. The message was, "come immediately,
this is the best opportunity to wrest the throne". Prince Mana
got to know this. He quickly got his father from the Ruhuna.
He was Dappula by name and a shrewd one. He discussed matters, secretly
with his son, Mana. His plan was not to fight but to weaken the
power of the Tamils, by creating dissension among them. He selected
suitable people for this job and sent them to the capital city.
They went and told different tales to the groups of Tamils and managed
to set up one against the other and break their unity. Ultimately,
the Tamils who had got angry with Prince Mana, shed all their differences
and joined him once more.
Prince Mana made his father the king. He was crowned as Dappula
1 in 659AD. He belonged to the ‘Okkaka’ line of kings.
One who belonged to this dynasty, had got married to the daughter
of the ruler of Ruhuna. He was Tissa by name and the leader's daughter
was Sanghasiva - who was a beautiful woman.
They got three sons and they were named - Aggabodhi, Dappula and
Maniak. They had a daughter too. She was taken to the king's palace.
The eldest, Aggabodhi by name, lived in the Ruhuna. He was very
wealthy and was bent on doing meritorious deeds. He started a Dining
Hall - by the name Mahapali - in the Ruhuna too. He built a pirivena
too in the south. That pirivena was named ‘Dhataggabodhi Pirivena’.
This wealthy individual built halls, for the blind and the sick.
The huge image at ‘Pratima Vihara’ is also one of his
doings. He built both ‘Salavana Vihara’ and the Pirivena,
the temple at Kataragama and also the ‘Damsal Vehera’
and donated all these to the monks. This pious prince Aggabodhi
used to eat the leftovers of the Buddhist monks. He had personally
attended to the cleaning of the lavatories that belonged to the