article is part of a continuing series on the 'Mahavamsa', the recorded
chronicle of Sri Lankan history
King Narasinghe, the Pallava king, treated this prince, who was
the heir to the throne in Sri Lanka, in a fitting manner. He was
employed in the king's service. Prince Manavamma too was able to
win the heart of the Pallava king. Before long, King Narasinghe
and Prince Manavamma became good friends. Whenever the king toured
his kingdom, he had this prince too with him for company. One day,
both of them toured the streets, seated on the royal elephant.
2. The king
felt very thirsty on the way and he stopped at a wayside boutique,
for a drink. When the boutique keeper brought a drink and offered
it to the king, Manavamma took it first, took a sip off it and said
it was alright and gave it to the king. This act of Manavamma, brought
the king closer to him.
3. The king
gave many gifts to the prince. Thereafter it is not only on official
duties but even in private matters, that the king sought Manavamma's
participation. He gave him powers in the royal army too. Time passed
in this manner. One day, the Vallabha king, took an army and came
to fight King Narasinghe Pallava. (Vallabhas were a tribe of South
Indians). King Narasinghe too took his army and advanced, ready
4. Prince Manavamma
was left in the palace. He thought, "It is well and good if
King Narasinghe wins in the battle. If he loses, all my hopes of
getting back to Sri Lanka and gaining kingship will be shattered.
More than that, I'll be left helpless even in this country. My wife
and children too will have to undergo difficulties". Thus considering,
he took a small contingent of soldiers and marched to the battle-ground.
King Narasinghe was shocked to notice this act of loyalty.
5. When his
army too joined, the battle became more serious. Prince Manavamma
displayed a great skill in the use of arms. He managed to kill a
large number in the enemy camp. Many were the dead. Bodies either
without limbs or disfigured were piled up. The battle-ground was
red with the blood that was shed. The battle came to an end as the
armies of Vallabha were thoroughly weakened. King Narasinghe was
extremely happy to note the skill of Prince Manavamma.
6. The victorious
armies of the Pallavas were cheering. Then King Narasinghe went
up to Prince Manavamma and said, "You are the hero in this
battle. I'm indebted to you, for all you have done". Later,
when the king's armies came back to the city, they celebrated their
victory. Showing Prince Manavamma, the king told his ministers.
"This is the one who brought me victory". He praised Prince
Manavamma for all his skills in fighting and gave him more positions
and responsibilities. Prince Manavamma was happy to be recognized
in this manner.
7. At the end
of the celebrations, King Narasinghe was thinking thus about Manavamma.
"This prince risked his life and fought for me. Now I have
to help him, in return. If he could display such skill in a foreign
land, what if he gets back to his own country and wins the throne
for himself? I must help him to win the throne of Sri Lanka. That
is one way in which I can show my gratitude to him. Besides, it
is what has to be done now".
8. The following
day, the king called Manavamma and said, "I'll help you to
come to power in your own country. From now onwards start collecting
armies for that purpose. Let me know what else you need". The
king informed his ministers too, about his intentions. They were
also very happy about it. Even vehicles were offered to Manavamma
to travel about, organizing matters. Prince Manavamma was able to
gather a huge army.