Ceylon; an Account of the Island Physical, Historical, and eBook

James Emerson Tennent
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 892 pages of information about Ceylon; an Account of the Island Physical, Historical, and.

[Footnote 2:  A lay devotee who takes on himself the obligation of asceticism without putting on the yellow robe.]

[Footnote 3:  The dathanga or “teles-dathanga” are the thirteen ordinances by which the cleaving to existence is destroyed, involving piety, abstinence, and self-mortification.—­HARDY’S Eastern Monachism, ch. ii. p. 9.]


[Sidenote:  A.D. 495.]

Meanwhile, after an interval of eighteen years, Mogallana, having in his exile collected a sufficient force, returned from India to avenge the murder of his father; and the brothers encountered each other in a decisive engagement at Ambatthakolo in the Seven Corles.  Kasyapa, perceiving a swamp in his front, turned the elephant which he rode into a side path to avoid it; on which his army in alarm raised the shout that “their liege lord was flying,” and in the confusion which followed, Mogallana, having struck off the head of his brother, returned the krese to its scabbard, and led his followers to take possession of the capital; where he avenged the death of his father, by the execution of the minister who had consented to it.  He established a marine force to guard the island against the descents of the Malabars, and “having purified both the orthodox dharma[1], and the religion of the vanquisher, he died, after reigning eighteen years, signalised by acts of piety."[2] This story as related by its eye-witness, Mahanamo, forms one of the most characteristic, as well as the best authenticated episodes of contemporary history presented by the annals of Ceylon.

[Footnote 1:  The doctrines of Buddha.]

[Footnote 2:  Mahawanso, ch. xxxix.  Manuscript translation by TURNOUR.  TURNOUR, in his Epitome, says Kasyapa “committed suicide on the field of battle,” but this does not appear from the narrative of the Mahawanso.]

[Sidenote:  A.D. 515.]

Such was the feebleness of the royal house, that of the eight kings who succeeded Mogallana between A.D. 515 and A.D. 586, two died by suicide, three by murder, and one from grief occasioned by the treason of his son.  The anarchy consequent upon such disorganisation stimulated the rapacity of the Malabars; and the chronicles of the following centuries are filled with the accounts of their descents on the island and the misery inflicted by their excesses.



[Sidenote:  A.D. 515.]

It has been already explained that the invaders who engaged in forays into Ceylon, though known by the general epithet of Malabars (or as they are designated in Pali, damilos, “Tamils"), were also natives of places in India remote from that now known as Malabar.  They were, in reality, the inhabitants of one of the earliest states organised in Southern India, the kingdom of Pandya[1], whose sovereigns,

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