DBSJeyaraj.com on Facebook

“Mahavamsa Mentality”: Can the charge of “Racism” leveled against the chronicle be sustained?

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Print this page

Bandu de Silva on “Sinhala Buddhism” and “Mahavamasa mentality”

Hello Friends

The article by JL Devananda titled “The Mahavamsa Mentality: Re-visiting Sinhala Buddhism in Sri Lanka” was posted on my blog last mont. As expected the controversial viewpoint expressed continues to elicit diverse and very often passionate responses.

I was pleasantly surprised to receive an article written in response to Devananda’s article from Former Sri Lankan Foreign service officer Bandu de Silva a few days ago. The former diplomat whose writings appear frequently in Colombo newspapers has an illuminating essay.

I very much appreciate the fact that Mr de Silva has taken the trouble to write this article at a time when he himself is recovering from recent eye surgery. His article was an informative read and I hope our readers would also find it so

So here is Bandu de Silva’s article – DBS Jeyaraj

“Mahavamsa Mentality”: Can the charge of “Racism” leveled against the chronicle be sustained?

By Bandu de Silva

“There was NO Buddhism in Sri Lanka until Emperor Asoka’s missionary monks led by Mahinda converted the Hindu (Siva worshipping) Naga King Tissa into a Buddhist in the 2nd century BC. Similarly, there was NO Sinhala race/tribe in Sri Lanka until the Mahavihara monks created it in the 5th century AD. When Hindu/Brahmanical influence posed a serious challenge to Buddhism and when Buddhism started to lose popular support and the patronage from the rulers, the Buddhist institutions in India came under attack. The Mahavihara monks of Anuradapura including Ven. Mahanama, the author of the Pali chronicle Mahavamsa and a close relative of the Buddhist Naga king Dhatusena witnessed the decline and disorientation of Buddhism in India.

“According to Buddhism, a person ordained as a Bikkhu should practice Ahimsa (non-violence), Karuna (compassion), Metta (affection), and Maithriya (loving-kindness) towards fellow humans, (irrespective of race or religion), not only by words but also in his thoughts and action. Unfortunately in Sri Lanka, due to the influence of the Mahavamsa, a Buddhist Bikkhu is at liberty to engage in racist politics and promote Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinism and hatred, as we see today.”

The above passages are quotes from J.L. Devananda’s article posted in www.dbsjeyaraj.com. Devananda explains that the Sinhala numerical majority is the result of absorption of a number of Tamil groups into the Sinhalese society. There is nothing new in the arguments he has introduced. One has been subjected to that by some of the Tamil Eelamist scholars like S.K. Sittramparam, A. Velupillai, P. Ragupathy, P. Pushparatnam and S. Krishnarajah and other Mahavamsa bashers all along. One can even recognize not only the arguments but even phraseology of these other writers in the present piece.

It is not my intention to enter into polemics. Nor can I claim to contribute anything new to what a galaxy of reputed historians and scholars have done in the past to Mahavamsa studies as against the present polemics; but as one who reads the Mahavamsa with facility in original Pali, I feel that it is appropriate to surface what the polemists have written in view of the prominence now given to such polemics in websites though serious academic journals have not participated in them.

There are several lines of arguments used in his article the essence of which is to present a picture of an an imagined Tamil presence in the country in the past comparable to the weight of preponderant evidence of the existence of Sinhala element. to this day. He explains that the Sinhala numerical majority [today] is the result of absorption of a number of Tamil groups into the Sinhalese society. While there is evidence of such absorption into the Sinhala fold what underlies that argument is the fact that of Sinhala preponderance in the society in the past and now; that this has happened despite the changes resulting from Portuguese, Dutch and British colonial enterprise of trying to alter the demographic map in certain areas of the country, e.g. the population of Mannar peninsula by the Portuguese and of Jaffna peninsula by the Dutch through the infusion of Vellala migration for the purpose of tobacco cultivation and of indentured labour into the central hills and other parts by the British colonial and plantation interests. These are important landmarks which altered the demographic map of the country. If not for these induced migrations the position of the majority Sinhalese would have been stronger.

As against this aspect which has been left undiscusssed in the said article, only a one sided argument is presented as to how the Sinhalese majority was formed. The argument used is the reversal of what I have stated above. That is that a large section of South Indians brought by the Portuguese and the Dutch have been absorbed into the Sinhalse fold. There is no discussion of what happened under the British, the influx of them into the plantation districts and to agricultural areas in the Vanni and what is now the Eastern province over which there is even far more documented evidence. I could add even pre-colonial infusion of South Indian mercenaries for which there is living vidence in the society even now. This is the case of the Agampodi mercenaries intdoduced in the Dambdeniya period whose identity today remains concealed in a Snhalese caste group in the South West and South retaining only their original professional name ‘Agampodi‘ while their descendants in the Jaffna peninsula, the ‘Agampodiyars’ remain a Tamil speaking group.

There is no denying that the Sinhalese elment was reinforced by the absorption of certain occupational groups like the Peshakars, but they also reinforced the Tamil population in the North and the East. For example, in the East, Peshakars appear now as Vellalas whereas in Sinhalese areas of the South West/ South they have become part of a caste confined to the seaboard. Besides, as British administrators have observed many Sinhalese in the Vanni have been Tamilised. So is the situation in the East. As such, the argument over the formation of the Sinhala majority is a onesided one. Both the Sinhalese, more of the low country and the Sri Lankan Tamils are heavily mixed people even more than the British whom Daniel Defoe described in his famous poem.

Mahavamsa and present ethnic debate

In order to establish the thesis of ‘racism’, Mahavamsa and present day Sinhala Buddhists have been lumped together in inseparable fusion. Their role is no better than that of the ‘accursed’ Jews of old times. These polemists confuse the two issues, namely, one, engaging in criticism of Mahavamsa as a useful source for reconstructing the island’s history as many scholars have done after rejecting the fabulous and marvelous; and the present day majoritysm- minoritysm debate. The idea of combining the two issues seems to arise from trying to find historical roots for the present debate. These two aspects have to be differentiated, especially if we have to understand the phenomenon of ‘racism,’ if any, how it may have developed and how it is now.

Significance of Mahavamsa

Dr.Rajasingham Narendran points out, “we Lankans would not have our bearings in the ocean of history…… We have to be grateful for his [Mahanama’s] endeavours and respectful of his efforts in times considered ‘ancient’ by modern historians…..” (www.dbsjeyaraj.com). That is what the learned South Indian historian, Nilakantha Sastri stated when he wrote:

“….Lastly, Mahavamsa has conserved the story of Ceylonese affairs, in such detail and as the chronicle is obviously worked up from more ancient records, and some of its details find confirmation in the rock-cut Brahmi inscriptions above mentioned, we come to know a little more of Ceylon in the period than of the mainland of South India.”

But Dayananda denigrates even the sources used by Mahavamsa saying “Only the Mahavamsa Tika that was composed very much later to interpret the Mahavamsa, mentions that it was adopted from the mysterycal ‘Vamsa texts’ known as ‘Sihala Atthakatha’ (collection of Sinhala verbal stories). Very strangely, most of the mythical/supernatural stories from the so called ‘Sihala Atthakatha Vamsa texts’ are very similar to those found in the Indian Epics and Puranas such as the Mahabaratha/Ramayana. Ultimately, the Mahavamsa has transformed the Buddha into a special patron of Sinhala-Buddhism, an ethnic religion created in Sri Lanka”. One can see the depth of his argument when one realizes that he is expressing an opinion on “Vamsa Atthakatas” he himself claims are “mystical.” Neither does he explain what these similar accounts found in Indian Epics and Puranas are.

Racism’ charge against Mahavamsa

Devananda says that “due to the influence of the Mahavamsa, a Buddhist Bhikkhu is at liberty to engage in racist politics and promote Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinism and hatred, as we see today.” in the first place, here is a serious charge against the ancient chronicle of the Sinhalese the original part of which was composed in the 5th or the 6th century A.C. it is a different matter if the writer asserts that present day Bhikkus/ Buddhists engage in racist policies are at liberty. That is a point that can be discussed separately. But to bring in Mahavamsa into that discussion without substantiating it is not only to denigrate the ancient text but to assert that racial hatred is something inherent in the Sinhalese psyche.

At the bottom of the equation are the Sinhalese and Tamil relations but the analysis examines only the Sinhalese side of the equation including the ancient chronicle of the Sinhalese, leaving out whatever that remains of Sri Lankkan Tamil history in the form of literature, archaeology and monumentst. The problem is that there is no sustained history of Tamil presence in the island which could be gleaned from any of these sources until very late in the history of the country. That is when the Vellala ascendancy took place in the Jaffna peninsula in the 17th/18th centuries folloing their induction in large scale to the peninsula for tobacco cultivation.

Even these manifestations were not in such proportions as that of the Sinhalese on an islandwide scale. That includes the long Cola occupation peiod of 44 years in the 10th /11 th centuries. The Tamil chronicle of Jaffna, Yalpana Vaipava Malai which was composed by Mylvagana Pulavar whom Mudliyar Rasanayagam called a well meaning villager, which has come down to us is a 18th century product sponsored by a Dutch official named Mascara. It displays ample racial/ethnic prejudice against the Sinhalese and Mukkuwa residents in the Jaffna peninsula. That was what the Dutch were trying to create- a Tamil identity in the North and the East (Batticaloa) to meet the Kandyan claim to those territories.

There are no inscriptions in the Jaffna peninsula until after the 44 year Cola occupation in the 10th/11th centuries. Even these inscriptions belong to the 12th century. The few Cola inscriptions are found not in Jaffna peninsula but in other places like Polonnaruwa.

So are the monuments. There is some evidence of a trace of a Hindu shrine at Anuradhapura period at this ancient Capital. Others of late date are found in Polonnaruwa. There are however, myths and legends about some Hindu shrines which are shrouded in fabulous and marvelous like some of the Buddhist shrines (many of the Buddhist cave temples trace their origin to King Vattagamani who hid in the Dambulla area) and have to be rejected for not having any historical significance.

Devananda rejects the three visits of Buddha to the island saying “there is no evidence whatsoever to support this claim (Buddha’s 3 visits), other than the three chaithiyas (Buddhist structures) built in the recent past by the Sinhalese Buddhists at here different locations to say, ‘This is where Buddha came.’ Even the footprint of Buddha at Sri Pada (Adam’s peak) is nothing but an obvious myth. This despite the construction of these three ‘chaityas’ and their periodic renovation/ embellishment recorded in the chronicles and numerous lithic records.

Koneswaram ~ pic by: Drs. Sarajevo

This point is not argued here by me but suffice it to say that the same observation could apply to all Hindu shrines like Tiruketiswaram, (built by Chettiyars in the 19th century), Koneswaram the construction of which commenced in 1956 on the site of three Buddhist shrines (pagodas) which were destroyed by the Portugese (Queyroz), and Nakuleswaram in Jaffna peninsula and others. The myths and legends about their antiquity have even lesser credibility and have to be rejected based on same logic used by Devananda. The famous Nallur Kovil in Jaffna whose construction is ascribed to Sapumal Kumaraya, who was King Parakramabahu’s representative who ruled over Jaffna peninsula is now contested.

A mythical origin dating back to Cola times is suggested on the basis of a fragmentary Cola period inscription (Rajendra Cola’s time 1018-1022) found in Jaffna but which has no reference at all to the kovil. (See Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil, Reby ThevaRajan )

The same argument should apply to this kovil for which a Cola origin is now claimed.

A few coins code- named Sangam coins have been found at Kantarodai and two coins found more recently at Tissamaharama have been tentatively described as inscribed with “Tamil Brahmi (Bopearachchi)”. Sangam period has been stretched loosely to suit arguments but it stretched to around the 7th century A.C. These can only suggest their circulation as valid tender in commercial transaction rather than evidence of a Tamil physical presence. So are the Sinhalese Lakshmi coins found in South Indian locations. (Bopearachchi).

Establihing a theoretical foundation on ‘racism’

When discussing ‘racism’ it is important that criteria should be defined and established before loose usage of terminology is made as Devananda has done in this case. In respect of the charge of ‘racism’ to which the ancient chronicle has been subjected, I would like to draw from “sociological theories on racism and colonialism” put together by a UNESCO (1980) team for an analysis of the subject. Guy Rozart and Roger Batra writing for the volume observed that ‘scientific’ racism as a form of discrimination as it is understood [today] is not found in any texts written before the eighteenth century. It is not proposed to go into detailed reasoning adduced by these two social scientists in support of this claim. Suffice it to say that they examined the claim of anti-Semitism as a classical example of discrimination (no racism) and expressed the view that even the Catholic Church which is considered by many as “one of the first institutions” that promoted ‘racism’ or at least, laid the ideological foundation for anti-Semetic racism, quoted the historian Madeleine Reberioux (Racisme et Societe, Paris, 1969) who reviewing detailed evidence that establishes the responsibility of the Church in this regard, observed that the separation of Christian community from its old Judaic roots left traces of ‘racist’ tendency in the choice of words but still concluded that at the close of the 5th century, ‘a collective racist attitude had not had time to develop before the ancient world came to an end.’ (Rebeiroux, p.110).

Going further, she observed that “There is even less reason to speak of racism during the Dark Ages than under the Roman Empire,’ and that it is clear from a thorough analysis of he findings of historical research in the most varied fields, that throughout the West (except Spain) relations between Jews and Christians were by and large harmonious. Everywhere in Europe, they were intermingled before the Crusades. As under the Empire, there was nothing to set in motion a process of differentiation: neither language, no personal names, nor occupations, nor places of residence…..’

Even in respect of Greek city states, Rebeiroux observed that “……To be sure, the Greeks were certain of their superiority over non-Greeks, and a superiority of civilization and language could easily have come to be regarded as a superiority of “race”…..That threshold was not crossed. …..” On the whole, then the ancient world, during the pagan period, knew no racism [in the sense it is known today].

Applying the criteria used by these scholars who are more bent on Marxist analysis, one could go to examine if the ancient chronicle of the Sinhalese displays any ‘racist’ tendencies as claimed by Devananda. Before I proceed further, I might point out that S.J.Tambiah expressed the view that there was no exclusion of Tamils (he avoided the term ‘racism’) manifest in the early part of the chronicle. However, he ascribed such a tendency to the literature of the Sinhalese after the 13th century. He attributed this to the traumatic experience of going under Cola rule in the 10th /11th centuries and the subsequent invasion of Magha of Kalinga who employed Kerala (Malala), Kalinga, and Damila mercenaries to destroy the land, cause havoc in the social order and destroy temples and text books. Tambiah’s contention can be contested on grounds of over emphasis on ‘choice of words’ found in the second part of Mahavamsa (Culavamsa Part II according to Geiger) on the same analogy that Rebeiroux applied to the study of the position of the Catholic Church quoted above.

Mahavamsa’s attitude toward the ‘foreigner’

In contrast, an examination of Mahavamsa will point out that the compiler of the chronicle bore no ill-will towards foreign usurpers of the Anuradhapura throne as can be seen from the following quotes to such rule by usurpers:

1. Sena-Guttika: Mahavamsa says “….and the two of them reigned ten years justly” ( Dhammena rajjam karayi).

2. Elara: “A Damila named Elara of upright nature ( Uju jatiko) …….reigned for forty years, being impartial to friend and enemies during law suits…….”

The chapter on Elara is summed up with the following didactic vese:

“Even though not liberated from false views by merely being free from blemish of resorting to injustice, he attained this sort of miraculous power. How therefore, may not a wise man here, who is established in pure views, abandon the blemish of resorting to injustice?”

3. Pancha Dravida: Mahavamsa makes no summing up about their rule except to refer to the Damilas as “dipaghatake” (translated as “ravagers of the island” which translation I am not pleased with).

4. Sad – Dravidas: (Mahavamsa Part II) : (the Culavamsa (Part I) Chapter 38th titled Ten Kings which includes the seven Damilas starting with Pandu ending with Damila Pithiya who was annihilated by Dhatusena, says: “These ten excellent kings also with their treasures have fallen into the jaws of death, robbed of their treasures. ….Can a wise man when he sees the fleeting nature of the rich and of wealth crave for earthly joy?”

Mahavams’s nature and objective

Anyone conversant with textual criticism cannot fail to realize that Mahavamsa is not only a poetical work but also has no reference whatsoever even to usupers introducing any ‘racist’ element. On the contrary, one finds Elara’s up bringing has been extolled by the use of the terminology “Uju-jatiko” which Geiger has translated as “upright nature”.

As for the poetic character of the work, as the chronicle progresses into second and third parts which not only point to several different layers (based on the use of language) but also greater influence of Sanskrit Kavya , one sees how poetic embellishment has crept in. This is especially to be noted in the Culavamsa composed around the 12th century and later. The ornate poetic influence of Sanskrit poetical work, especially the use of allegory is very much noticeable. This is found in the reference to Damilas “plundering the country like devils” (Mahavamsa. Chapter 54); the reference to Damilas (Colas) plundering the relic chambers like ‘blood sucking yakkhas ( MV. Chap. 55); and the reference to Kalinga Magha in the Third part of Mahavamsa: (Culavamsa Part II): Chapter 80:

59. “Magho nama mohamoghikatavicarano
Kalingakulasamhavoeko raja adhammiko ……”

60. “Magharajamahagimho” ……

70. “Evam Damilayodha te Marayodhanukarino…”

(“Magha an unjust king sprung from the Kalinga line in whom reflection was fooled by his great delusion…”

“King Magha commanded his countless flames of fire- his warriors – his warriors. – to harass the great forest of – the kingdom of Sri Lanka” and
…..”Thus the Damila warriors in imitation of the warriors of Mara, destroyed in the evil of their nature, the laity and the Order”.

I do not know if anyone reading the text in translation discerns the same sense of poetic allegory that I discern reading the Pali original. Contrary to what Devananda says about ‘racism’ in the Mahavamsa what one finds even in these passages on Magha quoted by Tambiah to support his thesis that exclusion of Damilas started with the 13th century literature, is the emphasis on religious objectives and not a reference to ‘race’ of the invader but to their ‘evil’ nature (adharma). For example, the final didactic verse of the text concerning Magha runs as follows:

“Ittham lankaya so so naradhipati mahata vatthulobhena tam tam
Hantava hantava narindam sayam api amunakammuna’nayukova
Hutva patva pi rajjam ciratam anubhavitum nasakkhi;

Tasma panno panatipata viramatu visamam vatthulobhena jahatu”

“Thus in Lanka this and that ruler out of great lust for power, have slain this or that lord of men, but have themselves in consequence of these deeds attained to no good old age, and when they had achieved the kingly dignity, they could not alas! enjoy it for long. Hence the wise men should refrain from the destruction of living beings and renounce wanton destruction for power.” (Geiger/Rickmers)

There is no condemnation of Magha because of his lineage or descent from Kalinga origin, which was really a cause for celebration among Sinhalese dynastic rulers. On the contray, it was the aspect of ‘adharma’ (absence of righteousness) that was emphasised. Nor were such use of terminology/allegory confined to foreign invaders. They were equally used in respect of description of wars among Sinhalese kings.

A recent commentator, Guruge, observed, they are subjects like Anicca (impermanence), appamada (diligence), Punna (merit), attitudes towards the rich and powerful, (Guruge, pp.67-73) emphasized in the concluding gathas at the end of many chapters. Guruge pointed out:

‘Mahavamsa was conceived to fulfill a didactic function’ but the author ‘handles this aspect with admirable restraint, restricting surmonising to the concluding verses and avoiding any tendency to become a moralist during his historical narration’.

These aspects including greediness (attachments) for possessions which was not commended and the upholding of Dasaraja dharma (Righteous rule), a virtue expected of rulers which was emphasized are also included in the didactic verses. That emphasis has been found irrespective of who the rulers were. Mahavamsa’s message, therefore, was on a higher plane far transcending parochial considerations like ‘racism’. That point is well worth keeping in mind remembering Buddha’s own declaration on birth contained in the Dhammapada verse on Brahamin. There is no evidence that Mahavamsa has deviated fr om that tenet or any other to downgrade any section of the society including usurpers of the throne/invaders.

One instance where an exception is noted is one dealing with Duttha gamani’s ‘vitakka’ (confusion?) where a the Arahants from Piyangu- dipa are introduced as saying only ‘one and a half persons’ died. This is not a Buddhist view. Gananath Obeysekera has explained it as a position influenced by Bhagavad Gita. As a frequent reader of the Gita I had myself made that observation. The reference to Piyangu –dipa, an island identified with present day Pungutu-tivu near Jaffna is significant.

The fabulous and miraculous elements

Devananda asserts that there is no evidence whatsoever to support the claim of Buddha’s 3 visits to the island other than the three chaithiyas (Buddhist structures) built in the recent past by the Sinhalese Buddhists at 3 different locations to say, “This is where Buddha came…… Even the footprint of Buddha at Sri Pada (Adam’s peak) is nothing but an obvious myth”, he says.

This seems to be intended to emphasise that the chronicler’s objective was to make the country an exclusive preserve of the Buddhists. Buddha’s prophesy noted below is to show the prophesy linking the Sihalas exclusively with the island.

Buddha’s visits to the island is a subject that historians have gone into. Dr.G.C.Mendis who examined the historicity of Mahavamsa taught us that there is no reference in Canonical literature to Buddha having left his usual routine in the Gangetic kingdoms. Guruge left a discussion of this subject out of the Prolegomena he wrote to Mahavamsa by merely saying that scholars have questioned the veracity of these accounts by referring to canonical literature not making any reference to these visits. He quotes George Turnour inquiring from the prelates of Malwatta and Asgiriya establishments and saying they were not paying any importance to their absence from the [canonical] texts.

Now, what is historically not corroborated in the Mahavamsa story of connection with the island in the connection with the Buddha, are not only his three claimed visits to the island but also the references to places sanctified by the presence of previous Buddhas of this Aeon. As observed above, historians have questioned these especially on ground that Gautama Buddha’s routine as described in the scriptures not pointing to his having been absent from the Gangetic circuit at anytime. The idea could then remain in the realm of belief alone. There are such claims of Buddha’s visit to Myanmar, and Central Asia.

One is also told that in the Indian Yoga practice (Hata Yoga) a person could mysteriously be seen present in two places at the same time. I am quoting from the story of Swamy Vivekananda. I am not trying to attach any historical significance to that reference to Buddha’s visits. Let that remain in the realm of belief just like the many stories in the Testament or Hindu mythological belief. That it could be an attempt by the chronicler to connect the island’s story of Buddhism with the highest personage of Buddhism need no contest but rather than invent the story, he probably followed a belief that had gained current at his time that Buddha could miraculously appear in different places.

Burning incense at Naga Dvipa ~ pic by :Manori R

If one believes as Devananda does, that Buddha made three magical ‘trips’ to Sri Lanka, each time colonizing another area of the island,- one of these ‘trips’ was to settle a dispute between the Yakkhas and Nagas at Naga Dvipa (Ninathivu) where the Buddha tamed the Yakkhas, the non-human inhabitants of the island – and according to Mahavamsa, [it was] in preparation for the formal introduction of Buddhism two centuries after his death, it is acceptable. It could point to an effort by the chronicler to provide a sequence connecting the story of Buddhism in the island with the highest personage of Buddhism. That needs no contest but historians looking for sources could keep that in mind.

Devananda also refers to Mahavamsa recording that “just before passing away, Buddha has called the Sakka (King of Gods) and told him,

‘My doctrine, O Sakka, will eventually be established in the Island of Lanka, and on this day, Vijay the eldest son of Singha Bahu king of Sinhapura in the Lata country lands there with 700 followers and will assume sovereignty there. Do thou, therefore guard well the prince and his train and the Island of Lanka. On receiving the blessed one’s command, Sakka summoned God Vishnu and said, ‘Do thou. O lotus-hued one, protect with zeal prince Vijay and his followers and the doctrine that is to endure in Lanka for a full five thousand years’.

This prophesy is again part of the attempt by the compiler to connect the Buddhism of the island with India, i.e. Buddha himself. What is curious about the rejection of the claimed Buddha’s visits is that while rejecting it the attempt made to rationalize the rest of the story connected with the visits like the presence of Naga kingdoms and Naga rulers and a people called Yakkhas whom Buddha is claimed to have encountered with as historical truths.

Other link with Buddha’s clan

So is the attempt in the chronicle to connect the Sri Lankan royal dynasty to the Buddha’s family through the story of Bhaddakaccana, a princess from the Sakya household. There is historical evidence that a branch of the Sakyas moved south of the Ganges after the annihilation of the Sakyas (The name Sakyas is still familiar in Nepal though now confined mostly to artisan families) and they developed links with other dynasties. What one could suggest is the presence of a historical core behind the Mahavamsa story, in the form of an old memory.

One could also see more than one origin story having been present at the time of compilation of Mahavamsa, or even the century older Dipavamsa and the compiler having tried to synthesise these different traditions by presenting both Vijaya legend and the Panduvasudeva/Baddhakacchana legend and forging a link. It is important to remember that the connection with Pandu kingdom of bringing brides is not found in the older chronicle Dipavamsa. Obviously, it is a later introduction to the origin story (Vijaya legend) introduced at a time when Pandya had risen from tribal state (See Asoka’s inscriptions and Kharavela’s Hathigumpa inscription where the southern people are referred to as ‘border people’ and not kingdoms). These are questions of textual criticism one has to apply in empirical tradition before the contents of the text are taken for their face value in the absence of corroboration.

Devananda points out that in Buddhist scriptures, Buddha has never mentioned about any Hindu/Brahmanical Gods, he only talks about Devas and Bramahas from different worlds who have no connection with any Hindu/Brahmanical Gods, but he does not carry the point to its logical conclusion. Perhaps, what he wants to say is that the worship of Hindu gods, especially, Vishnu, was already known in the island when Buddhism was introduced or when Mahavamsa was compiled. There should be no problem about such a surmise though historical evidence is lacking.

The origin Myths

Devananda says: “There is no historical evidence what so ever to prove Vijaya’s arrival with 700 men or to say there were Sinhalese during the Early Historic period….. The term ‘Sihala’ itself first appeared ONLY in the 5th Century AD Pali chronicles Deepavamsa/Mahavamsa and that also ONLY twice in the beginning chapters. To date, no archaeological evidence has been found to prove ‘Hela’ or ‘Sihala’ or ‘Sinhala’ existed before that or anything about Vijaya’s arrival…… Only the Mahavamsa Tika that was composed very much later to interpret the Mahavamsa, mentions that it was adopted from the mysterycal ‘Vamsa texts’ known as ‘Sihala Atthakatha’ (collection of Sinhala verbal stories). Very strangely, most of the mythical/supernatural stories from the so called ‘Sihala Atthakatha Vamsa texts’ are very similar to those found in the Indian Epics and Puranas such as the Mahabaratha/Ramayana…… Ultimately, the Mahavamsa has transformed the Buddha into a special patron of Sinhala-Buddhism, an ethnic religion created in Sri Lanka”.

Many nations have their own origin stories which may have little or no historical base but like some of these myths and legends, the essence of the origin story of the Sinhalese is the migration of sea faring people from some parts of India a few centuries before the historical phase of the island began in the 3rd century B.C. This migration story could have been relegated to the arena of fantasy if it is now not confirmed by archaeological finds of introduction of an iron and horse using people to the island centuries before the date ascribed to Vijaya and his followers; and Anuradhapura, the first Capital displaying characteristics of a metropolis which was imposed from outside. (Deraniyagala). What gives further credence to the migration is the linguistic evidence found in over a thousand cave inscriptions indited in Brahmi Prakrit which show close resemblance to scripts used in North East and North West of India, but also bearing a few similarities with those Brahmi Prakrits used in a few inscriptions around Madura in the Pandya county.

Textual Criticism

What is important in textual criticism one learnt from its first application to Biblical texts is the warning not to become a slave to what is present in the text. That is the need to avoid what is said as Gospel truth. However, as Geiger pointed out, and Dr. Narendran now repeats, there had been no attempt by the Sri Lankan chronicler to conceal the truth. There is ample evidence that the compiler was concentrating on presenting an account which was not subject to contradiction. There is no racial element whatsoever present in the original Mahavamsa. Nor is there any deliberate attempt at exclusion of any ethnic group as one understand that term today. (The term ‘vamsa’ used here and there in the second part of the chronicle. For example, in “Dhatusena yujjhitva vamso pacchiji Damilo..” (The English translation “The race of Damilas was annihilated by in battle with Dhatusena might not convey the correct meaning leading to a ‘racial’ connotation. Here the emphasis is on the ‘dynasty’); and the other reference Magha as ‘Kalingakulasambhavo’ (Kalinga descent) make that clear ).

There was no attempt to hide any evidence of non-Sinhalese connection. This is clear from the origin story linked to Vijaya. The brides for Vijaya and his men come from the Pandu country which could be none other than the Pandya country of the South. That element confirms not what really happened in the pre-Christian centuries in which the Vijaya legend is situate but a Pandya link had existed at least when Buddhism was brought to Sri Lanka around the 3rd century B.C. and by the time Mahavamsa was compiled in the 5th /6th centuries A.C .probably, shortly after the Pancha Dravida invasion which was ended by Dhatusena which was an important landmark in the history of the country.

This is also clear from reference to usurpers Sena –Guttika and Elara, the ‘Pancha Dravida’ and ‘Sad Dravida’ invasions and others.

Coinciding with the strong Buddhist activity that followed the introduction of Buddhism in the island, as vouched by over one thousand cave [donor] inscriptions, a similar wave of Buddhist activity had been present in Pandya, especially around Madura though the activity has not been as intensive as in Sri Lanka. This gave thought to the surmise that it could be the result of a reverse wave from Sri Lanka where Buddhism was firmly established. Besides, the Sri Lankan –Pandya royal family links had been quite strong from the time of Sad Dravida invasion (Paranavitana has identified one of the donors of caves as one of the seven Pandyas who ruled over Anuradhapura) to even the last days of the Sinhalese kingdom (Kotte). This is despite the emphasis in the medieval inscriptions to Kalinga links. That is harking back to the original origin story in the chronicles which connects the Sinhala dynasty to Kalinga. The Colas were not within the accepted matrimonial pale of relationship. Only a single important matrimonial link had existed with the Cola country. So the Pandyas were acceptable but not the Colas. However, links between Sinhalese and Cola bhikkus was quite strong.

By the time Dravidian population developed as organized kingdoms or states in South India, in the north of India powerful imperial kingdoms had come into being like the imperial Mauryas (and Kalingas with a strong army whom Pliny describes and its ruler Kharavela of Hathigumpa inscription) which used a well developed Brahmi script and Prakrit language to disseminate royal messages as Asoka’s many Rock and other edicts demonstrate. One does not recognize such a strong impact of this influence as in Sri Lanka in the southern regions where Dravidian elements were present. The first evidence comes from the donor inscriptions indited on caves in Brahmi and Prakrit. In contrast, the presence of such inscriptions in Sri Lanka in very large numbers not only point to the northern influence but also that a Brahmi and Prakrit using people inhabited the island and were well established by this time. There is no indication of evidence of them having followed the Hindu religion or animism before that but that possibility can be gleaned from the evidence in the chronicles.

There was no clash between the new religion and what existed earlier. All the evidence in the chronicle is that with royal patronage, Buddhism had gained a supremacist position. That is to be expected from the chronicles whose objective was to extol Buddhism and not any other religion. In the over thousand Brahmi/Prakrit inscriptions, one finds also non-Sinhalese making donations to the Sangha like the Kambujas (Persians from Kambuja), and a few Damedas and Milakas (Mlechchas), the majority using this script and language being not identified by any particular name which led Paranavitana to assert that there was no need for them to refer to their identity as they were the dominant people. Only those considered ‘foreigners’ used their identity appellation to distinguish them.

A Dravidian/ Hindu challenge?

Le us go back to the point raised by Devananda that Mahavamsa was compiled at a time when Hindu/Brahmanical influence posed a serious challenge to Buddhism and when Buddhism started to lose popular support and the patronage from the rulers, the Buddhist institutions in India having came under attack; and that it was then “the Mahavihara monks of Anuradapura including Ven. Mahanama, the author of the Pali chronicle Mahavamsa and a close relative of the Buddhist Naga king Dhatusena witnessed the decline and disorientation of Buddhism in India” and compiled the chronicle.

This is an unsubstantiated statement and remains pure speculation as far as Sri Lanka was concerened. It also does not explain how and why the earlier chronicle Dipavamsa compiled in the 4th century A.C. came about. It is correct that there was a Hindu revival during the time of the Guptas in India but the historical evidence is that its challenge to Buddhism, and other religions became more pronounced around the 7th century with the spread of the Bhakti movement. The subject remains inadequately discussed. The internal evidence of both Dipavamsa and Mahavamsa is that Mahavihara faced a serious challenge not from Hinduism/Brahmanism but Mahayana (Vaitulya vada, as it is called in the chronicles). This is the reason why both chronicles end with the reign of Mahasena when Mahavihara was “ploughed down to the ground” and Bhikkus fled whensustenance was denied.

Guruge, following k.N.O.Dharmadsa, has argued differentlywhen he says: “The Sinhalas more than any of their contemporaries in the Indian subcontinent –had felt the urge to assert their cultural identity. …to find why the Sinhalese found a historical sense and utilized history for nationalistic ideological purposes, we should first solve a major historical riddle, viz. what accounts for the dominance of the indo-Aryan element in Sri Lanka up to date, in spite of the geographical proximity and numerical preponderance in South India of Dravidian languages and culture.”

“Separating Sri Lanka from north India is a vast Dravidian block, which in itself is sizable both in terms of area covered and population of Sri Lanka, despite the narrow strait that separate it from the mainland, is geologically an geographically part of South India but linguistically and culturally, the Dravidian element in Sri Lankan population had remained sporadic, intermittent, and secondary. On the whole, the material evidence of its presence and impact dates from a much later date period than the arrival of Indo-Aryan Sinhala population in the entire island. Archaeological and epigraphical evidence as well as the place names of proven antiquity confirm the distribution of Sinhala in all parts of the island without exception.”

The South Indian historian Nilakantha Sastri, commenting on the scarcity of evidence as far as the Dravidian culture not only in [Sri Lanka but] in South India, wrote:

“Most direct clues are furnished by the reference to the south kingdoms in Megasthenes, in the edicts of Asoka and in south Indian Brahmi inscriptions in natural caverns with rock-cut beds scattered all over south India and found in some large numbers in Madura and Tinnevely and much more in the island of Ceylon. the oldest strata of extant Tamil literature cannot lay claim o equal antiquity ……Lastly, the Mahavamsa has conserved the story of Ceylonese affairs, in such detail and as the chronicle is obviously worked up from more ancient records, and some of its details find confirmation in the rock-cut Brahmi inscriptions above mentioned, we come to know a little more of Ceylon in the period than of the mainland of South India.”

That is the opinion of the erudite south Indian scholar. The question then is why so little is known of South India and the Damilas and their culture in the early phase while so much is revealed on the Sinhalese language, culture and monuments in the same period.

The 19th century British historian, Emerson Tennent who was Colonial Secretary, who won the esteem of Ponnambalam Ramanathan as a most eminent historian, left all reservations behind when he remarked in respect of the first millennium of the island’s histry:

“Notwithstanding their numbers and their power, it is remarkable that the Malabars (the term use by early British officials to denote Tamils) were never identified with any plan for promoting the prosperity and embellishment of Ceylon, or with any undertaking for the permanent improvement of the island. Unlike the Gangetic race, who were the earlier colonists, and with whom originated every project for enriching and adorning the country, the Malabars aspired not to beautify or enrich, but to impoverish and deface –and nothing can more strikingly bespeak of the inferiority of he southern race than the single fact that everything tending to exalt and civilize, in the early conditions of Ceylon, was introduced by the northern conquerors, while all that contributed to ruin and debase it is distinctly traceabl to the presence and influence of Malabars” (Tennent, Vol I, p.340).

Tennent’s observation may sound racist but its substance is something that one may find it difficult to disagree. The South Indians who came to the island with adventurers seeking a fortune were marauding mercenaries and pirates out for plunder, spoil and rape. They came with foreign horse- shippers like Sena-Guttika and usurpers like Elara and with the Pancha Dravida and Sad Dravida invasions. One of the Pancha Dravidas ran away carrying the queen and the alms bowl of the Buddha. The question has been asked if even later times, when the Aryacakravartis ruled over the Jaffna peninsula, what contribution many of them made for the improvement of llfe and enhance the culture of the people of the peninsula until the last of the, Sankili, the usurper, came on the scene. The major Hindu shrine is claimed to have been built by the Sinhalese King Parakramabahu’s representative, Sapumal Kumaraya who ruled over the peninsula for 18 years. Ibn Batuta describes Ariyacakravarti as a vicious sea pirate who lived by plundering ships on the high seas up to Oman.

Sri Lanka’s foremost contemporary historian, K.M.de Silva, writing on the early history of the island, commenting on Dravidian settlements, quotes the [Tamil] historian, K Indrapala, who wrote in his [supervised] PhD thesis, as follows:

“Until about the thirteenth century AD, the history of [Sri Lanka] was the history of the Sinhalese people. From about the middle of the thirteenth century, it has been the history of the Sinhalese and Tamil people ……..From that time for over three centuries, the majority of Tamils were concentrated in a kingdom of their own in the northern part of the island. In 1620, the last of the Tamil rulers was executed by the Portuguese conquerors who brought the Tamil areas under their rule. “
Indrapala writing again in 1965, (published in 2000) pointed out that from the meagre evidence available ‘commercial interests, political adventure, and the prospect of military employment had led the Tamils to come to Sri Lankain the early centuries of the island’s history’. He asked if this led to the rise of permanent and wide settlements in the island. His own answer which K.m. de Silva quoted was:
“Considering the number of Tamil invasions and the number of occasions when Tamil mercenaries were enlisted, it appears that more Tamils came to Sri Lanka as invaders and hired soldiers than as traders. Since most of the invasions succeeded in ousting the Sinhalese rulers and in paving the way for rule by Tamils for short periods, the invading troops must have remained in the island on such occasions till the Sinhalese princes regained the trone. Ehether these armies stayed behind after they were defeated is some thing regarding which there is no evidence.”

Indrapala has had no reasons to alter the above pronouncements though he came under heavy ethnic pressure to rewrite history as the facts had not changed. Therefore, he drew more attention to Megalithic finds aound Pomaripuu in the North West and Kathiravely in the Eastern prvince which sparce evidence too he had earlier dismissed in the following terms:

“Looking back on the whole body of evidence that is available,we have to conclude that there was no widespread Tamil settlement before the tenth century. The settlements at Pomparippu and the possible settlements at Kathiravelu have to be treated as isolated earlier settlements.”

He was more of the view that urn and cist buriyals were those of people who came for the pearl fisheries.

The question of early Tamil settlements cannot be answered by resort to polemics. The reason seems to lie in the fact that Indian states such as Kalinga which has been rich in armies and seafaring people from very ancient times and its later dynasties like Satavahanas, Ikshuvakus who professed Buddhism were probably responsible for early migrations to the island as they did in respect of other South East Asian lands. Obviously, there had been sense of greater security for the endurance of the state within the better defensible confines of the island and the kingdom had succeeded in maintaining it through a delicate combination of state power with the interest of the Buddha Sasana as well as an intricate inter-state diplomatic relationship with neighbourng kingdoms depending on who mattered at a time. The Sangha contributed not only to maintain the Buddhist hold on the country but also to forge alliances with neighbours, of which there is evidence.

A significant point is that while all Indian dynasties from prosperous Nandas, imperial Mauryas, Guptas, Satavahans, Ikshuvakus, Salayankayanas, Brihatpalayanas, Pallavas, Chalukyas, Colas and Pandyas, and others, both powerful and smaller dynasties disappeared in India under pressure from other powers, the island nation succeeded in sustaining its first kingdom, Anuradhapura, for nearly one and half millennia. While there could be a number of reasons for that one cannot ignore the strong supporting link between the polity and the Sangha combined to bring about that situation. What it resulted in was keeping the external pressures at bay.

It is also a point to remember that the southern kingdoms like Colas and Pandyas were not fully organized polities when the island kingdom was well established from around the 3rd century B.C. to provide leadership in forming migratory colonies abroad but were inhabited more by marauding tribes, seafaring people and mercantile people. It was their services that adventurers like Sena-Guttika, Elara, Magha and Chandrabhanu sought. These incursions were sporadic as noted above and did not disturb the sustainability of the kingdom. All the political influences that came from the south of the subcontinent were “sporadic, intermittent, and secondary”. That influence was not felt in a way to destabilize the island’s major religious/cultural standing for over one and half millennia during the days of the Anuradhapura kingdom. Nor did that succeed in creating a sub-population or a parallel culture during that period. Nor did the 44 year Cola rule in the 11th century leave a permanent mark as to overshadow the Sinhalese polity in the future or create cultural upheavals to upset the hold of Buddhism.

On the contrary, Buddhism revived under the Polonnaruva rulers until Magha’s invasion caused a serious upset. Magha is not referred to as a Hindu. There was no bias against the Hindus, many of the kings having looked after all religions. Magha was denounced for anti-Buddhist work carried out by his Kerala, Kalinga and Damila soldiers like spoiling the stupas and destroying Buddhist books. Magha is but referred to as as one who hailed from the [celebrated] Kalinga lineage [like Nissanka Malla] and could have been even a Mahayana adherent rather than a Hindu.

Conclusion

The analogy of ‘chosen people’ that Devananda has used to reconstruct his thesis in respect of the Sinhalese does not find a supporting historical link in the Mahavamsa except in imagination. Nor does the chronicle support the theses that there is a historical foundation in the Mahavamsa to support that ‘racism’ existed as a practice among the Sinhalese.

The attempt smacks of what Andrew J.Bacevich, Professor of History and International Relations at Boston University who wrote in the Chapter entitled “Onward” in his recent book “The New American Mlitarism.” He stated:

“Well before 1776, Americans claimed for themselves a pivotal role in the panoramic drama of salvation achieved through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. ….Indeed the American story begins with the forging of a special covenant…… God singled out Americans to be His New Chosen People…… He [God] charged them with the task of carving out of wilderness a New Jerusalem. He assigned to them unique responsibilities to serve as agents of His saving grace. America was to become, in John Winthrop’s enduring formulation of 1630, “as a city upon a hill,” its light illuminating the world. Present- day Americans beyond counting hold firm to these convictions…… Even among citizens oblivious to or rejecting its Christological antecedents, widespread, almost autonomous support for this doctrine of American Exceptionalism persists.”

“As these and mainstream denominations vcated the public square that they once dominated, others have vied to take their place. In recent decdes, none have done so with great energy and effort than he churches constituting modern protestant evangelism.”

He wrote further that the churches and related institutions consisting [of] the contemporary evangelical movement are of particular interest to the account he was describing. Because “the way that their aspirations touched on matters relating to military institutions and the use of American power”………No group in American society felt more keenly the comprehensive nature of this crisis than did Protestant evangelicals. It was here, among committed Christians dismayed by the direction that the country appeared to be taking, that the reaction to Vietnam as a foreign policy failure and to Vietnam as a manifestation of cultural upheaval converged with great effect. ……Certain of their understanding of right and wrong, growing numbers, affluence and sophistication, and determined to reverse the nation’s perceived decline, conservative evangelicals after the 1960s assumed the role of church militant…..”they articulated highly permissive interpretations of the ‘just war’ tradition, the cornerstone of Christian thinking about warfare. And they developed considerable appetite for wielding armed might on behalf of righteousness, more often than not indistinguishable from America’s own interests.”

Does one see in the present attempt to link Mahavamsa with the present day scenario in Sri Lanka an attempt like what Prof.Becevich ascribed to the new American evangelists? Are we trying to say that Buddha, like God charging the Americans, charged the Sinhalese (Vijaya) with the task of carving out of Sri Lankan wilderness a forbidden island (New Jerusalem) forbidden for others. He, like God assigning to the Americans unique responsibilities to serve as agents of His saving grace, assigned such responsibilities to Sinhalese Buddhists in respect of Sri Lanka? The answer must be a definite “No”:

On the whole, what all sources of evidence and their learned interpretations points to is that Tamil settlements from the days of the Megalithic times through the historical period till about the 13th century had been “sporadic, intermittent and secondary.” Even in respect of the long Cola occupation of the 11th century, there is no evidence to show that the Tamil mercenaries remained in the island after the expulsion of the administrators. What R.L.Brohier observed about the settlement of Tannimuruppu (Kurundi) that by the 13th century both the settlers and invaders had gone to a man was no doubt true of the rest of Rajarata too. The vagaries of climate, the harshness of the terrain, and the collapse of the once life-giving water resources, was true of all people alike. Those who remained for early British administrators to recognize were a few hapless Sinhalese villagers in the Vanni jungles and in KaddukulamPattu still tending to their small village tanks and eking out a life under conditions of hunger and privation.

With some bitterness I might add that some of the scholarly studies
have been undertaken on the discriminatory attitudes trying to find
historical roots for present day issues but a survey of the entire
spectrum of Sinhalese -Tamil (read South Indian) relations throughout
history have been by and large harmonious both at peoples’ level and
even at the official level.

In every sphere they have been closely intermingled. To start with, Damilas joined others in making offerings to the Sangha in the early phase of introduction of Buddhism. They helped the rulers as commanders of army and Generals to maintain order and in administration; their role during the last phase of history of Gampola and Kotte period has been especially recognised as the honourable mention made of Alakeswara in Gampola period of Buddhist
literature illustrates.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Print this page

125 Comments

  1. DBSJ, I honestly think this Mahawansa debate should end. What matters is that there are a lot more sinhalese in Sri Lanka. Sinhala is a written and spoken language, There are a lot of tamils in the north, Tamil is a written and spoken language.
    There is only one country for the communities to live and also only one life.
    Make the best of it for them as well as other future generations.

  2. Dear Bandu de Silva

    Your Mahavamsa tells that the Vijaya and his party of friends came to the island and met with stiff resistance from Yakkas and other island inhabitants.

    That shows that the island was occupied by people other than sinhalas before their arrival, isn’t it.

    Even Budha had come to your island and resolved a dispute between a yakka or naga brothers over the ownership of some throne in your island.

    It shows that your island was inhabited by people and it was ruled by kings belonging to the yakkas and nagas.

    The naga nadu is classified as the nagapattinam and the surrounding areas and also the northern tip of island.

    the megalithic period remains of both the places indicate the existence of people of similar culture.

    Does it not mean that there was interaction between these two places.

    Also many of the people would have settled down and found a livelihood in those places.

    Dutu was not a sinhala. He was a Naga and his ancestors were having names such as Mahasiva, mutasiva etc.

    Dutu could have been a budhist. he had to fight not only with only one damela elara, but also with 32 different damela kings.

    Does these things do not point out the facts that the tamil kings were ruling in your island.

    Dutu could also be a tamil speaking person though a budhist, because naga nadu comprises of both the northern sri lanka and the nagapattinam and other areas.

    Even the bride for the king vijaya and to his 700 companions came from madurai.

    Tell me honestly whether you would give your daughter in marriage to a person without doing some enquiries about him.

    The King not only gives his daughter but also exhorts others to give their daughters to the 700 companions of the king vijaya.

    In this case he would have done enquiries about the king vijaya and come to a favourable conclusion about him.

    This again shows that he had some human intelligence in the island.

    A person of your standing should talk about the uniting forces in your soceity, but you have gone down to the level of denying the tamils of their history.

    You yourself tell that absorbtion of the tamils in the sinhala soceity would have been done and also the vice versa but ONE EXPECTS PEOPLE OF YOUR CALIBER TO TALK DIFFERENTLY, TALK IN THE LINES OF THE NATIONAL RECONCILIATION.

    You have not lived up to that ideal.

    What ever point you have thrown here would be met point by point by the competent people but it is appalling that a civil servant could think in these lines.

    No wonder your island is ravaged with civil war.

    You have displayed your Mahavamsa mind set of denying the tamils of their history in the island.

    You have again said that there are only coins left out by the tamils and these could be only travellers.

    You should have built on those evidences and tried to forge unity among your people.

    SORRY TO SAY THIS BUT YOUR ISLAND SUFFERS BECAUSE OF PEOPLE LIKE YOU HOLDING THE HIGH OFFICES.

    There is a verse in Mahabharata.

    YOU SHOULD ALWAYS TELL THE TRUTH.

    IF TELLING TRUTH WOULD HARM THE PEOPLE THEN DON’T TELL THAT.

    IF TELLING A LIE WILL HELP PEOPLE THEN TELL THAT LIE AS A TRUTH.

    That is from Vidura niti of Mahabharata.

  3. Bandu de Silva

    One is also told that in the Indian Yoga practice (Hata Yoga) a person could mysteriously be seen present in two places at the same time. I am quoting from the story of Swamy Vivekananda.

    ————————————-

    Swami Vivekananda also talks about the Ashta Mahasidhis like Anima, Mahima, Laghuma, etc etc in his Raja Yoga lectures.

    Why you have not talked about them also.

    But I would like you to read his conversations with his disciples. It is available as a separate book, mostly his conversations with one of his disciple Sarath Chandra Chakrobarthy.

    One of the conversations went on about the mysteries in the spiritual world, about how the people are easily led.

    A lay man had asked Swamiji about some mysteries asking him whether a certain person living in Dhaka was a Paramahamsa or not.

    This was after the demise of his guru Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.

    To this query the Swamiji replied he didn’t know about that person. Also he didn’t know whether he was a Paramahamsa or not.

    Still the man persisted in his queries. repeatedly.

    An exasperated Swamiji said to him ‘go to your house and take a good food. It will make your brain work better. Your clogged brain needs a nutrient blood’.

    He also said that there is no mystery in the Raja Yoga and it is a science. In the matters of spirit you should not accept the words of a person however high he might be but to enquire and experience it your self.

    He would exhort to shun all mystery mongering as it is the sign of a weak brain.

    Take some good rest Sir and take plenty of Kiribath if you are not diabetic. Even otherwise take whatever food is appropriate for you.

  4. Another essay on an interesting and important issue. Good selection Mr.Jeyaraj

    Mr.Bandu de Silva is an erudite writer but there are some defects in this article

  5. Thanks for posting this DBS. I learnt a few things about Mahavansa and Lanka’s history from this.

    While this is a fitting rebuttal to Devananda, the people who were convinced of that article’s accuracy will still remain unchanged. However, I hope that this very comprehensive work will convince at least a few inquiring souls to look beyond the usual propaganda and manufactured facts.

  6. Lot of stuff , so it could take many days before one could comment on the salient points after separating it from JL Devananda bashing.

    Tiruketiswaram, (built by Chettiyars in the 19th century), Koneswaram the construction of which commenced in 1956 on the site of three Buddhist shrines (pagodas) which were destroyed by the Portugese (Queyroz), and Nakuleswaram in Jaffna peninsula

    Period of Thirunavukarasu Nayanar-AD 568-649
    Period of Thirugnanasampantha Nayanar-AD 641-657

    They have sung prayers or Thevarams on Koneswaram & Thirukeswaram(available from ancient records).

    Naguleswaram, Keerimalai and Mavidapuram all have connections to Nagula Muni & a Pandyan princess and their ancient history can be checked easily. So is Muneswaram.

    There was also another Easwaram(Sivan temple) in Dondra (Called I think Thondeswaram) which was submerged by something like a Tsunami and the latter day temple was distroyed by Portuguese.

  7. 500 years ago there was nothing existing called ‘Sinhala’, Tamil has been existing for over 3000 years (evidence – old literatures still exists). Hinduism is the ‘oldest living religion’ and before sakyamuni buddha there was no buddhism, it is crazy to compare both of these.

    Yes, you guys have a small Island to live and big mouth to speak! But remember Tamils, Muslims and all other races here to have the same right to live in this island.

    While talking about history. Tomorrows history will illustrate Mervyn Silva as a great devotee of Buddhism and an intelligent minister. Tomorrows history will illustrate Wimal Weerawanse as a person who was ready to die for his country – all these written Mahawansa and other histories are nothing more or less than imaginative narrations. A brilliant writer like Mahanama can simply illustrate all spurious imaginations.

    Why can’t you all have a United Sri Lanka? because you all live with clinging futile books like Mahavamsa’s to your hearts.

    ‘Hail Mahavamsa – Hail Racism – Hail Racist Sri Lanka’

  8. Mr. Bandu Silva’s response seem lucid enough to counter some shallow POT SHOT style
    claims by Devananda.
    I would like to get some attention of inspired readers to see what I found interesting recently in the form of a book on Buddha’s visits to SriLanka.
    I think this is a good forum for people who want to think outside the Box
    see here:
    http://cnclanka.com/path_to_wisdom_13.html

    Ajith Boralugoda

  9. Dear Bandu

    In contrast, an examination of Mahavamsa will point out that the compiler of the chronicle bore no ill-will towards foreign usurpers of the Anuradhapura throne as can be seen from the following quotes to such rule by usurpers:
    “1. Sena-Guttika: Mahavamsa says “….and the two of them reigned ten years justly”

    Could you show us where the Mahavamsa claimed that Sena or Guttika were “foreigners?” How did you come to that conclusion?

    The problem with the Mahavamsa is not that it brainwashes Sinhalese to believe they are chosen people, but rather that the text is totally useless in providing Sinhalese an understanding of *contemporary* Sri Lankan Tamils. The average Sinhala who reads it without studying other material will often believe that the modern Tamils are foreign invaders or have affinity with Tamil Nadu, when there is little truth to either. Velupillai Prabakaran was not an “invader.” For better or worse he was a Sri Lankan and deserves to be placed in the same category as bhoomiputras such as Cyril Mathew and JR Jayawardene.

    Dr. Narendran may be correct that the Mahavamsa gives us some bearings in the ocean of history but it does not serve as a guide for ethnic relations. That is where we (Sinhalese) have to get a little smarter and look at other sources to gain a more complete knowledge of history.

  10. I read the scientific finding from DNA tests of Sinhalese and Tamils that the Sinhalese DNA had more, say about 80% DNA links, to South Indians.

    Tamils of Tamil Eelam had only about 50% DNA links to the DNA of South Indians.

    This artice supports that scientific finding.

    What is lacking is the expression of truth amongst the Sinhalese about the people living in the country

    Dirty racism has marred theb truth. Revrt to truthful living.

  11. Past is gone.The reality of today is there is a sinhala community of about 80% of the population and SL tamils of about 10% and how to live together.

    And whether one has to ive 1/3 of the land and 2/3 of the coast to satisfy 10%.

  12. comment 7
    But remember Tamils, Muslims and all other races here to have the same right to live in this island.

    of course they do, that is why tamizhs out number chingalams in Colombo.
    But according to some of your racisit Jaffna tamizhs (a minority of them at least) chingalams and mussalmans DONT have the right to live in the North and East. Isn’t that why 500,000 chingalams and mussalmans were ethnically cleansed from the North? How many Tamizhs voiced their dissent then?
    The diaspora tamizhs need to look inwards and clean out the Racism deep inside the Jaffna tamizh psyche. At least try to treat the eastern tamizhs as your equals.
    Aren’t some Jaffna tamizhs worse than the Nazis?
    Hail Superior Jaffna Tamizh – Hail Racism – Hail Racist Diaspora

  13. it was good of dbsj to allow for a rebuttal. i recommend that the debate end here. the people in our history are dead, regardless of their greatness and achievements. let them rest in peace, and let us concentrate our efforts on building the stronger, united nation in the memory of our forefathers.

  14. /*
    Similarly, there was NO Sinhala race/tribe in Sri Lanka until the Mahavihara monks created it in the 5th century AD.
    */

    There was NO Tamil Sinhala race/tribe anywhere either until someone saw a reference to invaders known as ‘damila’. Prior to this people of this region were known as Madurai people, possibly same as the ‘Malabars’.

  15. Dear sinhalese brothers and sisters,

    Please come out of the mahavamsa mindset if it is really against other racial groups. Take the good aspects of that and ignore the things that are not relevant or against the current scenario.

    Otherwise what happened to JVP (of Rohana Vijayaweera) and LTTE (of Veluppillai Prabhakaran) will happen to the entire sinhalese community or sometimes to the entire island also.

  16. “could have been, If, may be, perhaps” will lead to more and more blood to our motherland. Come on let us put a FULLSTOP and lets build a peaceful country for our children.

    perhaps, perhaps pair of parrots.

  17. just for all non sinhalese with a misguided mindset of mhavamsa.

    For all to know many of us sinhalese have never read or studied mahavamsa. Only scolars of history study this.

    we don’t give two hoots about what it says. We need to live today by the realities surrounding us. with unrighteous rulers using race card to win power.

    look at the chain of natural disasters occuring in this tiny island since November 2009… it affects all races and religions of people. All are suffering as we all live in this island nation.
    Aren’t we concern about protecting our enviorenment ?so all of us could breath unpolluted air, drink unpolluted water, there will be protection of forests so our water springs will not dry up ….
    Can these intelligent guys talk of more important issues that realy affect all of us equally and slowly destroying us than haper on racism????

    We are getting bored with this useless stone age chronicles. Be enlightened all human beings !!

  18. I seriously think that Bandu has got it all wrong that Devananda asserted that Mahavamsa was a chronicle that instigated racism. It was very clear from Deva’s article that the Mahvihara monks had a very genuine reason for writing the chronicle to protect Buddhism in Sri Lanka while it was nearly eradicated in India due to the persecution by Brahmanism. the Monks were definitely not racists but they only politicized Buddhism.

    Therefore, Deva did not claim that Mahavamsa was a book that was written for the purpose of promoting Sinhala racism. The chronicle was interpreted by the present day racists to reinforce the Sinhala hegemony in Sri Lanka.

    Moreover, Bandu has not disputed any facts and myths presented by Deva regarding the Mahvamsa chronicle.

    The moral of the story by both authors Deva and Bandu is that Mahavamsa is not an article of racism and therefore, please do not interpret it to instigate racism in Sri Lanka.

  19. There was also another Easwaram(Sivan temple) in Dondra (Called I think Thondeswaram) which was submerged by something like a Tsunami and the latter day temple was distroyed by Portuguese.
    Dear Palan

    I’ve recently visited Dondra in Srilanka to see fifth history Sivan Temple Sorry to find out it was tollely converted to Bhuddis Temple .
    (but left cow , few stone – identify Sivan temple)

  20. Bandu de Silva,

    “Tiruketiswaram, (built by Chettiyars in the 19th century), Koneswaram the construction of which commenced in 1956 on the site of three Buddhist shrines (pagodas) which were destroyed by the Portugese (Queyroz), and Nakuleswaram in Jaffna peninsula”

    These statements are are absolute lies there are people living in the world who have 1st hand information . by this statement your one of those people who advises the government how to errase and counter the Tamil hindu heritage of the Island.

  21. From wikipedia on DNA of Sinhalese people.
    Studies looking at the origin of the Sinhalese have been contradictory. Older studies suggest a predominantly Sri Lankan Tamil contribution followed by a significant Bengali contribution with no North Western Indian contribution.
    While more modern studies point towards a predominantly Bengali contribution and a minor Tamil and North Western Indian (Gujarati & Punjabi) contribution.Multiple studies have found no significant genetic difference between the Sinhalese and the three other major ethnic groups in Sri Lanka (Sri Lankan Tamil, Indian Tamil and Sri Lankan Moor).

    The Sinhalese are likely to have received little or no genetic flow from neighboring East or Southeast Asian populations,and have closer affinities to Western Eurasia.

    The Sinhalese may also have common ancestors with the Sinti Roma via a group of paleolithic inhabitants that lived in Central India 25,000 years ago based on linguistic and haplogroup evidence.

  22. These days I feel sad reading the comments section of articles on dbsj.

    Most of the commenters are clearly eelam sympathizers and just throw around brazen comments about so called mahavamsa following sinhala people being racists. Furthermore for someone like me who does not know much about it, comments like, “YES. Mahvamsam and its follower are guilty as charged.” Don’t help anyone. What’s the charge? What is there to back it up with?

    Otherwise dbsj, great work.

  23. /*Koneswaram the construction of which commenced in 1956 on the site of three Buddhist shrines (pagodas)…Ban.. De Silva*/

    Thiru Gnana Sampanthar (7th century AC) referred the great Koneswaram Temple in his hymns.

    Ref: http://www.worldlingo.com/ma/enwiki/en/Thirugnana_Sambanthar

    Unlike Buddha, Sampanthar never transformed himself into a quantum state to appear in Sri Lanka. However, history says that he heard about Koneswaram Temple in 7th century CE.

    B.D Si(l)va shouldn’t discuss Srilankan history based on one source. Perhaps it is time to correct the other vision 🙂

  24. sinhala mahavamsam only for sinhala, budhism and budha never accept whats happening in brutal blood thirsty sinhala srilanka. sinhala leaders never ever going to improve life of sinhala poor people, they will use ltte and tamil issue for their own benefit and their friends and family.

  25. .
    Can someone update Mahawamsa:

    – Prabhakaran ruled North-East Lanka for 25 years from 1983 – 2009.
    – Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse, with the help of China and Pakistan, won the war against Prabhakaran and brought North-East Lanka under Sinhalese rule.

    🙂

  26. Bandu Silvas article starts on a false premise that JL Devananda was criticising the Mahawansa as being racist.It was not.

    Actually Devananda was critical of present day political Buddhists who are portraying and projecting the Mahavansa in a distorted manner to propagate their current racist politics

    In another sense Devananda was stating that the Mahawansa could not be used to sustain Sinhala majoritarian racism in Sri Lanka

    Sadly Bandu has missed the forest for the trees

  27. Every religion and it’s pious interpretations carried the same message against Greed,Ego,Righteousness etc.

    Mahawansa is no exception .

    There are people who interpret Bible,Quran and Geeta with their own twist.
    Human beings are capable of all these illusionary interpretations, despite great religious teachings be it Hiduism,judaism,Buddhism or Islam.

  28. I have no intention to enter into a polemic.
    In Mahayana Buddhism, there is a SUTRA called “LANKAVATARA SUTRA” which is believed to have been expounded in Sri Lanka by Buddha.
    Truth is something SUBJECTIVE! THERE IS NO OBJECTIVE TRUTH!
    All these are relative truths.
    Most important thing at this hour is peace, which should come from within. Inner peace is the way to peace.

  29. #30. aratai

    Aratai Mahawansa partly updated at your request.

    Ven. Mahanama appeared in my dream. I spoke to him in Sinhalese, he did not understand. Spoke to him in Tamil, that too he did not understand. Then I spoke to him in broken Pali, he somewhat understood. I asked him are you a racist, he answered no I am not. I am not a Sinhalese how can I be a racist? But he agreed that he was a religious fanatic.

    Then I mentioned about your request. He agreed and Mahawansa will be updated as follows:-

    ” A Damila named Prabhakaran from Great Raja Raja Chola linage ruled North-East Lanka from 1983 – 2009. He was of upright nature ( Uju jatiko) and…….reigned for 25 years, being impartial to friend and enemies during law suits……until he was defeated by the Mega forces of China, India and Pakistan.”

    He refused to update your second request:-

    He said he had to wait for another 10 years before he updates anything about Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse.

    Can you hold your horses until then Aratai?

  30. Reading the comments posted on my article I am reminded of the famous Mahayana saying that the dog attacks the clod thrown at it and not the person who throws it. In my view these comments qualify for the same metaphor.
    The issue I took up in response to Devananda’s diatribe was if a charge of racism against Mahavamsa could be maintained. Two commentators have remarked that I have misunderstood his comments. I thank them for this suggestion but find that the writer’s intention was quite clear that it was Mahavamsa which influenced what he calls ‘racism’. I cannot see how the Mahavamsa could be pulled out of the imbroglio to which it has been pushed by him . The other comments are like the dog chasing after the ‘clog’ and I have no desire to argue again. The points arising from Devananada’s asides have been adequately met.

    I had no intention to question the popular beliefs about the “Isawarams.” I referred to these beliefs as a counterpoint to Devananda questioning the historicity attached to Buddhist stupas as unhistorical. the same argument applies.

    For me this was an academic issue over Mahavamsa’s position as a source of history. I have been engaged in that study for over 50 years, first as a part of my University discipline, then as University teacher and researcher. I had no intention whatsoever entering a debate on present day issues. I said clearly that the two issues-textual criticism of Mahvamsa and today’s issues -had to be separated.
    If there are academic issues pertaining to Mahavamsa I could discuss. For example, Wijayapala asks me, though not a very important question to the issue, how I came to the conclusion that Sena-Guttika were foreigners. This is because I discussed them under the sub topic “Attitude towards foreigner.”
    Yes. The chronicles do not refer to them as foreigners. Nor does it refer to any of the ‘usurpers’ of the throne as ‘foreigners’ but say they came from ‘Cola -rattha’ in the case of Elara.
    Mahavamsa and later Vamsa literature refer to the two Damilas as sons of “Assa-Navika” as “one who brought horses by ship.” For arguments sake, anyone who brought horses by ship need not be a foreigner. Like the “Jadi Mudalalis” of Dodanduwa who went to Tutucorin in the early part of the last century with wooden barrels and ample supplies of Goraka, (the stuff was available in Kerala and South India), cured the fish and brought them to the island, it might not have been impossible for Sri Lankan mariners to be engaged in bringing horses to the island. The demand was here; the supply was elsewhere. The suppliers and intermediaries if any, perhaps, even knew to push some chiilie paste on aging horses for them to raise their tails and apear young and smart as Collin Silva wrote.

    The point is that live and kicking horses are not like dead and cured fish to be transported in barrels in sloops. Fifty years back I found it difficult to find shipping space and facilities for 15 horses which I helped selecting in Australia for the Sri Lankan Police because of the care and attendance that was needed. I gave up after two years waiting and a Police officer had to come and finally air-lift them. Herodotus tells us that the Persians had to build a wall on the bridge(isthmus) that connected to the Greek islands to transport the cavalry because the horses feared the sea!

    So when all Vamsa literature from Mahavamsa to 13th century Thupavamsa refers to two Damilas sons of a horse -shipper “as those who brought horses to [the island]” one can come to one’s own conclusion. Besides, the best known horses at the time were Persian, the Nicean horses being used by the body guards of Persian monarchs. Other best horses came from Kambuja, a province of Persia. And the Kambujas (‘Kaboja’ /Kabujika’ in Sri Lankan cave inscriptions) formed into corporations (Puga) were among donor of caves to the Sangha around the 3rd century B.C.

  31. Any religious doctrine or ideology is useless and “man made” only, if it is unable to change any person’s life to be good.

    Let alone normal followers of Buddha if any person “ordained as a Bikkhu cannot practice Ahimsa (non-violence), Karuna (compassion), Metta (affection), and Maithriya (loving-kindness) towards fellow humans, (irrespective of race or religion), not only by words but also in his thoughts and action” in Sri Lanka(SL); Is Buddhism anywhere ever practiceable?

    2500 years of Buddhism cause war atrocities of Japan, Tinnamen Square massacre in China, Pol Pot killings in Cambodia, war crimes and Tamil genocide in SL are unprecedented ruthfulness by Buddhists.

    Obviously, there is no “inner spirit” from a supernatural God to help Buddhists to do good in their daily lives.

    Unfortunately,” in Sri Lanka, due to the wrong influence of the Mahavamsa, a Buddhist Bikkhu is at liberty to engage in racist politics and promote Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinism and hatred, as we see today.”

    Doing harm to mankind instead of the expected good!

    I always believed as nonsense the story of Vijaya and 600 followers. Now I realise how that myth became history. It is purely because Bhikkus wanted to show that a prophesy by a Buddhist monk has come to pass timeously.

    Can we revert to true spirituality in SL to do good?

  32. Genetic Testing – may be the answer. We will discover that their ain’t two species. It may be worth doing as both species are likely to face cultural extinction our life time.

    I hope that this will be duly recorded in the Mahavamas for their collective stupidly, racism, intolerance and inability to understand the realities of the modern world in which they did themselves under.

    They should be re- classified as the Yakas and Nagas of the 20th Century – set for extinction.

  33. JL Devananda claims that there is “no evidence” in the Buddhist cannon of the Buddha visiting Sri Lanka. But the fact is that the Mahayana tradition does make the case. Infact, one of the most important suttas of Mahayana Buddhism is said to have been expounded by the Buddha whilst he was in Sri Lanka. It is only the Theravada tradition that does not corroborate this.

    ———-

    The Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra (Sanskrit: लंकावतारसूत्र Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra; Traditional Chinese: 楞伽經; pinyin: léngqié jīng) is a sutra of Mahāyāna Buddhism. The sūtra recounts a teaching primarily between the Buddha and a bodhisattva named Mahāmati (“Great Wisdom”). The sūtra is set in Laṅkā, the island fortress capital of Rāvaṇa, the king of rākṣasas.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lankavatara_Sutra

    ———-

    The Lankavatara Sutra is one of nine principal, and one of the most important, texts of Mahayana Buddhism. Lankavatara literally means “entering into Lanka”. Lanka is one of the islands in the south of India, identified as Ceylon. “Entering”, refers to the Buddha coming over to that Island.

    Some of the important theories expounded in the Lankavatara Sutra are:

    1. The Doctrine of Mind-Only

    2. The Conception of No-Birth

    3. The Triple body of the Buddha

    4. The Tathagata

    http://www.beezone.com/lankavatara.html

    ———-

    The Lankavatara Sutra is one of the great Mahayana Buddhist texts. It is essentially an argument for non-dualism. In sweeping scope the Buddha, in this case the ‘avatara of Sri Lanka’, systematically eliminates all views except that of radical insight, concluding that even if one has not ‘ascended through all the stages’, if one only realizes it, “all things are in Nirvana from the beginning.”

    http://www.mountainrunnerdoc.com/lanka.html

    ———-

    Lankavatara Sutra is the Sanskrit title for the “Sutra on the Descent to Sri Lanka.” The scene of the sutra is an assembly in Sri Lanka where the Buddha responds to questions presented by the bodhisattva Mahamati. In responding to Mahamati’s questions, the Buddha expounded many of the essential teachings of Mahayana Buddhism, such as the inner enlightenment that transcends duality and the realization of the tathagata-garba (womb of suchness) that is present in all beings.

    http://www.monkfishpublishing.com/pages/Lankavatara-suzuki-foreword.htm

    ———-

    Tamil Hindu extremists like JL Devananda should practice their own religion and keep their hatred and racial bigotry to themselves.

  34. When I lived in Lanka, I had never even seen the Mahavamsa, let alone read it. A few years ago I saw it online and bought a copy, proud to have a history that goes back so many years, but I have never bothered to read one sentence in it. I don’t know a single Sinhala person who has read it. Therefore, the Tamil obsession with the Mahavamsa and what we now have come to call the “Mahavamsa-envy” due to all these attacks from Tamils about the Mahavamsa surprises us.

    The modern Sihala person’s mentality was formed in response to the LTTE and Tamil propaganda. Not from the Mahavamsa. When we say this is the only homeland we have, so we are not willing to divide it, that is a response to the Tamil claim that they need a homeland carved out of Sri Lanka (even though more Tamils live in Tamil Nadu, the rest of Indian and even in Canada than in Sri Lanka). We find it natural to respond that this is the only homeland we have, and we are not willing to give you parts of it, specially when your true homeland is Tamil Nadu, and just because you have no chance of any military or any other type of victory fighting with India. What response did Tamils think we will have to the propaganda, that changed almost weekly to suit what they thought would appeal to the West?

    See, those days you didn’t care what we, the Sihala people thought. So you said whatever lies that came to mind. You didn’t think you would ever have to deal with us, because you were sure the West would give you half of Lanka on a platter. You only worried about spinning stories and lies to appeal to the West. You studied their attitudes and behavior and concocted your stories to suit them. e.g. first tried the Israel theory…we Tamils live all over the world, we have no homeland, give us a homeland in Sri Lanka. Huh, did you forget you have a better, bigger homeland in Tamil Nadu? Why not ask for that? Then when that didn’t work, did a 180, and started saying, the Tamils in Sri Lanka are a separate race from the other Tamils in India and around the world, therefore give us a homeland in Sri Lanka. See, those days you didn’t care two hoots about what we thought. Now what you are facing is the response and attitudes you have created in the Sihala toward you from all those lies you spun for decades. It has nothing to do with Mahavamsa or Buddhism. In fact, of all my neighbors who fought in the Army, only one was a Buddhist. All of the rest, all Officers in the Army were Christians. So much so for you attempt to make this a religious fight. I also know many Muslims and Burghers who were in the Armed Forces.

    You did, and still call the Government a Sihala or Buddhist Government, when there is not single country in the West (and perhaps even the rest of the world) that even comes close to how well represented our government is of the minorities. The Muslim representation in the Government is higher than their percentage in the population. If you didn’t kill all of your own people in the Government, the same could be said about the Tamils. The Government is also teeming with Christians. But you had the audacity to call it a Sinhala or Buddhist Governement to suit your propaganda. Our attitude toward you is based on these lies, not on the Mahavamsa or Buddha, or Buddhism. All of the Christian Sinhala people I know also hated the LTTE equally.

    You have assassinated and killed more of your own people than have died in the war with Government. You killed every voice of dissention. You go on and on about Sihala attacks, when the Tamil attacks on us went on for decades in the form of mass bombings and such. But you are waiting for us to say we are sorry? That’s the thing, once two sides go to war, there are no good guys left. You were the most dangerous killers and terrorists in the world, but you are trying to act like you lead a Ghandi/King type resistance and expecting us to say sorry. What about what you did to us? Bombing school buses, trains, cities, sacred religious places, the list goes on.

    The LTTE did succeed in one thing. They wanted to make sure there was NO OTHER Tamil leadership but them, so they killed and killed and killed Tamils,so Tamils would have no choice but to fall behind the LTTE. In that they succeeded. Unfortunately, now most of you are unable to separate fact from LTTE fiction, after hearing the Tamil propaganda fiction for decades. It worked so well with the West, that you also came to believe you own lies. Now that you finally have to deal with us, which you never though you would have to do, you just don’t understand why we don’t buy them!

  35. 33. Mandawala Hamuduruvo

    I too do not have any intention to enter into any polemic.

    There is one Ithihasa for the Hindus, called the Ramayana.

    in that the Lord Ram constructs bridge from India near Rameswaram to Lanka.

    This is called the Rama Sethu.

    As per the Govt of the Tamil Nadu Gazette notification it was used by the people to move between the two land masses.

    The relevant documents one could view from http://www.historicalrama.org

    This land bridge was used until 1480 as per the gazette.

  36. 25. ram kapoor

    These days I feel sad reading.
    …….
    The Pali Maha Wansha is easier to understand than this article.
    God save the Foreign service.

    31. Kesavan

    Bandu Silvas article starts on a false premise that JL Devananda was criticising the Mahawansa as being racist.It was not.

    True. Another example is:

    ..and creating the Sinhala race by integrating all the Buddhists from different tribes/ethnic groups into one race (JLD)

    He explains that the Sinhala numerical majority [today] is the result of absorption of anumber of Tamil groups into the Sinhalese society. (BdeS)

    33. Mandawala Hamuduruvo

    In Mahayana Buddhism, there is a SUTRA called “LANKAVATARA SUTRA” which is believed to have been expounded in Sri Lanka by Buddha.

    All these are relative truths.
    Most important thing at this hour is peace, which should come from within. Inner peace is the way to peace.
    …..
    Golden words.

  37. Funny how the previous article and this one seem to be one sided

    When one writes a point of view it has only one side, It aint funny…………..DBSJ

  38. 39. J | ,
    Just because you and your friends are ignorent and poorly educated or clever enough to read and understand history and litrature donot calim all as fiction or lies .You better get tution or some soret of eduction which is not difficult in this era.

  39. Sri Lanka’s war panel arouses strong emotions
    For many relatives, there has been little or no information as to the fate of their loved ones

  40. Tamil Language ( by Prof. M. Varadarajan)
    Old Dravidian
    In the historical past Proto-Dravidian was spoken throughout India. When the Turanians and the Aryans came to India through the Khyber and the Bolan Passes respectively, and mingled with the local population of the North, the North Indian languages of Proto-Dravidian origin changed to a great extent. As a consequence Praakrit and Paali emerged as the languages of the masses in the northern part of India. Despite the commingling of local and foreign ethnic elements, a section of Proto-Dravidians maintained their ethnic and cultural identity in some isolated areas, spoke corrupt forms of Proto-Dravidian languages and these have survived, to this day, as living examples of ancient Dravidian languages. Languages such as Kolami, Parji, Naiki, Gondi, Ku, Kuvi, Konda, Malta, Oroan, Gadba, Khurukh, and Brahui are examples of Dravidian languages prevalent in the North. Today Proto-Dravidian speakers are increasingly mingling with other linguistic groups and learning their languages. Therefore, their numerical strength is on the decline. People living in the Rajmahal mountains in Bengal and in the areas adjacent to Chota Nagpur are good examples of the intermingling. A section of people living in Baluchistan speak Brahui, which has many linguistic features similar to the Dravidian languages spoken in South India. Scholars are surprised today to note many linguistic similarities between Tamil and Brahui, especially in numerals, personal pronouns, syntax and in other linguistic features. The Indian Census report of 1911 classified Brahui as a language belonging to the Dravidian family. It was then spoken by about 170, 000 people, although this number over the years dwindled to a couple of thousands. Whatever be their numerical strength now, they are proof of the fact that the Dravidians in some age of the historical past were spread in the region between Baluchistan and Bengal and spoke the Proto-Dravidian idiom.

    North Indian Languages
    Since the Dravidians lived throughout the Indian subcontinent at some historical past, certain syntactical affinities are noticeable even today between the South and a large number of North Indian languages.
    When Praakrit and Paali became popular in the North, the Proto-Dravidian language lost its ground there, and confined itself entirely to the South. Even in South India it did not remain as one single language for a long time. Dialectical differences arose partly due to the political division of the Tamil country into three distinct Tamil kingdoms and partly due to the natural barriers created by rivers and mountains. The absence of proper land communication among the three Tamil kingdoms also accentuated this process of dialectal differences. As a result the Dravidian language spoken by the people. who lived in the regions north and south of the Tirupati mountains, varied to such an extent as to become two independent languages, Tamil and Telugu. The language spoken in the region of Mysore came to be known as Kannada. Malayalam emerged as yet another distinct language in Kerala. All these far-reaching changes occurred at different periods of time in the history of the Dravidian languages. Among these four languages, it is only the Tamil language which has a long literary tradition.

    The term Dravidian, which refers to the language of South India, is of a later origin. Originally it was derived from the word tamil /tamiz> . This word in course of time changed into dravida after undergoing a series of changes like tamiza, tramiza, tramiTa, trapida and travida. At one time the languages spoken in the regions of Karnataka, Kongu and Malabar were respectively known as Karunaattut-tamil, Tulunattut-tamil and Malainattut-tamil. Today however, these regional languages are classified under the blanket term “Dravidian family of languages”.

    South Indian Languages
    Many common linguistic features are still discernible among these Dravidian languages. Some five thousand words are common to these languages. Many grammatical forms are common. The overwhelming influence of Sanskrit scholars and the indiscriminate borrowing of Sanskrit words resulted in the emergence of Kannada and Telugu as distinct languages from Tamil some fifteen hundred years ago. The influence of Sanskrit on Malayalam language came to be felt only about eight centuries ago, and therefore, the areas of difference between Tamil and Malayalam are not many. Tamil was the language of bureaucracy, of literati and of culture for several centuries in Kerala. In fact, fifteen centuries ago the rulers of Kerala were all Tamils. Up to the tenth century the Pandya kings ruled Kerala with royal titles such as ‘Perumaankal and ‘Perumaankanar’. It was a Tamil poet from Trivandrum who in fact presided over the academy of Tamil scholars, when they met to evaluate the famous Tamil grammatical work Tolkappiyam. From the third century 13.C. to the first century A.D., many poets from Kerala composed poems in Tamil and their compositions are included in Tamil anthologies such as Akananaru and Purananaru. All the one hundred poems in the anthology PatiRRuppattuextol the greatness of the kings of the Kerala region. The author of the famous Tamil epic Cilappatikaram was a poet from Kerala. The shrine in honor of KaNNaki, the heroine of Cilappatikaram, was built at Tiruvancikkulam in Kerala. Among the Saiva and Vaisnava composers, CEramAn PerumAl Nayanaar and KulacEkara Alvaar respectively, belong to the Kerala region. AiyanEritanaar, the author of the tenth century grammatical work PuRapporul VeNpaamaalai, hailed from Kerala. Many scholars and pundits from Kerala contributed much to the Tamil language and literature and the historical evidence shows that the region now known as the State of Kerala was once an integral part of Tamil Nadu at some period of time. Because of these reasons there is greater affinity between Tamil and Malayalam than between Tamil and Kannada or Telugu.

    ——————————————————————————–

    ——————————————————————————–

    Contact with Foreign Countries
    Tamil occupies a distinctive position among the Dravidian languages owing to its geographical expansion, for it has spread beyond the frontiers of India. Apart from being the language of forty million people in Tamil Nadu it is the spoken and written language of several millions of Tamils living in Ceylon, Burma, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Africa, Fiji Islands and Mauritius.
    That the Tamils were well advanced in sea-borne and inland trade is evident both from Tamil literary sources as also from the accounts of foreign travellers.* Even as early as the tenth century B.C., articles of trade such as peacock feathers, elephant tusks and spices intended for King Solomon were sent in ships belonging to the Tamil country. Some words in Hebrew, Greek and English point to the existence of trade between Tamil Nadu and the countries around the Mediterranean region. Classical Hebrew terms like tuki and ahalat are close to the Tamil words tokai and akil respectively. Although English words like ‘sandalwood’ and ‘rice’ are borrowed from the Greek language, their origin is in fact Tamil. Likewise the Greek words for ginger and pepper also owe their origin to Tamil. Sea-borne trade flourished between the Tamil country and the Roman Empire during the period of Emperor Augustus. This fact is borne out by numerous coins issued during his reign, which were unearthed by archaeologists in the Tamil country. Iron age finds in Philippines also point to the existence of trade between Tamil Nadu and the Philippine Islands during the ninth and tenth centuries B.C. This apart, Tamil traders frequented the shores of Burma, Malaya and China with their wares and bartered them for Chinese silk and sugar. The Tamil word ciini for sugar indicates its origin. In Tamil classical works, Chinese silk is referred to as ciinattupattu.


    * For an interesting account of the ancient Tamils refer, P.T. Srinivasa Iyengar, History of the Tamil from the Earliest Times to 600 A.D., Madras, 1929, pp. 36-43.; and A.L. Basham, The Wonder that was India, London, 1954, p. 62. —

    Foreigners who toured India gave an account of the flourishing trade between the Tamil regions of India and other countries. Periplus and Pliny mention that since articles from Tamil Nadu such as pearls, elephant tusks and muslin were bartered for gold, and that the trade balance was more in favour of the Tamils, the Emperor Vespasian viewed especially the drain of gold as a serious threat to his country’s economy and took the extreme step of terminating the two-way trade between Rome and the Tamil country. References to the ports of trade in the Tamil country such as ToNTi, MuciRi, KoRkai and Kaavirippumpattinam are also found in the writings of Periplus. Ptolemy writing in A.D. 150 speaks about Ceraas, Cholaas and Paandyas as the rulers of Tamil Nadu. He also mentions the important trading centres like Karur, NagappaTTinam and Pondicherry in his travel notes. Ali these references to the trading activities of the Tamils in foreign writings correlate to those found in the early Tamil classics.

    The business acumen of the Tamils is shown in the special terms used by them to refer even to the minutest fractions in calculation. To cite some examples, the term immi referred to the fraction of 1/320 x 1/7. And one-seventh of this fraction was termed as anu. One-eleventh of an anu was known as mummi and one ninth of a mummi was termed kuNam.

    The renowned Sanskrit epics the Raamayanaa and the Mahaabhaarata also speak about the Tamil country and in particular the importance of Madurai as the capital of the Paandyaa kings. Megasthenes, who came to India during the period of Chandragupta Maurya, refers to the Paandya country and its polity. The edicts of the famous Indian Emperor Asoka also mention that during his rule the Tamil kings in the far south of India enjoyed political independence.

    Antiquity of Tamil Grammatical Works
    Among the ancient grammatical works available, the Tolkappiyam was the earliest and it was written around the third century B.C. There are over two hundred and fifty references in Tolkaappiyam which, provide substantial evidence of the existence of many classical and grammatical works in Tamil prior to Tolkaappiyam itself. It classifies Tamil words into four categories, iyarcol, tiricol, ticaiccol, and vatacol. Iyarcol refers to the words in common use, while tiricol refers to the words used specifically in poetry. Regional words are known as ticaiccol. Words borrowed from Sanskrit are called vatacol. Certain specific rules were stipulated in borrowing words from Sanskrit. The borrowed words were to strictly conform to the Tamil phonetic system and to be written in the Tamil script. All these indicate the sound grammatical basis on which the Tamil language has evolved over the years.
    Besides, Tolkaappiyam also classifies the Tamil language into centamil and kotuntamil. The former refers to the classical Tamil used exclusively by literati in their works and the latter refers to the colloquial Tamil, spoken by the people. This shows that even in those distant days differences had grown to such an extent as to enable the Tamil grammarians to classify the language into written and spoken.

    Tamil Scripts
    The earlier Tamil inscriptions were written in braahmi, grantha and vaTTezuttu scripts.* Inscriptions after the seventh century A.D. contain Tamil characters similar to the one now in vogue. This prompted some scholars to argue that vatteluttu and Tamil scripts originated from braahmi scripts. This view has no solid base, for one can see a copious description of Tamil scripts in Tolkaappiyam, which belongs to third century B.C. It is obvious therefore, that Tamil language had a distinct script of its own even at that early period. In fact vaTTezuttu is none other than the old Tamil script. Even the southern braahmi was a corrupt form of vaTTezuttu . Distinct differences exist between the southern and the northern braahmi script, for the southern one had its genesis in vaTTezuttu . Much before brahmi scripts could become popular the Tamils possessed a script of their own which they put to use in their commercial transactions and in their writings.

    * According to Professor M. Varadarajan, vaTTezuttu was nothing but the scripts inscribed on stones. They had been known as veTTezuttu or letters inscribed on stones. But in course of time and by usage it was transformed into vaTTezuttu . For an in-depth study of Tamil scripts refer, M. Varadarajan. Moli Varalaaru (The History of Tamil Language), Madras, 1954, pp. 425~37. The view of a historian on the same subject is as follows: “What the vaTTezuttu is and how it came into being and how it was practiced we cannot say definitely. But we can say almost with some definiteness that it represents a very ancient cursive alphabet, perhaps the primitive South Indian alphabet which existed long, long before the inscriptions of Asoka.” V.R.R. Dikshitar, Pre-Historic South India, Madras, 1951, p. 218. Yet for another view of the origins of Tamil scripts refer, John R. Marr, “The Early Dravidians” in A.L. Basham (ed.), A Cultural History of India, London. 1975, pp. 32-34.

    The Tamii characters which are in use today also can be deemed to have originated from vatteluttu. There are twelve vowels in Tamil consisting of five short vowels, a, i, u, e, and o («, ­, ¯, ±, ´); their corresponding five long vowels, aa, ii, uu, ee and oo (¬, ®, °, ², µ) and two letters ai and au (³, ´Ç) for the prevention of hiatus. There are eighteen consonants made up of six surds k. c, T, t, p, and R (ì, î, ð, ò, ô, ü) and their corresponding six sonants g, j, N, n, m, n2 (í, ï, ñ, ó, õ, ý) and six medials y, r, l, v, z and L ( ö, ÷, ø, ù, ú, û) . The two short vowels e and o (±, ´) which are not in Devanagari are essential to Tamil and other languages of the Dravidian family. There is a world of difference in meaning between the words eTu and ETu (±Î, ²Î); koTu and kOTu (¦¸¡Î, §¸¡Î), teL and tEL (¦¾û, §¾û ); as well as koL and kOl (¦¸¡û, §¸¡ø). It is therefore, needless to emphasise the importance of short and long vowels like e and ee/E (±, ²); as well as o and O (´, µ ) in Tamil. There are no aspirated consonants like gha or cha in Tamil. Likewise the letter h ( † ) is also absent in Tamil. But a corresponding leter k (· ), known as aytam is used to soften the surds in Tamil. The trilled consonant R (ü) is quite different from r (÷).The consonant n (ý ) has a nasal sound and it is different from other dentals. The consonant l ( ø ) is equally essential like that of the consonant L ( û ). These two different l’s exist both in Telugu and in Kannada. The consonant z (ú) is found only in Tamil and Malayalam. It had existed in old Kannada but not now. The two vowels ru ( Õ ) and lu ( Ö), which are there in Devanagari, are not there in Tarr.ih The short-nature u (¯) and i ( ­ ) sounds are in Tamil, but there are no letters to indicate them.

    If the letters ka, ca, Ta, ta, pa (¸, º, ¼, ¾, À) appear at the beginning of a word, after hard vowel consonants. and after doubling they will be pronounced like surds. In other places they will be pronounced like sonants. Although there are no distinct letters for surds and sonants in Tamil, the vowel consonants themselves are pronounced like surds and sonants depending on the place in which they appear. Therefore the one Tamil consonant ka (k) is pronounced like gha depending upon its placement in a word. Likewise other hard vowel consonants ta (¾ ), ca (º), Ta (¼) and pa (À) are pronounced differently like ( dha, cha, tha, bha) respectively according to the place where they appear in a word. There are no sibilants like sa, sha, Sa in Tamil.

    There are distinct letters in Tamil to indicate numerals and fractions. There are evidences to show that the present roman numerals 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 originated from Tamil.

    Classification and Formation of Words
    There are four kinds of words in Tamil. Among them the root words or uriccol which were used in ancient poems are not popular now. If we exclude them then there exist only three types of words namely nouns, verbs and itaiccol or particles. The nouns indicate animate and inanimate categories of things, gender, number and person. tiNai is classified into uyartiNai (nouns denoting personal class of beings, including men, gods and demons) and akRiNai (inferior class of beings whether animate, inanimate, or neuter). Higher categories of animate beings like human beings fall under uyortiNai. Others, both animate and inanimate come under the category of akriNai. There are three genders in uyartiNai: masculine, feminine and neuter. Palar paal or neuter plural gender indicates many in number. Masculine and feminine genders in Tamil indicate only singular number. AkRiNai is classified into onRan paal (singular of the impersonal class) and palvin pal (plural of the impersonal class).
    Again, number is classified into one and many. Unlike Sanskrit there is no dual number in Tamil. There are three ‘persons’ in Tamil, namely, first person, second person and third person. Case inflexions are many in Tamil and their indicators form as suffixes in words.

    Distinction between animate and inanimate things, and masculine and feminine genders are usually made according to the meaning of words.

    Verbs are classified into finite and infinite verbs. Most of the finite verbs are formed with suffixes which indicates this animate or inanimate quality, as also gender. The gender is not distinguished both in abstract nouns and in relative participles. Both verbs and nouns are formed from verbal roots. But very few verbs are formed from noun roots.

    Particles have no meaning of their own but acquire meaning when added to other words and help to differentiate their meanings too. Even meaningless words are regarded as particles.

    Most of the words in Tamil are agglutinative in character, i.e. case indicators, time and gender markers are affixed to root words. As a result, the formation of words become clear. Even the words in the classical literature are agglutinative in character. There is no distinction between the roots that were. used in ancient classics and those which are now in vogue. The root word which was used to mean ‘food’ in ancient classics was una. The one used in medieval period was either uN or uNTi. Whereas the modern word for food is uNavu. In all these words whether ancient, mediaeval or modern, the root word un is clear. Only the suffixes differ. Therefore, the Tamil of ancient poetry too begins to seem familiar after a while if one reads the ancient classical poetry for a time. This is the reason why the Tamils of this century find little difficulty in understanding the Cankam classics. It also accounts for the continuity that exists in Tamil literary growth. One finds it used in the poems of the hymnodists and Kampan, composed in the seventh century and the twelfth century respectively.

    There is little difference in syntax between ancient and modern Tamil. Although over a period of time word forms have changed the formation of syntax remains intact in all the Dravidian languages. In this respect there exist similarity between the languages of the South and the North, though they fall under a different category known as Indo-European languages. The fact that syntax changes very little, while other aspects of a language do, is brought out in the similarity one finds in the formation of syntax between the Dravidian languages of the South and the languages of the North of India. This explains why syntactical differences exist between the languages of North India on the one hand and Sanskrit, Greek and Latin on the other; and why there exists similarity between north and south Indian languages. This unity in syntactical formation becomes obvious if one analyses all the four major Dravidian languages of South India. If one analyses the continuos growth of Tamil language the perceivable truth is that there is little change in the formation of syntax both in the classical Tamil and the Tamil used in modern short stories.

    Unnecessary Polemics
    Among the spoken languages of India, Tamil achieved perfection even during the pre-historic period. Literary growth in Tamil took place at the same time when there was similar growth in Sanskrit. Literary works came to be written only at a later period in all other Indian languages. Therefore there was considerable antiquity for Tamil language and literature. Besides, the ancient classical Tamil literature originated and blossomed from the folk song and poetry of the Tamil country. The forms of such poetry were also not borrowed from any other language, but were culled from the folk poetry and songs that was in vogue among the people of Tamil Nadu. The existence of such combination of antiquity and individuality in Tamil literature, was forgotten by later day Sanskrit scholars. As such they not merely denied the greatness due to the Tamil language but began to look upon it on the assumption that it borrowed immensely from Sanskrit from its very inception. Therefore, Sanskritists indulged in unwanted polemics by arguing that Tamil had no intrinsic merit of its own because it borrowed heavily from Sanskrit. To establish this assumption, Caminata Desikar, a Sanskrit scholar and author of a grammatical work entitled ilakkaNakkottu compared the alphabets of Sanskrit and Tamil and found that all, expect five alphabets, the two short vowels e (±) and o (´) and three consonants Ra, na and za (È, É, Æ ) are common to both the languages. Therefore he argued that all the characters common to the two languages essentially belonged to Sanskrit and the five rare symbols which are absent in Sanskrit belonged specifically to Tamil. Based on his findings he wrote an unusual verse in which he posed insolently a question whether Tamil with only five letters of its own could ever be called a language.

    Intelligent persons will be ashamed
    To call it a language
    That possesses only five letters.*

    * Arumuka Navalar (ed.), llakkanakkottu (Madras). p. 9, lines 27-28.

    This scurrilous verse only indicates the irrational attitude of the Sanskrit scholars of the seventeenth century.
    Such unreasonable attitude became obvious in analysing the origin of words that were common to Sanskrit and Tamil. Basic words like niir (water) and miin (fish) which had been in use from time immemorial in Tamil language was interpreted by Sanskrit scholars as having originated from Sanskrit roots. They refused to consider the possibility that Sanskrit would have borrowed these common words from Tamil, the most ancient language of the region, and even propagated that most of the words in Tamil had been borrowed from Sanskrit. The Tamil scholars were perplexed by such unfounded claims. However with the arrival of linguists like Caldwell from Europe, and with the publication of books in English refuting the claims of Sanskritists, Tamil scholars gained confidence in the intrinsic value of Tamil language. Despite this, the biased views held by Sanskritists held sway ir the world of letters even up to this century until linguists in England like Burrow falsified these erroneous claims by their researches. This controversy persisted even in analysing the names of places in the Tamil region. After translating certain names of places from Tamil to Sanskrit, the Sanskrit scholars argued that they were borrowed from Sanskrit. One classic example was Vriddhachalam which is a literal translation of the Tamil place called MutukunRam. Likewise, several names of deities were translated into Sanskrit. The devotional hymns of the Nayanmars in fact mentioned these names in their pure Tamil form. Instances are not wanting that while translating names of places from Tamil into Sanskrit, the Sanskrit scholars failed to comprehend the real meaning of the criginal Tamil words and translated them erroneously. Without knowing the actuai meaning of the name of a town ArkkaTu (Arcot), the Sanskrit scholars translated it Sataranyam, which literally means six forests, whereas the Tamil word arkkaTu literally means a forest of fig trees. To perpetuate these Sanskritised names, they wrote stories as well. Despite their efforts Sanskritised names failed to gain currency among the people. The Sanskrit scholars, for example, tried to Sanskritise the name of the river Paalaaru as Ksra Nati. It could not be perpetuated. Thus the Sanskrit scholars unnecessarily sowed the seeds of dissension in the Tamii country.

    Tanit-Tamil Iyakkam (Pure Tamil Movement)
    Sanskrit scholars attempted to Sanskritise Tamil several centuries ago by the liberal use of Sanskrit words. They argued that such a liberal mixture enhanced the beauty of the Tamil language and compared the hybrid language to an ornament made out of equal number of pearls and corals. They called the hybrid style as manippravala style and attempted to popularize it in the country. Some of the Jain and Vaisnava Sanskrit scholars employed that style using grantha scripts Their attempts, however, failed because of the naturally rich vocabulary and literary wealth of the Tamil language.
    Sanskrit scholars, however, refused to acknowledge the real merit of Tamil literary works. Although they were born in the Tamil country, spoke the Tamil language, and lived as Tamilians, they seldom read such important works as the TEvaram and the Tiruvaacakam. They treated lighty those who attained scholarship only in Tamil. Even the hymns of Nayanmars, which found a pride of place in remple rituals during the Chola period, lost their importance at a later stage. They went to the extent of denigrating Tamil as the language of the mortal and extolling Sanskrit as the language of gods. If the Sanskritists found laudable ideas in Tamil works, they tried to belittle their merit saying that those were borrowed ideas from Sanskrit works. They tried even to underrate the importance of Tiruvalluvar’s Tirukkural by running it down as a compendium of ideas translated from Sanskrit works. Likewise they considered that Tolkaappiyam, the first grammatical work by Tolkappiyar was based on Sanskrit. To substantiate their view, they assigned the work of Tolkappiyar to Tiranatumakkini who was a scholar in Sanskrit. The RaamayaNaa, Mahaabhaarata, PuraaNas and other philosophical works were no doubt borrowed from Sanskrit but the Sanskrit scholars tried to camouflage the very existence of great literary works in Tamil like the Cankam classics, didactic and devotional literature. But their efforts were halted only when scholars like V.K. Curiyanaraayana Sastriar and Maraimalaiyatikal focussed the attention of the people on the literary treasures of the Tamil language.

    Two Different Types of Tamil Style
    Though the efforts to Sanskritise Tamil no longer exist, the repercussions of those earlier efforts are still felt in society. One effect, of course, was the virulent opposition to the use of Sanskrit words in Tamil, and this opposition has not subsided even today. At a time when all merit and greatness were attributed to Sanskrit alone, Tamil scholars like cUriyanarayana Sastriar and CuvAmi Vetaacalam preferred to use only the Tamil equivalents of their Sanskrit names, Paritimarkalainjar and MaRaimalaiyaTikal respectively. Despite their stance, their earlier Tamil prose works contained many words of Sanskrit origin. When the Sanskritists claimed that Tamil could not exist without Sanskrit, the two Tamil scholars addressed themselves to the task of writing Tamil without borrowing from Sanskrit. Curiyanarayana Sastriyar, the pioneer of this style of writing died at a very young age. His contemporary, MaTaimalaiyaTikal lived longer and crystallized this attitude into a movement in 1916. Since then the movement has been popularly known as the Tanit-Tamil lyakkam or the Pure Tamil Movement among the Tamil scholars. Its impact still persists among the Tamils. Those who have interest in m ai n tai n ing the purity of Tamil language even now prefer to substitute a Tamil equivalent for Sanskrit names given by their parents. With vengeance they totally reject borrowines from Sanskrit. Instead they prefer to borrow from English. The Tamil scholars consider it their duty to write in chaste Tamil free from Sanskrit and have been writing like this since the inception of the Pure Tamil Movement. The virulence of the movement was due to the past pride of the Sanskritists in their knowledge of Sanskrit language. The blunders committed by them have given rise to two different views as well as controversies in the use of Tamil. One group preferred to use as far as possible a pure Tamil without the admixture of Sanskrit words; others preferred to write in a hybrid language. Even now many writers to daily newspapers, weeklies and monthlies write in a hybrid language. Therefore the Tamil scholars denounce their writing as faulty. The writings of the Tamil scholars are criticised as too difficult to read, lifeless and artificial. Thus the effect of the old controversy still exists, although in a different form.
    In the historic past, Sanskrit played the role of a communication language among the scholars, who lived in different parts of the Indian sub-continent. Therefore it was learnt avidly by scholars at Kanchipuram as well as at Banaras. The sum-total of human knowledge available from Kaveri to the Gangetic plains was written in the Sanskrit language. Ideas relating to literature, religion and theories of art were found elaborately set forth in Sanskrit. Many forget that quite a lot of authors of these Sanskrit works were scholars from South India. For example Dandin the author of the Kavyadarga in Sanskrit, was a scholar from Kanchipuram in the Tamil country. Sankara the exponent of Advaita philosophy, was again a South Indian. He mentioned in his works Saint Njanacampantar, the crusader against Jainism in South India. Raamanujar, the originator of Visishtaadvaita philosophy was a Tamillian and he lived every close to Kanchipuram. Scholars who analysed the life-style and arts of the people of the Tamil country, wrote many works on the Bharata Naatyasastra, the Carnatic music and on astrology. Therefore, if one considers these facts dispassionately, it was unrealistic on the part of later day Sanskrit scholars to denigrate Tamil language and literature. It is equally true in the case of Tamil scholars to think that theories and ideas found in Sanskrit were alien to Tamil.

    The Tamil scholars took the cue from the old commentators for writing prose. The commentators including Parimelazakar and others, who were known for their scholarship in Sanskrit, wrote in pure Tamil with the least borrowing from Sanskrit. Their style of writing was similar to the one now in vogue, for the present-day Tamil scholars adopted only their style.

    The journalists’ style has been based on the spoken language of the Tarnils. In spoken language, foreign loan words are mixed freely and syntax corresponds to emotional situations. Poet Paaratiyaar composed pooms largely in pure Tamil. He followed the same method while writing essays too.

    Tiru. Vi. Kaliyanacuntaraar moved very closely with Tamil scholars and journalists. He was himself a distinguished scholar and a seasoned journalist. He wrore many literary works and also edited a number of daily newspapers and weeklies. He was a link between the Tamil schoiars and the journalist of his day. His earlier writings abound in Sanskrit words. With the advent of the Pure Tamil Movement, he began to write without the admixture of Sanskrit words. He used foreign words only when there were no suitable Tamil words to express a particular idea. He gave up long and stilted sentences and largely used emotionally charged short sentences common to spokon language. Thus his writings and speeches, tried to bridge the chasm that existed between the scholars and journalists. Even now two different types of styles exist: one adoptod by the scholars and the other followed by the journalists.

    Dialectical Conventions
    There exist slight regional differences in the spoken Tamil of the people living in various parts of the Tamil country. In the nineteenth century, in the absence of transport facilities, dailectical differences would have been more pronounced than it is now. Now they are on the decline because of increased transport and educational facilities. Besides mass-media, such as daily newspapers, journals, radio and television are also contributing factors. However, there are some differences between the Tamil spoken at Tirunelveli and Coimbature. These two dialects differ distinctly from the Tamil spoken in Thanjavur and Tiruchirappalli. The Tamil spoken in the city of Madras on the other hand differs from all of them, because of the liberal borrowing of words from Telugu, Urdu and English languages.
    Similar differences exist in the phonetics also. The vowel consonant ca ( º ) is distinctly pronounced in Tirunelveli, whereas in the northern part of Tamil Nadu it is pronounced as sa (… ) at the beginning of words. The letter za (Æ), which is unique to the Tamil language is pronounced differently from one district to another. In the southern districts it is pronounced as la (Ç ), in Salem as ya (  ) and in the city of Madras it is pronounced in both the ways. The verb izu (­Ø) is pronounced as icu (­Í ). In spoken language vaazaippazam (Å¡¨ÆôÀÆõ ) is pronounced to the detestation of scholars as vaaLappaLam (Å¡ÇôÀÇõ) and Vaayappayam (Å¡ÂôÀÂõ). Certain classes of people pronounce the verb irukkiratu (­Õ츢ÈÐ) as irukku (­ÕìÌ). Others pronounce it is irukkutu (­ÕìÌÐ) and the illiterates as kiitu (¸£Ð). The verb ceytuvittaar (¦ºöÐÅ¢ð¼¡÷, has done it) is pronounced in spoken language as ceynjiTTaar, cenjiTTaar and cenjipuTTaar (¦ºö»¢ð¼¡÷, ¦ºïº¢ð¼¡÷, ¦ºïº¢Òð¼¡÷). Likewise the verb eTuttukkoNtan (±ÎòÐ즸¡ñ¼¡ý, has taken it) is pronounced as etuttukkinan, etuttukNan, and etuttukkittan (±ÎòÐ츢ɡý, ±ÎòÐìÉ¡ý, ±ÎòÐ츢ð¼¡ý).

    Some words have altogether a different meaning in the Tamil used in Sri Lanka. The known meaning for the word aRutalaka (¬Ú¾Ä¡¸) is comforting. But in Sri Lanka ‘calmly’ and ‘leisurely (amaitiyaaka and kaalataamatamaaka) («¨Á¾¢Â¡¸, ¸¡Ä¾¡Á¾Á¡¸). The Tamils in Sri Lanka use the word kataippOm (¸¨¾ô§À¡õ) instead of pecikkoNTirappOm (§À¡º¢ì¦¸¡ñÊÕô§À¡õ) which means ‘will be talking’. Likewise they use caTanku (º¼íÌ, rituals) for tirumaNam (¾¢ÕÁ½õ, marriage); kaNakka (¸½ì¸¡, heavy or weightly) for niRaiya (¿¢¨ÈÂ, full); vaTivaai(ÅÊÅ¡¸, beautiful) for nanRaaka (¿ýÈ¡¸, better or well); and kantOr (¸ó§¾¡÷, office) for aluvalakarn («ÖÅĸõ, office).

    Foreign Loan Words in Tamil
    Words borrowed from English are phonetically changed and used as such in Sri Lanka. For example pan (bun) is written as pan (Àý); kappi (coffee) as koppi (¸¡ôÀ¢), kOrt (court) as kot (§¸¡ð); Sart (shirt) as set (¦ºð), taarc (torch) as rOc and taval (towel) as tuvaai. Likewise many Tamil words are phonetically changed and used as such in spoken and written Tarnil of Sri Lanka.
    English and Hindi words are used in spoken Tamil of the people who live in the northern districts of Tamil Nadu. Such loan words are not phonetically changed but written in the same way as they are pronounced in the concerned languages. For example such words as bus, cycle, car, office, late, post, bank, and coffee (pas/ÀŠ , caikkil/¨ºì¸¢û, kaar/¸¡÷, apis/¬À£Š, let/§Äð, post/§À¡Šð, pank/À¡íì and kaappi/¸¡ôÀ¢ respectively) are written in Tamil characters in the manner they are pronounced in English. Script writers, novelists and short story writers use these Tamilised forms in their writings. Some of them use such loan words frequently in their writings,.while others use them only when their Tamil equivalents are non-existent. Although in spokon Tamil such English words as leave, stamp, rail, station and telephone are commonly used, in written Tamil their equivalents vitumuRai (Å¢ÎÓ¨È), tapaaltalai(¾À¡ø¾¨Ä), pukaivaNTi nilaiyam (Ò¨¸ÅñÊ ¿¢¨ÄÂõ) and tolaipEci (¦¾¡¨Ä§Àº¢) respectively are used. Some Urdu words like calam and capacu found place in the devotional poems of saints Arunakirinˆtar and Kumarakuruparar, who lived in the seventeenth century. As a result of North Indian’s contact some words from the Hindi language are used in the present-day spoken Tamil. For the same reason many sweets prepared in hotels of Tamil Nadu bear Hindi names.

    From time immemorial a few Sanskrit words had been intermixed with Tamil. Prior to the second century A.D., and during the Cankam period only one per cent of Sanskrit words intermingled with Tamil. This increased to three to five per cent in the devotional songs of Alvars and Naayanmaars who lived in the seventh and eighth centuries respectively. During the period of the epics also the intermixing of Sanskrit words with Tamil continued to increase. It reached its high water mark in the thirteenth century when the maNippravaala style became popular. As a result the number of Sanskrit loan words increased phenomenally in the religious prose works of the Jains and the Vaisnavites. But the commentators of grammatical and literary works wrote in chaste Tamil with the least number of Sanskrit loan words. As a result the maNippravaala style fell into disuse. However in the Puranas, Talapuraanas, Ulaas and Kalambakams the percentage of Sanskrit loan words continued to remain at five to eight per cent. In the subsequent centuries the frequency increased with the advent of certain new types of versifications like yarnakam, ciletai and matakku. They, however, became obsolete in course of time. Most of the devotional songs of Raamalinka Cuvaamikal contain very few Sanskrit loan words. Their percentage is very high in his prose work. Certain new usages peculiar to the Christians found their place in the Bible. A new translation of the Bible in chaste Tamil is now available. Certain Arabic words were frequently used by Muslim writers in their works. Even today stories written on Muslim families contain some words of Arabic origin. Stories about anglicized families or families living in metropolitan cities contain many words from English to reflect the spirit of their spoken Tamil as well as to give realism to the story. Though foreign loan words were used in Tamil in lesser or greater degree for various reasons and at different periods of time, the Tamil language itself retained its individuality. It can be said that among the living languages of India, it is the Tamil language which has the least number of foreign loan words.

  41. A message for those non-Sinhalese Buddhist: Before you criticise the “Mahawansa’, look at your closet to see your dirty laundry. Also see whether your religion and related texts are perfect!.
    To Tamil Hindus: Go clean up your caste system which depresses your own Tamils. To Christians: Go and see how many people were killed in the name of Roman Catholism etc.
    Nobody is perfect. You are proud of your parents, your religion. So, please respect the same for others.

  42. Dear Bandu

    Thank you for taking the time to reply to my post. It was very gracious of you.

    For example, Wijayapala asks me, though not a very important question to the issue, how I came to the conclusion that Sena-Guttika were foreigners.

    Actually I explained in my post how it is important, given the current Sinhala misconception of the Tamils as “foreigners” to Sri Lanka.

    This is an example why the Mahavamsa does not help Sinhalese to understand the Tamils.

  43. Dear #39 J

    We find it natural to respond that this is the only homeland we have, and we are not willing to give you parts of it, specially when your true homeland is Tamil Nadu,

    Is Kalinga our true homeland just as how Tamil Nadu is their true homeland?

    Huh, did you forget you have a better, bigger homeland in Tamil Nadu?

    If Tamil Nadu is better than Sri Lanka, then why did the Tamils come to begin with?

  44. 36. Spiritual Man

    2500 years of Buddhism cause war atrocities of Japan, Tinnamen Square massacre in China, Pol Pot killings in Cambodia, war crimes and Tamil genocide in SL are unprecedented ruthfulness by Buddhists.
    ————————————————————-

    I don’t know where you get your facts from, but Tiannaman Square massacre were conducted by the communist government and not by any Buddhists, and similarly Pol Pot was not Buddhist, in fact he and his followers massacred millions of Buddhists in the name of Marxism. Just because these events took place in countries which has Buddhist influence does not make the Buddhists responsible for them.

    You are either totally ignorant or you are trying the now familiar excise by some people who seems to be hell bent on blaming everything under the sun to Buddhists.

    That won’t fly here mate.

  45. 49. J.

    I agree with u 200%.

    Every one has to look in to their consience and find if he/she is guilty for causing a catastrophy in this tiny island nation, for the greed of land & power… and money.

    We need to look beyong petty politics of race & relegion and act more wisely at this juncture. The lack of wise leaders like Gandhi & MLK is enormously felt. Who can fill this void?

    we have got only oppertunists ruling us and deviding us.
    Oh! God have mercy on us all !!

  46. To all those jobless MahaVansha bashers out there,
    Why don’t you come out of your Ultra racist “Soli” (Chola) mind set & think like real Sri Lankan’s for a change???
    What do you hope to achieve by having a mindset of “Soli” invaders who dreams of pillaging Sri Lanka???

  47. To all those jobless MahaVansha bashers out there,

    Why don’t you come out of your Ultra racist “Soli” (Chola) mind set & think like real Sri Lankan’s for a change???
    What do you hope to achieve by having a mindset of “Soli” invaders who dreams of pillaging Sri Lanka???

  48. Mr, Bandula Silva was polite to disclose his career and capacty to write the article. Futhermore behaved as a gentleman to reply for the coments too.

    WHY NOY DEYANANDA ?

    samarasekara

  49. Prabakaran is an ideology
    This will be existing in many Tamils, whether many like it or not
    Chola’s ruled the country for 44 years (as per the Author)
    Then prabakaran partly ruled the country for 25 years
    What is the guarantee there will not anyone in future

    History repeats, as many says
    How to fix this?
    Leaving without change?
    Mahavansa or LTTE has changed the mindset of people

    Going without solution will it going to help SL anyway?

    Change

  50. As suggested by the first writer, I don’t think we have to stop
    discussing Mahawansha or anything else as long as it is a healthy discussion. Besides, we cannot get into bashing each other because we are not close to each other.

    However, I would like to mention few facts about the Sri Lankan diaspora(all ethnics) who are writing here.
    For a start, we who live in this island are a happy bunch of people. Surely, we had a war for the last thirty years, because one rebel held this island for ransom.

    The diaspora having started living in western countries
    have become so patriotic, may be they appreciate what they left behind. It is good to see that you guys are having a go at each other on this blog, because of your love for your particular ethnic group. I see a lot of people having a go at Dushy Ranetunga because he wrote the truth. The truth hurts. Just because you guys live in overseas don’t think all of a sudden you have become so smart. You go there and do some job you wouldn’t like to do in this country and earn few dollars or whatever and you think you can lecture us about anything under the sun, be it Mahawansha or race relations. When you come here after few years, nothing but complain about the heat, flies, cleanliness etc.
    For god’s sake remember, you grew up here. You behave like you have come from the Ali Puken. Your children cannot speak Sinhala/Tamil, and you think that is great, and a big deal. But you write here and criticise Dushy for
    looking at ourselves in the mirror. If you are so patriotic
    how come you do not teach your children Sinhala/Tamil.
    At the moment, there are lots of Sri Lankan diaspora here on holiday, and some of them behave like they have come from the moon. Please guys, just be humble. You are there because of a twist of fate, and not because you are so smart. There are much more smarter people here(Sinhala, Tamil, Malay and even Burgher)
    who will never leave this beautiful island no matter what.
    I have been overseas, but I will never leave this island, my beloved motherland and live anywhere else.

    If you chose to live anywhere else, that is your wish and good luck for you, but don’t behave like you have come from the Ali Puken.(sorry DBSJ)

  51. The issue is NOT one of how ancient the Tamil people are; or their language and culture are. Let any one claim any antiquity and greatness and live in their own world, imagined or otherwise.
    The issue is why in this tiny island now called Sri Lanka, previously called ‘Sihala’, ‘Sihalam’, ‘Ilam’ and other names, a people who called themselves ‘Sihala,’ –all right, say by the 4th century A.D. when the first extant Sri Lankan chronicle (Dipavamsa) was compiled -, came to identify the island with themselves?
    How is that they evolved a language, now defined as , early Prakrit or Proto-Sinhala, wrote Buddhist texts to be compiled in that language (texts now lost but quoted in fragments), which were translated into Pali by a South Indian scholar, named Buddhagosha, in the 5th century A.C. who called Sinhala, a beautiful (‘Manoramam’) language?
    How is that over 1000 cave inscriptions of the 3rd century B.C. to 4th century A.C. period came to be in non Dravidian Prakrit language; and that even out of these only the five inscriptions indited by a people called ‘Dameda’ (translated as ‘Damila’ or ‘Dravida’ but perhaps, a Middle Eastern tribe) too came to be inscribed in Prakrit and not in Tamil?
    What were the “very ancient” people called Tamils, if they were here, and in large numbers, doing while these [minority?] ‘Sihalas’ were doing all this in the island?
    Why didn’t they compile their own Tamil chronicles and origin stories as the Sihalas did? Why did they wait till 18th century till the Vellalas from South India settled down in Jaffna peninsula to compile their first chronicle, even that not by an educated man and only at the request of a Dutch official?
    Why didn’t they leave behind any Tamil inscriptions till the Colas appeared on the scene in the 11th/12th centuries?
    Why the people, who composed ‘Tolappakyam’, – yes, a great grammar, by any standard, whether it was composed in the 300 B.C.or 7th century A.D. ,- or ‘ Tiru-Kural’, another great work of wisdom, could not
    produce a chronicle like Dipavamsa or Mahavamsa recording the deeds of great Tamilians in Sri Lanka?

    Why is it that one has to learn about even a great Tamilian ruler like Elara not from Tamilian work but from Sri Lankan Buddhist chronicles?

    When answers to these are ready one can have a level field for a constructive dialogue.

  52. A fitting and suitable response to the earlier article by Bandu. I may also add this is more of a scholarly article (considering the amount of quotes, citations references etc) than the earlier, more journalistic piece by Devananda.

    I am glad to read this response and fell it is probably right not to blame the historical record of Mahavamsa for the mistakes that we have made today.

    I woudl urge readers responding to this article to follw a similar level of written argument as opposed “Bandu Bashing”.

    At the same time, it is sad to note that some readers have failed to note that this is simply trying to point out why Mahavamsa is not to be blamed for the current ethnic crisis as opposed to being an article expressing the writer’s personal point of view on race and racism. Hence, any accusation of him being racist is null and void.

    Posting this as an article of its own, as opposed to posting this as a comment under the previouse article should be commended and expresses how DBSJ’s forum is clearly impartial and balanced.

    I seriousely doubt if Devananda would have a similar level of scholarly acumen to prepare a counter reply of similar comprehension. Anyway, as we leave this discussion heind, I feel it should be understood that blaming history at the level practiced in the article by Devananda can in no way be helpful of the reconciliation process.

  53. 39 J

    LTTE is the response to your majoritarianism. Everybody has only one homeland where we live. No body says like this except the sinhalese. Do you come to say Tamils have two homelands? Sinhalese diaspora also exists (even though less in number).

    Tamils of Eazham never say Eazham is to be attached with Tamil Nadu. Since Tamil Nadu a bigger state is in Indian Union that does not mean that Tamils of Eazham do not have a homeland.

    No body expect sorry from you. Ideological war continues. Anything is possible in this world. Better leadership will emerge in the future and it will find a good solution to the problem.

  54. DBSJ
    As usual your photographs are superb. I got up in the night bathed in sweat. Don’t do that again too often.

  55. I don’t know whether this is appropriate here or not. But I find this rather interesting and may have an indirect bearing on the subject that we are discussing here.

    India is a land of largely immigrants, so says a recent supreme court judgment.

    I am giving the link below

    http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/article1081343.ece

    With so many different ethnic groups, languages, religions, beliefs, India lives Unitedly.

    No other country in the world is as diverse as India, We find Unity in Diversity as our beloved Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru said.

    We Indians are tolerant people.

    Likewise be it Sinhalese or the Tamils both are immigrants, mostly.

    I do hope that you people learn this from India and live in peace.

  56. This is the most lame rambling pointless nonsensical diatribe I have read on your blog that does nothing to answer any of Devananda’s compelling revisionist arguments. The words nullification, interposition and come to mind reading this as well as obfuscation and filibuster. It consistently offers weak facts to support overwrought assertions.

    This is so bad I wonder if Mr De Silva was delirious when he was recovering from eye surgery writing this.

    I feel you might have included this DBSJ to satisfy the demands of balance on what is a very very controversial topic but where the most uncomfortable truths lie for members in the Sinhalese community like our man Ranjan in Toronto who continue to naysay and diminish the particular horrors and insecurities inflicted on the Tamil community in Sri Lanka and the shadow that they still live under.

  57. 45. MVN | January 11th, 2011 at 4:56 pm
    Tamil Language ( by Prof. M. Varadarajan)
    ________________________________

    Nicesly blend with truth and bogest facts. It is not suitable for scholer.
    Except empire Asoka’s inscriptions there was no any ancient litriture available in India . Only exception is brahmee letters. Unless venarable Mahanama thero furnished Mahawansa, even Indian could not find out his name as Asoka because these letters mensioned his name as DEVANAM PRIYA TISSA.
    In Tamil nadu from the very bigining there are other type of nations apart from Tamils. The british who creat Tamil nadu as tamil tetory.
    empire Asoka’s GIRINAR inscription mensioned 5 major crowns that are in southern regian, namely
    Chola, Pandi, Sathiyaputhra,Chera, and Thambapannie
    ( Sri lanka).

    If Tamils are so ancient nation, they would haveown litriture to prove . The available old tamil litriture is Seelappdikaram which was written by Ilanka Adigal in 11 century.( actually it is not a history book but a religious fiction)

    In order to fabrigate bogest tamil history the tamil historiens amalgamated Pandiya nation with Chola.
    Nevertheless every one know both nations fought each others, like sinhala and tamils.

    samarasekara

  58. 46. Ravi | January 11th, 2011 at 6:16 pm,
    1.We Tamil hindus in Srilanka does not boast our religion or impose our religion on others or do any conversion /or not even prevent any one changing their religion.
    2. we Tamils have accepted their was a cast system in our selves and every tamil leaders .political parties including Ltte were against cast system and fought openly against If you look at the party polices of them you will be enlightened. Ltte even used force against casts system. If you read Thirukural writen byan ancent poiet Thiruvaluvar which has been translated in to over 20 language(including Sinhala) in the world explicetely deals against cast system on Barathiyar a nationalist poiet fought against British rule fought against castes. There are lots more written in various Tamil litriture.

    we aware there are a cast system in Sinhala/buddhist but you donot accept openly and hiding it . Don’t talk rubish First do some serious reading before making rude remarks.

  59. 63. Ravin Wickramasinghe
    This is the most lame rambling pointless nonsensical diatribe I have read on your blog that does nothing to answer any of Devananda’s compelling revisionist arguments.
    ——————————————
    without writing in generalized claptrap like above, point out specific instances where it is rambling nonsense. Then perhaphs the writer will respond.

    As for Devananda’s “compelling” arguments, may be for you they are, but for me, with out any references and eveidence to back up what he said, they will still remain pure speculation and an attempt to rewrite the history to suit a particalar separatist agenda.

  60. Ravi

    I still see advertisment in news papers in Srilanka and els were for Brides and Grooms Looking for good looking govigama sinhala buddhist boy or girl of certain age to apply etc.,are you going to deny or your government is good enough to bring a legislation against castes as they have 2/3 majority.

    I am asking you another Question If Tamils are or were strongly cast conscious as You Sinhala like (so you can use it to divide and rule) You are and have claiming/ed most of the higercast Tamils have gone abroad and only lower cast joined the LTTE. even Pirapkaran was from Karayar lower than the higer cast if we Tamils were cast coscious as you clain How did millians of dollers LTTE were able to raise from high cast Tamils?

  61. .

    The Colombo Tamil Sangam which is the only registered Tamil Sangam in Ceylon has been doing good work to serve the cause of the Tamil studies since 1941. Apart from holding literary conferences and conducting classes it has also published some work.

  62. DBSJ,

    This is a rare boring article not expected of a journalist of your calibre which should have been left to the historians to split their hairs on.

    This article was not written by me……………..DBSJ

  63. Dear #58 Mugalan

    How is that over 1000 cave inscriptions of the 3rd century B.C. to 4th century A.C. period came to be in non Dravidian Prakrit language; and that even out of these only the five inscriptions indited by a people called ‘Dameda’ (translated as ‘Damila’ or ‘Dravida’ but perhaps, a Middle Eastern tribe) too came to be inscribed in Prakrit and not in Tamil?

    An epigraphist named Iravatham Mahadevan debunked this argument claiming that the Brahmi inscriptions you are referring to were in Tamil, not Prakrit. Some were in ancient Sri Lanka too:

    http://www.hinduonnet.com/2005/02/17/stories/2005021704471300.htm

  64. Dear Sinhala foreigners(From west bengal) and Tamil Forigners (From Tamil Nadu) accordig to “Mahavamsa” please read the following science fact that rule out all your claims ,

    Srilanka has been inhabited for at least 30,000 years.
    The earliest archaeological evidence of human colonization in Sri Lanka appears at the site of Balangoda. These Balangoda Man arrived on the island about 34,000 years ago and are identified as Mesolithic hunter gatherers who lived in caves. Several of these caves including the well known Batadombalena and the Fa-Hien Rock cave) have yielded many artifacts from these people, currently the first known inhabitants of the island.

    The Balangoda Man probably created Horton Plains, in the central hills, by burning the trees in order to catch game. However, the discovery of oats and barley on the plains at about 15,000 BC suggests that agriculture had already developed at this early date.[1]

    Several minute granite tools, (about 4 centimetres in length), earthenware, remnants of charred timber, and clay burial pots date to the Mesolithic stone age. Human remains dating to 6000 BC have been discovered during recent excavations around a cave at Varana Raja Maha vihara and in Kalatuwawa area.Steel making sites in Sri Lanka have been dated to 300 BC using carbon dating technology. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Sri_Lanka

    So, Carbon dating technolgy and archaeological evidence Scientificaly proved there was civilization before deported Sinhala Vijayan and his 700 friends arrive the island . This saying to us we need more carbon test and genuien archaeological department than arguments.

    Do you guys still beliving the stories like Sihapagu born by union between a lion -human princess and 10 Head Ravana ruled (E)Lanka as your history?

    Lucky Tamils didn’t have their own ‘Mahavamsa’ for their propaganda like Sinhala ‘Mahavamsa’ .

    Please note Mahavamsa support ‘Theravatha Buddhism’ which different from ‘Mahayana Buddhism’.
    In that period even tamils following Mahayana Buddism and Hindusiam which was big challenging Theravatha.That was another reason they were trying to create Tamils as foreigners. why still now?

    You know the answer!

    So, Who is the Foreginers now ?

  65. Wijayapala has not followed Mugalan’s arguments properly. The over 1000 cave inscriptions referred to are in Sri Lanka and not in Tamil Nadu or Andhra. That should have been understood in the context.

    True Madhavan has presented evidence of what he calls Tamil Brahmi inscriptions about all of which which Mugalan has read. Besides Mugaln has also read about claimed Tamil Brahmi script on two coins found at Tissamaharama (Bopearachchi) to which Bandu referred and even attended the lecture where Bopearachchi presented this evidence.

    The claimed Tamil Brahmi inscriptions in Tamil Nadu are so few compared to over 1000 inscriptions in Sri Lanka. Mugalan has not heard of any Tamil Brahmi inscriptions indited on rock caves in Sri Lanka and would appreciate if information, if any, could be cited. The Tissamaharama references are to coins.

  66. Wijayapala has not followed Mugalan’s arguments properly. The over 1000 cave inscriptions referred to are in Sri Lanka and not in Tamil Nadu or Andhra. That should have been understood in the context.

    True Mahadevan has presented evidence of what he calls Tamil Brahmi inscriptions about all of which which Mugalan has read. Besides Mugaln has also read about claimed Tamil Brahmi script on two coins found at Tissamaharama (Bopearachchi) to which Bandu referred and even attended the lecture where Bopearachchi presented this evidence.

    The claimed Tamil Brahmi inscriptions in Tamil Nadu are so few compared to over 1000 inscriptions in Sri Lanka. Mugalan has not heard of any Tamil Brahmi inscriptions indited on rock caves in Sri Lanka and would appreciate if information, if any, could be cited. The Tissamaharama references are to coins.

  67. I think this is a discussion on Mahavamsa (mahavamsa proper)and not on other Vamsas(which came subsequently and one was predated) or latter day sinhala literatures which misquote mahavamsa and spread racism.

    The 19th century British historian, Emerson Tennent who was Colonial Secretary, who won the esteem of Ponnambalam Ramanathan as a most eminent historian, left all reservations behind when he remarked in respect of the first millennium of the island’s histry:

    James Emerson, Tennent was an Irish politician, traveller and nature lover. However there is hardly any evidence to show that he visited Jaffna/North or East from his books/pictures. He is probably one of those invaders or usurpers or foreignorswho sojourned in the hill country and enjoyed the cool climate while administering the colony.

    According to him ‘ Malabars’ was not only from the south-western tract of the Dekkan,but also from all parts of the peninsula, as far north as Cuttack and Orissa.

    Further he says the third incursion of the Malabars is not mentioned in the Mahawanso, but it is described in the Rajavali, p. 229, and mentioned by TURNOUR, in his Epitome, &c., p. 21
    His questionable knowledge of history is evidenced in his quote Malabar. They were, in reality, the inhabitants of one of the earliest states organised in Southern India, the kingdom of Pandya, whose sovereigns, from their intelligence, and their encouragement of native literature, have been appropriately styled “the Ptolemies of India.”

    Hoever he is often misquoted/quoted out of context like our Portuguese Mahanama, Rev Queyroz.

    As of late Mailvaganapulavar was also misquoted with regard to the so called Tobacco cultivation in Jaffna(which became a cash crop only after the start of the tea plantations to counter the leech bites)and the perceived influx of pallar as slaves.

    If the Gengetic race and Malabar race are colonists who are the aboriginal inhabitants Tennent is referring to?

    He says
    To the question as to what particular race the inhabitants of Ceylon at that time belonged, and whence or at what period the island was originally peopled, the Buddhist chronicles furnish no reply. And no memorials of the aborigines themselves, no monuments or inscriptions, now remain to afford ground for speculation. Conjectures have been hazarded, based on no sufficient data, that the Malayan type, which extends from Polynesia to Madagascar, and from Chin-India to Taheite, may still be traced in the configuration, and in some of the immemorial customs, of the people of Ceylon.

    We should not Cherry pick, so this is what he says on Vijaya, Vishnu & Iswara:
    According to the Mahawanso, Vishnu, in order to protect Wijayo and his followers from the sorceries of the Yakkhos, met them on their landing in Ceylon, and “tied threads on their arms,” ch. vii.; and at a later period, when the king Panduwasa, B.C. 504, was afflicted with temporary insanity, as a punishment in his person of the crime of perjury, committed by his predecessor Wijayo, Iswara was supplicated to interpose, and by his mediation the king was restored to his right mind.—Rajavali, p. 181.

    On Elala his research showed
    The other historical books, the Rajavali, and Rajaratnacari, give a totally different character of Elala, and represent him as the desecrator of monuments and the overthrower of temples. The traditional estimation which has followed his memory is the best attestation of the superior accuracy of the Mahawanso.

    On the three vists he is a bit sceptical on one and doubts the site of another.

    In the course of his ministrations Gotarna is said to have thrice landed in Ceylon. Prior to his first coming amongst them, the inhabitants of the island appear to have been living in the simplest and most primitive manner, supported on the almost spontaneous products of the soil. Gotama in person undertook their conversion, and alighted on the first occasion at Bintenne, where there exists to the present day the remains of a monument erected two thousand years ago to commemorate his arrival. His second visit was to Nagadipo in the north of the island, at a place whose position yet remains to be determined; and the “sacred foot-print” on Adam’s Peak is still worshipped by his devotees as the miraculous evidence of his third and last farewell.

    TURNOUR was unable to determine the position on the modern map of the ancient territory of Nagadipo.—Introd. p. xxxiv. CASIE CHITTY, in a paper in the Journal of the Ceylon Asiatic Society, 1848, p. 71, endeavours to identify it with Jaffna, The Rajaratnacari places it at the present Kalany, on the river of that name near Colombo (vol. ii. p. 22). The Mahawanso in many passages alludes to the existence of Naga kingdoms on the continent of India, showing that at that time serpent-worship had not been entirely extinguished by Brahmanism in the Dekkan, and affording an additional ground for conjecture that the first inhabitants of Ceylon were a colony from the opposite coast of Calinga.


    So it is not Mahavamsa(parts I & II) but parts III,IV,X,L, C,D,M and other literatures that has to be examined.

  68. dear DBS

    Good to see that most comments here are in some way sticking to the subject. please try and maintain it that way.

  69. Dear Mugalan

    Thank you for the clarification. Yes the inscriptions in Sri Lanka were Sinhala prakrit.

    Why the people.. could not produce a chronicle like Dipavamsa or Mahavamsa recording the deeds of great Tamilians in Sri Lanka?

    This is because the Tamils did not have something resembling our Buddhist Sangha. The Sangha recorded the events not out of a love of history but rather 1) to commemorate the various kings who patronised Buddhism and 2) to prove that Theravada Buddhism was the true teaching of the Buddha. That is why Mahavamsa is not very good for understanding Sri Lankan history beyond the Buddhists, despite its importance in establishing a chronology (that the Hindus of South Asia largely lacked).

    Maybe we should also ask ourselves why no Sinhala literature prior to the 8th-9th centuries CE has survived to the modern date while the Tamils have preserved their literature better. Tamils did not produce chronicles, but through their literature we have a good grasp on ancient Tamil society, how it was organised, their customs and traditions etc. but we do not have similar knowledge of our society of that era. We know who the king was and what he did, but that is all. We have to rely on our inscriptions for this knowledge, but they do not cover everything.

  70. “Why the people.. could not produce a chronicle like Dipavamsa or Mahavamsa recording the deeds of great Tamilians in Sri Lanka?”

    Wijayapala replies:
    (1)” This is because the Tamils did not have something resembling our Buddhist Sangha. The Sangha recorded the events not out of a love of history but rather
    1) to commemorate the various kings who patronised Buddhism and 2) to prove that Theravada Buddhism was the true teaching of the Buddha. That is why Mahavamsa is not very good for understanding Sri Lankan history beyond the Buddhists, despite its importance in establishing a chronology (that the Hindus of South Asia largely lacked).”

    (2) “Maybe we should also ask ourselves why no Sinhala literature prior to the 8th-9th centuries CE has survived to the modern date while the Tamils have preserved their literature better. Tamils did not produce chronicles, but through their literature we have a good grasp on ancient Tamil society, how it was organised, their customs and traditions etc. but we do not have similar knowledge of our society of that era. We know who the king was and what he did, but that is all. We have to rely on our inscriptions for this knowledge, but they do not cover everything.”

    Observations:

    Doesn’t the reply (1) support the point that [Sinhala] Buddhists had been the stronger element in the island than Tamil Hindus/Buddhists, if there was such? The chronicle centres round the Sinhala/ Buddhist element.

    Reply (2) does not arise from Mugalan’s question. It is a subsidiary point raised by Wijayapala. Yet let us look at it. We are discussing Sinhala and Tamil situation in Sri Lanka and not in the wider context of Tamil culture/literature in the sub-continent and elsewhere.
    The Sinhala culture was confined to Sri Lanka. So let us keep within the Sri Lankan perimeter.

    Now within that Sri Lankan perimeter there is no Tamil literature present one knows of, till the Vellala ascendancy of the 17th and 18th centuries, or even later. Not even during the Ariyacakravarti regime in Jaffna peninsula, did any Tamil literature spring in the island. Dr.S.Pathmanathan did not surface any such Tamil literature produced in the peninsula during Jaffna kingdom in his PhD research in London. He filled the pages discussing the Vanni. The last ruler, Sankilli is said to have had a Sangam of poets but nothing much is known. (Pl.correct me if I am wrong).

    What took place in South India earlier or later is of no concern to the discussion. Besides, one should not use generalizations that could mislead the uninitiated who browse the website.

    However, let us see what the erudite South Indian historian, Nilakanta Sastri says about Tamil literarure in South India. To be brief, he refers to Sangam literature of first 3 centuries A. C. He refers to a collection of 2279 poems by 473 poets, besides 102 anonymous pieces. He says, a careful study of synchronisms between the kings, chieftains and poets suggested by the internal evidence indicates that this body of literature reflects occurrences within a period of four or five continuous generations at the most, a period of 120-150 years.

    It is only for the Chera line of rulers that anything like a continuous line of rulers can be constructed. All other instances are only unrelated names which render a regular history of the period impossible.
    A noteworthy point is that in the Sangam anthologies Tamil language has reached maturity and begun to serve as a powerful and elegant medium of literary expression and already received and assimilated many words from Sanskrit.

    There is also the Tamil grammar named Tolkappiyam which is placed around the 4th century by this authority.

    The next great epoch in the annals of Tamil literature extends over a period of three and half centuries with the inflow of Sanskrit becoming more marked. Jainism and Buddhism were then waxing strong. Most of the work of this period have been grouped together from about the 13th century.
    The age of remaining work is placed between 650 – 750 A.C. These were followed by devotional work composed from around the 6th century A.C. Later work belong to the Cola period. This is a very brief description.

    The development of this Tamil literature in the subcontinent did not even alter the situation in Sri Lanka, either by way of a rise of a parallel Tamil literature or to influence Sinhala literature, certainly, not in the first millennium or more (Anuradhapura period) as far as Tamil language influence on Snhala literature was concerned.
    One could concede that Tamil language in South India influenced the Sinhalese language primarily after the Anuradhapura period, more so during Dambadeniya period but it is the influence of Sanskrit that is noted from the last days of Anuradhapura through the Polonnaruva literature.

    3. “Why is there is no Sinhala literature before the 8th century?”

    The same question could be posed for Tamil literature, why so little is extant? Sangam covers only 120-150 years. So do others cover short periods. Anuradhapura period itself is one and half milllennia long with no parallel in India. Some South Indian Tamil works are said to be lost and remain only in names.
    So is the situation in Sri Lanka. There were two known destructions, one in Mahasena’s time and the other by Magha. Nikayasangrahaya speaks of 12 great poets in the time of King Agbo I. Mahavamsa speaks of the compilation of Tripitaka in the time King Valagamba and a Elu Dalada vamsa in 4th century. Mahavamsa Tika speak of Sihalatthakatha. Buddhagosa speaks of Sihala [Tripitaka] Atthakatha which he tranlated intoPali.

    Even if we ignore all that, Siyabaslakara Dipani, the earliest extant Sinhala non-religious work composed by King Salmevan (Sena I=846-666)A.C.) which deals with rules on poetics which could point to a highly developed state of literary composition. It shows inspiration from Kavyadarsha of Dandin who presided over the Pallava Court’s poetic/learned circle. Dandin’s work is in Sanskrit and not in Tamil. Siyabaslakara also admits inspiration from earlier critic named Kalaguru of the Mula Prasada of the Abhayagiriya sect. That work is now not extant. It cannot be the Elusandas Lakuna of Ven.Bhadra.
    There are other works like Dhampiya Atuva Getapadaya, Sikh Valanda& Vinisa which are religious work which also point to the existence of a literary tradition earlier.

    Let us not carry the point too far. On a closer look, there is not much extant but lost in both South Indian Tamil literature and Sinhala literature in the centuries before the 8th century. the lacuna is far more conspicuous with Tamil literature in South India than with Sinhala lit. in Sri Lanka.
    Compared to the great mass of Sanskrit from the North, the surprising thing is why not so much influence came to be exerted by Sanskrit on South Indian literature.

    These need much space to discuss. The additional two points raised by Wijayapala are not convincing but pure rhetoric.

  71. #58 Mugalan

    Agree. There has been a sustained campaign by Tamil minority separatists to alter and re-write the history of this country. However, there’s nothing to build on such a story to say this was a Tamil country at one time or another.

    True Tamils have been living in this country for a very long time. They have every right to call this island home and live as equal citizens. However they have never been a dominant community any time in the history of the country. The only community that dominated all parts of this country are the Sinhalese.

    Mahavansa is only one source of a much larger body of sources that tells the story of the evolution of the indigenious nation called Sinhala in this country and how they singularly defined the history of the country. It doesn’t deny the right of anyone, it simply provides an account of series of historical events many of which can be corroborated by other sources. Historians don’t solely rely on Mahavansa to trace the story of Sinhalese as there is an abundance of other sources.

    Therefore attacking Mahavansa can never deny the dominant role Sinhala Buddhists played through out the history of this country and are still playing in defining the course that this country takes to the future.

    Accordingly, the best course of action the other communities (which evidently are taking except the Northern Tamils at the moment) could take is to join hands with the dominant Sinhala community to develop a common destiny for all (while maintaining the individual identity). In that common destiny there is no room for exclusivist enclaves/corners based on concocted histories.

  72. 54. samarasekara | January 12th, 2011 at 2:44 am,
    I know why your want the information because you are the prime white van driver!!!!!!

  73. BBC News item ..”Battle to reach thousands of Sri Lanka flood victims”
    …The UN says that crocodiles and snakes are a threat …
    ….to anyone wading through the flood waters.

    not when Tamils were running away from the shelling and living in the forest….and died of snake bites

    Mahavamsa Mentality?

  74. Ok guys, ……..So where do we go from here?

    Wish my brothers happy Thai Pongal. Iam having ‘Pongal’ lunch in my office with tamil specialty food stuff for my Singhalese staff selected by my tamil staff !!.

    So there. No mahavamsa theories here but respect, knowledge and fun.

    cheers

    Iniya pongal vaalthukkal Dilshan……..DBSJ

  75. 63. Ravin Wickramasinghe  |  January 12th, 2011 at 8:03

    amThis is the most lame rambling pointless nonsensical diatribe I have read on your blog that does nothing to answer any of Devananda’s compelling revisionist arguments. The words nullification, interposition and come to mind reading this as well as obfuscation and filibuster. It consistently offers weak facts to support overwrought assertions.
    —————————————————————————–

    Irebuted Deyananda’s arguiment with five paragaraphs. There are other points too remain with me to publish. But Deyananda is not a scholer as Bandu De silva. That’s why he is maintaining to keep scilence. Itherefore it is obvious that Devananda’s arguements has no base.

    samarasekara

  76. Hello Hella, 78- I strongly disagree with you,

    You are saying “However they have never been a dominant community any time in the history of the country. The only community that dominated all parts of this country are the Sinhalese”

    So, Elara didn’t good governance the country for 44 Years?

    But Duta(Naughty) gamunu did it !?

    You further went to say “However, there’s nothing to build on such a story to say this was a Tamil country at one time or another”

    If Sinhala kings ruled the part of the Island you are trying to claim as sinhala country, why not Tamil kings ruled , It couldn’t be the Tamil country?

    Yes Tamils did not give the importance to keep chronological records of their history than Tamil literature(Poet Ellathu Putha thevanar – Sanga Period) and spritual records (Ellankai-Sivabumi -Van.Thirumular). This might be there understanding of the ‘Space and Time’ .

    That doesn’t meen ‘ they have never been a dominant community ‘ but sinhalese was only community dominated all parts of this country.

    However from archeological investigations conducted at Pomparippu in the North West of the Island in 1956 and early Tamil writing from the 2nd century BCE have been found from the north in Poonagari, Jaffna to the south in Tissamaharama. They bore several inscriptions, including a clan name—vela (Not Jaffna Vellalar?), a name related to velir from ancient Tamil country.[22] Epigraphic evidence shows people identifying themselves as Damelas or Damedas (the Prakrit word for Tamil people) in Anuradhapura and other areas of Sri Lanka as early as the 2nd century BCE .

    Megalithic burial sites at Pomparippu on the west coast and in Kathiraveli on the east coast of the island. These villages were established between the 5th century BCE and 2nd century CE.[18][19] Cultural similarities in burial practices in South India and Sri Lanka were dated by archeologists to 10th century BCE. However, Indian history and archaeology have pushed the date back to 15th century BCE. In Sri Lanka, there is radiometric evidence from Anuradhapura that the non-Brahmi symbol-bearing black and red ware occur in the 10th century BCE.[20] The skeletal remains of an Early Iron Age chief was excavated in Anaikoddai, Jaffna. The name ‘Ko Veta’ is engraved in Brahmi script on a seal buried with the skeleton and is assigned by the excavators to the 3rd century BCE. Ko, meaning “King” in Tamil,

    This proved Sinhala Vijayan Period and before Tamil civilaization was exist and they were dominant community to the Island.

    Whatever list available as Tamil kings until Pirabakaran Period, none of them dominated ?

    Elara (235BC -161 BC)

    Rajaraja the Great (983 – 1014)

    Rajendra in (1017 AD) Made Polanaruva as Capital

    Alagakkonara – (chief minister of the Kotte king Parakramabahu V (1344–59 CE)

    Sri Vikrama Rajasinha 1798-1815 (Original Name Prince Kannasamy- Last Kandiyan King)

    Kulakottan

    Sankiliyan

    Pandaravannian

    So please don’t Jump into ‘Tamil minority separatists ‘.
    That will clearly show your (Mahavamsa) intention.

    Do they Minority in the North-East? ask your self.

    In the morden world ,Kosova to South Sudan this is not a Issue?

    Realy the issue is every one missing the point, Sinhalese and Tamils are co-exsistence of this Island and both have same rights to not only live without harming each others but also share the power and welth.

    Bye!

  77. 79. Rat  |  January 13th, 2011 at 9:11 am54. samarasekara | January 12th, 2011 at 2:44 am,I know why your want the information because you are the prime white van driver!!!!!!
    —————————————————————————-

    This exibits nothing but your ill mind.My intention is getting the adequate reply of my 5 arguinments about Devananda’s letter.
    If he is no willing to reply as Bandu De silva, you too can reply. But only the computer literracy won’t help it, It require a brain, a lot of reading and balance mind.

    samarasekara

  78. Dear #49

    Man is a spirit being. He is not merely a lump of flesh and bones.

    A man seeing himself on a mirror knows full well that he is not just all what he sees on it, He is something beyond that.

    If he asks himself the question ” Who am I?” and “what is inside of me that drives me to do what I do?” He finds the answer that he has a “soul” -with mind, emotions and will- and an “inner spirit” that controls his mind emotions and will.

    Spirit in man can be good or evil. Good spirit in man brings love and care and evil spirit brings out wickedness and bloodshed.

    Regardless of what “religion” a person belongs to, when his spirit is evil he becomes dangerously ruthless and justifies it like Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin and other present day wicked rulers.

    I agree that colonisation of the past was wicked regardless of who did it. And the recent military occupation and colonisation of Tamil Eelam by Sri Lanka(SL) is also equally evil.

    Spiritual wickedness in high places made the Roman empire to fail in the past and Japanese empire to fail in 1940’s.

    In SL there is spiritual wickiedness in high places. The “Empire” of SL will fail like Roman and Japanese empires.

    We must admit that our finite mind cannot understand supernatural things. Our non-understanding of it is no proof of its non-existence.

  79. Happy Tai Pongal (Tamil Thanksgiving) DBSJ and to all!

    Unfortunately breadbin of Mattakallappu region is going through hard times. I am thinking of all caught in the floods and pray Eluvan(Sun) to rise up to help drain the floods out soon for all to get back into their homes and start normal life soon.

  80. King Theva Nambiya Theesan ( a.k.a Devanambiyatisssa ) was the son of Moothasivan ( a.k.a Muttasiva ) and all his subjects are said to have been converted to buddhism after listening to a single sermon by Mahinda, son of Emperer Asoka.
    Religious conversion, on a mass scale, takes years and decades, in any society. Is this the fastest mass conversion in history?
    Theva Nambiya Theesan, like his father, was a tamil and his subjects were tamils.
    How did The Buddha travel all the way from Nepal ( where he was born ) to Sri Lanka? There were no roads/highways in the huge subcontinent.
    Nepal is/was a landlocked country and thus could not have had ships either in the Bay of Bengal or the Arabian Sea, both far away from its borders.
    There are no historical records other than Mahanama’s story called the Mahawamsa ( Maha = great, Vamsam = lineage ).
    There are ancient hindu shrines even now in sri lanka, and remains of same in many areas. There are too, ancient buddhist shrines and remains of same, in many areas. Most ancient remains of both hindu and buddhist have not yet been discovered, and probably never will be.
    The stories of descent of the sinhala race from the union of a lion and a ‘princess’ and subsequent progeny by the union of the brother and sister who were thus born are genetically impossible.
    Buddhism is a religion which does not postulate a ‘god’ or a ‘super being’. It is essentially a Way of Life, preached by the Buddha.
    But now there are Vishnu Shrines in the premises of most buddhist temples in sri lanka, and these are a good source of income for the Viharathipathis, as they are well patronised by the buddhists who visit them after paying obeisance to the Buddha in the main temples. Vishnu is said to be the Protector of Buddhism.
    This may show the existence of hinduism long before buddhism came to sri lanka.
    Mahavamsa need not, therefore, be a reason for the ethnic conflict.

  81. 84. samarasekara  |  January 13th, 2011 at 10:32 pm,

    Can you guranty that Mahinda’s white van or any other similar agents will make any harm to him .???

  82. DBS first of all Mahavamsa is a historical evidence.The “Toilet nadu” people from south Indi always came to Srilanka and spoiled it.They drank cola and distroyed Siva temples and monks,but generous singhalese repaired it and helped srilankan tamils.It is evidence from Indo-Aryan north Indian Ramayana and Indo-Aryan Srilankan Mahavamsa that Toiletnadu people were “DEMONS(Ravana)”,and religiously unjust not racist hatred by Singhalese.

  83. Dear wijayapala
    Prabakaran’s father came to Sri Lanka from Malaysia. If so, you have to find Parabakaran’s homeland in Malaysia. This is true for the father of modern Tamils, S.J.V. Chelvanyakem. He too came from Malaysia. He ignited the harmonious co-habitation of Tamils and Sinhalese in Sri Lanka. (If you are not sure, please ask of it from Mr. DBSJ he has written on it and if you want know about Mr. Chelvanayakam, please read the book by A.J. Wilson, a close relative of Mr. Chelvanayakem.). Sometimes, Sinhalese respond to provocations of short-sighted politicians and youths including Prabakaran’s gang without seeing the whole picture and their long-term consequences. But all these short-sighted responses of Sinhalese did not repeat after 1983.

    I say above only as factual response to your comment. But all these things are useless, because past is past, it is long gone, it is time to forget and forgive each other and try to create a prosperous Lanka for all. Tamils should understand their path is not productive. Most of the third generation kids in green pastures and who have not seen the ground reality in Sri Lanka spread hatred. I doubt these kids want to come to Sri Lanka leaving their comforts in the west. Therefore, please allow us to patch the differences and misunderstanding among each community in Sri Lanka.

  84. “If you are not sure, please ask of it from Mr. DBSJ he has written on it ”

    I mean Prabakaran’s father.

  85. Truly I came to knew some of the relation ship with the word naga, nagapattinam and Damilaas (Tamils) the rulers of ancient lanka and south and mid of india and the writtings of Dr. BR.Ambedkar about nagas.
    Thanks.

  86. 77. Mugalan
    “Why the people.. could not produce a chronicle like Dipavamsa or Mahavamsa recording the deeds of great Tamilians in Sri Lanka?”

    For the same reason why even in the 20th/21st century, the Tamil cinema did not thrive in Sri Lanka, despite many Tamils having contributed to the upliftment of Sinhala film industry and despite the ban on Indian movies during the seventies.

    When there is a big ocean closeby and connected, the fish won’t stay in the river. We see many Sri Lankan Tamils and even a few Sinhalese shining in Kolywood today. We find many tamil books authored by Sri Lankan Tamils printed & published in Madras and New Delhi.

    Similarly there were many Tamil scholars & poets who frequented the Tamil Kingdoms accross the straight, which they considered part of theirs, did their works there.
    Elathu Puradanar of the Sangam perios and two of the eighyeen Sithars, Pulasthiyar & Sattanathar are some of the earliest known such Sri Lankans.
    By the way, the Sangam period extended from roughly 300 BC to 300 AD.

  87. Hi Mugalan #77

    Doesn’t the reply (1) support the point that [Sinhala] Buddhists had been the stronger element in the island than Tamil Hindus/Buddhists, if there was such?

    No, it just shows that Sinhala society had an element missing for the Tamils. If the Tamil minority had a Sangha and we did not, then Sri Lankan history would have been written from their perspective even though they were the minority.

    Another point you are missing is the difficulty of drawing the line between “Sinhala” and “Tamil” in those early centuries. Although it may be possible to think of a “Sinhala” civilisation, it was not purely “Sinhala.” Even the Mahavamsa itself contains Chola legends like the Elara and the cow story.

    We are discussing Sinhala and Tamil situation in Sri Lanka and not in the wider context of Tamil culture/literature in the sub-continent and elsewhere.
    The Sinhala culture was confined to Sri Lanka. So let us keep within the Sri Lankan perimeter.

    It’s hard to discuss Sri Lankan history if we cannot put it into context. The mistake most of us make is looking at Sri Lanka in isolation. We try to study Theravada Buddhism without seeing how it was developing in India. If we want to understand the Tamils of Sri Lanka we have to understand their roots in Tamil Nadu.

    It is only for the Chera line of rulers that anything like a continuous line of rulers can be constructed. All other instances are only unrelated names which render a regular history of the period impossible.

    You entirely missed my point that the Sangam literature provided insights into the past other than a chronology of kings. That is largely what the Mahavamsa is missing.

    The next great epoch in the annals of Tamil literature extends over a period of three and half centuries with the inflow of Sanskrit becoming more marked. Jainism and Buddhism were then waxing strong. Most of the work of this period have been grouped together from about the 13th century.

    Are you talking about Cilapatikaram and Manimekalai??? Those texts came much before the 13th century, and whatever “Sanskrit” influence probably came from Pali/Magadhi terms.

    The development of this Tamil literature in the subcontinent did not even alter the situation in Sri Lanka, either by way of a rise of a parallel Tamil literature or to influence Sinhala literature, certainly, not in the first millennium or more (Anuradhapura period) as far as Tamil language influence on Snhala literature was concerned.

    Then how would you explain the cow story in Mahavamsa?

    “3. “Why is there is no Sinhala literature before the 8th century?”
    The same question could be posed for Tamil literature, why so little is extant?

    2279 poems by 473 poets, besides 102 anonymous pieces (not to include the Jain and Buddhist epic literature) = so little??? Or can be equated with nothing?

    Dandin’s work is in Sanskrit and not in Tamil.

    That’s nice. What about Sidat Sangarawa, the Sinhala grammar influenced by the Tamil Viracoliyam?

    the lacuna is far more conspicuous with Tamil literature in South India than with Sinhala lit. in Sri Lanka.

    Why?

    Compared to the great mass of Sanskrit from the North, the surprising thing is why not so much influence came to be exerted by Sanskrit on South Indian literature.

    Why is that surprising?

  88. Hi! Wijayapala,

    Elara a Chola legend?

    Yes, South India has it. What about the Persians? They too had it in every detail long before that in the story of their mythical hero Anosharvan full in every detail. So could it not be a tale which came to our parts with mariners tales, and Elara probably was a Persian ho came with Cola mercenaries? Persians were a great empire long before the Sinhalese and Tamils even started their civlisations and began composing their works. The Tamils/Sinhalese are fighting over his descent -Uju-jatiko. (Noble birth!).
    They trace Anosharvan’s justice from the Code Of Hamurapi in Babylonia (1792-1750 B.C). which has been preserved in clay tablets. A least one could read a book like Prof.Leo Oppenheim’s Ancient Mesapotamia (Revised Edition 1964.University of Chicago) to start with.

    “Sidath Sangarava influenced by Virasoliam.”
    What about Tolkayppiyam? That also influenced Sidath Sangara. Who said no. I wanted to say all that but for space constraints. I have both Virasoliam/ Tolkappiyam/Sidath Sangara in front of me as I write. I study them with great interest.

    What is there to crow about 2273 Sangam poems by 420 poets which were collected from here and there compiled into an anthology (Was it by a French scholar?) when the first Sinhala poem, a single work, Siyabaslakara on poetics composed by King Sena I (846-866 A.C.) alone is 503 verses. Let us not look for scoring points.

    What I quoted about Sangam literature, their age (100 A.C.300 A.C.), their short space of spread over 120-150 years, their lack of consistency/geneologicl coherence except in the references to Cheras and the age and nature of other literature of other Tamil literature were not my own inventions or interpretatation. It is from the foremost South Indian historian Nilakantha Sashtri’s works. I can give the chapter and page in N.K.S’s book which is right in front of me.

    Other points raised are not even worth looking at. I thought Wijayapala was a serious academic. That is why I responded first. Now it seems to be resorting to polemic for its sake in which I am not interested..

  89. sorry but why does any of this reall matter . Mahawamsa is what it is . it is an ancient chronicle written from a point of view . like all of history . what matters is not history but the present . our people are too concerned about all this nonsense . when they should spen time improving their lives .

  90. For 45 MVN

    Us Tamils have no writing that can compare to when that Vedhas were written and without trying to bore people with vowels just admit to that. Tamil is just a regional language, there are many other great languages in the subcontinent and beyond. The proof is in the puddung aka the evidence nit yap yap accusing and criticising oter people of the subcontinent with your imagined issues and vested interests; obviously a b British raj rendition, invention and interpretation to suite the Madras seapoy genocide of subcontinent people!

    These fellows behave as if Tamil nadu is the birth place of human existence, high culture, construction and civilization. Some also believe that even the meditarenian belonged to them, probably even that modern humans deriving from tamil as opposed to coming from Africa. (The question has to be asked why all this? Tamil this and tamil that?) We are plagued by this, so the world is wrong and Tamil is right. If you remember even the tigers thought like that.

    . Modern genetical analysys points to the mixed ethnicity of Sinhalas to 25%, Tamis to 15%, Bengal in north India to 20% and Rajastanis to a mere 3%. Shows these racists love to discredit other Indians and Sri Lankans. Tamil madras regiment was also the first regiment used by the British in the colonizing proces. This started with Robert Clive and his Tamil sepoys killing Thippu Sultan and then the Hindu Maratha Federation. The above mentioned British and Tamil versions created were of mutual benefit to them in both SL and India. Archaeological evidence of Mohenjedaro and Harrappa point the demise of the urban culture to drought and economic conditions, pointing no evidence to mass invasion or war. The oldest Hindu Vedic scripts states ‘They came through the broad streats…’ and not ‘We came…’, the mindset of a native not an invading force. India has been invaded by aryan/european tribes, mongols, afgans, greeks, moughals, british and many others. This does not make Indians or north Indians Europeans or any other kind as you try to show. Genetical, archaeological, technological and historical evidence of the decendants of the people of the Indus valley are in the surrounding areas, not thousands of miles south in Tamil-Nadu as you may wish. Not only people, even architecture and technology is still in use in places close to the indus valley today, like the fishing boats in Pakistan and Punjab. The original tribes in India constitute 8% of the present Indian population. The vast majority of them in the remote central India(mdhya pradesh), however comprising only about 10% of the state population. North-eastern India comprises about a third of the population comprising upto 80% of the population in some states, and less than 1% in Tamil-Nadu. This clears ‘the Myth of the Innocent Tamil’.

  91. Oh dear, within my 2 weeks holidays, lot of things have happened, finally I see a rebuttal from Bandu. I thought the great scholar in this blog, I mean Leela will write an article but she/he is not to be seen, then there was samarasekara who continues to write like I said before, “when asked koheda yanne (where are you going), the other person replies, malle pol (coconut in my bag)”. We need an interpreter to understand what he writes, and then the Ranjan from Toronto who thinks the author has committed a serious crime, I think he has never read Sinhala/English News papers in Sri Lanka where you find many such articles.

    Let us see what our diplomat is saying. He says it is Polemics and the web sites are giving chance to Polemics. I do not see any difference in his rebuttal, again pure Polemics. ‘Walige paagala’ looks like he has stepped on your own tail. Most of the leading News papers in Sri Lanka are also giving a lot of chance to Polemics so what is wrong in a blog giving some space for it, at least we can see a lot of opinion from others, and healthy discussions.

    Coming to his article, the title itself is misleading. I think ‘wire maaru welaa’, he has got his wires crossed. I cannot see anywhere in Devananda’s article where he says Mahavamsa/Mahanama is racist where as Bandu goes on writing pages and pages explaining the meaning of Racist and how and where to apply it.

    However, the core issues that Devananda raised in the article are not addressed, a very weak rebuttal, a complete waste of time. After all, I feel that Leela has given some valuable points much better than this.

    Now where is this Devananda guy, is he hibernating? We all need some reply from him. There are many issues raised here and he should give us some answer.

  92. Fernando thinks he could laugh it away at a serious article written by Bandu in response to Devananada’s original article posted in Jeyraj’s Transcurrent on 26th November 2010. Bloggers have lost sight of Devananda’s original article.
    Bandu needs to be defended. His having been a diplomat has nothing to with this issue. If at all what is at display is his scholarly approach, if at all /any, while professional historians and scholars have remained silent. Perhaps, he not being an ‘accredited’ historian/ scholar had nothing to lose by way of academic standing by joining in a debate in a website knowingly it will lead to non-academic vituperation.

    Bandu has not mentioned what I have noted, namely, that Devananda’s article first appeared in the “Ilankai Tamil Sangam of USA” Website under the name of “Devan” using almost identical words. That was within a few days of the defeat of the LTTE on the beach of Nandikadol on 19th May 2009. That seemed to be how the ‘Sangam’ reacted to the defeat!

    That could be the reason for ‘Devan’/Devananda to suggest in both articles that the Bhikkus of present day are at liberty to engage in ‘racism’ and to say that it is “due to the influence of the Mahavamsa”. What else is the implication of that statement other than that Mahavamsa influence is the cause of present day Bhikkus taking liberty to engage in ‘racism’?

    This is the point that Bandu has taken up in his response to Devananda. How could one say Devan of “ilankai Tamil Sangam of USA” or Devananda who wrote the article in Transcurrent is/are not implying that Mahavamsa is the cause of ‘racism’. In other words, Mahavamsa sponsored racism. This is where Bandu has engaged himself in explaining how historian/social scientists define racism. The discussion may be too academic for people with simple minds but only a person who has ‘trampled on his own tail’ (walige pegegila) might want to contest it.

  93. 71. Thiru  |The earliest archaeological evidence of human colonization in Sri Lanka appears at the site of Balangoda. These Balangoda Man arrived on the island about 34,000 years ago……….

    ————————————————————–
     Dear Thiru, The Balangoda man was found by Paul Pieris Deraniyagala, former Archeological commissioner. After some time, it was laughed at by international experts and the story just died. I do not think there are any archeological people of any repute who will now vouch for the accuracy of these findings.

    Secondly, according to me, this whole discussion on mahawansa is a waste of time. We are trying to draw conclusion of things that happened 2000yrs+ back with very flimsy data but lot of imagination!! 

  94. Mugalan,

    Even though I was serious when I wrote the comment #98, your reply made me laughing out loud, oh dear, spoken like a true academic. It is alright to defend someone but in the process you should not trample your own tail.

    In fact I indirectly mentioned the ambiguity of Bandu’s article and as a reply to what he calls polemics, many paragraphs were actually irrelevant and could have been avoided and made it simple.

    If not a king, Mugalan may be an academic, but what you have to keep in mind is, most of the members who visit this public blog are not scholars/academics but simple minds like me. There are several blogs that take part in academic discussions where such articles may carry a lot of weight but if you see how DBS and several others write here, or for that matter even Devananda, the subject is very precisely conveyed to the readers.

    It is no matter if Devananda is from Tamil Sanga or Maha Sanga, we only have to look into the content of his message and not the messenger. As a Sinhalese Catholic, even I feel that the Buddhist monks are fully engaged in Racist politics but that is my personal feeling.

  95. Fernando (#101) can express a personal opinion. No one can question. He can also expose his Catholic identity. No objection.
    But when he, wearing that Catholic garb, expresses an opinion which identifies the clergy of another religion, in this case [Buddhist] Sangha in general, as racists, he is inviting the resurfacing of Buddhist-Catholic controversy in a far worse form than ever was. He can be sure of that! At a time there is a call for inter-religious understanding, and that interest in mind, his remark has to be deplored, by everyone, Buddhist and Christian and others, even if it is a personal opinion.

    Should Fernanado be reminded that the Catholic Church has been declared to be the “vectors of Western expansion,…… the purveyors of anti-Semitic [racism] , the originator of first pogrom [against mankind], which is the first Crusades, during the heydays of the Burgandian Monastic Order”?

    Wasn’t one of the illustrious founders of the Order of Cluny, the author the incitement to massacre the Jews [racism at its worse], asking the Christians why go to the end of the earths and suffer great losses in men and money to fight the Sarracens when we allow other infidels to sojourn in our midst who are thousand times more guilty of an offence against Christ than Mohammadans”.

    There are more skeletons in the cupboards. For example, read the “Lives of Popes” by Richard McBrien, Theology Professor, to learn more about not only racism but also sexism and public orgies practiced by some of them; or Pope Nicholas Vth’s Bull “Dum Diversa” giving license to “conquer.., capture…, subjugate, Sarasscens and other un-believers….conquer their lands … to appropriate them for King of Portugal and convert them to your own use. …..”

    What I quoted from famous writers is only the tip of the ice-berg! So let not the likes of Fernando raise the name of Catholicism, even by way of a personal opinion, to arouse another unhealthy debate based on religion! I am sure many other Catholics who are seeking a dialogue with other religions will agree.

  96. Like the drunkards salivate for a bite, from his reply it is clear that Mugalan had been waiting for an opportunity to sink his teeth in a ‘Catholic’ stake and finally he got one (picked up a minute piece of my reply). The personal opinion of one single Catholic has made him take a full round like the “Parangiya who went to Kotte” bashing all the Catholics in the entire world on his way displaying the common mindset prevailing today, I am not at all surprised.

    Usually, I do not waste my time with sick people (fanatics, lunatics, racists, etc), my only advice to them is “Get well soon”.

  97. Fernando can vituperate as much as he wants, using such words like “kshanika –mochanaya’, some thing he seems to be familiar with, poor man! , as he has used in the parallel site posted by Jeyraj.

    He has insulted the Maha Sangha by grouping it with an imaginary ‘Tamil Sangha” albeit in the form of pun. He might again say it is a triviality. Isn’t that how he is trying to get away from other Catholics coming down on him and inviting unpleasant debate?

    His pun can lead to lot of damage by hurting Buddhist feelings. The Mahasangha is one of the Triple Gem among the Buddhists. He may like any other Christians, might not want to see the Christian Trinity so disparaged by classing with anyone else even for pun. He is well advised to avoid such insulting language to the Maha Sangha whom the Buddhist hold in high respect.

    One can also advise him to get his ‘mochanaya’ cured soon!

  98. #101 Fernando,

    You have insulted the Tamil Sangham by grouping it with the racist Maha Sangham albeit in the form of pun.

    I am not sure if Buddha and Buddhism has allowed these but many Sri Lankans (including me) have witnessed the members of the Maha Sangham doing the following,

    These monks do business, sell everything that people donate them (robes and stuff), handle money, have Bank accounts and apply for huge Bank loans. They also print, record and sell Buddhist magazines and Bana tapes/CDs, have luxury cars and vans, employing drivers, use the latest mobile phones and ipods, own bungalows and real estates. They insist on eating non-veg food (Meat and sea food) at the arms giving, I have also seen them buying instant lottery tickets.

    They take part in racist politics, supporting and encouraging war and hatred, criticizing and condemning all other religions and races and creating communal/religious hatred among Sinhala Buddhists and others. They take part in protest rallies burning flags and effigies, take part in fast unto death, take part in terrorist activities such as assassinating Prime minister (Somarama thero), keeping mistress in the temple (Buddhrakitha Thero and Ms. Vimala Wijewardene),

    In July83, it was a Sunday, full moon poya day, the Sinhala Buddhists were gathered at the Buddhist temples, they took pun sil, and while listening to the bana, the Priests in each temple, specially the Kelaniya vihara, were told about the attack on the 13 soldiers. Immediately the tune of the bana changed to Dutugemunu’s war against the Tamils, the temples changed into anti Tamil war schools. It was past mid night, early Monday morning, the Sinhala Buddhists came out of the Buddhist temples charging like wild buffalos and killed the innocent Tamils, burning them alive, and looted all their belongings. (SUNDAY SIL, MONDAY KILL).

    A high ranking Sinhala Buddhist Thero has said, killing humans is sin but as per Mahavamsa, Killing Tamils is not sin. According to Mahavamsa Buddhist teachings, killings of Tamils is not sin, killing Tamils will lead them to Nibbana.

    Unlike the Christian church that always stood for peace in Sri Lanka, and their priests who are not war mongers or politicians, the members of the Sinhala Buddhist Maha Sangham sometimes behave like thugs, I have personally observed at the Colombo Sharuk Khan show, how they danced on the streets, one of them even lobbed a hand grenade at the audience.

    So, dear Mr. Fernando, Please do not group the Great Tamil Sangham to the disgraceful Maha Sangham even in your dream. I am sure even the Buddha would have condemned the Maha sangham for spoiling his image, if he was alive today.

  99. Anthony # 105
    Whether the post is by “Anthony” or “Anthony /Fernando” it makes no difference. Any way “Anthony’s” slip is very much showing not in his name but in his attempt to place the “Tamil Sangam” on a higher pedestal.

    No one would deny that there are black sheep in every religious Order, whether it is Roman Catholic,
    Hindu or Buddhist. This is no reason to denigrate an entire Order, in this case, the Buddhist Sangha with scurrilous allegations.

    No one here raised an issue when the Hindu priest (name withheld) at present day Koneswaram Kovil in Trincomalee killed his wife and buried parts of her body on the Kovil grounds itself, thereby, polluting the holy shrine except hear in sheer unbelief. These are but facts found in official records and reported in newspapers.

    There are many offences committed by the Christian /Roman Catholic clergy all over the world today including acts of sex perversion and other criminal acts, (withheld) including a threat to burn the Holy Koran publicly by a U.S.Pastor (I am also avoiding the reported case of murder allegation of a Pope in very recent times which has been documented). But this is no reason to denigrate the entirety of these religious Orders or all members of it, including the papacy..

    What has been quoted by me earlier from “Lives of Popes” of Theology Professor , Richard McBrien, are not allegations but serious cases he show-cased of Pope Alexander VI; and of whom the preacher Girolamo Savonarloa (who was excommunicated, tortured and burnt) accused of turning the Papal House to a house of prostitution where harlots reigned; and over which Father Johann Burchard, the Pope’s own biographer himself, has left a vivid description of the same Pope throwing wildest parties with naked men and women in erotic poses and mass sex being performed for his pleasure;” and on Sunday October 20th giving a Supper in his apartment in the Apostolic Palace with 50 ‘decent’ prostitutes’ or courtesans in attendance . (Does one hear similar accounts from Rome’s political circles these days as the Daily Telegraph and other newspapers report?)

    But can one denigrate the entire Papacy on this account? Can one also denigrate the entire Hindu priesthood because of that single criminal act in Trincomalee? No!

    The cases I quote here are found in the Biographies of Popes written by their own biographers and other serious researchers and not ‘allegations’ or imaginary accounts as the present blogger has done.

    Unconfirmed wild allegations like “Anthony” or “Anthony / Fernando” or whoever he may be hiding under the cloak of that name is doing is not going to help inter-religious amity.

  100. 105. Anthony

    This is indeed very sad to hear, monks taking to meat.

    In India the Brahmins were meat eaters before the advent of Budha.

    After Budha the Brahmins became vegetarians. It is very disheartening to note that the monks taken to meat.

    It is peculiar to Budhism. Even in Saranath stupi there is the name of many a monk who had donated money to building some steps in the stupa and there was also some mention of the properties that were owned by the monks.

    I was wondering how a monk is allowed to own property. Now I see that the sri lankan buhdist monks are owning properties and also indulge in businesses.

    What justification they can give to this, Sir, I don’t know.

  101. @107 Mugalan

    Could you please stop your stupid utterance? You are unnecessarily inviting disrespect to the Sanga and also creating an unpleasant situation.

    Think before you talk, when you throw stones at others you just cannot expect them to keep quite. Do not be so childish, grow up.

  102. Confession of a true Sinhala-Buddhist

    “Sinhala-Buddhism is the world’s most superior religion and it is the ultimate truth. The Western religions are so inferior that they are conspiring to destroy Sinhala-Buddhism” – Prof. Nalin De Silva

    Sraddha: You must believe that Sinhala Buddhism is the ultimate truth and the most superior in the entire world. Prof. Nalin De Silva, the one and only Scientist who is light years ahead of all the scientists the world has ever produced says so because it is so. Ask No questions. Also, you must acknowledge that the whole world hates Sinhala Buddhists and wants to destroy Buddhism as well as the Sinhala people. There’s a huge conspiracy going on about this internationally and even America and the United Nations are involved because they don’t like us very much (because we are superior to them). Not only internationally, but this conspiracy is also aided by the Tamils, the Muslims and the Burghers too because they are scared of our superiority and very jealous. They don’t want us to develop, so they hinder all chances for us to develop. We can’t develop this country because of these foreign and non-Sinhala elements, which if did not exist would surely mean that Sri Lanka would be like the most richest developed nation on earth, complete with huge buildings, subways, metros, canals and helicopters flying around and stuff. IF YOU DO NOT AGREE, THEN YOU ARE JUST ANOTHER WESTERN MISSIONARY-CONSPIRATOR!!! YOU ARE SUPPORING THE CONSPIRACY AGAINST US!!! YOU ARE SUPPORTING THE ERADICATION OF SINHALA BUDDHISM!!!!!

    Gratitude : You must be grateful that you are born in Sri Lanka as a Sinhala Buddhist because this is the most awesome thing that can happen to anyone (apparently). This is because you’ve done a lot of good things in your past lives and therefore you now have the opportunity to study “Sinhala Buddhism” and achieve Nibbana faster than the rest of the world. Take that, you foreign-people-who-are-doomed-to-run-around-Samsara-forever! (Note: Being collectively labeled as idiots and hypocrites for the “patriotic” things your kin do as well as difficulty of obtaining tourist visas to other countries must be ignored.)

    Tolerance : You must be tolerant towards other races and religions, although your religion and race are like the most awesome and most advanced ever. While it is hard to live among a bunch of idiots who believe in impossible things and are far inferior to you, you must always remember how superior you are compared to them, because Sinhala Buddhism is the absolute truth and the most superior religion in this world, no one can challenge it. No one has the authority to challenge it either (how to deal with such people is explained).
    Yes it is said in the Kalama Sutta that you should always question the teachings you receive, even if it’s passed on from your elders or taught by a famous teacher. However, this applies only to teachings that are not connected to Sinhala Buddhism, because Sinhala Buddhism is the unquestionable absolute truth.

    Compassion: Sorry, but compassion is for the weak. If you’re a Sinhala Buddhist, you need to be strong and forget the mushy stuff. “KILL THE OFFENDERS!!! GRRRR!!!! (Lion roar)”
    However, it’s good to give some alms once in awhile to those fat meat eating Sinhala Buddhist monks and make a big deal out of it because you get to show off to people how generous you are and how much more pious you are too.

    Loving-Kindness: Sorry, again this is for the weak-minded who are too weak to act aggressively to the situation. This is just another impractical part of Buddhism which the “Colombo Elite Pandithayas” and the “Buddhist Suddhas” follow, and has nothing to do with Sinhala Buddhism. As a true Sinhala Buddhist, you are supposed to respond to all situations with a whole lot of HATE and violence (stones are always the best answer because they’re cheap and abundant on our roads). Any suggestion of this Loving-Kindness bullshit must be shoved off. “BLOOD!!!! WE NEED BLOOD!!!! (Lion roar)”

    Kalyana Mitras : Associating good friends is very important for Sinhala Buddhists. Generally this means that every Sinhala Buddhist has to stick to one political party and completely support them because they are the only party that cares about us and will prevent our impending extermination. What? You’re on a different party? NON-PATRIOT!!! TRAITOR!!!!! DESHA DROHIYA!!!! KALU SUDDHA!!!! GRRR!!!!

    Harmony : What harmony? We Sinhala-Buddhist OWN this country. Everyone else are migrants. (Lion roar)

    Morality : We have morals. Yes we do. Sinhala-Buddhism teaches us a lot of morals and things we should do in order to become more pure, and this is irrefutable because Buddhism is the absolute truth. But since we Sinhala Buddhists are already perfect, we don’t really have to follow them. They’re impractical you see. The people who follow them are generally those “Colombo Elite Pandithayas” or “Buddhist Suddhas” who don’t really live real lives but fake lives because they’re so rich and they have absolutely no personal problems whatsoever. We being the more practical people focus more on preserving the teachings of Buddha instead of actually following them.

    Well I suppose there are many other qualifications that I overlooked and have not come across yet, but I am sure that you can think of some. So let me know, and I can help the great cause of Sinhala Buddhism by putting it up here.

    HAIL SINHALA BUDDHISM!!!! ROAR LIKE THE LIONS!!!!

  103. 111. Chola
    Interesting stuff. What you wrote pretty much sums up the attitude of the High cast Jaffna Vellala politicians had towards everyone else – Singhalese, Burger, Muslims and yes, even towards other non-Vellala Tamils.

  104. The following news report (May 2009) gives an important message about Rebirth.

    DUTUGEMUNU’S STATUE SPEAKS ABOUT HIS REBIRTH
    A Miracle On Vesak Night!

    A miraculous happening occurred at the holy city of Anuradhapura in 2009 Vesak night. Nearly twenty-five witnesses who were present and who were stunned by what happened decided to hush it up. They took an oath that it should never be known to the rest of the country. However, one of them who happened to be carrying a tape recorder in his closed bag found to his amazement when he reached home that every word of what happened had been recorded in it without his knowledge. He was so awe¬struck that he decided to hand over the entire tape to a News reporter but it went into the wrong hands. The identity of the source will not be revealed for reasons of confidentiality. But let me present to our blog readers the entire transcript.

    Please read on,

    It all happened when about two hundred Sinhala Buddhists from Sri Lanka’s Patriotic National Movement (PNM) under the leadership of Ven. Dambara Amila Thero decided to take an oath on Vesak night 2009 in front of the statue of the Sinhala-Buddhist warrior king Dutugemunu at Anuradhapura. Having assembled at the holy city, they first held an ‘Adhistana Pooja’ and then marched from the Sinha Kuluna (Lion Tower) to the Sri Maha Bodhi and Ruwanveli Seya. The Vesak Full Moon seemed to shine with extraordinary splendor that night as the party stood in respectful silence before the statue.

    It was the Ven. Dambara Amila Thero who addressed the statue. ‘Oh dear Prince Dutta Gamini, warrior-king, savior of the Sinhala race, vanquisher of the Demalas , we the two hundred full-blooded Sinhala Buddhists assembled here before you have come here so that you, our dear SinhalaBuddhist savior, may witness the sacred oath we are about to take’. We the two hundred who represent the millions of Sinhala patriots in this country do hereby resolve that we shall leave no stone unturned until:-

    1. The Sinhala race is protected from alien elements such as the Demala Tigers, and the White Tigers (Norwegians).

    2. The entire Northeast is reoccupied by SinhalaBuddhist men and women.

    3. The unitary constitution that the British rulers gave us in 1833 is preserved.

    4. Pirabhakaran and his hordes are wiped out in battle by the end of this year.

    5. Sinhala – Buddhism reigns supreme all over this land hallowed by the 3 visits of the Buddha.

    These Oh King, is our Pancha Sheela. We beseech you to bless us and give us courage.

    Tired by the long march, about twenty five of them decided to lie down there itself and go to sleep under the soothing light of the full moon. Ven. Dambara Amila Thero and the rest had meanwhile left. It was some eerie sound that first startled those who were sleeping. It was close to midnight. The earth beneath them appeared to be shaking. Surely it could not be an earthquake? Sri Lanka had never known one in 2500 years? They then heard a voice, a strange voice. It seemed to be coming from nowhere. Astonished, they all sat up. There was no mistaking it was Dutugemunu’s statue that spoke! Miracle of miracles!! They stood up in utter disbelief, unable to believe their ears!!!

    ‘My dear children’ – said the statue, ‘it is two thousand years since I left this ground where you stand now. Haven’t you learnt anything at all these two thousand years? Are you such poor learners? ‘Dutta’ means wicked. Who named me Dutta Gamini? Not the Damilas. You Sinhala-Buddhists did. Of course you were right. I was wicked. My father was known as Kakkavanna Tissa, because he was as dark-skinned as the colour of a crow-( Kakka – Crow, Vanna – Colour) but he was a wise man, a man of Peace. He never wanted to grab another man’s land. When he told me: ‘Son, don’t go to fight the Damilas. The region on this side of the river (Mahaveli) is enough’. Do you remember what I did? Have you forgotten the Mahavamsa? The trouble with you, my children, is that you have a genius for forgetting the few good things said in the Mahavamsa and hang on to the many stupid things that are written there. What did I do to my father who gave me good advice? Thrice he forbade me, and thrice I stood my ground. Not only did I disobey him, but I also insulted him. I said: ‘If my father were a man, he would not speak thus: therefore shall he put this on’. And therewith I sent him a woman’s ornament. Wasn’t that wicked? That is why your Sinhala forefathers named me Dutta-Gamani.

    ‘In your feelings of hatred for the Damilas, you had forgotten what your own Mahavamsa said about the Damila king Elara’. Did he not rule the whole country for ‘forty four years, with even justice toward friend and foe, on occasions of disputes of law’? It was against this noble, just ruler that I went to war in order to pursue my grand ambition. I made the rivers turn red with the blood of thousands and thousands of human beings. I, a virile young man, challenged the aged Elara to single combat. How old was he then, seventy?

    Was that an act of courage? But I slew him. But my dear children, in the hour of victory, I became repentant. I myself organized the funeral rites of that great ruler. On the spot where Elara’s body was fallen, I had it placed in a catafalque, a decorated bier, and I lit the fire. And there did I build a monument and ordained worship. For nearly these two thousand years princes or people, passed this way in complete silence. But what did your recent foolish politicians and archaeologists like Paranavithana do? Due to the hatred in their hearts they obliterated all signs of this monument, the very monument, I, Dutugemunu caused to be built. Having defied me, why do you keep invoking my name for your own politics of hatred? Two thousand years after my death, today, I am not the same Dutugemunu you think I am. You are in for a big surprise, my dear children. A very big surprise!

    The twenty five witnesses to these miraculous words held their breath and stood in dazed silence. Were they dreaming? It cannot be. The Vesak moon continued to bathe the statue in a strange ethereal light. The statue continued to speak: –

    A man’s life, dear children, is only a single footprint on the sands of time. Once he is released from a corporeal world, he moves on to another. In our Buddhist belief of Samsara, only a few can become Arahats and be released from future births. Sinners like me who caused the ‘destruction of millions (of beings)’ as your Mahavamsa says, and helped to promote hatred against the Damilas are destined to be born and born again and again. Within these two thousand years I have gone through repeated births and deaths, as humans, as animals, as vermin, etc. Now I have taken human birth again. Do you know, my children, I am now living among you.

    At this, an overpowering sense of shock seized many of the listeners, and some of them lost consciousness. The few who were able to keep their senses continued to listen.

    It does not surprise me that some of you are unable to contain your emotions. You, who call yourselves true Buddhists and Sinhala patriots, are mistaken in your beliefs. You do not understand Buddhism and you do not even realize that Tamil blood flows in your veins. Does that surprise you? You have been living in a state of self-deception, my dear children. I am born here now for the purpose of taking the blinkers off your eyes. You may see in me only a statue, but do you know that I am now a human being living in this Dhammadeepa of yours and whose name is known to all of you.

    ¬Hearing these words, one of the listeners could not contain himself any longer. ‘Oh dear king, tell us, tell us who you are’, he shouted at the statue.

    Be patient, my dear son. I was reborn here in your Sri Lanka on the 26th of November 1954 and I have been living here for fifty four years now and this is my final year. You know me, of course you know me very well.

    My name is PRABHAKARAN.
    VELUPPILLAI PRABHAKARAN!

    The next morning, some tourists who happened to be visiting Anuradhapura saw a strange sight. About twenty-five men looking dazed, lay stretched at the foot of Dutugemunu’s statue. All of them seemed to have lost their power of speech. First aid was quickly summoned, but no sooner they were revived they hurried away from the spot and were seen getting into an excited huddle. One of them was seen carrying a travel bag which contained a tape recorder.

  105. Silva starts the article on the wrong foot.
    The concept of ‘racism’ cannot apply here. As Sinhalese and Tamils are not separate races. That rubbish was put into the heads by the Colonial rulers from Europe.
    The correct terms may be ‘prejudice’ or ‘bigotry’ or other terms perhaps.
    The article is very long winded, typical of a Sinhalese who has learnt from dishonest Europeans on the art of playing semantics.
    When the tamil scholars put their arguments forward it is usually more to the point and resonates with common sense. Instead of endless mindgames over definitions blah blah blah
    I have always maintained that common sense answers this issue. Sinhalese dont want to accept common sense.
    We all know the buddhism was created several hundred years after the death of the Buddha. The Buddha himself was a Hindu. So what is all this silly debate about?
    The Sinhalese are hell bent on trying to portray the ridiculous idea that Buddhism was in Sri Lanka prior to Hinduism. This is not possible anywhere in the subcontinent. The Hindus living in India thousands of years prior to Buddhas birth must have been totally daft and retarded not to know Sri Lanka existed. But somehow the magical Sinhala community from Northern India found it first.
    Then comes the issue of archeological evidence regarding languages.
    If Sri Lankas archaeology department was not dominated by Sinhala Fascist Nationalist Buddhists, we may all be free to excavate and get the evidence of the history of the Island.
    But we all know that is not possible. Every time tamil ancient inscriptions or Hindu diety statues appear in Lanka, they always disappear in custody of the archaeology department.
    There was one incident where an anonymous group of people had been uncovering evidence of hindu remains deep in the south and publishing their findings.
    An angry Sinhalese furiously scolded the Sri Lankan govt for not keeping tighter security and preventing ‘trouble makers’ as he termed it, from excavating in the Island. And he even encouraged such people to be treated as ‘terrorists’ by the army.
    So the bottomline is that Hindus are not permitted to excavate and uncover and they do so at the risk of being killed.
    Like i said before. Common sense does not warrant all this debate. The Sinhalese know it but their inner fear wont let them accept it openly.
    If we want to play games regarding evidence, we need to have a fair playing ground. All the archaeological remains in Sri Lanka should be accessible to the whole planet.
    Date testing also appropriate using scientific methods is also appropriate to uncover modern fakes posing as ancient evidence.
    And finally once everyone is free to do their research in Sri Lanka without being persecuted then, we can all have an international debate with the findings using nothing but scientific testing.
    These are terms the Sinhala community will never agree to.
    So this nonsense is never going to end i am afraid.
    This entire problem is one that originates from a deep mental illness and thus neutral scientific research is never going to work in Sri Lanka.
    And chances are getting slimmer it ever will. The nation where the gun is used to silence anyone with deferring opinions.

  106. Chola,
    Gratitude : You must be grateful that you are born in Sri Lanka as a Sinhala Buddhist because this is the most awesome thing that can happen to anyone (apparently).
    ————————————————————————–
    Lankan cricketers TM Dilshan and Suraj Randiv seem to think so.
    Thats why they both ditched their Islamic faiths and became Buddhist. And not just any old Buddhist. BUT SINHALA Buddhist. Because we all know that those buddhists in Tibet, Japan, Thailand are all inferior and dont follow Buddhism properly.
    And just so you dont doubt Suraj about his dedication to being a member of the superior Aryan Sinhala Buddhist race. He made his name as long as Buddhist Sinhala possible:
    Hewa Kaluhalamullage Suraj Randiv Kaluhalamulla

  107. 113. Chola
    You, who call yourselves true Buddhists and Sinhala patriots, are mistaken in your beliefs. You do not understand Buddhism and you do not even realize that Tamil blood flows in your veins. Does that surprise you? You have been living in a state of self-deception, my dear children
    __________________________________

    The kings from Vijaya(n) to Mahasena(n) are considered to be from the superior or Mahavamsam and the kings afterwards are from Chuluvamsam(inferior or secondary vamsam as they are not considered pure Aryo-sinhala blood). Mahavamsam(Ch1-37) was written on the first one.

    Out of the 64 mahavamsa kings, except for a few like Devenambiyatissa, Dutttagemunu, Srisangabothi, Gajabahu & Mahasenan others have not shined. One third of them seized power through force-sons killing fathers, commanders murdering kings, friends betraying for thrones, kings deserting during riots.

    Interestingly we cannot call the sinhala race as Vijaya’s descendents because Vijaya was not succeeded by his son. Infact Vijaya did not have any children (except for the ones borne to Kuveni who became veddhas and their fate not known thereafter) and called his brother Pandu vasudeva from India to succeed him. Vasudeva married Pathrakanchana who came in a boat from India supposed to be from Kapilavastu. His son Abayan secceeded him but was usurped by his sister chitra’s son Pandu abayan (the identity of his father is disputed but some claim him as Diga gamini brother of Chitra in India!)

    ^Vijayan -no children through royal blood, succeeded by his brother
    ^Pandu Vasudevan-succeeded by son Abayan
    ^Abayan-succeeded by sister’s son Pandu abayan
    ^Pandu abayan-succeeded by son Mutha sivan
    ^Mutha sivan-succeeded by Devanambiyatheesan)
    ^Theesan (Devanambiya-beloved by gods)-only son poisoned
    ^Theesan’s younger brothers like Udiyan, mahasivan, Suratheesan, Aselan
    ^Ellalan- chola king
    ^Dutu gemunu-grandson of Theesan’s bro-only son Sali forfeited crown by marrying low caste Mala)
    ^Satha Theesan(gemunu’s brother)
    ^Kaloonan-Satha theesan’s youngest son-murdered by Chief Minister
    ^Vatta gamini(Valagamba)-selected by palace elephant-later claimed ex king’s son
    (Another claim is he is the 4th son of Satha theesan & also married his brother’s wife Anuladevi)
    ^Seven Chola warriers-one of them took Vattagamini’s wife Somadevi to India
    ^Vatta gamini recaptured, bought Somadevi back & built a Vihara in her honor
    ^Anuladevi’s son Mahasoolikan poisoned by his wife Anula2
    ^Anula’s husbands & Anula
    ^Kuttaikanna theesan-Mahasoolikan’s son
    ^Bhakthika Abaya-kuttaikannan’s son
    ^Mahadathika Mahanaga-Bhathika’s brother,succeeded by son Amamtha
    ^Amantha gamini abayan-killed by his brother Kaniraja theesan
    ^Kanirajanu theesan-60 bhikkus tried to dethrone him
    ^Soola abayan-amantha’s son
    ^Sivali-amantha’s daughter-dethroned by Ealanagan
    ^Ealanagan-Amantha’s nephew
    ^Chanthamugasivan-Ealanagan’s son-killed by his brother in water
    ^Yasalalaga theesan-Ealanagan’s son-killed by a friend/horseman Subha
    ^Subha rajah-a horseman/look alike of Yasalalagan
    ^Vasaba-a nephew of a commander-succeeded by his son Vanganasikatheesan
    ^Vankanasikatheesan-married to Vasaba’s daughter Mahathma-chased by Cholas/died in forest
    ^Kayavagu-son of Vankanasikan-brought Pathini/kaniki deiyo worship & esala perehera
    ^Mahaealanagan (Kayavahu’s finlaw), Pattinatheesan(son of Maha ealan), Kanithatheesan, ^Kujanagan,Kunchanagan,Srinagan,Okarikanagan,Abayanagan
    ^Vijayakumarakan-Srinagan’s son-killed by his3 commanders who succeeded him
    ^Sangatheesan-1st commander
    ^Sangabothi -reported to have cut & given his head to Kothapaya-like Kumanan story
    ^Kothapaya-3rd commander-whi killed the other two commanders
    ^Jega theesan-eldest son of Kothapaya(destroyed Mahayana Viharas)
    ^Mahasenan-youngest son of Kothapaya(destroyed Theravada viharas, later rebuilt them)

    It is incorrect therefore to call the present Sinhala race as descendents of Vijaya or Devanambiyatissa or Duttu Gamini(all of them didn’t have issues or issues who did not succeed them) and there had been several breaks and new lineage taking power at several instances. In fact their issues, if any are the veddhas like Kuveni’s & Asoka Mala’s children. It is also incorrect to call them descendents from Kapilavastu or Ganghis race. They are all South Indian origins who mixed up with various tribes. For instance there were no Malayalam earlier and they became a race only after 13th century AD.

  108. 115. John:

    We all know the buddhism was created several hundred years after the death of the Buddha. The Buddha himself was a Hindu.

    ———

    Really? Who are “we” here? Ignorance is a bliss they say.

  109. Pingback: Väter Familie » Eine Antwort (Teil 1): “Mahavamsa Mentalität”; Kann die Ladung des “Rassismus” gegen die Chronik eingeebnet aufrechterhalten werden?

  110. The Sinhala Man’s Genes

    My Sinhala DNA,
    inherited from generations before,
    and the genes lined up along it,
    have now been analyzed:
    99.90 percent the same as a Tamil’s,
    But with the Tamil chap, I have picked a fight!
    How strange! I say,
    It cannot then be,
    the genes of my Sinhala DNA.
    Modern Biology readily explains,
    function not just in them genes it claims,
    but from the way of their control:
    Turned ON and OFF
    when, why and where in space
    and for how long.
    Not the genetics of what came from past,
    but the epi-genetics of regulation,
    the Here and Now of their manipulation.
    Oh, Historian! Do come to my rescue.
    Why hast thou not seen an epi- too?

  111. To put simply is Tami people have no appreciation of the Island and history, perhaps an alternate history to what we want to furnish, we are better of in our big home-land Tamil-Nadu,
    Sinhalya has only this !

  112. To completely discredit the Sinhalaya in his own / only country and mock his religion (when other religions can be also be mocked) seems not just meaningless but does not serve ant profitable purpose !!

  113. Pingback: Carlos Gallastegui: A Response (Part 1): “Mahavamsa Mentality”; Can the charge of “Racism” leveled against the chronicle be sustained? | Carlos Gallastegui

  114. Pingback: A Response (Part 1): “Mahavamsa Mentality”; Can the charge of “Racism” leveled against the chronicle be sustained? | Surviving The Big 1

  115. Sunil

    Mahavamsa is not a Sinhalese book. It is a Pali book.

    It is Mahavamsa in pali. It was written in pali.

    In Sinhalese it is Maha Vansha.

Comments are closed.