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Christian times. There is good reason to believe that the caves were not re-occupied by them until several centuries had elapsed after the time of Christ. The people who had lived in them must have become villagers. It is possible that heavy taxation, or misgovernment, or Tamil invasions induced a certain number of these villagers, who had always lived partly by hunting, to revert to the forest life of their ancestors. Parties of Kandian hunters often occupy some of the caves for a considerable time at the present day.
High Rank of Vaeddas.-The Vaeddas claim to be of high caste, and their leading clans hold that they are not inferior in this respect to any Sinhalese, whom they consider to be interlopers. One of them remarked to me, "The whole country was ours before the Sinhalese came." It is significant that their rank does not depend on their present state of civilisation; some of the wildest Forest Vaeddas belong to the highest clan, from which their chiefs were selected.
The ending of the story which has just been given was considered by Sinhalese villagers of the North-western Province to be quite appropriate, and they stated that it was in accordance with their traditions. They saw nothing incongruous in the appointment of a Vaedda over people of their own race.
There are other examples which confirm the Sinhalese and Vaedi traditions of the high rank held by their chiefs. One of them occurs in an inscription.
At the side of a flight of steps cut in the rock at Dambulla to facilitate the descent from the celebrated cave-temple, the largest in Ceylon, to the quarters occupied by the Buddhist monks, near which many other monastic buildings stood in former times, several short inscriptions in colloquial Sinhalese of about the third or fourth century A.D. were left as records. of the commencement of the chiselling work for cutting out the steps. They record the names of pious personages who perhaps bore part of the expense of the work. Such records as Amataya Wahabaha taņi patagați, 'The place begun by the Minister Wasabha '; Naka lakhi kahi patagați, Naga having made a mark began (the work here) '; Humanayaha patagați, 'Begun by Sumana '; Mitaha buja patagați, 'Begun by the
landed proprietor Mitta,'-leave no doubt as to their general import.
Another of these notices runs, Sidha. Raja Pulida Abaya nakare Sidahata kapa gala, Hail! the stone cut by Siddhattha, King Abhaya, the Pulinda, having caused it to be done.'
The appellation Pulinda shows that this king was a Vaedda. When the expression occurs in the Mahāvansa it certainly refers to the Vaeddas, and there is nothing to indicate that in the present instance the word has a different meaning.
So far as it is of value, the Sinhalese story also supports this interpretation, which at once sets aside all doubts as to the high caste-rank of the ancient Vaeddas, and the commanding position of the superior Vaedda chiefs even seven or eight centuries after the accession of the first Sinhalese king.
Coming down to much later times, there is conclusive evidence of their power in a manuscript (the Wanni Kaḍa-in Pota, 'the Book of the Wanni Boundaries') of the time of King Bhuvanēka Bāhu VI of Kōtta (1464-1471 A.D.), which contains an account of the appointment of a chieftain called Panikki Vaeddā, of Eriyāwa, a village near Galgamuwa in the Kurunāēgala district, to define the boundaries of the Four Wanni Pattus or divisions of what is now the North-western Province. He was granted the title of Baṇḍāra Mudiyansē,' an expression which could only be applied to a chief of very high caste. After stating the limits of the district, the account concludes as follows in one manuscript: Having received the orders from the Lord, the Sinhalese King, Bhuvanaika Bāhu, Panikki Vaeddā fixed and gave the boundaries.'
Panikki Vaedda was evidently one of the most important chiefs in Ceylon at that time. He was not merely the supreme chief of the Four Wanni Pattus (Puttalam Pattuwa, Munissaram Pattuwa, Demala Pattuwa, and the Wanni Hat Pattu); these districts were granted to him and his heirs for
1 A facsimile will be found in Fig. No. 153.
2 There are variations in the wording, but not many in the matter, of different manuscripts.
3 As this expression also shows, there is some reason to believe that the book was written by a Vaedda, reference being made in it to ‘our servitude' (apē daskama), which Bhuvanēka Bāhu abolished.
ever. This record is so important that I give the words in full, with a translation.
Sitāwaka waeda un Bhuvanēka Bāhu dēvi mahā rajjuruwannen yedi Eriyāwē Panikki Vaeddāṭa me hatara pattuwa kada-in kota irahanda pawatina tek laebunāya.
'Having fixed the boundaries, these four Pattus were granted to Panikki Vaeddā of Eriyawa as long as the sun and moon last, by the Great King His Majesty Bhuvanēka Bāhu who dwelt at Sitāwaka.'
He is elsewhere termed Wanni hatara pattu Eriyawē Panikkirāla, the Elephant-catcher Chief of Eriyawa over the Four Wanni Pattus'; and the leaders under him, called Panikkirālas or merely Panikkiyās, are mentioned as me hatara pattuwē Vaeddan,' these Vaeddas of the four Pattus' or districts.
He was an Elephant catcher (Panikkiya); and as stated in Upham's Buddhist Tracts, p. 236, he and another chief named Dippitigama Liyana Vaeddā, or in another manuscript, Lēkan Polpitiyē Liyana Vaeddā, a Secretary or Registrar, were ordered by the king to capture a Tusk-elephant and take it direct to Sitāwaka, where they showed the king the manner of tying up a wild elephant, the newly captured animal having been freed for the purpose inside a circle of tame female elephants. The men who tied up the elephant received presents and high-sounding titles; one of them became Eriyāwa Wannināyaka Siņhappu Mudiyansē, and another was called Rājapaksa Kumāra Siņha Wanniyā.
The villages of these men, or the chiefs who assisted in the capture of the animal, are mentioned as Eriyāwa, Gāla-waewa, Dunupota-gama, Kaekuna-waewa, Wilawa, Warā-gammana, Hulugalla, Hātā-gammana, Wenda-kaḍuwa, Mahagalla, Uḍuwēriya, and Polpiți-gama; they are nearly all still occupied by Kandian Sinhalese who must be the descendants of these Vaeddas of the fifteenth century. Large tracts of rice fields were cultivated at these villages, the sowing-extents being stated in the manuscript.
These are not the only records of the deeds of Panikki Vaeddā. When some princes with armed followers arrived from India at Ponparappu, his' Archer Vaeddas' (Malalu Vaeddan)
at once notified the matter to this chief, and Panikki, who is also termed Panikki Maetiyō, 'the Minister Panikki,' proceeded to the spot with a large force of Vaeddas to inquire into the cause of their coming. He translated into Tamil the words of the Vaeddas, for the benefit of the visitors, made them show him the presents which they had brought for the king, and sent his royal master a full report, stating that they carried swords slung from their right shoulders and shields in their left hands, but that they stated that they came as friends, and were in want of food; he awaited instructions. Eventually he was ordered to feed them, and to allow them to proceed to Sitāwaka for an audience with the king. A large guard of Vaeddas under Panikki accompanied them, apparently to see that they caused no damage on the way. The visitors stopped at Munessaram to pay their devotions at a temple of Vishnu, who granted them permission to proceed to the king.
In the first half of the seventeenth century we find Vaeddas still holding important positions in the country. A short manuscript in my possession which apparently dates from about 1640, contains some particulars of the efforts made by Prince Wijapala to retain the control of the Matale districtAs we learn from the Mahāvansa (ii, p. 330), the Prince's father was King Wimala Dharma Suriya I (1592-1620); and his uncle Seneratna (1620–1627) having succeeded this king placed him in charge of the Matale district.
The account commences by stating that 'Wijapāla Maha Rājayāno, of the Goḍapola Maha Wāsala,' or palace, having failed to conquer his enemies—that is, his cousin, Rajasinha, who had followed Seneratna on the throne, and with whom he had quarrelled-called out his adherents in the Matale district, and with their assistance dispossessed several chiefs of their territories. The representatives of the three Matale Houses' responded to his summons; they were Kulatunga Mudiyanse of Uḍupihilla, Candrasekara Mudiyanse of Dubukala, and Waniśeka Mudiyansē of Alu Wihāra.
The following Vaedda chiefs are also mentioned: The Vaeddā chief of Hulangomuwa, Yahamipat Vaeddā, Kannila Vaedda of Pallakanan-gomuwa, Hērat Vaeddā of Nikakoṭuwa,
Maha Tampala Vaeddā of Palapatwala, Maha Dombā Vaeddā of Dombawala, Walli Vaeddi of Wallivela (a female Chief), Maha Kawuḍellā Vaeddā of Kawuḍupalla, Nairaņ Vaeddā of Nāran-gomuwa, Hērat Baṇḍāra Vaeddā of Madawala, Imiyā Vaeddā of Kampalla, Makarayā Vaeddā, Koduru Vaeddā, Raekā Vaeddā (evidently a title, as he was the Guardian of the district boundary), Maha Kanda Vaeddā of Kandapalla, Hēmpiți of Galēvela, Bāju of Uḍugoḍa, Minimunu of Pallēsiya Pattuwa, Dēvakriti of Melpitiya, and Kaḍukāra of Bibile. All these are stated to be Vaeddas; they were ' of the Vaedi wāsagama.'
As no other leaders are mentioned, it is certain that these Vaedda chiefs were included among the most important personages next to the three superior Kandian chiefs. The Matale district was evidently full of Vaeddas at that period.
The manuscript also contains a bare reference to the reason of the invasion of Ceylon by the Sōlians of Madura in the reign of Wankanāsika Tissa (110-113 A.D.). This is termed the War of the short-horned Buffalo (ankota miwuwāgē haṭana) of the widowed Vaeddi, Simi of Dodandeniya.' Unfortunately, no explanation of the phrase is furnished. Doubtless it commemorates some incident that was popularly supposed to have led to the war between Ceylon and Madura, regarding the cause of which the histories contain no information. We may conjecture that some traders from Madura killed or carried off the widow's buffalo, and that the reprisals made by the Vaeddas eventually induced the Sōlian king to avenge his subjects by invading the country. Whether the dispute originated in this manner or not, the traditional phrase may be taken to prove that the Vaeddas possessed buffaloes in the second century A.D.
Their high caste-rank is still admitted by most Sinhalese who are acquainted with them. I was informed thirty years ago by the brother of one of the Raṭēmahatmayas, the superior Kandian chiefs, that his family was intimately allied to the Vaeddas by marriage, and that such a connexion was considered to be by no means a mésalliance.
No one who knows the intense family pride of the Kandian