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1 Compare Sin. nokaḍawa, always, ever (lit. unbroken); without the negative particle kaḍawa would thus mean 'never.'
THE RELIGION OF THE VAEDDAS AND
HE Vaeddas are not Buddhists, but a few who live in the villages of the interior sometimes visit a Buddhist temple and offer flowers there, if there is such a place in their neighbourhood. Neither the Forest nor Village Vaeddas pay any regular worship to the superior Indian Gods under their present names, although some of the latter make occasional offerings to Skanda, as the god of Kataragama.
The northern Tamil-speaking Vaeddas to the south of Trincomalee periodically visit and present offerings at the Hindu temples of their vicinity; these are devoted to Skanda, who is known as Kumāra Tēvan, and Gaņēsa, called by them Pulikāra Tēvan, 'the God Pilleiyār.' They also make offerings in the jungle to seven Goddesses, termed the Seven Kannimar,' or Maidens, whose names they do not know.
The Wanniyas of the north-eastern part of the North-central Province describe themselves as Buddhists, and sometimes pay visits to the Buddhist temples near them; and the older men at times take the eight vows, or 'Ațasil,' of the Upāsakas or lay-devotees. These are the vows of adherence to the prohibitions against murder, theft, falsehood, drinking intoxicating liquor, and unlawful sexual intercourse, forming the Pansil,' or five vows that all devout Buddhists should keep; and three additional ones against nocturnal eating, the personal use of garlands and perfumes, and sleeping on anything but a mat laid on the ground. Persons who adhere to the Atasil are expected to be regular in their attendance at the
temples on the Poya days, at the quarters of the moon, and also must particularly avoid taking life of any kind.
With possibly the sole exception of the Wanniyas, all Village Vaeddas alike, according to my information, when cautiously interrogated, acknowledge that their chief deity is the God whom they know as the Galē Yakā, although some who afterwards showed me a temple erected to him in their village at first denied all knowledge of him when I questioned them regarding him. The Vaeddas of the interior, including those of the Madura-oya valley, stated to me that all worship him. One man remarked to me, "He is the greatest of all Gods." As the ancestors of many who are now classed as Village Vaeddas were certainly true Forest Vaeddas threequarters of a century ago it would appear that the Forest Vaeddas cannot be ignorant of this deity, but most probably have the same belief in him. I mention this as Dr. Seligmann, who has recently investigated the religion of the Forest Vaeddas, has informed me that he obtained no information regarding him from the Madura-oya villages. After my own experience of a refusal of Village Vaeddas to divulge their worship of him to me I am inclined to believe that their knowledge of him was intentionally concealed.
Literally the name means the Demon of the Rock'; but as their male deities are all termed ' Yaka,' whether beneficent or malevolent, the true signification of the expression, as it was explained to me in Sinhalese by them, is 'the God of the Rock,' a name identical with that by which he is known and worshipped by the Kandian Sinhalese, who call him the Galē Deviyā.
The Tamil-speaking Vaeddas term him Malei Pei, 'the Hill Demon'; Kallu Pei, the Rock Demon'; Maleiyan, 'He of the Hill'; and Maleiya-swāmi, 'Hill Lord.' I give an account of his worship in a separate chapter; it appears to be the primitive cult of the island. It was apparently this deity
1 He is mentioned by name as the 'Indigollāē Yakā' in one invocation of the Forest Vaeddas which Dr. Seligmann was good enough to send me, and another was apparently addressed to him as the ' King of the Hills.'
who was known as the Vyadha Dēva,' the Vaedda God,' in the time of Paṇḍukābhaya, that is, in the fourth century B.C.; and possibly he was the God mentioned under the name of Puradeva, 'the Ancient God,' in the time of Duṭṭha-Gāmiņi (Mah. i, p. 100), as having a temple at Anuradhapura.
The Village Vaeddas also greatly reverence a Goddess known as the Kiri-Ammā, which means in Sinhalese 'Grandmother,' but in reality in its use by the Vaeddas is equivalent to the Indian and Sinhalese word Dēvi, 'Goddess,' which is not employed by them.
Mr. Nevill considered her to be a form of Parvati, the wife of the God Siva, who, as the mountain-born goddess, the daughter of the Himalaya personified, is called in Tamil Kiri-Amman, the Hill Mother,' kiri being the Tamil form of the Sanskrit word giri, hill or mountain. So far as the name and position of the goddess are concerned, this identification appears to be quite satisfactory. On the other hand, it is to be observed that the expression Kiri-Ammā' is applied by both Vaeddas and Sinhalese to other goddesses who are not connected in any way with hills. For this reason the name itself cannot be accepted as proof that the goddess in question is really Parvati, unless there is some confirmation of her personality from other directions. It is also noteworthy that the Tamil-speaking Vaeddas do not recognise her, although they worship other Hindu gods.
In the villages of the interior, where the ancient traditions and practices are better preserved than near the coast, where Tamil influences have affected some of the religious notions of the Vaeddas, this goddess is held to be the most important deity next to the God of the Rock or Hill, whose wife she is supposed to be. This would tell strongly in favour of her being Parvati if the God of the Rock were Śiva. Yet we do not find her worshipped on the hills like the Galē Yakā; she is chiefly, if not entirely, a Forest-Goddess, and it is to her that the Village Vaeddas of the interior especially appeal for protection and good-luck in hunting, their chief occupation. She is known as the Indigollāēwa Kiri-Amma-her husband the Gale Yakā being also called the Indigollāēwa Yakā—or