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spectacle. Six days passed, and the demons had made no progress whatever. At last, on the seventh day, the resourceful Kurumbuḍa threw down into the midst of the holy men the quarter of a bull, at which all the monks started, and raised their hands higher than their shoulders in astonishment, and said with disgust, "Ish"! It was a little word, or hardly a word, but it was fatal to them. The Pirit was stopped for an instant, and in that instant Kurumbuḍa plucked off their heads, and drank their blood.
The Gale Deviyā then took possession of the cave and the hill, which has ever since been his headquarters in Ceylon, his 'Mula-gala.' He wanted to live at this place because it was in the great Pallēkaelē Forest, nine gawus long and nine gawus broad, without a village in it. Here he could live undisturbed by the busy world around. Over this forest he placed his minister Kurumbuḍa Dēvatā, in charge as Mura-karaya, or Guardian, with his residence at Kurumban Kanda, a hill in the northern part of it.
By some, the Galē Deviya is spoken of as the Demala Yaka, the Tamil demon, all South-Indians being collectively called Tamils' by the Sinhalese villagers.
As at most of the detached metamorphic hills of Ceylon, there are several large natural caves, due to weathering and flaking of the rock, on the sides of Raṇagiriya, which retain evidence of their former occupation as residences of Buddhist monks, or temples; but all are now abandoned to the forest, and to the bears and leopards which sometimes take shelter in them. It is not definitely known which of them was the scene of the legendary contest, but it is supposed to be one of the higher caves. There is a small ruined dagaba, or solid dome-shaped relic-mound, built of brick, near some lower caves, and over a cave close by it the following inscription has been cut in the earliest form of letters, with the bent r, which shows that it is probably of not later date than the second century B.C.
Gamikā sita sala Parumaka Tisasa ca.
The cool hall (of) Gāmikā and of the Chief Tissa.
1 Thirty-six miles square.
Gāmikā being a feminine form may be presumed to be the name of the pious headman's wife, who evidently joined her husband in causing the place to be prepared for the reception of the monks. The inscription proves that the legend of the expulsion of the monks cannot have originated before the second century B.C.
The bricks used in the enclosing wall of a room formed at another cave, termed the Uḍa wihāra, the upper temple, are 12.75 inches long, 8.12 inches wide, and 2.75 inches thick, the contents being 285 cubic inches, and the product of the breadth multiplied by the thickness, 22.3 square inches. According to the table given in the next article, these dimensions point to about the third or fourth century A.D., as the approximate time when they were moulded. Thus the monks were still on the hill at that period. The good state of preservation of the plastering on the wall may be taken to indicate a tenancy of the cave extending to perhaps the thirteenth or fourteenth century, or even later. Therefore it would appear that the monks were never driven away from the hill up to comparatively recent times.
In view of this, it is strange to find that the villagers living on the eastern side of the Central mountains, who are totally unacquainted with this district, have preserved the same tradition of the contest for one of the caves. It is strong evidence of the antiquity of the story; and the presence, from early times, of a temple to this God is also indicated by the names of the hill itself. A possible meaning of Raṇagiriya is the hill of the battle.'
By way of explaining the legend, it may be surmised that while in early times an upper cave was utilised as a dēwāla, or demon temple (literally, a god's-residence) for the Gale Deviya, the Buddhist monks occupied the lower ones, and wished to get the dewāla removed. If the death of some of the monks occurred through an epidemic disease, or in any mysterious manner, it would certainly be attributed to the malicious action of this so-called demon; and in this manner the outlines of the story may be accounted for, so far as this hill is concerned. The dewala of the Hill God
has long ago been transferred to a more convenient site at the village of Nirammulla, nearly two miles from the hill.
The legend evidently contains a reminiscence of a conflict between the two religions, Buddhism and the worship of the Hill God, in which the latter was victorious. As a matter of fact, in spite of the overwhelming position of Buddhism, the belief in the power of the Galē Deviyā has survived down to the present day in considerable vigour throughout a large tract of country surrounding his headquarters at Nirammulla, even while all the inhabitants also adhere to Buddhism. It is doubtless due to this faith in Buddhism that the God has been relegated by the Kandians to the ranks of the demons of the island, although he must originally have been a deity friendly to them.
Evidence of this is to be seen in the fact that notwithstanding their present opinion of his character as a demon, the Kandian Sinhalese of the district where his cult prevails still attribute beneficent actions to him. When unfavourable seasons ruin or seriously damage their crops, it is to him that a group of villages will unite to make offerings, and appeal for suitable rains or better times. In wide-spread outbreaks of malarial fever, or in serious epidemics affecting man or beast, the people of the whole country-side equally turn to him collectively for alleviation of their misfortunes. His commanding position is shown by their very rarely or never asking him to exert his powers in the case of minor evils, or those affecting single families.
In spite of the Buddhist story of his killing the monks, it is undeniable that the functions generally credited to him by the Kandians are those of a superior beneficent God, and not those of a maleficent evil spirit. This is nearly the position that he occupies among the Vaeddas, who, however, are on more intimate terms with him, and in some parts even expect him to attend to their little hunting requirements, and undertake the provision of game for them, like the Kiri-Ammā. In sickness, too, he is the benevolent deity to whom each. Vaedda family turns for assistance and medical aid, and who protects their districts from epidemics and misfortune.
The general character of the edifices constructed in honour of such a powerful and kindly deity certainly leaves much to be desired. Among the Tamil-speaking and other village Vaeddas, the building erected as a temple for him is an extremely simple and economical oblong structure, a mere hut, consisting of only one room, with an entrance at the middle of one end. It is roofed with grass, and has the spaces between the sticks of the walls closed by leafy twigs, like their own houses, which, in fact, it closely resembles. The service to the God is sometimes conducted in front of the entrance.
In the north-western Sinhalese districts the Hill God's temples, termed dewālas, like those devoted to all minor deities or demons, differ in no respect from the latter structures. As a general rule, they are dedicated to several of these godlings
or demons, as well as to the service of the God, who thus finds himself in a somewhat mixed company.
They all consist of two rooms, one being a small rectangular chamber with 'wattle-and-daub' walls, plastered over with mud, in which the Abarana, or symbols of the deities, are stored, as well as any lamps required for the services, a copper or bell-metal vessel for containing sandal-wood, and at least one earthenware cup used for holding lustration water (Figs. 51-53). Attached to this is the Dig-ge, the long-house,' an oblong shed extending longitudinally in front of the sanctum, in which part of the services are held, and tom-toms and pipes are played. At one side, a small structure called the Mulutaenge, the kitchen-house,' is built for use as a kitchen when food is cooked for the gods and demons. In some places the dewāla is a small cave-shelter under an overhanging rock, with the front enclosed by a wall of brick or dried clay. The reader is referred to the illustrations of both kinds of dēwālas devoted to this deity, including a celebrated one at Nirammulla, which is held to be the leading one in Ceylon provided for him.