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35. Then when he was afflicted with a severe illness, seeing that the time of his death was come, he addressed the people.

36. And exhorted them to virtue; and so died. But the people were overcome by sorrow at his death.

37. And when his obsequies were performed, nothing being left out, they took of the dust of his funeral pile and used it as medicine.

38. So in the sixteenth year this king went to heaven, and Potthakuntha the Tamil carried on the government.

III. Translation of Chapter LXVIII. and part of LXXIX., by L. De Zoysa, Mudaliyar, published in the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society's Journal, 1856-58,

Vol. III., Part I., No. 9.

THIS Sovereign of lofty aspirations, who was well acquainted with foreign countries, thus thought (within himself) :

"In what well-governed kingdom is the administration of affairs conducted without obtaining a knowledge of its means?

"The object of my sovereignty is the advancement of the prosperity of religion and the state, having vanquished all enemies. This kingdom, although very small, being filled with great prosperity, I shall, by the superiority of my wisdom, soon bring into such a state as that it will surpass the greatness of other kingdoms.

"Conferring appointments on my officers, whose advancement is identical with my own, according to their respective merits, rewarding them with honours and wealth, causing my own people to settle in various parts within my dominions from the mountain Samantakúṭa (Adam's Peak) as far as the seacoast, the cultivation of grain should be carried on in as many ways as possible.'

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Having thus reflected, the king thus addressed his officers :—


In my kingdom are many paddy fields cultivated by means of rain water, but few indeed are those which are cultivated by means of perennial streams and great tanks.

By rocks, and by many thick forests, by great marshes, is the land covered.

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In such a country, let not even a small quantity of water obtained by rain go to the sea without benefiting man.


Paddy fields should be formed in every place, excluding those only that produce gems, gold, and other precious things.

"It does not become persons in our situation to live enjoying our own ease, and unmindful of the interests of the people. And ye all, be ye not discouraged when a necessary but a difficult work is on hand. Regard it not indeed as a work of difficulty, but, following my advice, accomplish it without opposing my instructions."

The highly renowned monarch then ordered the construction of the great embankment celebrated under the name of Koṭṭhabaddha, which had long been swept away by the action of the river, leaving behind nothing but the name, and which indeed had baffled the attempts of former kings (to keep in repair).

Whereupon the ministers, one and all, represented, in various ways, the extreme difficulty of the work, and the instability of it, even if it could be accomplished.

The king, rejecting their counsels, remarked: "What is there that cannot be done in this world by men of perseverance? Is not the tradition still current that Rámá built a bridge over the great ocean itself by means of monkeys?1

"If I am destined, by fortune, to reduce this island under one regal canopy, and to promote the welfare of the state and religion, then indeed will the commencement of the work see the accomplishment of it also."

Thus did he of great courage inspire his ministers with courage.

Before the construction of the embankment, however, the profoundly wise ruler of the land made, from the mouth of the embankment as far as the country of Ratthakara, a great canal of great breadth and strength and of many pórisas2 in depth.

The protector of the land, having assembled a great many stonecutters, workers in metal, ironsmiths, and goldsmiths in the country, and having employed them in the work of cutting stones, got made by them an embankment of great stability and solidity, having the interstices of the stones invisible, like one continued sheet of rock, and having the work of plastering complete.

On the summit of the great embankment, the pious Rájá placed a bó tree, an image-house, and likewise a dágaba.

The king, by means of this canal, so directed the course of the stream as to make it discharge itself into the sea.

Having cleared the great jungle on both sides of the canal, he formed. paddy fields of many thousands of wáhas3 of extent, and converted the place in truth into a Koṭṭhabaddha (" perpetual granaries," from the two Páli words kottha, "granary," and abaddha, "perpetual ").

Thereafter the king having dammed up the mouths of the rivers Sankhawaḍdhamáná, Kumbhilawána, as far as the Súkara Nijjhara,5 (literally, hog cascade" or "stream"), and there, too, having made a canal, and conducting the water into the tank of Mahádáragalla,


In reference to the fable in the Rámáyana that Rámá, the conqueror of Ráwaná, in crossing over from India to Ceylon, caused a bridge to be built over the sea by his army of wánaras or monkeys. The reef of sunken rocks, which extends across the Gulf of Mannár from Rámisseram on the coast of Coromandel to Talaimannar on the coast of Ceylon, is supposed to be the remains of this bridge. "The measure of a man's reach .... Equal to the height, to which he reaches, when elevating both arms with fingers extended." (See Colebrook's Amarakósha, page 160.)

3 According to the Páli Nighaṇḍu of Moggallána :

4 nelis make 1 lahasa or (kuruņi)


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4. This is no doubt the Koṭṭa-vélla or brook. The Sinhalese word do (vélla) and the Páli word @ (baddha), both mean an embankment.

"From Kotta-vélla to Dástoța, a distance of nine miles, the country is one of the most delightful I ever recollect seeing on this island nearly the whole distance a carriage might drive. There are strong marks of many of the plains and parts of the open country having been cultivated; it abounds in tanks and ravines to facilitate irrigation, all of which are neglected and broken. The reason the inhabitants assign for this is, want of people and money to keep them in order.” (Route from Mátalé to Trincomalee, by way of the Amban-ganga, by R. Brook, Esq.)


Instead of :Ognỏ Hoa6. (as far as the Súkara Nijjhara)," some manuscripts read 6. (the place Súkara Nijjhara)." If this be the correct reading, the whole passage might be thus translated: Thereafter the king having dammed up, at the junctions of the Sankhawaḍdhamána and Kumbhilawána, the place (called) Súkara Nijjhara," &c.

thoroughly repairing, at the same time, the breaches thereof, including the clearing of the water-courses, (thus) brought into it a larger body of water than it had before, and, having formed paddy fields from this place as far as the Súkara Nijjhara, collected paddy.

The king, moreover, having made a collection of water in the middle of the river Jajjara (Dęduru-oya ?), and having formed paddy fields, collected vast quantities of grain.

Moreover, having made Panda-wápi, which was formerly very small indeed, (into one) containing a body of water, great and exceedingly lofty, having outlets for the water and an embankment of greatly increased height, length, breadth, and strength, he gave it the name of the Sea of Parákrama."

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In an island situated in the middle of it, on the summit of a rock,1 the king built a Dhátu-gabbho (dágaba) resembling the peak of Mount Kaílása.

In the middle also of the tank he built a royal palace, three stories high, and of superlative beauty: a palace indeed for the collected joys of the world.

The following, and many other ruined tanks and mountain streams, did this benevolent monarch repair in various parts of his dominions, viz. the tank of Mahágalla2, the tank of Setthi, likewise that of Chhattunnata, the tank of Tamba, and the tank of Ambawala, the tank of Giribá, the tank of Patala, the tank of Mandika, the tank of Mórawápi, and the tanks of Sadiyaggama and Tilagulla, also the tank of Malawalli, the tank of Kálikittakandaka, the tank of Kanikaragalla, and the mountain stream Buddagama, the tank of Súkaragama ("the village of hogs"), the tank of Maha-kirala, the tank of Giri, and those of Rakkhamana, Ambála, and Katunnaru, the tanks of Jallibáwa and Uttarála, and that of Tintinigama (" the tamarind village "), the tanks of Dhawalawitthi, Kira-wápi, and Nalannaru, the tank of Karawitthawilatta, likewise that of Dumbaragama. The tanks of Múnaru and Salakas, and also the tanks of Múlawárí, Girisigama, Polonnarutala, and Wisiratthala.

Draining up great marshes in the country of Panchayójana (Pasyodun, or Pasdun kóralé), he formed paddy fields and collected paddy.

Allotting lands (for paddy cultivation) in the jungles there, and in many other places, calling together the village chiefs, he caused the inhabitants to engage themselves in the cultivation of paddy.

In this manner, having augmented nine-fold the revenues of the state from what they were, the wise king caused the country to be so prosperous as never to know the calamities of famine.

He who was skilled in the maxims of government, wishing that there should not be even a small spot of land within his dominions inhabited by men, which should be left unbenefited, formed many pleasant and delightful gardens and groves, full of fruit-bearing and flower-bearing trees and creepers, of every variety, fit for the use of man.

Thus did this sagacious ruler of the land cause his small kingdom, which had attained prosperity by the superiority of his wisdom, to surpass other great kingdoms in affluence..

1 I am informed by Mr. Braybrooke, who has visited Padavil-kulum, that there is a rock in the embankment, called by the natives (Deviyannékanda, God's hill," or " King's hill "), which they believe is haunted by the spirit of King Mahasen, to whom tradition ascribes the construction of the tank.

I have no means of ascertaining the Sinhalese names of these tanks. If we had a list of them in Sinhalese, we might probably identify most of them.

The sixth-eighth chapter of the Mahávansa, entitled " The Advancement of the Prosperity of the Kingdom," composed both to comfort and to afflict righteous men.


This supreme of men, for the purpose of averting the calamities of famine, constructed many tanks and canals in various parts (of the island). Having turned the course of the river Kára-ganga1 by means of a great stone embankment, and having, by means of a great canal called Ákása-ganga ("celestial river") conducted its broad stream to the royal palace which was a noble one resplendent like the sun,' he constructed the "King of Tanks" (Wápi-rája), celebrated under the name of "The Sea of Parákrama," which was like unto a second ocean, and which contained a perpetual supply of water.


He likewise built the great tank known by the name of the " Lake of Parákrama," having a stone aqueduct constructed over land of difficult access. Also the tanks of Mahinda, Ekáha-wápi (literally, “the tank of one day "), the Ságara ("sea ")3 of Parákrama, and the waterfall of Kottabaddha.

In many places the chief of men built minor tanks, in number one thousand four hundred and seventy-one. The ruler of the land constructed conduits and channels of stone in no less than 300 tanks which had been in ruins.

The king also repaired many ancient tanks, such as the great tank of Manihira (Minnéry), the tank of Mahádáragalla, the tank of Suwannatissa, Dúratissa, and those named Kála-wápi (Kaláwewa), and Brahmanagama. The tanks called Nálikératthamba and Rahéra, likewise the tank of Giritalia and Kumbhíla-sobbha. The tanks of Kánawápi, Pádi, and Katigama, the tank of Pattapásána, the tank of Mahanna, the tank of Mahanámamattaka, the tank of Waddhana, and the tank of Mahadanta, the tank of Kanagama, and the tanks of Wira and Walahassa, and that called Suramána, the tanks of Pásánagama, Kálawalli and Kahalli, and those named Angagama, Hillapattakkanda, and Madagu. These tanks, which had been in ruins, did the king restore to their former condition, as well as others of less note, in number 467.

1 Major Forbes states that the river Amban-ganga is joined" by a considerable stream "called Kalu-ganga. Might not this be the Kára-ganga alluded to here? The Páli form of Kalu-ganga would be Kála-ganga, the only difference between it and Kára-ganga being the substitution of the letter l for r.

Instead of góc., “which was a noble one resplendent like the sun," some manuscripts have ɔgóqua., which may be translated as follows: ⚫ made a shining or resplendent island."

3 This is either a clerical mistake, or there were more than one "Sea of Parákrama." While on this subject, I may here notice a very curious passage in the “ Rája Ratnákara," which speaks of the construction by Parákrama Báhu of three great tanks known by the names Mahá Samudraya, Béna Samudraya, and Mati or Mani Ságara.

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This passage is translated by Upham as follows :- "The said king of Ceylon also rendered his fame great by causing to be made in Ceylon three great lakes, the first of which was called Mahá Samudra (i.e., great sea"), the second was called Bena Samudra (i.e., allied to the sea "), and the third was called Meda Ságaraya (i.e., the middling sea ")."

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It is however right to add, that this passage is not found in the “Saddharma Ratnákara," from which the author of “ Rája Ratnákara" has copied almost verbatim the events of this reign. Nor indeed is such a passage found in any other work on Ceylon which I have seen.

In about one thousand three hundred and ninety-four tanks did the king, who was a proficient in matters of state, effect repairs and improvements.

[For the remainder of this Chapter, see Ceylon Almanac, 1834.]

IV. The following interesting extracts from Bishop Caldwell's "History of Tinnevelly" might perhaps help to throw light on the subject of the different races of Tamils who so often invaded this Island from India, and of the famous invasion of India by the Sinhalese under the reign of Parakrama Bahu the Great.


The Tamil people, or, as they are called in Sanskrit, the Dravidas, were divided in ancient times into three great divisions-the Cheras, the Cólas, and the Pánḍiyas. The arrangement of the names is climatic, and denotes that the Pándiyas were supposed in those times to have the pre-eminence-a supposition which appears to be in accordance with the facts of the case. According to Tamil legends, Chéran, Cólan, and Pándiyan were three brothers who at first lived and ruled in common at Korkai, near the mouth of the Támraparņi. The rules held by all three in common were at Mukkáne (the three properties) near Korkai. Eventually a separation took place: Pandiyan remained at home; Chéran and Cólan went forth to seek their fortunes, and founded kingdoms of their own to the north and west.


The Sanskrit name Pándya is written in Tamil Páṇḍiya, but the more complete Tamilised form Pándi is still more commonly used all over Southern India. I derive Pándiya, not from the Tamil and Malayalam Pandu, "ancient," though that is a very tempting derivation, but from the Sanskrit Pándu, the name of the father of the five Pandava brothers. This very form Pándiya, in the sense of a descendant of Pándu, is mentioned, as I am informed by Professor Max Müller, by Kátyáyana, the immediate successor of Pánini.— History of Tinnevelly, Chap. I., page 12.


There are certain geographical stanzas current in Tamil which give the boundaries and extent of the three Tamil kingdoms-the Chéra, Cóla, and Pándiya. According to the stanzas relating to the Pandiya kingdom, its boundaries were the river Vettáru to the north, Kumari (Cape Comorin) to the south, the sea (that is, the Gulf of Mannár and Palk Strait or the Bay of Tonde) to the east, and the "great highway" to the west.-Ibid, Chap. II., page 24.


When the Dravidas are mentioned as distinct from the Cólas, as they sometimes are in the Mahábhárata and the Puránas, the Pandiyas must be meant.-Ibid, Chap. II., page 26.

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