302

JouRNAL,
R.A.s. (cnvl-ox)
[Vor'
XXXI
PRE.BUDDHIST
RELIGIOUS
BELIEFS
IN
CEYLON
BY
S. PARANAViTANA'
Epigraphical
Assistant to the Archaeological
Commissioner'
The religious beliefs that u'ere prevalent among the
Sinhalese people be{ore they accepte<1
Buddhism
in the third
centurv lr.fo." Clrrist have been very littie sturlied'
The
materialsal,ailable{orasuclrastudyareveryscanty.
From the chronicles,
rve learn verv littie on this subiect;
and even the meagre information
they furnish us lvith has
not receivecl the attention
that is due'
Tne XIaltd,uamsa,
tn its account of the {oundation of
Anuraclhapura
by Panqlukabhaya
in the fourtli century B'C"
merrtionsanumberofreiigiousarrclpublicinstittrtionsestabli-
'shecl
there b)' that monarch'
Anuradhapura'
in later times'
becanie
the hol1r city of the Sinhaiese
Buddirists ;
and' as
such, the monks must have preserved authentic tradition about
its origin.
Therefore,
it mav be assumecl that this account
in
ltre Mah(iuarhsa
is based on facts'
'fhe
present paper 1s
inainly a stuclv o{ the religious {ounclations
of Pa[rd'ukflbhaya'
supplemented
herc and there b-v epigraphical
and other
lit"rary
eviclence
rvherever
such are found throrving
light
on the subject uuclcr discussion'
I clo not propose to discuss them in the same
order as
the.v are founcl in the chronicle'
On the other hand' it would
be more convenient
if thev are taken in connection
withthe
clifferent
cults to rvhich thev appertained'
In
so
doing, we shall frrst cJiscuss thosc beUefs o{ a lower level
of
culture as the rvorship o{ the yakpas'
l
/', .
I'tate A
I{ALO ]SI,ANi)
l. Slr(rrn \.r.ris Zrv-\nar
MALE ISL.qND
2. Gnevn
oB Sar,r,(N
Munlulran
No. 8z .-rg2gl eRE.BUDDHrsr
REr-rcrous ts,bLrEFS
30.3
yaksa
oults: Cittarija.
In Vv. B4-88 of the roth chairter
of tt
"
X,Iahd,uamsa,
we read :- " He (paldukdbhaya)
settlecl the yakkha
KaJavela on the east sicle of the city, the yakkha
Cittaraja
at the lower end of the Abhaya tank. The slave rvoman who
had helped in time past ancl r,vas reborn
a yakkhiTi,
the
th<iughtful king settlecl at the south gate of the city.
Within
the roval precincts,
he housed the
;zakkhiqr
in the form of a
rrrare. Yeerr by year, he had sacrificial offeriirgs made to
them and to other yakkhas;
but on festival clays he sat rvith
Cittarir,ja beside him on a seat of equal hcight, and having
;:ods and men to dance before him, the king took his pieasure.
in joyous
zr.nd merrv wise.,,1r; In the sarne .hop,"r,
vv ro:l_ro5,
it is saici :-" With Kdlavela ancl Cittaraja
who rvere visible
1in hodily forrn), the prince enjoyed his goocl fortune,
he rvho
iiad yakkhas
and bhlrtas for friencls.,,(r)
l r. Henry
parker
(s) is of opinion that the two yakkhas
:id,lavela
and Cittaraja were trl,,o chiefs of the aborigines
..i Ceylon whorn
pan{ukabhava
treatecl ll,ith spccial honour,
ris a matter of policv,
to reconcile
these savages rvlio had
i ,.:en
dispossessed
of their la'c1 by the i'vacling
Sinhalese.
i',e
two yaksas gainecl anything by sharing an cqual throne
.itir
Pancl'liabhaya.
on the otlier ha'cl, it is cited as an
i: r;trDple
of the king,s majesty
ancl greatness
that he sat on
r:rir €QUel eminence
with these supernatural
beings. There
ir
aiso otlrer eviclence,
outside the XtI ahdaa.drsa,
to prove
tii:ti
a yaksa namecl Cittar6ja was thc object of a popular
r:,.rit
in ancient India. In the I{uruclharnma
Jdtaka,
it is
ilr.i,'l
61 Dhanaiijaya,
king of the Kurus :_,,Dvery
third year,
irr
lhe
month of Kerttika
(November)
the king usecl to holcl
a lL':siival
callecl the Kattika Feast.
\Vhile keeping this feast
tirr
kings
usecl to decl< thenselves
out in great magnificence,
1" Geiger,s
transiatir
2. A*ci,ent
Ceyton"
ii'tt.'
'o'
z lbid pp
75-76'
3o4
JoURNAL,
R.A's' (cnvlox)
[vor'
XXXI'
and clress up like goils, they stood in the presence of a goblin
(yakkha) ,ra*.a Cittardja, ancl they would shoot to the four
points o{ the compass
arrows wreathed in florvers' and painted
in clivers colours.
This king, then, in keeping th-e.feast,stood
ff,
on the bank of a iake, in the presence of Cittardja' and shot
-,rd*
arrows to the four qtrarters
"(1)
t'
\
Besicles the identity in names, the trvo spirits rnentionetL
in the Mahd,ttath,sa
and in tjne
Jataka,
have ottrer points in
common.
At Anuradhapura,
the abode o{ Cittaraja was below
the tank Abhayavd,pt
(tsasavakkulam)' When king Dhanafl-
jaya of the Kururlhamma Jataka
stood by the side of
Cittard,ja,
it was on the embankment
o{ a tank
k:ahi
fdliyd).
From this, it becomes clear that Cittaraja rvas
a water spirit'
On speciai
festival clays' Paq{uLkfr'bhaya
enjoyed
"roti"
pl."r.,te (ratikIS'a) in the presence of Cittarija'
and-in the
Jdtaka
story, the Kuru king stoocl by the-side of
this spirit on the day of the Karttika festival and shot flowery
"rro*rtothe{ourquarters'Inlaterlndianmythology'
the flowery arrows are a svmbol of Kama' the god of Love ;
and their occurrence
in tlris story shows that Cittara,ja, too,
was of a simiiar
nature. This is also borne out by the story
given in lhe Mahauafnsa,thal
in the clandestine
love affairs
olCittaandGama4i,theparentsofPa4{.ukSbhaya,this
yakqa took the part of the young lovers ancl saved them
i.o* many a periious situation'(')
The name Cittaraja
itself-if
we may interpret
it as meaning
" King of the mind
or heart" (
B
)-has
afflnity wttin ilI an obhat a' mindborn" one of
the names o{ the Hindu Cupid' The festival of Karttika'
during which this yaksa was worshipped'
had a saturnalian
character.
Much sexuallicense
rvas allowed on tiris day;(ai
and, according
to one account,
it was the custom' on the night
r. Idtaha" translabiun
I['
P'
254
2. See Mahduanisa
Ch' IX'
?. Rouse' in ftit'-tti"trtifn
of the Kurudhamma Jataka
has
,."r,a3r"a^ii-'ting
;i *u"" Colours'
(Skt Citrarail)'e.r1oyea
;n tt
e
'"""
i."" iit"na,
i,
+ls
shdrvs that this lestiva
company of women'
.\o" 8z .-rgzgl pRE_BUDDHrsr
nEI-rcrous
BELTDFS
3o5
oJ this festival,
for tire king to go round the city splendidly
attired, stopping
at the cloors of the chief houses, wt itstyourlg
ivomen came
and scattered flowers
on him. (r)
But the h[ah,a,aanisa
r,vouid make us be]ieve that along
rvith Kd,lavela,
Cittard,ja
also was of Ceylon origin.
Beforl
he was born as a yaksa, rre is saicl to ira,re been a trustecl
servant of Pand.ukabhaya,s
father; and we have already
referred
to the part he playecl
in that prince,s
love intrigue.
itories connecteci
witli the gods of
"
p.opt.
or" .r.ry oit.r,
associated
with their heroes.
pandukabhaya
was the national
hero of pre-Bud<lhist
Ceylon
; ancl, it is very likely that many
:,tories from the current
folklore
of the clay were graftei
tcr the romantic
account of his career as given in the chronicle.
1n <1oing this, it is naturar
to make ceyio'
the scene of these
rrtories,
and, in this way, Cittardja is clescribecl
as a yaksa
',i
Ceylon
origin;
though his cult was prevalent
at ilre same
lirne, or even eariier, in India" es ar-, analogou.s
instance,
it rnay be mentioned
that to the Hindu colonists
of
Java,
tire heroes of the Mahdbherata
were of
Javanese origin and
tlre battles between
the Kauravas ancl
paT{avas
were"fought
{ril
Javanese soil.
The Genius
of the Tisivava
As the Abliayavfi.pi
had its guardian
spirit in Cittard,ja,
,"'
'
had the Tissavapi
an unnameci
genius as its protector.
.li'ii'r,
we are told in an inscription
of ihe tentn century, that
ii.re fss1111111
.ri
Vihera was situatecl
..
by the side of the Tissa
t;urk
the waters of tvhich formecl the clwelling place of a genius
(irrAzrs)
who was convertecl
by the Saint r ahinda and was
tirrele
to beof servicetothereligionas
welj as to the world.,,4z;
1'lris
spirit is here callecl a ro'lt,ls
;
but the word.s yaksa and
r.
See Umrnadanti
JJtaka, Vol. V o, zr{f
?. Vessagiriya
Slab inscriptio"
or ltSrri#L
w n.z.r., p.
33ff
)i',,,1','0i",#'!:^^Yil,,i!"
-,11.a/tahim.iyan
uisin uinoyd sasun urida
t:" ,,,_.", !".i*
tunn, 'ptr.tngu pon I tsa uunnisd pihiti Isurmenu,
eic.
,, '.b
(u
{u(. (.xlreme srmllarity,
in rhc tcnth century script, between
',,'.
.r
mbols
lor ha anrl ng.a, ir:. \Vi.kr;;;;i;r,.
i
".
wronslv read P , trtr
tor pirinsi.
rrr","'"ie,
i'ls i;;;;i;r;;':i
rhis passage,.which
'"
;dmits
is (lo-ubtful,
is far irom ;;;;;;i;""
"'
306
JoriRNAL,
It.A.s'
(cEYI-oN) fVor'
XXXI
rakpasa are appliecl inclilTereutlv
to tire same being'(l) and
hence the genius of thc'lisdvava
is mentioned here in dealing
u,ith tire yakga cults' As the people in the tenth century
believet'l that tiris spirit
u'as convertetl
by X'lahincla' the
apostle of lJtLclclhisrl
in Ceylon, it is obvious t1'rat he rvas
"
k*n.u. in pre-Buclclhist
times' As far as I knor'r" there is
no rnention in li.teratule c'{ the conversion
of this vaksa
by
I'Iahincla ;
but sirnilar
feats are ascribe{l to his brother
missioners
r'vho proclairnecl
thc message of the Buddha in
Kastimir
ancl ottrer cor-rntries'
Ki,lavela
Kt1lavela
who is associatecl
rvith Cittardja
in the story
of Pa4qlr,rka,bhaya
is not knorvn from other sotlrces'
His
shrine which
"r-as
near ttre eastern
gate of the citv continued
down to later times ;
for lahirsena
in tlie fourth century
is said to have constrircted
a cetiya at this place'(')
It is
not stateil
that I'Iahd,sena,s
cetiytt' stlpplanted
tlre yaksa,s
shrine ;
therefore,
it is likely that the older r'vorship of the
yaksa prevailecl sicie by si<le rvith the honours
paid to the
cet'iya.
X'loreover,
as rvill be seen in the secluel' the cetiya
*ur, lrl' pre-Budclhist
Inclia' a {eature of the yakpa cuit ;
and'
tfiir'p"rti".tfar
one built by l{ah:rsena
may have been devoted
to tliat r.vorsirip"
The site of the eastern sate trf Anuradhapura
is near tlie modern NakS' Vehera'
Maheja
Another
yaksa rvorshipped
bv the Sinhaiese
in Par}flu-
k:ibhava's
time was namecl l'{aheja'
His shrine' situated
a little distance to the rvest o{ the present
Thirpariima
was
r. For instance,
that monster callecl Raktiiksi who
proved to
be a scourgc to tt
"
p"opil oi";;;i;;
i,,"tt
"
.tit""
of Siri Sanshabodht
is callecl a tahhka
uv tf,"
^l"ili*'iI
tie llah.attanisa
bnt in the iater
Hatthaaanagaltn
vol"'n'\'J;;""1":";
"irt"
"pitrt"t
ot rahhlnsa'
(See
''l.fz.
ch. XXXV, ,'. o'2
"nl"Aor-tii'o'''oqotto
'Vatitsa'
Ch' Vl' V: t")'
rl
the Lahhanatdt'a
sAt'n,*ii';;;';;;;iii;'"nt1v
stvled
' I(ing of Yaksas
and ' liing of thc Rriksasrs"
2. ,a/2. XSXVIl'
V'
44'
No. 8z .-'--rg2gl pRE_BUDDHrsr
rrEt-rcroLrs
BELTEFs
3oT
cailed lfahejaqhara.(1)
It is stated
jn
fite Muluuatnsa
(()lt.
ry \r.
3o)
in connection
with
the founclation
of the Thrlpardma,
that the rorral elephant
bearing
the sacrccl
relic
that was to
lre cnshrined
in this Slif a carneont
of the citr. frorn
the south_
crn gate. proceedecl
as far as tire slirine
of this
traksa
rrnd the' returneil
to the site of the sacrecl;;_;.I"T"
rnore reference
to hiil is founcl
in later literature
ancl it is
'ossible
tirat
his shrine
rvas .enrorishecr
to find room
for
the Bucltlhist
mo'astic
b*ilcli'gs
that sprang
u;r arouncl
the 'I'hfrpd,ra,ma.
Vaiilavana
and other
yaksas.
lhe king
of ail the yakgas
is Vaisrava4a
rvho is a familiar
figr_rre in Iluclclhist
mytirolcgy,
U";r.,g.nr.riaerecl
one of the four
great
kings reigning
in the
jowest
c,f the six heavens.
He is
;r1so r,vell known
in Hindu ,rrytt
oiogy
";
Kuvera,
the god of
r:iches.
Naturaily,
this imporia"t
p...**g"
r,rra.s not neglected
iry tsa!{ukd,b}raya
i' his ..h"-.
J-r.ir*r"",
founcrations
rvhen le.sserdivinities
who were tris subordi.ntes
rvere honoured.
,{s his abode
was fixed
a banyan
tr". ,r.u. the western gate
,,1
the citt'.{r}
About
tree worship
rve r,vill speak in its
ilroper
place.
Another yakga.
of whom a separate
cult is not mentioned,
lut rvho is connecterl
lvith
paldukdbhava,s
legencl,
was named
iutindhara.
His haunt was the int
"
,r"*.a
.frimbariyangana
;rear
the river ilIahaviligaiiga
in tlie eastern
part
of the island.
r{is
wife was the yaksinr
Cetiyd r,vho
has already
been
'itentioned.
(3)
Jayasena of Arit6liapabbata
rvas
another
:'rputed
yaksa
in ancient
Ceylon.
The Rosardhini
has
.an
. .
r. l\[r'.
X.
9o. Tr,.". ,];f,
_conrains
flre readings
Maheiii
attd
rotred.a. 'ilrc
Sanzanta plri/:fu
n",
i)tri'"| Tii, t
"
comnrenl,,,
i
ircn
says rhat this was a
yaksa
"}lrin*-
,'1b""*
tr,e colombo , clitioir
2. _11a.
X. 8q.
.
3. Mu. X,5i and 1rhd, p. zor. It is also stated there that thrs
jJsa yastilled in the bitric or si.is-variiu*rii,"",i'uiluvu
annirrirarcd
4!
308 JouRNAL,
R.A.s. (cEYLoN)
[Vor.
XXXI .
interesting story of a fight between him and Gofha-
Imbara, one of the ten warriors of Duffhgemaqi'(t)
In the first of the three supposed visits of the Buddha
to Ceyion, he is saicl to have preached his doctrine to Sumana'
the cleity who had his abode on the summit of Samantakufa
(Adam's Peak). It is, therefore, probable that this deity
was known to the Sinhalese before their acceplance of
Buddhism. In the ilenatiya
Sutta of t]ne Dt'gloa l{ikaya,
a yakkha namerl Sumana is mentioned. It is possible that
'sumana
of Adam's Peak was identical with this yakqa
.and
was later elevated to the dignity of ailetta' The fact
that his abocle was on a mountain and not in one of the six
heavens agrees qr.rite well with the epithet of bkutnm'adeua
'the gods of the earth' applied to the yaksas. Elsewhere,
I have identified him with the Mahay5,na Bodhisattva
Samantabhadra ;
guided by the iconographical representation
of the deity in later times;('?) Such merging in of local deities
with gods o{ a more universal character is a familiar
phenomenon.
Yaksinis.
Oi the female spirits worshipped in ancient Anuradhapura,
in the fourth century 13.C., the first in importance was Va{ava-
mukhi, the mare faced fairy who seerrr-s to have been specially
honoured by Pal{ukdbhaya as she was installed rvithin the
royal palace itself. There is hardly any doubt that
Va{avEmrrkhi was the same as the yakpini named Assamukhi,
mentionecl in the Padakusaiam5,navaka Jetaka'(3)
Inthis
story, she acted as a fairy god-mother to the Bodhisattva
then known as Paclakusala. She taughthim a charm by the
virtue of which one was able to detect a thief even a{ter the
expiry of seven years. Assamukhi seems to have been the
.centr-e of a popular cult in North India at the time of the rise
r. Ediiinn of r9o7,
P.
87 ff.
;. €ee Mahayaii'siin Cfu,Ion C.
J.
Sc' VoIII' pt' r p'64'
3. Jataha,
III.
P. 5oz
ff.
No" 82 .-rg2gl pRE_BUDDHrsr
REr,rcrous
BELTEFs
309
1
",*tf
of Buddhism.
"tn:
is.clepicted
in early lluddhist
sculptures
at Bhdjd,,
Sdnci, Bodh
Gayi, and
patalputra.
fn some of
these she appears
in scenes
depicting
tfr"
paaakusala
Mdna*
vaka
Jdtaka ; whereas,
in others .h.""pf."r.
alone.
She also
appears
amongst
the peaks
of Govardhana,
in a later stele
from
Malrdor.
(r)
Another
yaksini
was installed
at the southern
gate
of the city.
Her name is not given;
but it is said that in
her previous
birth,
she was thl slave *o_ur,
who rescued
Pan{ukdbhaya,
in his infancy,
f.o_
inl plots
laid
out by
his uncles,
to murder
him. (f
Tr
The lllestern
eue6n"
Lile lwahaarmsa,
chapter
X, v. 89, tells us that
panflukE-
bhaya
instailed
a gocidess
named
e"."fl*".U;ini
nsal th.
rvestern gate
of aucient
Anuraclhapura. prof.
Geiger,
in
the introduction
to his edition
of tnuilfr.onicle
comments
on the name
as follow-s
:_The
nu^" porr:himard,jiniseems
to
mean 'the
Western pueens:
j
it is used for the name of
the chapel
or sanctrrary
of those goddesses"
I think,
it is
not merely
accidental,
that the ."rr""to"r1r
of the
facchimar_
:!0"t
"
*?, built pacchimad.ad,raaisat,iage
(at the Western
Gate).
We cto not know
."ythirr;:
;l*"r"r,
.ro,rt
rhe
character
of these
Western go".r,
; ;;"):;.r"
perhaps
death
godtlesses. " (s)
prof.
Geiger
translates
the word p acchimard,j
ini
ir.s if it were in the plural
number.
It I
singular
;
one of the variant
forms
occ'ri*,f
,ilT"fl:l,1:lJ
p.accltintard,jinim,if.
tak.enas
the correct
o.,il, l' the accusative
singuJar.
Therefore,
it is evident
thut ;;y
one
.Western
[ueen,' and not many
of them,
was instatted
by
pan{u-
I'rdbhaya.
., .Tn"
Chinese pilgrim
Hieun
Tsiang
gives
us a clue
to
the identity
of this
.
Western go..rr.,
ifJ glrr.,
t*o versions
r. See Coomaraswamy,
^Histoly
of Ind,ian
and Ind,ouesialx
Art, p" 26, ... 11,1y.,
X.
g5.
3. Mahduamsa,
Geiger,s
"aitio.r,
Introduction,
p. LIV.
3ro
JouRNAL,
R.A.s. (cEYLoN)
[Vor'
XXXI '
of the legend connected with the origin of the Siniialese
people; one of them, most probably, was what was told him
ty ift" Sinhalese
monks whom lie met at Keici' and the other
basecl on the Sanskrit Si11r'h'ald'aadd'na'
In the {ormer version'
the meeting of the amorous princess with a lion"their living
together, the birth of a son and claughter to thern' the manner
in which the rnother an<1 chilclren escapecl from the lion's
'den, their subsequent
arrival in a human habitation' the lion's
pursuit of his wi{e ancl chilclren, the ravages committed by
in. Ung of the beasts among the country {olk' the king's
pro"I"-ation offering a rich reward to any person rvho would
tia fri. couutry o{ this unwelcome visitor and the killing of
the lion by his own son agree, in the main' with the version
of this legend as tolcl in the Ceylon chronicles'
From this point, Hieun Tsiang's narrative differs t'idely
from the Ceylonese traclition. According to the latter' the
lion's son was cfferecl the kingclom of Vanga by the grate{ui
people. He refused this ofier, and rvent to La$a where he
founded a city ancl reigned there with his sister as his queen'
His son wasVijaya, the conquerorof Ceylon and the eponymous
hero of the Sinhalese race. According to Hieun Tsiang' it
was the lion's son, and not his granclson, who colonised Ceylon
;
ancl the lion's daughter, the sister of Simhala,was tl're a.ncestress
of a race of Amazons hnown as the 'Western Women''
That
part of the story which is pertinent to the subject under dis-
cussionmaybestbegivenintheChinesepilgrim'sou'rlwotds'
" The king then saici, ' Who is this man who has done
such a rvonclerful deed ? Allurecl by promises o{ reward
c.n the one hand, ancl alarmed by {ear of punishment on tl're
other, if he kept back anything, he at last revealed the wbole
from beginning to end ancl told tlie touching story without
reserve" The king said
'Thou wretch, if thou wouldst
kill thy father, how much more those not related to thee !
Your <leserts indee<1 are great for clelivering my people from
the savage cruelty of a beast whose (passion) it is difBcuit
\o. 82.-1929] pRE_BUDDHrsl
RELrGrous BELTEFS
3rr
to assuage, and rvhose hateful tempers are casily
arousecl;
tiut to kiii your
own father,
this is a rebeilious (unnatural)
tlisposition.
I wiil reward your
goocl cieed largely; but you
shall be banishecl
from the country
as the punishment
of your
crime. Thus, the laws will not be ilfringecl
ancl the king,s
worcl not vioiated.'
On this, he prepared
two large shi"ps
iboats)
in which he storecl much provision (c,rrecl
rice or other
grain).
'fhe
mother he detainecl in the kingclom,
and provided
her lvith all necessa.ry
things as the ,eJurd of the services
clone. The son anrl daughter each were placed in a sep&rate
boat, and aba'.oned
to the chance of the ouot". ancl thewind.
The boat in which the son r,vas embarkecl,
clriven over the sea,
came to this Ratnadvrpa.
Seeing it abounded with precious
gems, he took up his abocie here.,,
" Afterwards,
merchants
seeking for gems frequently
r:ame
to the island.
He then killecl the merchant
chief and
detained
his chilclren.
Thus he extencled
his race. His
sons and grandsons
becoming
numerous,
they proceede<l
to elect a king ancl ministers anrl to clivide the people into
tiasses. They then buiit a city and erectecl towns, and seized
on the territory
by force; ancl because
their original founcier
got his name by catching
a
jion,
they cailecl the country
lafter his name)
Sirhhala,,,
" The boat in which the girl was embarkecl
was clriven
,rver
the sea till it reacired
persia
(po-la-sse),
the abode of
"l'estern
demons who by intercourse
wiili her engenclered
a clan of wcimen chilclren, anci therefore
the country is now
;allecl the country of the Western lVomen.,,{r)
According
to this story, the ancestress
of this mythical
race
of the 'Western
Women
,
rvas the sister o{ Sinihala, the
r:eputed
founrler of the sinharese race. Therefore, it is natural
that
tlieir queen (i.e. the Western
Oueen) lvas an object of
;iopular veneration
among the primitive
Sinhalese. As
r. Beal's Bud,d.hist Reaord.s of the Western World,,
yol"
II. pp.
:139-240.
3rz JOURNAL,
R.A.s. (covroN)
[\ror.
XXXI"
these women are said to have had their origin by the inter-
course of Sinihala's sister with the western demons (yaksas),
the worship of their queen must be considered one phase of
the then widely prevalent yakqa cult.
In his account of Persia, through which country he passed
onhisreturn to China, Hieun Tsiang gives some more infor-
m,ation about the 'Western Women.' He says:-" To the
southwest of Fo-lin, (1) in an island of the sea, is the kingdom
of the Western Women. Here, there are only women, lvith
no men ; they possess a large quantity of gems and precious
stones, which they exchange in Fo-lin. Therefore, the king
of Fo-lin sends certain men to live with them for a time. If
they should have male children, they are not allowed to bring
them up."
1z;
The existence, to the west of India, of an island inhabited
by a race of Amazons has also been believed in by mediaeval
travellers. Marco Polo says that
5oo
miles to the south of
Kesmacoran (identified with Makran in Balrrchistan) there
was an island of Males and another of Females. About their
location" Colonel Yule, the editor of Marco Polo remarks :-
" It is not perhaps of much use to seek a serious identifica-
tion of the locality of these islands or, as Marsden has done,
to rationalise the fable. It ran from time immemorial and"
as nobody ever found the islands, their locality shifted with
the horizon though the legend long hung about Socotra and
its vicinity"" (3
)
Yule also gives reference to other mediaeval
travellers who had left accounts of these two islands.
A reminisence of the stories about the island of the
Amazons is also found in t]ne Mahdaaritsa version of the Sini-
hala legend. When Vijaya, the conqueror of Ceylon, was
banished with his foilowers from his native land, their wives
were sent abroad in one ship and their children in another.
r, Sup-posed to be the same as the Byzantine empire.
2. Beal, op cit, p. 279.
3.
Yule, Traaels oJ Marco Polo,London, tgz6. Vol, II. pp"
4o4-
405.
No. 8z .-rg2gl pRE-BUDDHrsr
RELrGrous BELTEFS
313
The women were ca.st ashore in an island where they founcl
h.sbands' The Island was thenceforward
knorr'n as Mahi-
tadvipei, (the
Island of Females).
The ship in which the
children sailed was driven to another island which received
thename of Nagnadvipa (the Island of Nakerl Men). These
two islandscorrespond
to the two mentioned by Marco
polo.
(t)
According to the Mahauaritsa narrative, the ancestress
of the inhabitarrts
of the Female Island was the wife and not
the sister of the hero of the Sjmhaia legend.. This confusion
may be drre to the fact that the clan to which Vijaya belonged
seems to have practiced
the custorn of sister marriage.
Sinhalese folklore, too, knows of a land, namecl Stripura
(the City of \{/omen), peopled by a race of Amazons" I have
heard that Gajabahu I, the hero of many a popular ballad of
theSinhalese,
visited this Land of Women on the occasion of
his expedition
to south India. Mv informant also tolcl me
that Stripura is but another name for Malabar" This Sinhalese
tradition
about a race o{ women reputed to have livecl some_
where on the west coast of India is supported by
persian
and
Arab travellers
of the ninth century A.D. who
.
reported at
Bussora
that there dwelt in the kingdom of Thafek on the
west coast of India, a race of women very fair and beautiful,
,A.ccorcling
to its situation as given by these travellers,
J.
Kennedy
thinks that the land of these fair women was some-
where in the neighbourhoocl
of Goa. He also mentions that
there is alocal tradition in Goa to the effect
,that
there existed
not far off to the south-east a race of women noted for their
fairness
and their beauty, the descendants of a
portuguese
convent
of dissolute nuns who had established a community
of free love and were rulerl by an abbess
,
(z; Ibn Batuta,
the uxorious Arah traveller of the fourteenth centurv had
Etymologic_ally, the names Mahilddvrpa and Nagnadvipa
seern to be identical with Maladive and Nicobai, the name"s oi ti,o
groups
of
jstands
ofi rhe u.est coast of Ceylon.
'
tw"niiiiiipi:iii.
Motadiua and Naggadipo:T. N;ii";;ril'
^""'
2.
J.
R. A. S. Ior r9o4. p. 163.
314 JoURNAL,
R.A.s. (cEvLo\) Vor. XXXI
also heard about this land o{ women; and triecl to get definite
information about it
;
but without success. (1)
From the above, it becomes clear that the mytli of a race
of Amazons living somervhere to tire west of India or in the
west of India itself r,vas rvideiy prevalent {rom remote down
to modern times" In the time of Hieun Tsiang, it lvas believed
that these women had their origin in the sister of Siriihala.
The mention of the Female Island in the Mahauarir,sa in this
connexion, and the stories still current in Sinhalese folklore
about a ' City of Women' points to the fact that the myth of
the Arnazons was known in ancient Ceylon.
'lherefore,
it is
hardiv open to doubt that the 'Western
Queen'
of PaTqluke-
bhaya's time was the queen of 'the WesternWomen' rnentioned
by the Chinese traveller"
Wrat the nature of this godcless's cult rvas, when she
ceasecl to be an object of popular devotion, rvhether there are
anv traces of her cult in modern Sinhalese folk religion and
whether her cult was absorbed in that of any of the female
divinities worshipped by the Sinhalese today, are questions,
there is not suffrcient evidence to answer rvitir certainty.
Genenal Remarks on the Yaks.a Cults,
Considering the wide diffusion. in ancient Ceylon, of the
cult of the yaksas,
some remarks about these heings in general
may be appropriate here.(') From what n'e learn in the
Buddhist and
Jaina
writings, the belicf in, and propitiation
of the yaksas appear to have been tire principal factor in
the reiigion of the middle and lower classes of society in
India during the times preceeding and just following the
advent of the Budclha. In many a Buddhist legend, we
read of yaksas wiro had their abodes in trees,lal<es,mountains,
rivers,
,and other striking natural phenomena. As a class,
r. The location of the Amazons in l\{alabar might tre due to the
matriarchal organisation of society prevaiiing among the Nayars.
2. About yaksa worship in India, see Sir Chas. Eliot Hind,wism,
ilnd Buddhism, Vol. I., p. to3, Archaeologi.cal Swruey of India, Llemoir
No.
3o,
p.
7
and Ramprasad Chanda int}'e
Journalof
the Department
of Letters, Calcutta University. VoL IV, p.
77
tr.
Nc-t. 82.--1929)
pR[.-rrur)I)IIIST
RELr(;IOUS BDT.IEFS
3r5
the yaksas corresponded verv closely to the fairies and elves
of European rnythology. The great majority of the early
converts to Buddhism in Inclia were from the ciasses of people
devoted to
1'aksa
cults anci evcn after their adoption of the
highcr faith, the1, continued to honour their former gods.
.{mong tire sculptures of Barahut, one of the earliest Buddhist
sttpas in India, thcre are clepicted a large number o{ yaksas
;
ancl the earliest known sculptures in tlie rounci,in India, are
figures of these demigods. ('; Several legends narrate how the
Buddha converted man]- of these yaksas and thereafter
these beings gave up their evil ways and became good
Bucldtrists themselves. Ea"ch of these iegends, it is evident,
comlneil]orates the conversion of a yaksa worshipping tribe
to the tenets of Buddhisrn. The people, loth to give up their
familiar superstitions, convertecl the object of their former
veneration to the new faitiithey bad adopted;and, divesting
hirn of those features not in keeping with Buddhistic ideas,
continued to honour him in a new capacit)'. We have seen
above that this has happened in Ceylon in the case of the
genius of tire Tissavlpi.
Each country and town in ancient India had its tutelary
yaksa. The Mah,amdyilrr,,(2) a magical text of theNorthern
Buddhists, whicli rvas translated into Chinese in the fourth
century A"D., gives a long list of srich yaksas and the piaces
rvhere thev had their abode. Among these, three, namely,
Vibhisala, (3
)
Kalasodara, (a
)
and Dhane(vara(u
)are
saicl to he
the tuteiary yakqas of Ceylon. Of these, the first, Vibhisala,
lhe brothcr o{ Rdvana, is still rvorshipped at Kdlaniya and
is supposed.tobe one of the four guardian cleities of the isiand.
Dhane{vara is another name of Kuvera Vaiiravana w}ro,
we have seen above, was u'orshipped itt aircient.Anuradhapura
r
"
The Parkham, Patna, [Iathuri and Besnagar figurcs.
Jayaswal
:is o{ opinion that the first two a.re portrait statues oI Sisunlga }iings"
z"- Edited by M. Sylr'ain Levi, in the
J.
A. for rgr5. p,
40
fi.
3.
l'ibh,saltas Tdutraparnyu)tt.
4.
Laitthdydit. Kalasodarah.
5.
Sihhalesu Dlta,nesuarah.
316 JouRNAL,
R.A.s. (crvror,r)
[Vor.
XXXI .
in the time o{ PaT{ukebhaya. This god was, at a later time,
incorporated in theMahdyanaBuddhist pantheon and several
images of him have been found in Ceylon.
'lhe
second namecl
Kalasoclara ('pot-beltied')
may be another name of Vailravana.
:
The word yahsa is now generally rendered into Iinglish
as 'demons,'
but the conception of yaksas as evil spirits
is of later growth. Though, from the very beginning, the
yaksas were more feared than lovecl and were supposed to
.cause
great calamities unless propitiated in time there r,vas
originaily very little difierence betwecn the yaksas and the
'devas.
In fact, one o{ the names of the yaksas as a class,
was bhumytatleua ' llte gods of ttie earth.' The goci Sakka
thc king of heaven is, in one piar;e, st5'16fl a yakkha
;(r )
ancl
in one of tlre earliest Buddhist loots, the Majjhi.tna Nika1,a,
the Buddhahimself is given thisepithetin a hymn of praise.(
j
)
In the Mahamoy,urri, already mentionecl, Viqnu, Siva and
Karttikeya, tlie most popular of the Puranic Hindu gods
are mentioned as the tutelary yaksas of different cities. In
an inscription on a statue of Mafribhadra, discovered at
Pawaya in the Gwalior state, that
-vaksa
is calle d, a bhagaaat,(z)
one of the rnost familiar of the epithets of the Buddha as
well as of Vislu. The worcl yaksa is clerivecl from the root
ya;'i, 'to offer,' and means a 'being worthy of offerings.,
The degeneration in th e meaningof this worci tinds paralells in
the history of the word asura, in India, and that of clet:a
in Persia.
Some of the principal {eatures of the yaksa religion
recur in the popular aspects of Buddhism. The worship of
the caitya, so characteristic of popular Buclclhism in many
countries including Ceylon was originally connected with
the yaksas. The Pali pitakas mention several cetiyas u,hich
existed in the Ruddha's life time at Vesdli, Rajagaha, Alavi
and other places. Buddhaehosa in his commentaries informs
r. Majjhi.wa Nihaya I.p. 253.
2. Majjhima Nihaya. t. p.
386.
3.
'l-he
Annua! Archaeolgi.ocal, Report oJ the Gualior Stale,
r9 r5-rgr6.
No. 8z .-rg2gl
pRE-BriDDHrsr
RELrGroLrs BELTEFS
317
us that they were dedicatecl to
-vaksa
worsirip anrl after the
advent of the Brrddha, the people converted. thern into
Buddhist Viheras.(1)
The conditions, in pre-Buddhist Ceylon, of the yaksa
cults appear to have been exactly similar to those in North
India in the time of the Buddha
;
ancl, in spite of the adoption
of Buddhism as the national religion, the earlier vaksa
worship flourished side by side among the masses and has
persisted down to modern times" It has also given rise to
a considerable amount of folk literature. Most of these, as
ihey exist today, are of late origin
;
and, a good. number of
the yaksas in vogue at present are either later creations; or
as their names imply, introduced from the peoples of a
lower culture in South India. Still, a critical study of this
literature, comparing them with the evidence furnished about
the yaksas in Buddhist,
Jain
and other Indian literatures
would doubtless yield interesting results.
Tnee Worship.
The banyan tree rvhich was sacred to the king of the
Yaksas has been noticed. At Anuradhapura, in
paq{u-
kabhaya's time, there was another sacred tree in a palmyra
palm which was the abode of a god named Vyadha or Vyadhi
deva.(,) There is some doubt as to the correct form of the
name
;
both forms occuring in the manuscripts.
prof.
Geiger adopts the form Vyadhideva and translates as
.
go<1
sf disease.' But as PaT{ukabhaya is said to have established
a settlement of hunters (uyad,ha) to the north of the city,
it may have been that this god was installed for their benefit;
and I take the form Vyldhadeva as the correct reacling and
translate it a.s' god of hunters.' This is also the view adopted
by Sri Sumangala and Ratuvantudave, the learned translators
crf the Mahaaath,sa into Sinhalese. \\rhatever the interpre_
r. Sec Payanatthaiotihu p. j44.
z. Mha" Ch. XV.
"89.
3IB JoURNAL,
rr.A.s. (cErrLoN)
lVor.
XXXI"
tation of this word may be, we have here two instances of
tree worship in pre-Buddhist Ceylon. The palmyra palm
seems to have been considered sacred in ancient India
during the time of the Buddha. For, we reacl in the
Vinaya Pitaka that on one occasion when the clisciples
of the Buddha cr"it dor,vn young palmyra palms to
rnake sandals out of their leaves, the people made an
up-roar and complained that they were destroying 'life
with one sense' (ekindriyam
iiuaryl.
The Buddha in orrler
not to hurt the religious susceptibilities of the people forbade
the use of sandals made of palmyra leaves, with the remark
'that the peopJe believe that life dwelis in a tree.'(1) This
passage would make us believe that the tree itself was
considered a spirit. But in the tr,vo instances of tree worship
quoted above, and in almost all the other references on the
subject we come across in Indian literature, the sanctity of
the tree was due to its being regarded as the abocle of a
divinity who had an existence quite apart from the place of
his temporarv so'journ.
The worship of trees seems to have been intimately
connected with that of the vaksas and the cult of the caityas.
Most of the sacred trees owed their sanctity as the abodes of
yaksas. Some of the sliipas mentioned in line pitakas and
which are said by Buddhaghosa to have been yaksa sanctuaries
were sacred trees or groves. Among the Bardhut sculptures
are several sacred trees which in the inscriptions engraved
below them aresaid to be cetiyas.
Quite
in keeping with
this, the cetiga and the tree are intimately connected in
popular Buddhism. The tree specially venerated b5z the
Buddhists is the asaattha (Sin
^Fo)
under which the Buddha
received enlightenment. This tree was already an object
of popular worship in India before it was appropriated
by the Buddhists as a means of honouring their master.
r. Mahdaaggd. Y.
?.
t.
No. Bz .-rgzgl
pRE-BLrDDHrsr
REr-rcrolrs BELTEFS
3rg
There is nothing improbabJe in the story that the Bodhisattva
on that critical night spent his time under an aivatthatree.
tsut the fact that this tree was already considererl sacred
must certainly have contributed to the wide popularity which
its rvorship attained later among tlie Buddhists.
Tire worship of caitya trees is also attucled to in the
Diuyaaad.iina (p" 16+). Apart from tire special veneration
paid to the Bo-tree, the tree cult of ancient times is still
prevaient among the Siniralese. There are many trees in
villages which are reputecl as the homes of supernatural
beings and no villager woulcl dare to lay an axe on one of these
for fear of oflending the cleitv. Many a calamity which
has overtaken a" rustic farnily is traced hy the wise men of
the village to a membcr of that family havins committecl
the offence of deprirring a porverful spirit of his leafy abode.
Patron Deities of
partiaular
Trades.
If the cleity who hacl his abocle in the sacred palmyra
of Anuradhapura
was the hunters, god, it shows us that there
were special clivinitics worshipped by the peopie of difierent
trades in pre-Buddhist Ceylon. Another such deity was the
Kamm:rradeva or 'the
god of the blacj<smiths.,
When
Devanampiya Tissa marked out the boundaries
of the
consecrated ground set aside for the Bnddhist Church, the
houndary line is said to have passecl by the sicie of thc shrine
dedicated to this god.(
t
)
In acldition to these cleities of parti_
cular castes, there was also a guardian cleity of the whole
city of Anuradhapura. His slirine is mentionccl in the twenty_
1i{th chapter (r'. 87) oI the Mahaualltsa.. In that memorable
encounter of Dutthagdmarli
r,vith Bhaihrka, u,hen the heroic
lcing went to face the Tamil invacler on the plain of Kolam_
bahalaka
to the north of the cit-r,, the king,s elephant an<l
along r,vith him, the rvhole arrny retreatccl as far as the shrine
of the city god near the bounclary of the Mahavihara.
t. Xtlaqhod,dhir:anisa,
p 136
lt
ilii
li
,iiL
i
rj
I
#
ll,l
fl
'fli
i#ii
;#rl
a 26
.)-v JouR\"{r-,
R.A.s. (cnvroN)
Cult of the stars.
lVor.
XXXI.
Personal names borne by men and women reflect the
religious beliefs prevailing in a country.
'fherefore,
an exarnin-
ation of the names occuring in the earliest inscriptions will
throrv some light ol our topic. The earliest inscriptions
are short donative records; ancl are all tsuddhistic. Rut
as it takes some time after the introduction of a new religion
for the people to adopt personal names suggestive of the
changed religious atmosphere, those found in the earliest
Buddhist inscriptions may be taken as evidence for pre-
Buddhist religious conditions. The great majority of the
personal names occtrring in these records are astral ones
(nakgatranatna). From the Vedic times, the knowledge of
the twenty-eigirt lunar mansions "lva.s prevalent in India
and each day of the month had its particular nakpatra. These
constellations \Mere knolvn to the primitive Sinhalese; and
the custom of naming a person a{ter the tt'aksatva in rvhich
he rvas born, was comrnon" The Rasaaahini expressJv
mentions this in the case of Phussadeva, one of the'uvarriors
o Du!-thagdmagi.(1)
He was so natned because his natal
star was Pusya. This was considerecl a particularly lucky
one; and its synonymn
'fiqya
(P.
'fissa)
was aclopted as the
name of many o{ the early kings of Ceylon. Other constella-
tions which u'ere in popular fal'our were Klttika, Rohar;a,
A{lesa, Phalgu4a, Vidaktra, Anurldha, Asedha and Revata.
The constellation Anuradha seems to have been specially
favoured
bv women, for most of the princesses of ancient
Ceylon known to us were named after this nakgatra, (Anuradi,
Anu(li, Anula). The public holidays rvere solemnised in
connection with these naksatrus; and were consequently
called naksatrakriilrl. The clay on which the full moon was
in coniunction with one of the luckSr stars was celebrated
with great merriment and rejoicing. Of these, the K[rttika
festival, which has been mentioned in connection with
r. Colombo r9o7 p. 16r.
No. 8z .-rtlzgl pRE-BUDDHrsr
REr.rcrous BELTEFS
32r
Cittaraja, contined till very late times, for Knox gives
an
account of its celebration in the time of RajaSinhaIL(ry
The worship of the stars, in the time when Budd.his'
was
first bcing preachecl in Inclia, is re{erred to in the Tlcerigdthd
(v. r+:) where, of course, the practice is condemned
as useress.
The Barahut inscriptions
prove that, in the North_West
of
India, too, the people had a predilection
for names
suggestive
of astral conntellations.
The Sungas, a dynasty
which
ruled
at Vidisn about the second century B. C. hacl all such names,
e.g. Pusy'itra, Pha-igugimitra
etc. This custom
is stilr
practisecl by the Nlaharajas
of Travancore,
whose personal
names are those of their natal stars.
The propitiation
of heavenly
boclies, as many
other
superstitions nf pre-Buddhist
Ceylon, is still in vogue among
the Sinhalese. But in the modern practice,
more importance
is attachcd to the tweive signs of the Zodiac and the planets
than to the lunar mansions.
The former,
of course were
unknorvn in India and Ceylon cluring the time that we are
speaking of.
Brahmanism
in pre-Buddhist
Ceylon.
Side by side with these reiigious
beliefs of a lower level
of culture tliat we have so {ar discussed,
the Brairmanical
reiigion also seems to have had its foilowers in pre_Buddhist
Ceylon; and the Brrrhmanas
helcl an honourable
place in
society in those early days. One of the followers
in Viiaya,s
train, Upatissa, who founcled Upatissaglma
which was for
some time the capital of the Sinhalese kingdom,
and who
rvielded the sceptre of Ceylon from the cleath of Vijaya until
the arrival of Pa4{uvdsudeva
was a BrAhmana
; and held the
offrce of domestic chaplain to Vijaya.(r) The young prince
tsa.r(luknbhava
was entrusted bv his mother to a Brhamana
named Paqr{ula to be instructed in royal accomplishments.
lhis Brahmana was a man of great rvealth ancl it was ire wiro
r- Historical Relation, p.
go.
z, Lthu. Ch. V. VII. V.
4,1.
'l
ouItNAL, R.A.s. (cr,vrois)
i\ior.
XXXI
furnishecl Pap{ukabhaya rvith the sinews of war in the long
struggle between the latter and his uncles' Papdula's son
Candra, like many others of his caste in India, served Pa4du-
kabhaya in the capacity of a military comrnander in addition
to priestly functions.ll) Pa4qlukibhava's buildings in
Anuradhapuraincluded a dwelling place for the l3rihmanas. (')
Another building of Pal{ukabhaya named Sotthisnla is
explained by the commentator to lhe ilIahiiuainsn as 'a house
set apart for the recital of tnantras by Brahmalas'. But this
explanation is doubtful as the alternative meaning of
'hospital'
has aiso been given by the commentator. Dcvanampiya Tissa
had a Br5hma4a chapiain who was sent in company rvith
the king's nephew Arittha on an embassy bearing presents
to A!oka.(3) When the branch of the sacred Bodhi tree r'vas
brought to Anuradhapura, one of the halts between that city
and the sea-port was in the village of a Brahmana named
Tivakka or Tavakka.(a) Among the distinguisheci persons
present on the occasion o{ the planting of this sacred tree,
this Brdhmana is speciallymentioned
;(5 )
ancl one of the eight
Bodhi saplings was pianted in his village. (6) In theenumeration
of the different places passed by Devenampirra Tissa rvhilst
marking the boundaries of the consecrated area in Anuradha-
pura, the shrine belonging to a Brahmana named Diyavasa
is mentioned in the Mahabod.hiasmsa.(7)
The earliest inscriptions too, bear testimony to the
presence of BrShmanas in Ceylon just after the introduction
of Buddhism. They must therefore, have been living in
pre-Buddhist Ceylon, too. And the presence o{ the Brdhmanas
is evidence for the prevalance of their religious beliefs. One
of the donors of caves at Sdss6ruva in the Kuruldgala District
r. Mhu. Ch. X. V. zo fi.
2. Ibid \r. roz.
3.
Ibid C}:.. Xl. V. zo.
4.
Mahiiuamsa Ch. 19. V.
37.
5.
Ibid V.Sl.
6. Ibid V.6r.
Z.
Mahabodhiuafisa, p. 136.
No. 8z .-rg2g)
pRn-tst.rDDr{rsr
rtElrcrous BELTEFS
323
was a Brdhma4a named Somadeva son of Vasakani. The
owner of a cave at Yingala in the Nuvarakalaviya District
is given in the inscription on the brow of the cave as
Viritasana the son of the Brahmana Kosika
lXaus'ii<a)"(')
The Brdhmanas mentioned in the chronicles and the
inscriptions were naturally those who were in sympathy
with the Buddhist movement. There must have been many
others who were indifferent or opposed to the cause o{
Ilucldhism; and, hence were not mentioned in the recorcls of
the times. Whether these Brahmanas were versed in Veclic
iore and solemnised Vedic sacrifices, we do not know
;
but the
name Yagadata (Sacrifice given) occurring in one of the
' Vessagiriya' Cave inscriptions shows that even after the
introduc"tion of Buddhism, a memory, at least, of the
Brahmanical sacrifices was preserved in Ceylon. The
llrahmanas are occasionallv mentioned in the Mahaaa,insa
till cornparatively recent times and the oflrce of the pwroltita
continued down to a. late period.
Jainism in Ceylon.
Pa.r{ukabhaya is also said to have built dwelling places
for tlre nigary,lhas named
Jotiya,
Giri and Kumbhal{a. (,
)
The
ward nigantha (Skt. nirgrantha) is applied in the
pali
writings
to the
Jainas,
the followers of Mahavi,za, (Nigantha N[tha-
putta of the Buddhist Scriptures) a teacher contemporary
with the Buddha.
It is true that in later Pali writings, the word is used
vaguely to denote non-Buddhist sects. For instance, in the
Dalhaaarirsa (v. zo9), nigary,tha evidently means a Vaisnava.
But in the fifth century, when the Mahauainsa was written,
chis word has not yet assumed this uncertainty of meaning
for Buddhaghosa always uses it in its original sense. There-
fore, it is likely that Mahdnama had the
Jainas
in his mind
r. These inscriptions have not yet been published.
2. Mahduathsa Ch. X. VV gZ-gS.
l
ll
J
a'l .IouRNAr-,
R.A.s. (cnvlox)
[Vor.
XXXI.
when he used this word. Is it poss ible thatso early as Pag{u-
kdbhava's time, the followers of Mahavrra had penetrated
so far to the south as Ceylon ? According to
Jaina
literary
tradition, in the reign of Candragupta, the MaurSra, liig
foilowers of Mahavrra under Bhadrab,rhu migrated to South
India owing to a sevcre famine in the north. The introduction
o{ this religion to Mysore, where it prcvails till rrow, is traced
to this event. Chandragupta liimself is said to have accom-
panied Bhaclrabahu on this journel, and endecl his days in
South India as a
Jaina
ascetic.(1) Frorn Tamii iiterature"
too, we learn that there were
Jainas
in the Pagdya country
{rom very earlv times. The traditirin of the rrigration of the
Jainasto
the Southin Chandragupta's reign has been accepted
by historians a.s trustworth.v. If the
Jainas,
on this occasion,
travelled from Magadha as far as South lndia, it is not
improbable tirat some of tliem crossed over to Ceylon.
According to the chronology of th.e MalruuLtrirsa, Pagdu-
kabhaya's reign was earlier than that of Chanclragupta. But
the dates of the early kings o{ Ceylon, as given in tha.t clironicle
have been proved to be untrustr,vorthy. PaTqlukebhaya
was the granclfather of Tissa, the younger contersporary of
I
the great Asoka., the grandson of Chandragupta. Therefore,
it stands to reason that Pa4gluknbhaya himself was a con-
temporary of the hrst Matirya emperor. Then, the rnigration
of the
Jainas
tri the south {al1s within his reign and the state-
ment in lhe Mahavarhsa that Pan{.ukabhaya patronised the
Jainas
seems to be a historical fact.
One of the
Jaina
monasteries built by Palduknbhaya,
that of lhe niganth,a named Giri, figures later in the history
of Ceylon. Valtagdmani Abhaya, when he rvas flying before
the Taruil invaders, passed this monastery; and the
Jaina
abbot cried out 'The great black Sinhalese is running away.'
The king kept this affront in mind ; and when he regained
r. Lewis Rice, Ilysore and Coorg, p.
3
ff"
\o.
8z ._*r;zgl pRE-BUDDHrsu
REl-rcrous
BELTEFS
325
the throne, he demolished.theJainamonasteryand
built the
i\bhiryagiri
Vihnra in that place. (r
)
Accorcling
trs the Maltd_
vai.r.sa!6hd,. ilris monastery
was the scene of a lragedy
in the
time of Khallatandga,
predecessor
of Vaffagamapi.
This
king, when he discoverecl
a plot against
his life Uy frir rr"pf,.*r,
went to Gir-i,s rqonastery
ancl ended his life by entering
th;
fire. At the spot, tvhere this etent occurred,
Khailafanlga,s
kinsmen built a cetiy-a
called,the
Aggipavisaka(r).
Votto"ga-
lna$i's persecution
of the
.]ainas _u, p.rtrop.
not confined
to the destruction
oJ the monastery
oi Clri. At any rate
t'e hear no more of them in the Ceylon
chronicles;
and,
fainism seems to"have
disappearecl
from Ceylon
about the
lteginning
of the Christian
era.
No remains
of any
Jaina monuments
have ever been
fr-iund in Ceylon.
The earliest
Stupas and, Vihiiras
of
Jainism
tiid not differ from those
of Buddhism
; so much so, that
ryithout
the evidence
of the inscriptions
or of iconography
it would be extremery
difficult
to iifferentiate
bbtween
the
i"wo.
Jaina
iconographS,
had not yet developed
in the times
th-at we are d.ealing with" fn the period
during
which this
ri:ligion
was prevalent
in ceyron
thlre were no monuments
i,'uilt
of durable
materials"
llloreover,
when
Jainism c]is_
iippered,
their places
of worship
must have been appropriated
b.y the Buddhists_as
it happened
u,ith regard
to the monas_
ieryof
Giri-and
any traces of the earlierfJith
woula certainly
lrave
been otrliterated
in this way. Some of the earliest
T:,t::_iuo"{
stii;as
of srnait dimensions
may, however,
be
.iatna ln orJgrn.
paribbajakae,
Ajivakas
etc.
, .- In"
wandering
ascetics
named
the
paribbajakas
ancl the
rl'jivakas,
the sect founded
by Makkhali
Gosila,
a teacher
,:,rntemprary
with the Buddha,
were known in early
Ceylon.
t, M-uhduayitsa
Ch.
34,
y.
444.
z. Mahduaritsa
tiha'p.
444.
326 JoURN;\L,
R.A.s. (cEYLoN)
[Vor.
XXXI
The queen of Panqluvasudeva and her attendants came to
this island in the guise of Paribhajakas"(1) Par.I{ukabhava
built a monastery for the Paribbajakas and another for the
Ajlvakas.(?) In addition to thesc sects which are definitely
named, it is said there were numerous ascetics who are
referred to by the vague epithet of sant'a4za.(:')
'lhisword
can be applied to any non-Brahmanical religieux including
the Buddhist monks" To the west of Anuradhaptlra, Pandu-
kabhaya is said to havc settled fi.ve hundred families of
heretics"(n) \Vhat religious beliefs are intended by this term
it is not at all clear.
Phallio Worship.
In v. roz of the tcnth chaptcr ol the X[ahauat11sa, it is
said that Pan{ukiibhaya built, here and there in ancient
Anuradhapura, houses namecl Sivikfrsala ancl Sotthisala.
The latter name we havc al.ready dealt with. lhat first r'vord
has been explained by thc commentator as ' a shrine housing
a Sivalinga'; but he is not confident of this intcrpretation
as he gives the alternative rneaning of iying-in-home '
1.J;
Prof. Geiger, in histranslation adopts the sccold expianation.
But as these trvo terms are mentioned in company with other
buildings of a religious naturc, the lirst explanation might
be possible. If so, in the tirne of Pa+dukdbhaya, phallic
u'orship {ormed part of thc religion of thc peoplc of Ceylon"
Considering the great antiquity and the ivide cliflusion of this
cult,it is notimpossible that it rvasso. Kautilya,in enumerat-
ing the deities to whorn shrines shoulcl bc dedicated within a
king's capi.ta1, mentions Siva also.(o) It is not sta,ted whether
the deity n'as to be represented by an icon or by the li4,ga
symbol. At this time, Siva irad not yet risen to the position
of the Suprcme Deity as he becamc to one great section of
the Hindus at a latcr age. For Kautilya mentions liim in
t" f,[ahd.aaritsa, Ch, 8. V. 24.
2. Ibid Ch^ X. V\r. ror, ro?.
3.
,Iifu. X, \r"
98.
(,) Ibid \'-. roo"
5. -1[rthduanisa tiltu p. zo7.
6. l)r. S:rmasa,stry's translation, zncl erlition., p.
59.
No. 8z .-tg2gl pRE-BUDDHrsr
RElrcrorrs BELrErrs
327
companv u'ith such rninor divinitics as the AJvins (the
I)ir-ine Plivsicians)
Vaisrava4a and Madira (the Goddess of
I-iquor). Tbe IIul.tcrutunsatlkd,
ltas anotirer reference to
phailic *,orsirip in ancient Ceylon. King Ma.hhsena, aftcr
he
'nvas forced to clesist from persecutirg
the orthodox
l{ahirvih,:rra,
clirectecl his rlestruclive
energies against non-
ilucklhist
religions.
Thc chronicle sa1,s, that he ciemoiishecl
several shrines
of thc cicvas;(')ancl ihe tika add,s that they
rverc slrrines trctusing lingam,s.(2) It is possible that the
commentator
unconsciously
transferrecl the conclitions of
his orvii tirncs to those of a previctus age
;
but, on the other
lLancl, u'lie'
'nve co'sider that pharlic worship lvas thc principal
religious faitlr oi thc Tamils, the nearest neighbouis of in"
Sinlialese, it is not cliflrcult to bclieve that the iatter people
li'ere also attacired to this c*lt beforc they acloptcd B'crtrhism
;
and also continuccl to honour thc Sivalinga evcn after this
ervent. Propcr names such as Siva, Ilahasiva and Sivaguta
rccuring i' tiie earliest inscriptions show trrat this gocr was
rvorshipped
b1' thc Sinhalese of the earliest perioci.
0onclusions.
F'rorn the forcgoing clisctr.ssion about the religious
r--onditions
pre'.iling i' ceylon when the missionaries
of
Asoka prcacherl the doctrines of thc Englightenecl
Onc, it
irecomes clear that tlrt_. grcat nrajorit1,of thepcopleworshippcd
Liature spirits, callecl thc
laksas,
r,vho wcre sripposed to clweli
in rivers, lakes, mountains, trccs, etc. The worship of ilre
sacrecl trees or groves rvas aiso connectecl with this priniitive
rr-'1igio'. The hea'enly bocries rcceivccl thc acloration of the
ireople,
ar-rcl to a great extcnt influcncccl their every clay life.
'['he
more intellectual among t]rc people, perhaps lollowed
tn.e {Srahmaptcal r'.,iigic." Ascetics of clifferent sects livecl
in the collntrv and each musr have hacl his own following
utrcng
the masse,r.
'Ihese
conditions are, on the whole
r"ery
simitar to the state of reiigious bcliefs prevailing in
"\or:th Inclia clurinq the life time of the liudclha.
t. .\,Iohritarisu Ch.
37
y.4.o.
2" trIahd.tamsaihd, p.
5oz
328
JouRNAr-,
n.A.S. (Crl'r-oN)
The Governor said it rvas not in his po$'er to contribute anything
o{ value to the discussion on the very interesting paper to rvhich they
had ali listened, and it t'as hardly necessary, at tbat late hour, to s'aste
thcir time and his by saying things u'hich were not rvorth saying. But
he wished those ufio rvere in a position, to do so, and thus shorv their
appreciation of the trouble u'hich Mr. Paranavitana had taken in
preparing the paper and make any suggestions on the subject matter
whith the lecturer had collected by his erudition.
Dr. Paul E. Pieris saicl that as one who had had a particularll'long
connection rvith the Societt'he u'ished to express his very grcat appre-
ciation of the paper rvhich had been lead. It is of a type n'hich rve
are glad to welcome here and which I am alraid is not so cornmon as
migiit be and I can oniy expressthe hope that this rvili be the first of a
long series of papers which rl'e shall receive from [fr. Paranavitana'
I have long had the feeling that our Archaeological Department
is more Lkely to produce us best work only *'hen it rvorks in con-
junction
lvitli the Dcpartment in India and the paper that has beeu
iead to us tonight is to my mind not only proof o{ the great intrinsic
ability of the lecturer, not onlv proof of the great
-pains
rvhich he
has tiken, but also o{ the excellent training rvhich he has received
in India.
A number of tluestions rvere asked {rom the lecturer and an
interesting discussion ensued.
The lecturer, in reply to a question b-v Mr. E. W. Perela rvhether
the symbol oJ the God " Ilanddri Deil'o," dug out {rom some part- in
Anur6dhapura was still in existence, said that ]re knerv oI no syrnbol
associated- u.ith tlrat God. lfe knew o{ a god dulr-
'lvorshipped
in
villages in connection rvith their harvests,
h.eplying to other questions raised, the lecturcr dealt rrith certain
criticisms'of-Tarnil and Saivite references. With regar<l to the refer-
€nces to " Lanl<a
" in the Rfrmayana, the lecturer said emphatically :
"' I don't belicve that the Island of Ce,ylon is the same as I-anka. I
subscribe to the view that Cevlon is not Lanka, lvhich, perhaps, 1\as a
mythical island which never existed."
-
The Governor
proposed a cordial I'ote of thanks to the lecturer
and expressed great-apfreciation of the.paper.
-
They l'ere. all.gratelul
to him-and for his orvn part he rl'as gratified to feel that in tire,\rchaeo-
logical Department there t'as an officer lvho was tahing so
-much
pains
in the studl' of the foundations o{ the religions and other matters
connectecl rvith the island. He hopecl that the department to rvhich
Mr. Paranavitana belonged would continue to benefit by his erudition
in the cause of research, and he lvished to express his thanks to the
lectuler in a special sense.
The vote was carried rT'ith acclamation.
lMr. E. W, Perera proposed a hearty vote of thanks to the President.
They had been very fortunate in their past Governors in
-having
them
inviriably as their Patrons. His Excellenoy had
lot
onil- b-een. their
Patron but had taken upon himsel{ the onerous duties of Presiclent,
and taken those duties not as a sinecure but very seriortsly. He
hopecl that other members of their Society would take an example
fro'm His Excellency and not only have the same sense o{ lo1'a11u ,,o
the Society, but a'lso attend its meetings more frequentl.v.
-Ihe1'
all
knew how-busy a man the Heacl of the Government lvas and thev t'ere
grateful to His Exceilenct.
"
The Governor acknowlcclged the verl' kind l'ords in rvhicir l{r'
Perera had proposecl the vote o{ thanks to him and the kind
lvay--i1t
which the in"etittg receir.ed it. It t'as ahvays a l2leasure
for-His
Excellency to corne to their rneetings and he had never come there
s'ithout learning something l'hich he was able to carry a*'ay *'ith hirn
Nc-r. 8z .-rtlzrll
I'ROCEI'DI\GS
.J2g
COUNCIL
MEETING,
Colombo
Museum,
December,
l6th
lg2g.
Pt esent
..
His Iixcellencl
Sir Flerbert
J.
Stanlel-,
K.C.X{.(;.,
l)a.tron
in the
chair.
Dr. P.
E. Pieris,
L!tt.D
, a a:.,
and
Dr.
Joseph
},earson,
t).Sc.,
Vrce-
l)rcsiclcnts.
Dr.
A. Nelt,
l .R.Ct.S.
I)r.
S. C.
paut
nT I)
-l
ltc
Hon.
llr. I:. \V.
pt.rcr:t
trI.I_.L.
Mr. Edmuncl
lteimers
,, L.
J
B.
"I-urner,
[{.A.
c.c.s.
nfessrs.
C. H.
Collins,
Ll,A.,
C.C.S..
and
Aubrey
N.
Weinman,
LIo n or nr-y S er.ye!ayi
es
Business
:
i
ll
The Hon
l\Ir
_W.
A. cle Siiya,
n{.L.C.
'\Ir.
Herod
(.;rrnaratna,
J\Irrdalil.ar
''
W:.F.
Grrrtau-arrllrana,
(iate
lluclalivar.
I lte Hr.n..NIr
lr. B.
JaVatil;rka,
n{.A.,
t\LI_.C.
-
I he Hon
l\[r.
1.. ]lac:.,rt,,
I\[..\.
Irr.
G. P. IIalalas"k;r
r.a, AI.A.,
Ph.D-
,n,n:"\,;fl"#l.
j::,,:j5liltocouncil rreetins
rrercl
on firc iiilr
June,
so.;"1y
t'l;,t:lottt"*
candiclates
rverc
electerr
as .rembers
of
gre
i.
'l']re
Hon.
Xlr.
Etlnar<l
St.
IF].
!\r. I,crera.
,lrrhn -Jacksorr
: rccommen.t
Qeo
DV
ii.
utgfr"i-rn-.re
pier.is,
n.r y'ry
r.,Hli;:il'"
(canrab)
: r".o__".r.i"J-
;i;i
p
iJ..
iJ o"."rriyogrrn.
iii.
(Miss)
Cornelia
HildaMiriamjp.
F_. I,-
l)eranil.agala.
r)ieris
: recom_""dJ-;;"ii,.
;. i,i",,..
ir..
Felix
-Rt.ginald
.tjias.
-U.A.,
ip.
C i,;"rir.
L.L nI. (Cantab)
, ,".o.ll{'
menclecl
by
,|..I,.
E.
p.
Dcra,niyagala"
v.
Jollr
F_ric
pcrera
Guna
u.ar- f n t;
p;-
dana,
Muclali'ai
;'il-]' ''ens'
U.t,.l\I.
: ,"""n,,."nu"J
trl- u
I:.
p.
l)crani;.agala.
vi.
Vaithianailran
llecommednecr *-Kandiah
'18
c' Proctor'
vii.
Lcopor<r
Arr.i;v
.o:,,prli
i ;,'::,1"*""*n-,
llavi,er
: Reco
'iii
c31,_
n"sq";.1'::"T,i":1
)
1,i."?r,ii";H1."
recommended
ix.
"::
-.lig;id,l,,-oo,.,,0.u,
)i;
*",
R"ll::l,.
"
recommended
by
ie.
l_.r1"5rsingha.
l
l
ir1
i
lrNl
l
iri
l
i
iiir
tl
I
il
lt
#

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful