Opinion on Mahavamsa

2 min read

Mahavamsa, The Great Chronicle of of Ceylon has long been the window into Sri Lanka's Past. Many consider it to be the accurate representation of Sri Lankan History. But it is nothing more than a figment of theimagination.

The Great Chronicle portrays Kasyapa as a murder, the killer of his ownfather king Dhatusena. The Mahavamsa is generous enough to credit Kasyapa with building Sigiriya. But the palace is described as a fortress, built as a hideaway from Mugalan, the rightful heir to the throne.

The Mahavamsa relates how Kasyapa went into battle against his brother Mugalan and ended up taking his own life when deserted by his army.

Several Historians including the Late Prof. Senerat Paranavithana believe these accounts to be totally inaccurate. Very little of the "indisputable truth" in Mahavamsa is backed by archeological evidence.

True, a prince by the name of Kasyapa did behead himself in battle. But this prince was not Kasyapa The Great of Sigiriya. You could argue that a genuine mistake has been made, particularly since the above battle took place with in the Sigiri Bim.

But my view is that the Mahavamsa has made deliberate distortion of the facts. Kasyapa earned the wrath of the high priest of the Mahavihara by becoming a follower of Mahayana Buddhism. It was Kasyapa's misfortune that the authors of the Mahavamsa happened to be the very same priest at theMahavihara.

Why else whould the Mahavamsa casts Moggalana in the role of the hero and Kasyapa in the role of the villain? In the eyes of the the Mahavihara priests Kasyapa joining the Mahayana order is a far greater crime than Moggalana's conversion to Christianity.

Even if we were to believe the the Mahavamsa version of History, Dhatusena is the king who ordered a monk to buried alive when building the Kala-wewa, and had his own sister burned at the stake.

© Daya Dissanayake 2022 Contact