saadhu.com : Mahavamsa

Opinion on Mahavamsa

Mahavamsa, The Great Chronicle of of Ceylon has long been the window intoSri Lanka's Past. Many consider it to be the accurate representation ofSri 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 Kasyapawith building Sigiriya. But the palace is described as a fortress, builtas a hideaway from Mugalan, the rightful heir to the throne.

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

Several Historians including the Late Prof. Senerat Paranavithana believethese accounts to be totaly inaccurate. Very little of the 'indesputabletruth' in Mahavamsa is backed by archeological evidence.

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

But my view is that the Mahavamsa has made deliberate distortion of thefacts. Kasyapa earned the wrath of the high priest of the Mahavihara bybecoming a follower of Mahayana Buddhism. It was Kasyapa's misfortune thatthe 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 andKasyapa in the role of the villain? In the eyes of the the MahaviharaPriests Kasyapa joining the Mahayana order is a far greater crime thanMoggalana's conversion to Christianity.

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