Pandukabhaya

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Pandukabhaya (437 BC – 367 BC) was King of Upatissa Nuwara and the first monarch of the Anuradhapura Kingdom and 6th over all of the island of Sri Lanka since the arrival of the Vijaya, he reigned from 437 BC to 367 BC.

Origin

Mahavansa/Chapter 9 tells us that ...When the son of prince Dighayu, Dighagamani, heard of Ummadacitta he went, driven by longing for her, to Upatissagama, and there sought out the ruler of the land. And this (latter) appointed him together with the vice-regent, to service at the royal court.

Mahavansa/Chapter 9 tells....The ruler of Lanka, Panduväsudeva, reigned thirty years. When Pandukabhaya was born, he died.

Since his mother is Umaddha Citta and father is Digha Gamini, both of Aryan origin.

Jat clans

Pandaya - This clan is said to be originated from Panduka (पण्डुक) son of Nandram. [1]

Panduka in Mahabharata

Adi Parva, Mahabharata/Mahabharata Book I Chapter 35 mentions names of Chief Nagas starting from Shesha: Mahabharata (I.35.12) mentions Panduka (पाण्डुक).

करवीरः पुष्पदंष्ट्र एॢकॊ बिल्वपाण्डुकः Mahabharata (I.35.12)

In Magadha History

There is little certain information available on the early rulers of Magadha. The most important sources are the Buddhist Chronicles of Sri Lanka, the Puranas, and various other Jaina and Buddhist texts. Based on these sources, it appears that Magadha was ruled by the Śiśunāga dynasty for some 200 years, c. 550 BC - 350 BC. The Śiśunāga dynasty was overthrown by Ugrasena Mahāpadma Nanda, the first of the so-called nine Nandas (a.k.a. the Nanda or Nava Nanda dynasty). He was followed by his eight sons, whose names were (according to the Mahābodhivamsa) Panduka, Pandugati, Bhūtapāla, Ratthapāla, Govisānaka, Dasasiddhaka, Kevatta, and Dhana Nanda. According to the Sri Lankan Chronicles, the Nanda dynasty was in power for mere 22 years, while the Puranas state that Mahāpadma ruled for 28 years and his eight sons for only 12.

History

According to many historians and philosophers, he is the first truly Sri Lankan king since the Vijayan invasion, and also the king who ended the conflict between the Sinha clan and local community, reorganizing the population. His story is one wrapped in myth and legend.


The second ruler of Sri Lanka was King Panduvasudeva, the nephew of Vijaya. Panduvasudeva married Baddha-Kacchayana, an extremely beautiful princess from India. The couple had ten sons, the eldest of whom was named Abhaya, and one daughter named Chitra.

When a sage prophesied that Chitra would bear a son who would kill nine of his uncles and claim the throne, nine of Chitra’s brothers told King Panduvasudeva to have her killed. However, Abhaya would not allow it and Chitra was spared. She married a prince named Digha-Gamini (who, incidentally, was her cousin) and had a son, who was named Pandukabhaya.

Chitra and Digha-Gamini had been made aware of the prophecy at the time of their marriage and had promised to put to death any son that Chitra gave birth to. However, once Pandukabhaya was born, Chitra was unwilling to kill the infant, and so she decided to exchange babies with another woman who had given birth to a baby girl that same day.

Chitra announced to her father and husband that she had given birth to a girl. Only her mother, Baddha-Kacchayana, knew of the secret exchange.

The woman who gave up her daughter took Prince Pandukabhaya to a nearby village called Doramadalawa where he would be brought up as a herdsman’s son.

Foundation of Anuradhapura

Mahavansa/Chapter 10 tells.... When he was thus left victor in battle, Pandukabhaya went thence to the dwelling-place of his great-uncle Anuradha. The great-uncle handed over his palace to him and built himself a dwelling elsewhere; but he dwelt in his house. When he had inquired of a soothsayer who was versed in the knowledge of (fitting) sites, he founded the capital, even near that village. Since it had served as dwelling to two Anuradhas, it was called Anuradhapura, and also because it was founded under the constellation Anuradha.

When he had caused the (state) parasol of his uncles to be brought and purified in a natural pond that is here, Pandukabhaya kept it for himself and with the water of that same pond he solemnized his own consecration; and Suvannapali, his spouse, he consecrated queen. On the young Canda, even as he had agreed, he conferred the office of his chaplain and other appointments on his other followers according to their merits.

Because his mother and he himself had been befriended by him, he did not slay the king Abhaya, his eldest uncle, but handed over the government to him for the night-time: he became the `Nagaraguttika' (Guardian of the City). From that time onward there were nagaraguttikas in the capital. His father-in-law also, Girikandasiva, he did not slay but handed over to this uncle the district of Girikanda. He had the pond' deepened and abundantly filled with water, and since he had taken water therefrom, when victories (for his consecration), they called it Jayavapi. He settled the yakkha Kalavela on the east side of the city, the yakkha Cittaraja at the lower end of the Abhayatank.


Mahavansa/Chapter 10 tells....Ten years after his consecration did Pandukabhaya the over the whole of the island of Lanka . With Kalavela and Cittaraja, who were visible (in bodily form) the prince enjoyed his good fortune, he who had yakkhas and bhütas for friends. Between the king Pandukabhaya and Abhaya were seventeen years without a king.

When the ruler of the earth, Pandukabhaya, the intelligent, being thirty-seven years old, had assumed the rule over the kingdom, he reigned full seventy years in fair and wealthy Anuradhapura.

The attempts on Pandukabhaya’s life

The first threat to Pandukabhaya’s life came while he was being transported to Dvaramandalaka (Doramadalawa). The woman who had exchanged infants with Chitra carried Prince Pandukabhaya to the village in a covered basket. Unfortunately, she ran into nine of Chitra’s brothers (the ones who had wanted their sister to be murdered for fear that her child would kill them). They asked her what she had in the basket and she replied that it contained food. Not satisfied with the answer, they asked her to open up the basket and show them its contents. Luckily, two wild boars happened to run past them, and they forgot about the basket in their eagerness to hunt the animals down. The baby was delivered to the herdsman safely. (the two wild boars were commanders of yakka tribe named Chithraraja & Kalawela in disguise to protect the prince)

That same year, King Panduvasudeva died and Abhaya became his successor. He was not a great king, but he was certainly a kind one and he was well-loved, especially by the poor.

Several years went by and when Pandukabhaya was about seven years old, rumours reached his nine uncles about a boy in Dvaramandalaka who supposedly was a herdsman’s son, but who showed all signs of being of royal background. They suspected that this child may be their sister’s son, because they had reason to believe that the little girl who was being brought up as a princess in the palace was not Chitra’s daughter. They sent out soldiers to kill all boys in the village who were around the same age as their nephew.

It was known that all the boys of Dvaramandalaka bathed at a certain pond, and it was planned that they should be killed while they were bathing. The plan was executed and several young children were murdered. Pandukabhaya, however, had been hiding at the time, and so he escaped death.

While Pandukabhaya’s uncles were satisfied at the time that they had eliminated their nephew, some years later they became suspicious again when they heard stories of a village boy who looked more like a prince than a herdsman’s son. They attempted to have him killed again, and the attempt failed once more.

When Pandukabhaya was about sixteen years old, Princess Chitra, fearing for her son’s safety, arranged to have him live with a Brahman named Pandula.

Once he was old enough to become king, Pandukabhaya left Pandula, married his cousin Pali and fought his uncles to claim his right to the throne. Eight of his ten uncles perished in the war, which lasted for seventeen years. Abhaya, who had never fought against Pandukabhaya, and Girikandasiva, who was Pali’s father, were not killed.

Pandukabhaya was a good king and reigned over Sri Lanka for seventy years, leaving the country in a prosperous state when he died.

Achievements

  • Established an organized system of governance.
  • Established a post called "Nagara Guttika" to rule the city and named his uncle Abhaya to the post.
  • Ordered the demarcation of all the villages in the island in his tenth year of reign. He was the first king to do so. [2]
  • Constructed 3 tanks, namely Abaya Wewa, Gamini Wewa and Jaya Wewa.[3]

References