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Parakkamabāhu

1. Parakkamabāhu I.– King of Sri Lanka (1153‑86). He was the son of the eldest of the three brothers, Mānābharaṇa, Kittisirimegha and Sirivallabha, who ruled over Dakkhiṇadesa and Rohaṇa. He was born at Puṅkhagāma in the Dakkhiṇadesa, where Mānābharaṇa was ruler. His birth was accompanied by various miracles. Vikkamabāhu II, the then reigning king at Pulatthipura, hearing of this, wished to bring the boy up at his own court and make him his heir in place of his own son. However, Mānābharaṇa refused to consent to this, and soon after died. Thereupon his brother Kittisirimegha took over Dakkhiṇadesa and left Rohaṇa to Sirivallabha, who brought Mānābharaṇa’s widow Ratnāvalī with her two daughters Mittā and Pabhāvatī and her son Parakkama, to his capital of Mahānāgakula. Meanwhile Vikkamabāhu dies and is succeeded by his son Gajabāhu, who maintains his position in spite of the attacks of Kittisirimegha and Sirivallabha. Parakkama, finding no scope for his talents in Rohaṇa, seeks his uncle Kittisirimegha, who receives him joyfully and takes him to live in his capital at Saṅkhatthalī. There Parakkama finishes his education, and his coming of age is celebrated under the direction of the senāpati Saṅkha of Badalatthalī. Sirivallabha dies in Rohaṇa and is succeeded by his son, the younger Mānābharaṇa. Parakkama’s ambitious spirit makes him restless, and he is discontented at the prospect of serving a petty principality. He wishes to seek royal dignity in Rājaraṭṭha, and refuses to listen to his uncle’s dissuasion, who assures him that he is only influenced by his love for him and fears for his safety. However, Parakkama leaves Saṅkhatthalī secretly and goes to Badalatthalī, where the general Saṅkha is slain because he informed the king of Parakkama’s flight. Parakkama then goes to Buddhagāma near the frontiers of the Rājaraṭṭha. The inhabitants make repeated attempts to check his advance, but he repels these by his valour.

Meanwhile Kittisirimegha, after consultation with his ministers, sends a stronger force to try and overcome him, but the force is ambushed by the prince and completely routed after a night assault in Khīravāpi. Parakkama then goes to Rājarattha, where messengers with gifts from Gajabāhu meet him, the latter following to greet him in person and bring him to the capital. Parakkama lives at the court in Pulatthipura, but spends his time in spying out the country and intriguing with his host’s subjects. In order to lull the suspicions of Gajabāhu, he gives him his sister Bhaddavatī in marriage, keeping her dowry in his own hands. Later, feeling his position insecure, he returns to Dakkhiṇadesa, meeting on the way with all kinds of adventures which put his courage to the test. Kittisirimegha, delighted to hear of his return, sends messengers to Saraggāma to meet him. However, Parakkama hesitates to enter the capital until persuaded by his mother to do so. Shortly after, Kittisirimegha dies and Parakkama succeeds to the throne. He consolidates his position by various captures, including that of Gajabāhu, which follows on the storming of Pulatthipura. However, Mānābharaṇa comes to the rescue, defeats Parakkama’s army, and sets Gajabāhu free; but the latter, finding him unbearable, appeals to Parakkama for help. War ensues, and Gajabāhu, again at liberty, flees, while his officers fight with Parakkama. Utimately he abdicates in favour of the latter, and dies at Gaṅgātata. His ministers, however, send for Mānābharaṇa, while Parakkama hastens to Pulatthipura, where he is crowned. A campaign of varying fortunes ensues ending in the defeat of Mānābharaṇa, who flees to his own country, where he dies. Parakkama is then crowned a second time. Parakkama is now sole monarch, but his rule is not universally acceptable. In the fourth year of his reign, Sugalā, mother of Mānābharaṇa, raises the standard of revolt in Rohaṇa. The campaign against her is a protracted one and is conducted by the general Rakkha. In the early part of the campaign the Tooth and Bowl Relies are recovered and brought with great ceremony to Pulatthipura. The rebels are gradually cornered and defeated. Sugalā is captured, and the revolt collapses. Rohaṇa is quiet for a time, but rises again after some years.

In the twelfth year of his reign, Parakkama goes to war with the king of Rāmañña, disputes having arisen about the elephant trade and the treatment of the Sinhalese ambassadors, the crowning offence being the seizing of a princess who was being sent from Sri Lanka to Kamboja. A fleet is collected at Pallavavaṅka, and the soldiers are landed at the port of Kusumī, with the Nagaragiri Kitti at their head, a further attack being made by the Damiḷādhikarin Ādicca at Papphālama. After five months the Rāmañña king is slain and peace again restored.

Soon after, the Paṇḍu king Parakkama being besieged by the Coḷa king Kulasekhara, appeals for help from Sri Lanka. Parakkamabāhu sends an army under his general Laṅkāpura, but, in the meantime, the Paṇḍu king has been slain and his capital Madhurā taken. The Sinhalese army, however, landed on the opposite coast and carried on a war against the Coḷā, and built a fortress called Parakkamapura. As a result of this campaign, Kulasekhara was defeated and the Paṇḍu king’s son, Vīrapaṇḍu, was crowned in the ancient capital. The Coḷa prisoners were sent to Sri Lanka and employed in repairing the Ratanavāluka cetiya. The village of Paṇḍuvijaya was founded by Parakkama to commemorate the victory. The ultimate outcome of this expedition is not certain. The Coḷa records claim that Laṅkāpura was defeated, and that his head was nailed to the gates of Madhurā together with those of his generals. The war of the Paṇḍyan succession did not end there.

Parakkamabāhu now engaged in more peaceful pursuits and, after some trouble, he succeeded in reconciling the three sects of monks — the Mahāvihāra, the Abhayagiri and the Jetavana — and held a convocation under a thera called Mahā-Kassapa. The Vaitulya heresy now finally disappeared from Sri Lanka. The king built for the use of the monks the Jetavanārāma, including a round Temple of the Tooth, in the vicinity of the royal palace, and, further to the north, he constructed the Āḷāhana pariveṇa, the Laṅkātilaka-vihāra and the Baddhasīmāpāsāda. He also built the Pacchimārāma, the Uttārārāma and the Mahā Thūpa (or Damiḷa Thūpa). In the three suburbs he built the Isipatana, the Kusinārārāma and the Veḷuvana-vihāras, and, in addition, the Kapila-vihāra, while he restored the shrines at Anurādhapura.

Parakkamabāhu also enlarged and fortified Pulatthipura and adorned the city with numerous palaces and pleasure gardens. He paid great attention to irrigation, opening the Ākāsagaṅgā and forming or improving a system of irrigation, its centre being in the Parakkama-samudda, and building numerous tanks throughout the country.

The internal peace of the latter half of his reign was disturbed only by a rebellion near Mahātittha, this being easily quelled.

Parakkamabāhu I was succeeded by his sister’s son, Vijayabahu II. According to the Nikāyasaṅgraha, Parakkama was born after death as the god Naradeva in the Himavā.

Chaps. 62‑79 of the Cv. are devoted to a description of Parakkamabāhu and his reign. The above is a very concise account of the contents of these chapters.

2. Parakkamabāhu II.– Son of Vijayabāhu III and brother of Bhuvanekabāhu. He was born at Sirivaḍḍhana, and, in his youth, was entrusted to the care of the monks under Saṅgharakkhita. On the death of his father he ascended the throne, and reigned for thirty-three years (1236‑68), at Jambuddoni, as Parakkamabāhu II. On account of his profound erudition, he received the sobriquet of Kalikāla-sāhicca-sabbaññupaṇḍita — “the scholar entirely familiar with literature in the Dark Age.” The first act of his reign was the bringing of the Tooth Relic from the Billa mountain to the capital, amidst the exhibition of various miracles. He then set about regaining Pulatthipura from the Tamils, with Māghinda and Jayabāhu at their head, and this was accomplished by 1244. In the eleventh year of his reign Sri Lanka was invaded by a Jāvaka (Javanese) named Candabhānu, probably a sea robber with a large force. The attack was repulsed by Vīrabāhu, the king’s nephew, but Candabhānu appeared again later. The rest of Parakkama’s life was devoted to pious works. He invited Coḷa monks over to Sri Lanka and held a convocation, with the object of reforming the priesthood, and showed special honour to Dhammakitti, a monk of Tambaraṭṭha. Among buildings erected by him were the Bhuvenakabāhu pariveṇa at Billasela and the Mahāmahindabāhu pariveṇa at Hatthiselapura. He also restored the vihāras at Kalyāṇi and at Hatthavaṅgalla. He added to the Sirivijayasundaravihāra built by his father and inaugurated a yearly festival in Devanagara. He made a pilgrimage to Samantakūṭa and erected a bridge, so that pilgrims might reach it more easily. In all these works he was assisted by his minister Devappatirāja. Parakkama had five sons: Vijayabāhu, Bhuvanekabāhu, Tibhuvanamalla, Parakkamabāhu, and Jayabāhu. In his old age he abdicated in favour of his son Vijayabāhu, who, because of his piety, was called a Bodhisatta. Cv., chaps. 81‑9.

3. Parakkamabāhu.– One of the five sons of Parakkamabāhu II. Nothing further is known of him. Cv.lxxxvii.16.

4. Parakkamabāhu.– Son of Vijayabāhu IV and grandson of Parakkamabāhu II. He became king about 1302 A.C., but the length of his reign is not known: He paid a visit to the Pāṇḍyan king and recovered the Tooth and Bowl Relics, which had been carried away by Ariyacakkavatti. They were restored to Pulatthipura (Cv.xc.48 ff). It may be conjectured that Parakkama secured the Relics at the price of vassalage to the Pāṇḍyan court.

5. Parakkamabāhu IV.– Son of Bhuvanekabāhu II. He became king in Hatthiselapura as Parakkamabāhu IV in about 1325 A.C. The length of his reign is unknown. He paid great honour to the Tooth Relic and is said to have written, in Sinhalese, a work called the Ceremonial of the Tooth Relic (Dāṭhādhātucāritta). Cv. xc.64 f.

6. Parakkamabāhu V.– King of Sri Lanka (Cv.xc.1; see Codrington, op.cit., 83, 89, and Cv. Trs. ii. 212, n. 1). He was, perhaps, the brother of Bhuvanekabāhu IV, and, probably, had his capital at Gaṅgāsiripura. The period of his reign is not definitely known, but it was somewhere between 1348 and 1360 A.C.

7. Parakkamabāhu VI.– King of Sri Lanka (Cv.xci.16 ff; see also Cv. Trs., ii.215, n. 1; and Codrington, op.cit., 90 f). He ruled at Jayavaḍḍhanapura. The Cūḷavaṃsa tells us nothing of importance except that his mother was Sunettā. We gather from other sources that his father was Vijayabāhu, but the authenticity of this information is doubtful. The date of his accession is also uncertain. Some place it at 1412 A.C., others at 1415 A.C. At the beginning of his reign he lived for three years at Rājagāma, moving later to Jayavaḍḍhanapura. Among his religious works were the restoration of the monasteries at Gaṇḍāladoṇi and Laṅkātilaka, and the building of a temple of the Tooth in his capital, Also the founding of the Sunettā pariveṇa in honour of his mother. He abdicated in favour of his sister’s son, Vira Parakkamabāhu, and died after a reign of fifty-five years. His reign is noted for a great output of Sinhalese literature, particularly of poetry.

8. Parakkamabāhu VII.– Also called Paṇḍita Parakkamabāhu, son of Bhuvanekabāhu VI. (Cv.xcii.3). He reigned for four years (circa 1480‑84 A.C.), and was slain by his uncle who became king as Vīra Parakkamabāhu. Codrington, op.cit., 94 f.

9. Parakkamabāhu VIII.– Also called Vīra Parakkamabāhu, uncle of Parakkamabāhu VII. (Cv.xcii.3). He seems to have ruled from about 1484‑1509 A.C. He had constant trouble with his relations. His successor’s name is uncertain. Codrington, op.cit., 94 f.

10. Parakkamabāhu IX.– Also called Dhamma Parakkamabāhu. He is not mentioned in the Cūḷavaṃsa, but probably ruled somewhere about 1509‑28 A.C. Codrington, op.cit., 95 f.

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