This is a startlingly modern view of political economy.

The new philosophy gave man control over himself.

Buddhist scriptures work out the duties of a householder and peasants  regardless of caste, wealth, profession-and with no attention whatever to ritual. They argue against Brahmin[ Western] pretensions and specialized ritual with consummate skill but in the simplest words. Caste might exist as a social distinction; it had no permanence, no inner justification. Nor did Ritual or Commandment to be followed blindly , which was irrelevant and unnecessary for the good life. The canonical writings, almost all supposedly from the Buddha’s discourses and dialogues, here in everyday language and plain style without mysticism or lengthy speculation. This was a new type of religious literature addressed to the whole of contemporary society, not reserved for a few learned initiates and adepts. Most important of all, the Buddha or some anonymous early disciple ventured to propound  new duties for the absolute monarch [ President with restricted powers or who can be control himself] the king who merely collected taxes from a land troubled by brigands and anti-social elements was not doing his duty. Banditry and strife could never be suppressed by force and draconic punishment. The root of social evil was poverty and unemployment. This was not to be bribed away by charity and donations, which would only reward and further stimulate evil action.

The correct way was to supply seeds and food to those who lived by agriculture and cattle-breeding. Thos e who lived by trade should be furnished with the necessary capital. Servants of the state [unqualified relative and friend ] should be paid properly and regularly so that they would not then find ways to squeeze the janapadas. New wealth would thus be generated,, the janapadas liberated from robbers and cheats[unqualified relative and friend ]. A citizen could bring up his children in comfort and happiness, free from want and fear, in such a productive and contented environment. The best way of spending surplus accumulation, whether in the treasury or from voluntary private donations, would be in public works such as digging wells and water ponds and planting groves along the trade routes.


The young prince and nobles who held important appointment is Court of Sinhala kings[ See inscribed seat of King Nissankamalle  Assembly hall], we are told, was given training in all the arts and sciences (kalasilpa). According to the Pujavaliya(112-112 Cv, LXXXI) this training included dharma-niti (moral precepts) raja-niti (statecraft), the art of letters and so forth. The Dambadeni Asna elaborates on the branches of learning in which Parakramabahu attained  proficiency and states that he learnt many languages including Simhala, Demala,Samskrta and Magadha (Pali). Similarly, the Buddha Dhmma in its three Pitakas,Vinaya, Sutta and Abbidhanma, grammar (vyakararya) in the two systems, namely Moggallayana Vyakarana and Kayisan Vyakarana, the three Vedas, prosody (chandolakssna), astrology (nakastray), :and so forth are mentioned in this list. He is also said to have mastered sword-fighting ,(kadu-silpaya), archery (dunusilpaya), law (nitisastraya), logic (tarkaya) and other branches of learning included in the eighteen crafts (astadasa-silpaya) as well as those of the sixty-,four arts (su-sta kala) some of which are named in this list. ? Dambadeni Asana should be regarded as reflecting the cannons of learning and accomplishments expected of a prince according to tradition, rather than as an account of  the actual attainment of a the young Prakramabahu II.



A casual glance through those sentences which deal with the relations of the king with the people in the prasastis is sufficient to prove that this relationship was conceived not in political terms as would be done today nor in the European tradition but in religious terms. The political does come into the picture in what the kings actually did. But no clear distinction seems to have been made between the king’s political duty by his people and his obligations for the well-being and protection of the state on the one hand and his personal qualities such as the religious duty to be kind and compassionate towards all men and to be charitable on the other. In emphasizing the latter they were- satisfied that the political duty was being performed.

The religious duties and obligations of the king especially in personal virtue cannot be entirely separated from” those qualities which made for compassion and sympathy for the people. 1i Therefore, only those phrases and sentences which specially mention these qualities in connection with his relationship with the people are dealt with here. These were usually expressed in general terms.

Sympathy on all beings (sav satnat kulunu-vaf); [EZ.I, pp 230-247 (No.20, lns17-18).] was perhaps the keynote of these virtues. Another sentence that is twice repeated is that the king “comforted the people with showers of his boundless, all-embracing, gentle and pure qualities”(anat-apirise-somi-nimala-guna-vaturen diya! sanahay).[ EZ.I, pp 23-29 (No.2.iii.1) ; EZ.I, pp at57 (No.4, ln2).].The Vessagiri slab again reads,”who has won the hearts of all men by being great in his compassion for the world”(lohi kulunin mahat-va  siyal danan man ariyu).[ EZ.I, pp 29-38 (No.2.iii.2A).]Two sentences which appear more political but equally general are: “he made the prosperous lands a common ground for peoples of various appearances, which came from diverse countries” (ek-ves no-ek desin a no-ek-dana-hat Siri Laka ek-rang kara)[ EZ.l, pp 273-229 (No.19, ln38).]and who now protects the world (lov,rakna).[ EZ.r, pp 23-29 (No.2.iii.1)].  The most poetic and fanciful of all is in the Puliyankufam inscription: “just as a dark rain cloud cooling a world that has become parched up by the heat of the fierce rays of the sun pours down torrents of rain accompanied by widespread sheets of lightening and thunder so His Excellency caused showers of his gracious royal gifts, full of various gems to pour down from the rain cloud of compassion filling the pond like mind of many a poor man oppressed with the heat of continual begging.”[ EZ.I, pp 182-190 (No.15, hrsT-11). This refers to Uda Mahaya (Udaya II). Another phrase which expresses this ideal for kingship as tej sanahana somi ihimii (with gentleness that assuages majesty).[ EZ.I, pp 230-241 (No.20, ln18).]




The repertoire of the virtues that were attributed to some of the kings especially Kassapa V, Mahinda IV and Mahinda V shows what qualities should in the opinion of this age adorn the character of the ideal king. These again show that the king should not only be a wise statesman and good administrator but also an excellent  an from the moral and religious point of view. In fact the former, more relevant qualities are not mentioned at all nor attributed to any monarch as a mark of praise.

The phrase very commonly used in the prasastis was: sirivat apiriyat guna mulin uturat vu (who abounded in a multitude of boundless and illustrious qualities[EZ.III, pp 138-148 (No.10); EZ.Il, pp 49-57 (No.10); EZ.I, pp 57-63 (No.1I); [EZ.VI, 7973-9L (No.7),p1t 30-391; EZ.I, pp 230-247 (No.20); EZ.ll, pp 64-70 (No.12); EZ.I, pp 273-229 (No.19, ln 1).] . Lov ikut (transcendental) was sometimes added to the list of adjectives. The Puliyankufam slab inscription contains the phrase sav guna mulin uturat (who abounds in a multitude of all virtues).[ EZ.I, pp 182-190 (No.15, ln2).]. The same inscription described Uda Mahaya as pin siri sar tuma (His virtuous and illustrious Excellency). [EZ.l, pp 182-190 (No.15, lns11-12).]. The duty of charity was laid upon the king as on any other, when it says: piri kusal tamahat ekatsaru kala (he made good deeds his own pleasure).[ EZ.I|, pp 54-70 (No.12)].This may have been a particular reference to this king’s activities. Of the virtues of Mahinda IV, it was stated again guna  ambaranin sadi (decked with the ornaments of virtuous qualities)[. EZ I, pp 29-38 (No.2.iii.2A)]. A sentence of praise with a specifically Buddhist reference wap danu muaa sripcit-sili-nruaa sugi- tuftlnnu-nnrcta-mok-manga tumahal ekatsAru-kof (who has secured for himself the way to Nirvana which consists in charity, in accomplished virtues and righteous conduct).[ EZ.I, pp 29-38 (No.2.iii.2A, lns3-4)].

A fitting conclusion to this list is that contained in the Jetavanarama inscription of Mahinda IV, which runs its praise as-somyen nisayur-uti, gamburen sayur-va  taha varun mevar- denen dinisur-va  gunat avur va  dasa-rad-dahamat neves-va Tunu- ruvan-ruvanat mandos-va  Muni-me sasnat ek-vahal-tamba-va hama sirit siri-se-va diyat pihitn-va  (In gentleness the moon, in depth (of character) the ocean, in firmness Mount Meru, in wealth the Lord of riches, a mine of good qualities, an abode of the ten kingly virtues, a jewel casket for the Triple Gem, the supporting pillar of the religion of the Sage, the Goddess Sri for every prosperity, the mainstay of the world)[ EZ.I, pp 213-229 (No.19, lns5-7)].All this sounds very much like a stock formula and may have been what was expected of every king. It embraces not only the personal qualities expected of the king but also his religious duty and obligations to which we shall now turn.

The king was to be “the jewel casket for the Triple Gem (and) the supporting pillar of the religion of the Sage.” The patronage and protection of the Buddhist religion by the Sinhalese kings is assumed right through the Mnhaaairca. This does not seem to be a new idea but may have been summarised in this form much later. The implications of this protection and patronage have been expressed in many forms in the prasastis and in other places in the inscriptions.

One of the most interesting religious traditions of this time is seen in the phrase-Siri Lakhi no Bosat hu raj  vanhayi (none but the Bodhisattvas would become kings of prosperous Lanka). This whole passage bears quotation. “The regulation thus enacted should always be maintained with due regard by the descendants of our dynasty, the ksatriya lords, devoted to the Buddha who (of yore) have received the assurance (made by) the Omniscient Lord of Sages, the pinnacle of the Sakya race that none but the Bodhisattas would become kings of prosperous Lanka.” It goes on further to state that kingship was “bestowed by the great community of monks for the purpose of defending the bowl and the robe” (the sangha) (tuma pay sivur raknuvas maha-sang hu pilivayu raj-siri,piminna). This passage reveals a few important  acts. The first is the belief based no doubt on the Mahvansa storys[ Mhv.7:Line 1-6] that the Buddha himself has assured that the kings of the island shall always be Bodhisattns. Devotion to the Buddha and the defence of “the bowl and the robe” was an important function of the king and kingship was bestowed by the monks for the purpose. The religion of the Buddha and kingship in the island were thus verv closely linked together.

Other phrases which express this duty towards the religion of the Buddha and the sangha are Viyatnat sangara (patronage to the learned) [EZ.l, pp 230-217 (No.20, irrsl6-17).], sasun ariyu (promoted the Buddhist religion),[ E.Z.l, pp 73-29 (No.2.iii.1); EZ.l, pp al-57 (No.’1, hr2)]. sasrun kot huvay (raised the standard of the religion)[ E.Z.l, pp 11-57 (No.4, lrrT)].and sangnat taman tillin maha  rik-hi  gat (pelaya viya) (like the fruits which the great tree of his liberality bore to the sangha)[ EZ.l, pp 213-229 (No.19, ln 16)].

The qualities traditionally associated with kingship (raj siri) have been conveniently ,summarized as the ten regal virtues (dasa-raja-dhramma. Pali, dasa-raja-dharma)  and the four elements of popularity (satara sangvat Skt. Catussangrahavgatta ).[ E.Z.I, pp 29-38 ( No.2. iii.2A ) dasa- rad –dham satarat sang vat no ikama( No 19, Insp 7) dasa rad  dahamat neves va – Mahavansa Ch 52 Line 43-44]. These have been borrowed from Indian practice.


The ten regal virtues had been enumerated in pali writings as Dana (giving of alms), Sila (leading a moral life), Pariccaga (liberality), Avajja  (fair dealing), Maddava(gentleness), Tapas (self-discipline), Akkodha (without wrath), Avihimsa(without wounding), Khanthi (patience), Avirodhana (peaceableness)


The four heart-winning qualities (Pali: cattari samghavatthuni ) are Dana (giving of alms, liberality), Peyavajja (friendly, winning speech), Attacariya(beneficent action),and Samanattata (sociability). Mahavansa Ch 37 Line 108; Chapter41 line 56].


The four heart-winning qualities (Pali: cattari samghavatthuni ) are Dana (liberality), Peyavajja (friendly, winning speech), Attacariya(beneficent action),and Samanattata (sociability). Mahavansa (old hat overview)  Ch 37 Line 108; Chapter41 line 56].

I wish to share when in 1518 the Portuguese came here with a lot of ships armed with Cannons etc and an army of Portuguese and Indian soldiers to force our King to build a Fort here. The King taken by surprise. But he  perhaps being aware  the four heart winning qualities of a king won the day by using a few of them over came the threat posed by the Governor of Goa and his arrogance.

I wish to share what PE Peries wrote , and perhaps the full impact of how the king changed the subject and the little story he told and how he said it, this involves many factors such as the Kings though been almighty. acts or takes decisions according to the Customs of the Sinhalese  where his Council of Ministers are made aware, their constitution and how even a King can be punished or wrong doings . I don’t know the views of Intelligentsia about PE Peries, but he quotes from many Portuguese and Sinhalese historians of that period. So if he is not up to standard just click on Trash button. But a Flea- brained idea , I suggest  some one can bring out this story in good English and published in the newspapers on the days Kerry is in town and may be good to remind our leaders too.,


The Governor replied with due acknowledgment of the King’s well-known kindness on which he had relied in coming there. He begged him not to allow his mind to be poisoned by the slanders of  the Moors, against whose treachery he inveighed bitterly, and whom he represented as their inveterate enemies who lost no opportunity of maligning the good name of the Portuguese. He boasted of the triumphs which the Portuguese had already obtained against them, till their very mosque at Mecca was in peril at the shock of their arms. He expressed his firm determination never to cease in his hostility, and to prove to them that the valour of the Portuguese more than made up for their paucity of numbers. His Highness would always find, he declared, that deceit was with them and truth with the Portuguese: he could anticipate every gain to himself from the friendship of the latter; and to bring about this desirable end he suggested the necessity of erecting a fort, to be manned by a Portuguese garrison, at that port. If the King had any fear about the presence of the Moors, he gave him his word that he would spread such armadas throughout the coast that within sight of land he would bury them all at sea.


The two then rose and as they walked down the King asked for two days time to talk the matter over his people. He entertained no misgiving himself he said, but it was his duty to lay the matter before his Council, and there to decide on what was best: even though as Lord he had full power, yet it was the duty of Kings to see that matters which affected the common weal should not be decided according to the will of one man only. Using the privilege of old age he continued brightly,

Know, Senhor. that when I was young , one man killed another in the city of Sitawaka. The dead man had no kinsfolk to complain of the crime, nor had the murderer 50 larins with which to ransom his life . The matter was brought to trial. and it was decided that he should die, though there were no heirs on the one part nor money on the other. The sentence was accordingly carried out. As soon as he was executed his children seized the executioner, demanding from him the 50 larins which the law had fixed as a penalty on murder. The executioner thus harassed claimed protection from justice, and was relieved though he was not entirely acquitted.”

He went on to relate how the matter as based on law was referred to Court [ Queyroz here remarks that Sinhala Kings ware born to listen to all men and that was  the reason why they are painted with ears on their feet. I do not know what custom he is referring to]. .

His father the Emperor Parakrama Bahu then put the question to the complainants as to whom they would blame if on the King’s orders his soldiers robbed them of their touca. [The word toaca can refer either to the turban or the konde of the Sinhalese ]. Surely the principal must be held responsible for the act of the Agent ?.Such was his decision and therein lay the defense of the executioner; and therefore he ordered 50 larins to be paid to the men, so that the law established by his ancestors might remain inviolate[The Sinhalese constitution recognised the fact that Custom was stronger than the King. The Kandyan chiefs headed by Molligoda, in reporting on a petition presented by the Moors in l829 AD in respect of the privileges they claimed, stated that once Narendra Sinha bestowed a jacket on a Berawaya named Wissuwe Panikkiya, but as this was contrary to custom Rammolaka Maha Nilame tore off the jacket from the Berawaya’s back and imprisoned him, while the Adigar and the other chiefs awarded the proper fine on the King for his breach of custom, and voted that the King should pay the same to the Maha  Dewale, which he accordingly did.


“Can a King when once appointed, act according to his arbitrary will ?”


“If the King, by his knowledge of ancient  and standards of justice, which form the law of mankind, and- of the rules of the Dharma, which is religion, is a man of great wisdom and erudition, then there may be matters of State which can be decided according to his arbitrary will ; but at the same time there may be -1ty which require to be carefully discussed with his Council and with his subjects at large. If there is any doubt on the point, the Mahawansa will give many instances where the great King Parakrama Bahu who reigned at Polonnarua, acted sometimes on his own discretion, and some times with the advice of his Council.


* Is the King bound to carry out any resolution arrived at by the Council after due deliberation, as stated above, or has he the power to ignore the same ?

 “Such power  is invested in him, but at the same time it is clearly laid down in books dealing with the administration of the Church and the State, that it is among the obligations of the King not to overrule the unanimous decision of his Ministers. Kandyan Customs.


For it is the duty of the great in every manner to avoid inflicting injustice on the weak.

If he does not behave him self. Then remind that we have added an A to the end of his name




  1. Maha Mohondls or hkam, secretary to the palace.
  2. Gajanayaka nilame head of the elephant department.
  3. Atapattuv Lekum, chief of the king’s immediate bodyguards.
  4. Kodituvakku lekam, commander of the king’s Gingalls.
  5. Vedikarara Lekem, captain of the king’s musketeers.
  6. Maduve lekum, commander of the Kandy city watch.
  7. Padikara lekam, paymaster to the king’s officers who were paid in cash.
  8. Nanayakkara lekam, genealogist who kept records of the men of noble birth.
  9. Dunukara lekum, chief of the archers.
  10. Bondikulama lekam, master of ordnance of the iron cannon.
  11. Aspantiye mohandiram nilame, master of the horse.
  12. Sudu harak palliye mohandiram nilame, chief of the king’s herd of white cattle.

L3. Maha aramudal  vannakku nilame, keeper of the royal treasures.

  1. ‘Maha gabada nilame, steward of the royal stores.
  2. Uda gabada nilame, steward of the king’s private stores.
  3. Palle vdhala gabada nilame, steward of the queen’s stores.
  4. Kuttaha nilame, purveyor of oil cakes to the palace.
  5. Patti viddne lekam, chief of the cowherds.
  6. Mahasatapena- mohandiram nilame, master of the royal bed chamber.
  7. Diyavadana nilame, chief of the royal bath.
  8. Haluvadana nilame, master of the wardrobe.
  9. Batvadana nilame, chief in charge of the royal kitchen.
  10. Panividakarana nilame bearer of the royal betel tray.
  11. Bet-ge mohandiram nilame, head of the royal physicians.
  12. Kunam maduve lekam, chief in charge of the royal palanquins.
  13. Sudaliya mohandiram nilamc, chief in charge of the fencers.
  14. Maruvalliye mohandiram nilame, chief in charge of the gladiators.
  15. Natum illangane mohandiram nilame, chief in charge of the dancing girls.
  16. Kavikara maduve mohandiram nilame, chief of the court poets.
  17. Vahala illangam? mohandiram nilame, chief in charge of the king’s acrobats.
  18. Tamboru purampettukdra mohandiram nilamL, chief of the king’s trumpeters.





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