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But we are by no means satisfied with the correctness of the dates furnished by the Sulu Raja Ratnacare, as they are still more suspicious than those in the Mahawansa, with reference to the reigns of Pandukabayo and Muttusiwa. “My reluctance,” says Turnour, “moreover, to admit the particular date assigned to the landing of Wijayo, does not proceed solely from its suspicious coincidence with the date of Gotamo's death. The aggregate period comprised in those 236 years, it will be observed, has been for the most part apportioned, on a scale of decimation, among the six Rajas who preceded Dewananpiyatisso, which distribution is not in itself calculated to conciliate confidence; and in the instance of the fifth raja, Pandu-kabhayo, it is stated that he married at 20 years of age, succeeded in dethroning his uncle when he was 37, and reigned for 70 years. He is therefore 107 years old when he dies, having been married 87 years; and yet the issue of that marriage, Mutasiwo, succeeds him and reigns 60 years! One of the Singhalese histories does, indeed, attempt to make it appear that Mutasiwo was the grandson; but I now find that that assertion is founded purely on an assumption, made possibly with the view of correcting the very imperfection now noticed. It is manifest, therefore, that there is some inaccuracy here, which calls for a curtailment of the period intervening between the landing of Wijayo and the introduction of Budhism; and it is not unworthy of remark, that a curtailment of similar extent was shewn to be requisite in the Indian portion of this history, of that particular period, to render the reigns of Chandragupta and Seleucus Nicator contemporaneous.”

Hence, it will be seen, that we have indubitable testimony that the Wijayan era is antedated by 60 years; and that there is strong suspicion of its having been still more perverted. As however, in this stage of our work it is difficult to adjust dates by the discovered discrepancy in ques

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tion, we shall be entirely guided by those upon which we have hitherto proceeded, viz., those which are given in the Mahawansa.

To proceed then: Having shewn the language of the land to have been the Singhalese in 306 B. C., it appears that from the reign of Dewenipetissa until that of Dutugemunu, the march of improvement was arrested by two Malabar usurpers, and the invasion of the Island by one Elāla, also a Malabar: and that Dutugemunu's wars (B. C. 164), which were succeeded by a series of monumental erections amongst which was the celebrated Ruanweli Dāgoba), scarcely left him any time for the promotion of the intellectual improvement of his subjects.

No apparent advancement in literature took place from this period until the reign of Walagambahu (B. C. 104), who nearly twelve years after his accession (B. c. 92), directed the compilation of the religious works of Ceylon; which, consisting of the text books of Budhism in the Pali language, and the Singhalese Atuwas or Commentaries, were committed to writing by 500 priests at a subterraneous or rock Temple, called Aluwihara, nearly two miles from the Town of Matalla.

These Atuwas, if now procurable, would greatly assist us in ascertaining what progress the Singhalese language had made at this period of time. Unfortunately, however, they are no longer extant.

We learn upon the authority of Major Forbes * that on the west side, and within a short distance of Dambul, there are many inscriptions, the form of the letters approximating to the ancient Singhalese. † He considers the

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* Ceylon Almanac for 1884, p. 206.

+ The writer is in possession of two of these inscriptions; and on reference to them and few others inserted in the Bengal Asiatic Society's Journal, Vol. 5, p. 555, it is apprehended that most of them are in a character which bears great resenıblance to the Nagari of the third century 1. C., given in Mr. Prinsep's Tables.

probable date of these monuments to be 80 B. C. If these be translated, (and we hope the day is not far distant when they will be), they will doubtless not only throw much light on the early history of this Island, but contribute much to enlighten us as to the character of the style in which the voluminous Atuwas were composed

Nearly three centuries had elapsed after the last mentioned event, when Wiharatissa ascended the throne A. 1. 201; and during this period not only were many arts and sciences introduced into Ceylon from India; but the Brahmins, in conveying their scientific instructions in Poetry, Logic, Metaphysics, Ethics and Natural Philosophy, necessarily introduced the Sanscrit; the acquirement of which hy the natives must have been greatly facilitated by their knowledge of its sister dialect, the Pali, with which language, in connection with their religious books, they were already conversant. It can hardly be doubted, that from these sources, the native Singhalese was much enriched.

At this period a great schism, known as the “Wytulian heresy," was originated; the results of which have been most detrimental to the literature of a nation, whose religious and scientific works were inseparably connected. Wiharatissa, assisted by his Prime Minister, burnt all the Budhistical scriptures; and these we may reasonably believe, included the greater part of the literature of Ceylon. This took place in a. 1. 209, and is the second destruction of literary records which disgraces the page of history.

Passing over the remarkable reign of Sree Sangabo, whom the native traditions regard as a candidate for the high-priestly office of a future Budha; we come to Gotabhaya, in whose reign the Wytulian doctrines were again embraced, which led to a further disturbance of the intellectual improvement of the Singhalese---an improvement which we cannot sever from their religious.

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About this time, it seems, the Inscriptons to which we have already referred, were engraven on rocks at Mihintala. Mr. Turnour in reference to them says (vide Ceylon Almanac for 1834, p. 173), “They must have been recorded about the year of Budha 805, A. D. 262. From the inscriptions themselves, and on reference to the Mahawanso, I find that three Princes of the Cshestria tribe, descended from Okaaka, and connected with the Lamini branches of the Royal family, whose domains were near Mayanganna in Bintenne, repaired to the Court of the reigning Sovereign Wija Indoo A. 1). 241.”

The following paragraph from the Inscription, of which the introduction was printed at p. xxxvi., will serve as a specimen of that pure Elu or Singhalese, for which we in vain look at the present day. It is chaste in its style, elegant in construction, unmixed with the Sanscrit, and unencumbered by numerous existing particles, which only serve to ornament the style without adding anything to the sense.

1. මවහයහි වසන බිසඟහිමියන් බිලිපගසාසහි ඉංගිසිය අරමනහිකතට ද හංට කිසමවයිසිකකරණි හිකියුසෙයින් සිවුර හඳපෙරව

ඇරැලඅවුත් ප්රීකාටබැයි හබු බතයුතු”

2. ගිලනව ලහාඉයන්ගහන හිමියනචලව කියු සඳ වසදියයුතු 3. මෙව.රැවැසුවහෙවරකියන බිසගෙහිමියනට කඩ පිඩිවසපයම සුතවලාකයට බිසහගිම් යනවවස

3 සතක අසාබ්දවලා කියන බිසvහිමියනට වසදොලසක් අසාදියයුතු

4. දායකයපිරි කපා සඟනටදෙනුකලපසන පිරිහෙලාදි සසුතුමි

5. මත්වහරැ අවුතුවාක් අවසා බලි බිම් මෙහිමපසක් දිනිබඳවැටෑස වළඳමු ඛාදවහා කසවණාලදිය යුතු,යනාදඈවියයුතු

6. Owocchiot me Swoscoso diçao golgolescen899 avoidaan 7. මවහරවසම්හ බසභහිමින්

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යිකව 99

“1. Having risen at early dawn, and having meditated on the four preservative principles, * and having performed the necessary ablutions, and having also attired and covered themselves with robes in the manner prescribed in the Sakiyawa (an Institute of Budha), the priests resident in this temple shall resort to the apartment of appropriation † in the inner temple; and, having there performed the religious observances of Meth and Pirit $. they shall partake of gruel and rice.

“2. They shall at the proper times prescribed by physicians give the food unto those (priests) who cannot attend the apartment of appropriation, “3. Such of the reverend priests of this temple as

3 study the Winepitaka shall receive, besides raiment, five meals; such of them as study the Sutrapitaka shall (in like manner) receive seven meals; and such of them as

• The four Preservalive Principles are the four modes of meditation or Bawana, viz. Maitri, Karuna, Mudita and Upeksha-see Hardy's Monachisin,

p. 249.

+ The apartment of appropriation, is a place set apart for the gathering of the priests, with a view either to divide their meals, or to determine upon which of them sball leave the temple in compliance with the invitations to breakfast of divers Budhists in different parts of the country. These invitations, it is to be remarked, are simply jatimations to the head of the temple, that A or B wishes to feed so many priests on a given morving.

I'Meth.' This is one of those meditations of love towards all men, which gives a healthy conscience, and which, if truly practised, is an ellectual check upon the commission of sin. See a definition of the same in Hardy's Monachism, p. 243.

$ 'Pirit.' This is the recitation of certain portions of Budha's Sermons. These have been translated by the Rev. D. J. Gogerly, which see in the Friend for April 1839.

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