Astrology in Mahavamsa!


(Mahavamsa Research Essay No.1)
Research paper written by London Swaminathan
Post No. 1277; Dated 9th Sept. 2014.

What is Mahavamsa?
Mahavamsa is a book in Pali language narrating the history of Kings of Sri Lanka. It gives a continuous history from the date Vijayan from Bengal ( India ) landed in Sri Lanka. It covers the period between 543 BCE and 361 CE. The book was called Mahavamsa following the Raguvamsa of Kalidasa in which Kalidasa gives history of solar race that ruled Northern India. Mahavamsa means Great Dynasty or Great Chronicle.

There are lot of interesting astrological references in the book. It shows that the people of the land between Kandy and Kashmir had the same belief. I have already given the astrological beliefs of Sangam age Tamils. It is all the same. But we don’t know whether they worked on the basis of planetary positions in their horoscopes or they did face reading and predicted out of intuition. Even lepers and blind people do predictions in Mahavamsa. In Indian real life stories we come across incidents where someone predicts that this little boy would become a great king. We did not know how they worked it out. It may be intuitive power or mastery of Shamudrika Lakshan (body marks or shape).

adilabad kili
Parrots predicts your future: It is practised from Kanyakumari to Kashmir

Prediction No.1
In the tenth chapter “Consecration of Pandukabaya”, a rich Brahmin by name Pandula makes a prediction that he (Pandu Abhaya) would become the king and rule the country for seventy years. He asked him to learn the art (of ruling) and Pandukabaya learnt the art from Brahmin’s son Canda. Pandu abahya ruled for seventy years. This is one of the longest rules we hear in history!

Pandula was learned in the Vedas and has been living there for long. This shows that Vedic studies were available in Sri Lanka in the fourth century BCE. This is similar to Chanakya teaching Chnadragupta. In those days only Brahmins were teachers from Kashmir to Kandy. Even the Pandavas learnt only from the Brahmin teacher Drona. Parasurama also taught the Kshatriyas (Ruling class).

Prediction No.2
In the fifteenth chapter “The acceptance of Mahavihara”, a thera gives predictions about future kings:
“One descended from you will build this Stupa. The son of your brother Yaththalayakatissa will become the king. His son Gothabhaya and his son Kakavnna tissa will be the rulers. And his son Abhaya with the name of Duttagamini will build the Stupa here”.

This shows that people believed that saints or people like theras can make predictions for 3 or 4 generations. We see such predictions in the Hindu Puranas.

Prediction No.3
In the chapter on Thirteen Kings (Chapter 36) a blind man who had the gift of prophesy makes predictions just by listening to the sound of the foot steps of three Lambakarnas: “The ground bears here the three rulers of the earth”. When they asked for clarification he predicted that the last of the three men Samghatissa will be the king. And he ruled for four years.

Congress Yagna
Congress leaders did Hindu Yagna before last general elections for their victory. Individually they won, but their party lost miserably.

Prediction No.4
In Chapter 35, Twelve Kings, one Lambakarna man by name Vasabha was predicted to become the king. He escaped from several dangers and became the king. Even a leper told him that he would become the king. When he became the king he consulted an astrologer to know the length of his life. He told him that he would live for 12 years only. Then the king met the Buddhist teachers and asked what would prolong one’s life. And he did donate whatever they told him to donate to prolong his life.

This shows that even the kings were concerned about their future and they were at the mercy of soothsayers.

There are many more things in Mahavamsa, but strictly speaking they would fall under the category of Miracles. I will write about them in another post.


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1 Comment

  1. The essays are more and more becoming of proseltisation and not history. Raghu vansa should not be compared with Mahavamsa. I am an orthodox devout proud Tamil speaking Brahmin having two thousand years of legacy. That does not mean that I should belittle everything. Only because of Mahavamsa Asoka could be identified since out of twenty four Asokan edicts only three edicts in Karnataka have Asoka and all others have Devanampiyya Thissa. It was only from Mahavamsa Asoka’s connection with Mauryan dynasty was estabished. It is complete misconception that Jainism/Vaidikam/Buddhism were antagonistic. Actually Jains include Yudhishtra’s coronation for reckoning era. Except Tamilnadu/Andhra/Kerala in all States Sankalpa include Bauddhavathare. The concept of KALKI is purely Buddhist and Kaki will be ruling Sabala and will be saving BRAHMINS from Mlechchas. That is why all the Deccan kings though Buddhists/Jains performed Vedic rites. Buddha wanted to make Anarya Brahmins into Aryas and Buddhists Jataka stories were very much interested in giving Gothras to kings a practice adopted by Sung as/Satavahanas.

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