Spontaneous Combustion Miracle in Mahavamsa!


Research paper written by London Swaminathan
Post No.1294; Dated 17th Sept. 2014.
This is my Sixth Research Article in the Mahavamsa series.

I have already listed the miracles in Mahavamsa. But I did not deal with the Miracles of Buddha in that article. There are lot of miracles in Buddha’s life like in the life stories of Krishna and Jesus. So I am not dealing with them here. But one remarkable miracle is recorded in the Mahavamsa. It comes under the category of Spontaneous Human Combustion (SHC).

What is spontaneous Human combustion (SHC)?

A human body bursts into flames without any rhyme or reason or external contact with fire. Only people who believe in miracles and paranormal things believe that this can happen. But scientists who came across such things as late as in 1992, struggle hard to explain with all the scientific terms they know: methane in the body, fat in the body struck by lightning, wick effect etc. Nothing is satisfactorily explained so far. Moreover they did not know what is recorded in the Hindu scriptures. But what puzzled firemen and forensic experts is that the whole body including the bones except legs burnt to ashes! Why didn’t the legs burn? How come the bones burnt which is not even possible in Electric crematoriums where the temperature is 1000 degrees C? These are the puzzles. Hindus collect bones after the cremation even in London after cremating the body in the electric crematorium!


Stranger than this was the burning of the body without damaging the clothes! But these were not recorded properly, so scientists ignored them. Hindus strongly believe in SHC, because they have lot of anecdotes in their scriptures. They never thought that they are fire accidents or concocted stories.

Saivite saint Tiru Jnana Sambandhar and Vaishnavite woman saint Andal burst into flames and merged with God. But atheists explained them as unfortunate fire accidents!!!

Ramalinga Swamikal burst into flames and merged with Jyothy, his disciples believe.
Tiruppanalvar and Nandanar merged into Jyoti/fire.

Gopal Naik sang Deepak Raga and burst into flames in front of Moghul emperor Akbar.
Tamil woman Kannaki burnt Madurai by throwing her breast.

Pattinathar and Adi Shankara lighted their mothers’ funeral pyre by looking at them!

In Mahavamsa we come across an anecdote where Kasyapa goes round the Buddha’s body three times and it spontaneously lit the funeral pyre! (See Chapter 30 of Mahavamsa).

More interesting is the SHC reported in fifth chapter. A monk bursts into flames. Buddhists call this Tejo jhanavasena. The explanation for this term is that a meditating monk concentrates all his thoughts on the concept of fire (tejo) and the effect is a fire arises in his body which consumes him.

The story is as follows:
Once a person went into a forest and fell in love with a wood nymph called Kunti. She gave birth to two children and they grew up and attained supernatural powers after practising Buddhism. One of them was bitten by a poisonous insect. Immediately the younger one asked him what would relive him of pain. The elder one asked for ghee to get rid of the poison in his body. Enough ghee was not available. The elder one decided to go into Nirvana. He sat lifted up in the air. Suddenly he burst into flames and the bones only remained after he burnt his flesh. The king collected his bones and did the funeral rites. After finding the Thera’s sickness, he built many hospitals for the Bhikshus.

Hindus have already heard such stories and so they are not surprised. But it is a very rare phenomenon. In the 5000 year old Hindu history we come across a handful of SHC cases only!

shc bbc

Please read my earlier articles:
The Mysterious Death of Great Hindu Saints (Posted Nov.15, 2011)
Strange Facts about V I P Deaths (27th April 2012)
Contact swami_48@yahoo.com

Brahmins and Candalas in Mahavamsa


Research paper written by London Swaminathan
Post No.1290; Dated 15th September 2014.

This is the fourth in the series of my research articles on Mahavamsa.

“One should never hurt a Brahmin; and a Brahmin should never return evil for evil. Alas for the man who hurts a Brahmin. Alas for the Brahmin who returns evil for evil” — Buddha in The Dhammapada, sloka 389

It is very interesting to note that Mahavamsa has recorded a number of prominent Brahmin names in ancient Sri Lanka. It is also interesting to know that Brahmins have settled in Sri Lanka even before the Buddha was born. More interesting is that talk about Yakshas, Rakshasas, Candalas, Lambakarna- rhyming with Kumbakarna of Ramayana. Even though the Buddhist scriptures blacked out all that is Hindu in the island, indirect evidence gives so much information. Though the Pali scriptures never mentioned anything about Lord Rama or Lord Krishna, the names that we come across show that they existed as we see them in Ramayana or Mahabharata. Lord Siva’s name is not found in Sangam Tamil literature, but we come across many early kings with “Siva” suffix! This is also very important to write the history of Saivism in Sri Lanka!!!

Brahmin No 1
Chapter 3: When the Buddha died on the Vaisak Full Moon Day countless number of Bikshus, Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Sudras and Devas assembled there.

Brahmin No 2
Chapter 4: When some Bikshus were doing false propaganda Yasa Thera, son of Brahmin Kasanthaka went to solve the problem. Then Kalasoka convened the Second Council.

Brahmin No 3
Chapter 5: Brahmin Chanakya crowned King Chandragupta to rule all over Jambudwipa (India)
Candalas only wear yellow dress. He must be a candala, said one of the brothers of a shop keeper. He was born as a candala in a Candala village in his next birth but he attained ‘Vimochan’ in seventh year

Brahmin No 4
Chapter 5: A Brahmin by name Dasaka of Vaishali studied Vedas for twelve years. Buddha converted him to Buddhism.


Brahmins in Sri Lanka
Brahmin No 5
Chapter 7: Vijayan’s first wife was Kuvenna who was a Yakshini. Her descendants are Pulindas.
Chapter 9: Brahmins well versed in scriptures predicted queen’s sons will kill their own uncles to capture power.

Brahmin No 6
Chapter 10: Pandula, a Brahmin, was a rich man. He was well versed in the Vedas. He was living for long in Pandulagama (Pandula Grama; in Kerala the places where Brahmins lived were called ‘grama’. In Tamil Nadu those villages were called Mangalam)

Pandula predicted that Pandu Abhaya would become a king and rule Sri Lanka for seventy years. He and his son Chanda taught would- be king all about statecraft.

In the incidents reported so far we come to know that Brahmins were well versed in the Vedas and statecraft. They were the teachers. They were rich and well respected. They could predict future; probably they were experts in Samudrika lakshan or astrology!

Brahmin No 7
Chapter 10: During Pandu Abhaya period, he created special place for Brahmins. He had one Maha Yajnasala. He appointed 500 Candalas to clean the city and 200 Candalas to clear the drainage. He appointed 150 more candalas to carry the dead bodies and created a Candala village. Exclusive burial ground was allocated to them.

Brahmin No 8
Chapter 11: When Devanampriya Tissa sent some messengers to Emperor Asoka, one of them was Raja Guru, a Brahmin. Asoka paid him all respects due to a Brahmin Guru.
Like ancient India, Sri Lanka also had Brahmins as Raja Gurus.

Brahmin No 9
Chapter 19: Just to guard the Bodhi Tree that came from India, King Devanam priya Tissa appointed 18 people from the royal family and 8 each from the Brahmins, Vaisyas and Cowherds. One or two from each of the Tharaksha, Kulingas, Weaver, Potter and Handicraft communities.

He took the tree in a chariot procession. As a mark of respect he put it on the ground in front of Brahmin Diwakar’s village.
So much respect was given to learned Brahmins by the Sri Lankan kings.
Later one tree was planted in his village.


Brahmin No 10
Chapter 23: Prince ordered one of servants to go to a far off village where his friend Kundali, a Brahmin lived.

Kundali had foreign goods and the servant was given a letter addressed to the Brahmin. The Brahmin asked him to come after a bath. He went and took a bath and came with lotus flowers. The Brahmin gave him a letter and gifts for the prince.

Brahmin No 11
Chapter 30: When there was a fight to get the share of Buddha’s bones and ashes, only a Brahmin by name Dona solved the problem by dividing the bones into eight parts. It looks like Buddha lived a pure Hindu life. He was cremated according to Hindu scriptures.
Brahmin No 12
Chapter 27 briefly mentions about Asokan, a Brahmin of Kasyapa Buddha period.

Brahmin No 13

Chapter 31: Here in this chapter we hear about a Brahmin called Nandhuttara who gave a reception to the Buddha.

Brahmin No 14
Chapter 33 deals with a revolt by a Brahmin known as Tissa of Rohana. He joined with seven Tamils and sent a threatening letter to the king. He wrote back that he had to drive away the Tamils first and then the country belonged to him. Tisisa failed in his mission and later the king was also defeated.


Brahmin No 15
Chapter 34 gives an interesting love story of Anula. She loved several people and killed them one after another by poisoning them. One of them who fell a prey to her was a Brahmin by name Niliya. Queen Anula married him and Niliya ruled just for 6 months before he lost his life.

Brahmin No 16
In the last chapter 37, we hear about a new Buddhist Vihara built at the village of the Brahmin Kalanda. Because Brahmins were prominent citizens they were mentioned wherever an opportunity arose.

Conclusion: Even during the Buddhist rule, they were mentioned first and then only the Bikshus and other castes were mentioned. This is due Buddha’s strict instruction not to harm Brahmins in Dhammapada sloka 389.

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