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Behaviour and Buddha statues

Swasthi Shree! Thus says his sacred Majesty, the gracious Great King, glorious Chakravarthi, King of the Kings of Maya, Pihiti and Ruhuna, Mahoora of the Vanniala-aeththo and ruler of all lands from Yapapatuna to Sampanthota:

It has come to the notice of the Maha Vasala that, in the vicinity of the city of Wattala in the Siyane Korale, an unknown rathaya had apparently knocked down a 51-year-old man and left him lying injured by the side of the road. An inebriated passer-by had seen the wounded man, with blood pouring out of his ears and had identified him as his own elder brother. He had summoned a rathaya having three wheels, in which he had taken the injured person home, intending to collect some kahapanas (he seems to have spent his last few kasis on intoxicants) and to take him to the hospital.

On reaching his home, his kin had informed him that the victim was not, in fact his 'Podi Aiyya', as he had thought, but a complete stranger. The man had therefore abandoned the injured person. He had then proceeded to the mura kutiya of the murakara hewayas, in order to complain (about what is not certain). He afterwards complained that the murakara hewayas had detained him for three hours. The injured man had meanwhile been taken to the Hospital at the (aptly named) Ra-gama (or village of intoxicants), whence he was removed by gilan ratha to the Great Hospital in Colomb-thota. There the vedas pronounced him as departed for the Kingdom of Yama, Lord of Death.

Why was it necessary for the passer-by, having gone to the trouble of transporting the patient in a rathaya, to dump him unceremoniously instead of taking him to the care of the vedas? This might simply have been dismissed as the behaviour of a man who had been as deprived of his senses by the Yakka drink, as the Nalagiri Tusker had been. However, this cannot be considered a sufficient excuse.

It is not unknown for some person of merit to transport a victim of a ratha impact to the hospital, only to be accused of having been the perpetrator of the dastardly deed.

The fact that the man was inebriated might have added to the confusion on this score, and aided in further branding him a latter-day son of Elara. Certainly, the murakara hewayas seem to have been suspicious enough of his behaviour to lock him up for three hours. So it seems that it was anxiety at being falsely accused that caused the inebriant's abberant behaviour.

The Parangis of Romaya have a saying, 'Aho, the times, aho, the standards of behaviour'. Truly we are in the Kali-yugaya, that an injured man is abandoned to his fate for fear of punishment for a meritorious deed. And what can epitomise the Parangi aphorism more than the fact that, according to the neethi-reethi, the laws and regulations, it is forbidden to sell intoxicants as a distance closer than 220 riyan from a place of religious worship.

For the aforesaid passer-by has stated that the incident occurred while he was on his way home, after having consumed alcohol near the Buddha Statue near the Bati Road.

One wonders, did the murakara hewayas, who are notably zealous in their pursuit of the enforcement of the kusal, the moral virtues of society, look into how and why the sale of intoxicants was taking place so close to an object of worship?

Swasthi Shree! This rock edict is made on this day of Ravi of the month of Duruthu of the Year of the Saka Era 1929.

- Gotabhaya.

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