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Sunday, 1 February 2004  
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Mihintalava - The Birthplace of Sri Lankan Buddhist Civilization

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Sel lipi by Gotabhaya

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, including the lush regions of Pahala Uva, Saparagamuwa and Tammankaduwa:

It has come to the notice of the Maha Waasala that, in the distant land of Amerikaawa, a monk of the Roma sect of the Khraisthavas has been arrested for growing sroosthiya in the grounds of his vihara. An upaasaka who was domiciled at the same Saamakumara Vihara has also been incarcerated by the murakaara hewaayas for cultivating this medicinal plant.

The murakaara hewaayas say that they discovered, in a sleeping cubicle of the vihara, a complete sroosthi cultivation system, with magical lights and puskolas on how to grow this versatile foliage. About 35 plants in pots, ranging in height from a third of a riyana to three riyanas, have been taken into custody, together with two small bags of herbal extract.

It seems that the wheel has turned a full revolution, and things are stood on their head. It is a known fact that, in earlier times, the govis of Amrikaawa were necessitated by the law of the land to cultivate so many amunams of sroosthi, on pain of imprisonment. The first chakravarthi of Amerikaawa, the famed Nadukaara Sodhana-pura, himself planted several hundred amunams of this precious herb.

Apart from its purely medicinal properties, sroosthi fibre is extremely strong and makes excellent rope. One can observe hempen garments, made from this selfsame fibre, for sale in the vast emporia of Amerikaawa itself. So apparently, in the land of Amerikaawa the cultivation of this weed is banned by the law, whereas the wearing of garments made with its fibre is legal.

In this Dhammadweepa, on the other hand, the dried leaf is used far and wide. Under the strictest interpretation of the law, of course, it is not legal. However, here even the enforcers of the law must on occasion relax with a chew or two of betel and a puff or two of sroosthi.

One chakravarthi of this glorious realm once ordered a punitive campaign against the cultivation of the leaf, and the peasantry of Pahala Uva, Saparagamuwa and Thamankaduwa were set upon by the Royal Army; but we all know what happened to him in the following year of the Buddha Jayanthi.

Sroosthi, when ingested, is a very good controller of the extremes caused by the excess of bile. It tenderises meat when cooked with it and in the same manner it tenderises the spirits of those filled with lobha, dveha and moha (envy, enmity and lust); the Maha Waasala has found it to be an excellent aphrodisiac.

The people of this pearl-like country are of a gentle disposition, caused by the frequent use of this benign narcotic. The exceptions are, of course, the striped soldiery of the pereliya, Velu, who are banned from its use, on pain of death. Until the coming of these feline rebels, this land was at peace.

Not so the great land of Amerikaawa, the denizens of whom slaughter, with extreme prejudice, 10,000 of their fellow citizens each year. In the past 50 years, they have gone to war many times, causing the deaths of a koti of people. They are filled with moha, not realising that hate is not eliminated by hate, but by compassion.

The Maha Waasala therefore entreats our fair cousin Pandhura, the Chakravarthi of Amerikaawa to change this inhuman law and to allow the populace to cultivate and consume the noble weed. Perhaps they will then make love, not war.

Swasthi Shree! This rock edict is made on this day of Ravi of the month of Navam of the Year of the Saka Era 1930.

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