Dasa Maha Yodayo: Kanjadewa | Sunday Observer

Dasa Maha Yodayo: Kanjadewa

Kanjadewa was born as the youngest in a family of seven boys. The family lived in the village of Mideniya (present Middeniya) several miles north of Wellawaya. Kanjadewa’s father’s name was Abhaya.

The name Dewa was given to the baby boy by his parents.

From his babyhood Kanjadewa had a limp on his right foot and this was obvious when he walked. This disability of Kanjadewa’s is also mentioned in the great Sinhala chronicle the Mahavamsa . His mother Suwanna was very sad about her son’s limp. Father Abhaya and mother Suwanna took Kanjadewa to many doctors and did their best to cure him of his disability. According to folklore none of these treatments had worked.

As Kanjadewa walked with a limp his friends added Kanja to his original name of Dewa and called him Kanjadewa.

Though he was born with a slight disability Kanjadewa never allowed it to be an obstacle to his progress. He was a determined boy. As he reached adult he became a giant of much strength. He also became a leader in the village and a great hunter. He was an excellent swordsman and a superb archer. His limp did not stop Kanjadewa from doing deeds needing great physical strength. It is said that he received his education at a prirvena in Muhunnaruwa in Ruhuna.

King Kavantissa heard about Kanjadewa’s heroic deeds and drafted him to the King’s army. The King gave Kanjadewa a house near the castle as well as servants and wealth. Kanjadewa was also made a Senior General and put in charge of training the army in sword craft. According to legend Kanjadewa played a heroic role in the Dutugemunu Elara war. The Rasavahini and Saddharmalankaraya both state that Kanjadewa broke the great wall of the Wijithapura Fort during the Battle of Wijithapura and played an important role in winning the battle for King Dutugemunu.

After the victory Kanadewa attended King Dutugemunu’s coronation. Thereafter, he was involved in the religious and meritorious acts of King Dutugemunu. These good works were done by Kanjadewa till he died.

To be continued....