Dasa Maha Yodayo | Sunday Observer

Dasa Maha Yodayo


Pussadeva was born in the village of Godigamuwa (Kapita) near the Sithulpauwa Mountain in ancient Ruhunu Rata. His father Uthpala was a wealthy nobleman in the village. Pussadeva’s real name was Deva but because he was born in the Pusanekatha (auspicious time) the parents decided to call him Pussadeva.

There is an interesting legend about Pussadeva. When he was about seven years old Pussadeva and his friends had gone to the village temple. There, Pussadeva had spotted a huge conch shell lying near the sacred Bo tree. (This was an offering by a devotee) Young Pussadeva lifted the conch to his lips and blew it with all his strength. The noise was so deafening that it shocked and frightened his friends to such an extent that they fainted while many others suffered damage to their eardrums. People were so scared that they were running here and there. The hares and deer in the jungle bolted in fear, while birds fell from the trees to the ground, senseless, as did the monkeys.

The people marvelled at Pussadeva’s strength and predicted that he will become a giant some day.

Pussadeva’s father Uthpala watched his son growing up with pride and joy. One day he told Pussadeva that to become a hero it is vital that he must learn archery, sword craft and horse and elephant riding. Pussadeva promptly started studying them. He became so good at archery that he could split thick blocks of wood with an arrow and could shoot at a strand of human hair with absolute accuracy. Soon, Pussadeva’s mighty deeds became the talk of the land.

The stories about Pussadeva’s mighty deeds reached King Kavantissa who sent for him and recruited him to the army and gave him gifts of land and wealth. The King also gifted him a luxurious house in Magula Veediya close to the Royal Palace.

At the battle of Vijithapura, Pussadeva stayed close to King Dutugamunu. The warrior giants in the Sinhala army breached the walls of the Vijithapura Fort and as they did so Pussadeva blew the conch making a sound like thunder deafening the people temporarily.

This frightened King Elara’s soldiers so much that they scattered in disarray, and the Sinhala army defeated them easily. Pussadeva again blew the conch to mark the victory of the Kalath Wewa (Kulaththavapi) battle which enabled King Dutugamunu to free Anuradhapura from the enemy.

After King Elara was killed in combat by King Dutugamunu, his nephew Bhalluka from India declared war on King Dutugamunu. The King rode to war on the Royal Tusker Kadol with loyal Pussadeva seated right behind him. The Sinhala army won twenty-eight battles against the enemy and then inexplicably the Royal Tusker started retreating.

A puzzled King asked Pussadeva the reason for this and Pussadeva said”, "when Kadol Tusker finds a place where we can win a battle he will stop.” The Tusker stopped at the boundary of the Maha Vihara (Swarnamali Chaithiya or Ruwanweli Seya). Bhalluka very happily stepped forward to shoot an arrow through the King’s mouth. King Dutugamunu covered his mouth with his sword and the arrow struck the sword and fell down. Bhalluka prepared to send a second arrow flying at the King but Pussadeva shot an arrow through Bhalluka's mouth. Bhalluka fell dead. Legend has it that King Dutugamunu was so happy that he stuck Pussadeva’s arrow on the ground and covered it with gold and presented it to the warrior giant.

After King Dutugamunu united the country Pussadeva donned robes and became a bhikkhu and lived at the Sankhapala temple in Thullebadda, Sabaragamuwa.

This is stated in the stone inscription of the Sankhapala temple. According to folklore he also lived in a cave at Viharakanda, Digamadulla and it is thought that the name ‘Pushadeva Theraha’ in the temple’s stone inscription refers to Pussadeva.

Labhiya Wasabha

Labhiya Wasabha was another of the Warrior Giants in the Sinhala Army of King Kavantissa, which army was passed on to King Dutugamunu.

Labhiya Wasabha’s birthplace was Vihara Wewa (Werawadi) near the Thuladhara mountain in Magama Ruhuna. His father Mantha was a wealthy nobleman.The parents named their baby son Wasabha. According to legend, because Wasabha had observed the Panchaseela (the five precepts) very well and done meritorious deeds in his previous birth, he became a very handsome and strong man in his present birth. People kept turning back to look at him. His face was like a red lotus flower and his skin was golden in colour. Legend likens his feet to two elephant trunks. Because he was so handsome he was called ‘Labhiya Wasabha. His strength was equal to that of ten to twelve elephants.

Labhiya Wasaba was so strong that he could single-handedly lift and carry weights that not even ten to twelve people could carry. He often did this when he helped to build tanks. Even as a young man, Labhiya Wasabha was engaged in helping the country’s development.

One day, Labhiya Wasabha built a tank alone in one day and became famous throughout the country. In gratitude, people named this tank Labhiya Wasabha Wewa. Old records state that he also cultivated a huge field named Wasabhodakavara with the help of the people.

King Kavantissa drafted him to the army as a Warrior and gave Wasabha’s parents much wealth and other valuable gifts. He also arranged for Wasbha to live close to the Royal Palace where Prince Dutugamunu lived. In the Dutugamunu-Elara war Labhiya Wasabha was involved in several battles to gain control of the Vijithapura Fort. It is said that he helped destroy 31 out of the 32 enemy Forts.

After the victory, King Dutugamunu made Labhiya Wasabha a general in his army and gave him many valuable gifts including the Labhiya Wasabha Wewa.

After the war, Labhiya Wasabha spent his days in helping the King to develop the country and perform meritorious deeds.