Arakan

The land that is known as Arakan by the foreigners is called Rakhaing-pray by its own people, Rakhaing-thar (Arakanese) who were titled this name in honour of preservation on their national heritage and ethics or morality.

The Legend of the Early Aryan Settlement of Arakan

Posted by Arakan Indobhasa Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Legend of the Early Aryan Settlement of Arakan

BY - U SAN SHWE BU

J.B.R.S. Vol. 11, Part 2. 1921

Many centuries before the birth of Buddha there reigned in the country of Uttara Madhura a powerful king whose name was Sagaradeva. At the same time in the country of Asitinjana there ruled a king of the same race whose name was Deva Kamsa. The former had two sons Sagara and Uppa Sagara. The latter had two sons Kamsa, Uppa Kamsa and a daughter named Deva Gamba. When the girl was born the astrologer informed the king that her ten sons who should be born thereafter would some day destroy the whole of their grandfather's family. Whereupon the relatives of the king advised him that the best course to follow under the circumstances was to kill the girl baby in order to prevent the fulfillment of such a dreadful prognostication.

After careful consideration the king said that it was not necessary to resort to such an extreme measure as their purpose could be quite as easily served if the girl was prevented from marrying. The family conference having unanimously agreed upon this proposal, the king ordered a very lofty palace to be erected. In the topmost room the princess was brought up under the immediate supervision of a trusty nurse named Mandigopa and her husband Anandakagopa. Moreover the palace was well fortified, and down below, surrounding the whole building, a thousand men were kept to guard it carefully day and night. No stranger was allowed to approach the building and the princess was never allowed to leave her room under any pretext.

In course of time the old king died. The elder son whose name was also Kamsa ascended the throne and the younger Uppa Kamsa became the Crown Prince. In the country of Uttara Madhura, king Sagaradeva died. His elder son Sagara became king and the younger Uppa Sagara became the Crown Prince.

Prince Uppa Sagara on account of his many virtues and accomplishments was a popular hero. Day by day his followers increased causing no small amount of uneasiness among the ministers. At last they in a body went to the king and represented to him the danger that was menacing him and urged him to take timely measures. The Crown Prince was summoned before the king and on being told about the matter he swore that there was nothing on the accusation and that the ministers had exaggerated a great deal. The king was satisfied with the explanation. But when the young prince returned home he thought to himself that if the ministers kept on accusing him of conspiracy against the throne he would surely come to great harm in the end. He therefore determined to leave the kingdom while there was yet time.

King Kamsa of Asitinjana country was a great friend of his because they had been class mates in the university of Taxilla. He thought that if he went there his friend was sure to give him the shelter and protection which he sorely needed. Secretly he collected his followers and in a body they went over to king Kamsa and placed themselves under his protection. The king rejoiced very greatly to see his old friend turn up and assigned to him in perpetuity the revenues of a rich district.

One day while prince Uppa Sagara was passing by the palace of the imprisoned princess she happened to be looking out of a window. In a moment their eyes met and love was complete. From that time forward the prince exerted all his might to get a chance of speaking to her. The maidservant Nandigopa being won over to his cause after a great deal of trouble, at length his object was accomplished.

The lovers met in secret every night till eventually the princess Deva Gamba became big with child. When the maid realized the seriousness of the crime to which she was a party she felt greatly alarmed. So in order to mitigate her own offence she informed the king of the real condition of the princess his sister. On being questioned she at first denied having any real knowledge of the affair; but when she was examined under torture she made a complete confession.

That very day the king held a council consisting of himself, the Crown Prince and the four Chief Ministers of State. The majority were in favour of punishing all the culprits in such a way that the dread prophesy might not be fulfilled. But the wise king solemnly rose up to address the council in the following terms. "Oh my brother and ministers! There are twelve kinds of people whom we should honour and who should never be punished. They are mother, father, teacher, uncle, Buddha, Piccaga Buddha, Arahat, Sangha, Rishi, Muni, one who observes the precepts and Brahmins. So far as these persons are concerned we must show our forbearance even though they be guilty of any offence. Then again there are five kinds of people for whose sake we should even risk our lives. They are, bosom friend, one who in fearing to lose his life seeks our protection, one who strives to preserve the purity of his race and family, one who is able to save the lives of other people and one who risks his life in order not to break a solemm promise. In the present case however, Prince Uppa Sagara is not only my bosom friend but he is also a fugitive who seeks our protection. How can we therefore ever think of doing him any harm?"

Then the Crown prince in the midst of profound silence next stood up and said, "Oh king and ministers! The words which we have just heard form the essence of wisdom. Beside, there is no immediate cause for anxiety since the prophesy relates to the birth of male children only. If the princess conceives a female there is no need to be alarmed. So let us wait and see the result."

The council unanimously agreed to this and moreover it was resolved that since it was too late to interfere the princess Deva Gamba should be wedded to her lover. At the time a careful watch was set as against her approaching accouchement. When the dreaded day arrived a girl baby was born to the relief and joy of everybody. This child was names Omara Devi.

The following year the prince Deva Gamba again became enceinte; but this time her maid Nandigopa was also in the same condition. And in the fullness of time both gave birth on the same day and at the same hour. This time the princess was delivered of a boy and the maid of a girl. Seriously alarmed at the probable fate of the child should her brother hear of it, she caused the babies to be exchanged. When the king learnt that her second child was also a girl he was very pleased and he felt sure that his astrologers were completely wrong in their calculations.

Thus being more or less convinced of the falseness of the prophesy the king and his ministers no longer paid much attention to the princess. From the time of her second confinement she was left practically alone with her own maid. So in course of time she gave birth to ten sons altogether. While her maid also begot ten daughters. But for safety’s sake the boys were brought up by the maid as her own sons. Their names were Vasudeva, Baladeva, Candadeva, Suradeva, Aggideba, Ajjhata, Varunna, Rohaneya, Ghatapandita and Angura. The eldest child Omara Devi died before long. The youngest child was a daughter named Anjana Devi.

When these boys grew up to be young men they became very bold and fearless. They also far excelled the strength of ordinary men. They were very cruel and inconsiderate in their dealings with other people. They looted, they robbed, they murdered, and in short they were guilty of the worst forms of excess. At first the people did not complain because they were the sons of Nandigopa the trusted servant of king Kamsa. But when they persisted in their evil conduct which became intolerable the people went to the king in a body and complained very bitterly. Their supposed mother was sent for and severely taken to task for allowing them to run amok in the country. She replied that they were beyond her control and requested the king to do anything he liked to check their career of crime.

King Kamsa then ordered the arrest of the young men but no attempt to accomplish this object seemed to have been successful: for whenever they were pursued and surrounded by the soldiers they generally became invisible, eluding every effort at capture. This made this king think, suspecting at the same time that the young men were no ordinary mortals. He sent for Anandagopa the husband of the maidservant and questioned him very closely as to the real parentage of the young men. Fearing to lose this life the servant at length made a clean breast of all the circumstances attending their birth and parentage. The maidservant was then sent for and questioned. Seeing that it was useless lying any further she corroborated her husband's statement.

When the king learnt the real facts he was filled with fear and anger. He sent for the executioners who forthwith let away the guilty couple to the place of execution. On the way they met the Crown Prince Uppa Kamsa who an enquiry found what had happened. He ordered the men not to carry out their work until he came back again. He then went to his brother the king and said, "Oh king, you placed implicit trust in the two unfortunate servants and ordered them to attend on the princess our sister. It is the duty of every servant to obey his or her immediate master. So that in the present case in failing to give you accurate information about her sister's children they were but carrying out her wishes for which they should not be blamed. The most that they should suffer is to undergo the same punishment as those other guards who were placed to prevent strangers from entering the palace of the princess."

The king being thoroughly satisfied with the argument cancelled the first order, letting off the culprits with a fairly light punishment. As for the princess Deva Gamba she was filled with grief because her brother the king accused her of want of love for themselves as well as the family to which she belonged; for by her inconsiderate act her sons were destined to destroy them all.

But as parental love is greater than all thing else in this world both she and her husband prince Uppa Sagara

admitted their fault and begged the king to condone all their son's offences. But the matter was referred to the council which decided that under no circumstances could the young men be left at large for they were a real menace to the existence of the kingdom. So an order was issued for their immediate arrest.

For this purpose the whole military strength of the kingdom was employed. Three times the attempt was made on an elaborate scale but without success for on each occasion the devas of the earth and the sky gave their active support to the ten brothers. At last seeing that force would not do the king decided to resort to stratagem, hoping to accomplish his object by means of sweet words and alluring promises.

Informed of these fresh designs upon their persons the brothers ran away to the Himavamta forest where they met a very learned rishi who provided them with food and shelter. Under the instruction of this rishi they learnt the different kinds of arts and sciences and then returned to their uncle's kingdom with the object of conquering it. At the time of their entry the king and all his courtiers were assembled at a tournament. They at once got into the ring and killed the most famous of the combatants without having due regards for the formalities.

When the king saw who intruders were he immediately got up from his seat and shouted out to the assembled people to arrest them. Whereupon the eldest brother Vasudeva rushed upon his two uncles king Kamsa and Crown Prince Uppa Kamsa and slew them with his own hands. With the death of these two persons the kingdom passed into their possession. Then after having conquered the neighbouring kingdom of Ayujjhapura they resolved to annex the kingdom of Dwarrawaddi which at the time was under the rule of the king Narinda. And when this was accomplished after a great deal of hard fighting, the ten brothers with their youngest sister Anjanadevi made an equal division of all their acquired territories where each set up as an independent ruling prince. The youngest sister's portion was Dwarrawaddi in Southern Arakan (modern Sandoway) which amid the new scenes of varied life her followers colonized for the first time.

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