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Lead me to heaven from battlefield

Part II:

Here, what he said was that the happiness of a Ksatriya is not the domestic pleasure and comfort but in fighting for their right”.

Krisna further advises Arjuna and says that if he does not engage in this lawful battle then he will fail in his duty and glory and will incur sin. It is said.

Atha cet tvam imam dharmayam
Samgramam na karisyasi
Tatah svadharmam kirtim ca
Hitva papam avapsyasi (2:33)

These sentiments expressed in the Bhagavadgita which describe the duties of a ksatriya were in practice even in the pre-Christian era in Sri Lanka.


A hindu temple

This is evident when the great chronicle Mahavamsa speaks about King Dutthagamini in the 2nd Century B.C. This is how the King lamented in the presence of the Buddhist monks or mahasamgha thinking of the dead warriors in the battlefield with whom he fought.

“Venerable sirs, how verily will there be comfort to me in that caused the destination of a great army of myriads? “By this act of yours, there is no hindrance in the way to heaven. Ruler of men only one and a half men were killed here. One was established in the refuges and the other only in the five precepts.

The heretical and evil others who died were like animals.” You will make the Buddhist Faith shine in many ways. Therefore, Lord of men cast away your mental confusion. Being so exhorted by them the great king became comforted.”

This dialogue between the Buddhist monks and king Dutthagamini illustrates that there is no difference between the dialogue between Krisna and Arjuna and the above two. This also confirms that there was no controversy between the Buddhists and Hindus on the question of the duty of a Ksatriya. Both agree with each other.

The Bhavadgita on the other hand advises that we should not commit a sin in retaliation for another sin - na pape pratipapah syat - and the Mahabharata says that we should conquer the anger of other by non-anger akrodena jine krodhas. These sayings quite agree with the teachings of Buddha when it is said in the Dhammpada that Akkodhena Jine Kodham Conquer anger by love.

The aim and duty of a ksatriya was well accepted by the Sinhala society even in the pre-Christian era is evident by the above reference found in the Mahavamsa in dealing with the last seconds of king Dutthagamini’s life.

The duty of a Ksatriya is compared to a sage who is fighting to conquer the deserves which is a hindrance to his final goal i.e. Nirvana is further illustrated in the commentary written to Mahavamsa in the 9th Century. It says:

Thero, “kim kathesi, maharaja? uyddhamhi jayaparajayo nama yodhanam balathamasura bhlavaupayavibhagapati buddho. Tumhe attha visatimahayuddhesu jananta sannad-dhaphalakayudha hutva yuddhabalaparakkamena anosakkanta anivattabhumivan thatva amittamaddanam katva vrjitasarigama ahuvattha. Imina maccurajena maranasangamabhimukhe vijayasangame ekako hutva nibbuddhena jini tum na sakkoti; kilesasangamamhi osaranto yogavacarakulaputto pi attano phalakayudhasaimaddhabalathamasampannayodhanam upanissaya upayavibhagapatiladdho hutva eva otarati otaretva sabba buddhanam pavitthamhi amatamahi nibbananagaramhi gahitarajjo mahakhinasavo ananthamhi samsare aparimanasu.

The thera said ‘what are you speaking on King? Victory and defeat in a war depends on strength, power, deaverness, strategy examination etc. of the giants. In a manner you subdue your enemies, you also should subdue your desires in a war and finally attain emancipation or Nirvana aimed by all Buddhas. The above passage further confirms that it is not only defeating of the enemy in the battle field physically but also the defeat of Kleshas or desires aimed by all Buddhas as their final goal. The Sutta Nipata also has a similar idea in a verse when it says:

“Samgame me matam seyyo yance jive parajito”

To me death in battle is superior than life having lost. What is meant by this is that death is much preferable than defeat in a battlefield and the aim and determination of a soldier should be to defeat the enemy in the battlefield.

To be continued

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