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Old 13th October 2012, 04:16 AM   #51
Prasanna Weerakkody
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Sri Lanka
Posts: 49

Fernando- thanks for the Portuguese term for Patisthana =Partisana the similarity is striking it is practically the same word. also the use of the term “Lansa” in Sinhala texts for Lance/s establishes the trend well. The spears are never called Lansa in times before the Portuguese; so this is also attributed to the Portuguese. This would provide a strong context to having a Portuguese influence in the name Kasthana; though The origin and design of the sword need to be established outside of the source of its name. I am trying to find references to another term as there was a prince named “Asthana” a similar term. will update on this as it may modify our understanding of the word in question.

Jim- The design of the original “patissa” weapon is not well known except in text references and it is described as a Spear and sometimes as a throwing weapon. Its relation to the Indian “patissa” need to be established. In Sinhala pronunciation the “h” has emphasis hence my spelling it as Kasthana. (Kas-Tha-na).

Ibrahiim- Your points on use of Lion, Makara, figures of Palaces and Royal doorways in urinal stones is out of context. These urinal stones were used by the Buddhist priest hood with the idea that the worldly acquisitions, riches and are considered as worthless and ephemeral in the path to achieving Enlightenment. It does not reduce its value in a mundane context.

I tend to think that most of your sources originate from the website It is not a reliable source of reference and I hope you would use other sources. And please stop making hasty and unfounded (and erroneous ) remarks and judgments on the Sri Lankan culture and people.

Just read the “Mukkara hatana” (The Battle with the Mukkara people- essentially a minor “Hatan Kavya” text circa 1412 -1640AD.) and all your answers are there. It in essence speaks of the Sinhala King Parakramabahu VI summoning of the Karawa Mercenaries from South India to aid in the wars with the Mukkaru enemies in the Puttalam area. An army of 7740 soldiers arrive with 41 officers and service men, the manuscript goes on to describing the war, the provision of gifts including the flags and settlement of the Mercenaries in the coastal districts between Puttalam and Negombo a stretch of coastline North of Colombo. the Arrival of Portuguese, the joining of the Karawa with the Portuguese as Lascarins, the eventual defection of Karawa as they are impressed by the Bravery of the Sinhala King Raja Singhe I and the assistance provided to the King in facilitating the landing of Dutch forces against the Portuguese. All the names of the Karawa leaders who are supposed to have arrived are South Indian and NOT Sinhala including the names marked on the Swords presented by the King. Beyond this the vague assumptions of the link to Kuru (directly in Sri Lanka) or Kshathriya is difficult to sustain in the least. The Primary fighting men in the Sinhala Kingdom came from the Govigama and its precedent castes as they were the larger population as well as being less likely to be converted and support the enemy. But saying that the Caste system or values are far less strict or prejudicial in the Buddhist Sinhala context than the Hindu system.

Makara is a common and ancient motif in Sinhala art- and despite being present in the Karawa Banner its use and significance is far wider than that and is in no way restricted to Karawa. All I hope to establish is that 1. Karawa was not of sufficient prominence in the armies of the period to influence the design of the Kasthana which was far widely used. 2. The Use of Makara as a symbol is not limited to Karawa. hence the Karawa clan argument does not arise in the search for Kasthana origin. Also look at my earlier post for evidence from still living traditions of fighting arts who describe the Kasthana hilt as a Lion head.

Though I have shared this elsewhere in the forum I shall also include a Kasthana Sword gifted to a chief of the Mukkara clan by King Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe at a place close to Puttalam. This was also presented with three flags of honor: Hanuman Flag, Peacock Flag and the Lion Flag. (Similar to the Karawa being presented with the Ravana Flag, Ira handa (Sun and Moon) Flag[which incidentally is the Hathara Korale Flag-not clear what its relevance is to Karawa] and the Makara Flag. as said in the Mukkara hatana). Karawa was not special in receiving similar honors.

As far as I know there were no restrictions in carrying arms in public till time of British repression of Sinhalese in the 19th century.
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