Originally Posted by Prasanna Weerakkody
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 Karawa.org 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.
Salaams Prasanna Weerakkody Thank you for posting the information which throws more light on the history of Sri Lanka especially the detail of the name "asthana"
Your last point is interesting since I believe their was a restriction on carrying arms. Nontheless your points are well received though regarding Quote "And please stop making hasty and unfounded (and erroneous ) remarks and judgments on the Sri Lankan culture and people'. Unquote I will make every effort to report the facts which you may or may not agree with but still ...report them I will. This is a free speaking forum. Naturally as always I shall be the first to identify if I have made a mistake for which to date I can safely say I have not.
Here are the twenty reasons which to me indicate that the Makara design was adopted as the Hilt style and since the Makara is also illustrated by all the Kastane Hilts seen so far on this thread and disgorging deities
...which lions don't do~
1. Typically Makara are displayed disgorging other beasts (usually Nagas) e.g. On corner of a lintel on one of the towers surrounding the central pyramid at Bakong, Roluos, Cambodia.
2. Its symbolic representation in the form of a Makara head at the corner of temple roofs is as water element which also functions as a "rainwater spout or gargoyle". It is also seen as water spouts at the source of a springs. The artistic carving in stone is in the form of identical pair of Makaras flanked by two nagas (snake gods) along with a crown of Garuda, which is called the Kirthimukha face.
3. Such depictions are also seen at the entrance of wooden doorways as the top arch and also as a Torana behind Buddha’s images.
4. The Newa art of Nepal uses this depiction extensively. In Newar architecture, its depiction is; "as guardian of gateways, the Makara image appears on the curved prongs of the vast crossed-vajra that encompasses the four gateways of the two-dimensional mandala. Of the three dimensional-mandala this crossed-vajra supports the whole structure of the mandala palace symbolizing the immovable stability of the vajra-ground on which it stands."
5. Makaras are also a characteristic motif of the religious Khmer architecture of the Angkor region of Cambodia which was the capital of the Khmer Empire.
6.They are usually part of the decorative carving on a lintel, tympanum, or wall.
7. Makaras are usually depicted with another symbolic animals, such as a lion, naga or serpent, emerging from its gaping open mouth.
8. Makara are a central design motif in the beautiful lintels of the Roluos group of temples: Preah Ko, Bakong, and Lolei.
9. At Banteay Srei, carvings of Makaras disgorging other monsters were installed on many of the buildings' corners.
10. Makara is seen disgorging a lion-like creature on corner of a lintel on one of the towers) surrounding the central pyramid at Bakong, Roluos, Cambodia.
11. Its symbolic representation in the form of a Makara head at the corner of temple roofs is as water element which also functions as a "rainwater spout or gargoyle". It is also seen as water spouts at the source of a spring. The artistic carving in stone is in the form of identical pair of Makaras flanked by two Nagas (snake gods) along with a crown of Garuda, which is called the kirthimukha face.
12. Such depictions are also seen at the entrance of wooden doorways as the top arch and also as a Torana behind Buddha’s images.
13. Makara (Sanskrit: मकर) is a sea-creature in Hindu mythology. It is generally depicted as half terrestrial animal (in the frontal part in animal forms of elephant or crocodile or stag, or deer) and in hind part as aquatic animal, in the tail part, as a fish tail or also as seal. Sometimes, even a peacock tail is depicted.
14. It is the Vahana (vehicle) of the Ganga - the goddess of river Ganges (Ganga) and the sea god Varuna.
15.It is also the insignia of the love god Kamadeva. Kamadeva is also known as Makaradhvaja (on whose flag a Makara is depicted) .
16.The Makara is the astrological sign of Capricorn, one of the twelve symbols of the Zodiac.
17. It is often portrayed protecting entryways to Hindu and Buddhist temples.
18. It is symbolized in ornaments are also in popular use as wedding gifts for bridal decoration.
19.The Hindu Preserver-god Vishnu is also shown wearing makara-shaped earrings called Makarakundalas.
20.The Sun God Surya and the Mother Goddess Chandi are also sometimes described as being adorned with Makarakundalas.
Finally I offer the fact that Makara were used to decorate other weapons including the two spiked axe in an earlier post.
In conclusion since the Kastane Hilt is almost always shown as a mythical monster disgorging other deities onto the hilt, knuckleguard and guard/quillon forms I offer the following " The Kastane hilt is steeped in history and takes its obvious monster format from the mythical Makara beast/ Deity of Sri Lankan ancient history, tradition and culture mirroring architectural and other examples outlined from 1 to 20 above."
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.