Pitisraa Devale

By L.B.Senaratne
The first Piisara Devale Perahera concluded over the weekend at Pasgama Natha Devale.  This is one fo the 12 Pitisara Deales or Provincial Devales in the former Kandyan Kingdom. They are the forerunners of the Perahera rituals in the  country. and  villagers flock to these abodes of Gods befor eth Perahera commeces.

The  Pitisara Devales is of special significance that they were the first places of worship of clut  of  Gods in the villages.  The most significant among them is the Devale of God Natha – the Bodhisattva or Maithri Buddha. – the Bujddha to be.

His  presence in the country is unknown, but he had not  arrived from India or any other State in the Asian countries.  He was first recorded tohave been at a den of Dorawaka at Warakapola and had entered Kandy, due to the interference of God Pitiyegedera.God Natha had made his Home at Pasgama in the Hewaheta district in the Hills and had then come to Kandy, where the first Devale in Kandy was built near the Sri Dalda Malgiawa or the Palace of hte Kings.

.The Perahera, has a special significance,  where the Kapu Mahatmaya carries the emblem of God in his right hand throughout the Perahera.

A footprint depicted to be of God Natha has been retrieved in the premises of Pasgama Natha Devale in the Hewaheta District. At the moment it is surrounded with a yellow covering and a suitable environment  has been  built around this find according by teh incumbent Basnayake Nilame Duminha  Udurawana
This stone which was near a mango tree had been there for centuries, but no one seems to have taken any notice of this stone or the imprint on it, yet with the developing Natha Cult , this has come to the fore. God Natha also has no-form , no-shape and is generally associated with the future Buddha. The coming of God Natha to this country and his worship is an unknown entity, as there is no specific period that he had visited or has come to the country or to Kandy.  There is an up-and-coming attitude towards God Natha. The Pitisara Devale Peraheras in the Kandy District commenced on the 31st night with the Kumbal Perahera and are scheduled to end by the 30th of Septgemberf, and one Devale that of God Natha at Dodanwela on  October 8th
The first Devale to be built with the founding of Senkadagalapura. was fro0 God Nattha
God Natha has neither form nor shape, but his fame is to help people and avoid any conflict with anyone as he is to be the next Buddha as Maithree Buddha or sometimes called the Avalokesvaa Buddha.
God Natha does not belong to any provincial cult of Gods nor to any Hindu pantheon. His arrival is a mystery, but his first place of abode is attributed to be in Dorawaka in the Warakapola District of the Province of Sabaragamuwa. While he was residing in the area God Pitiye requested God Natha that he too, must reside in the same place. God Natha refused and with this God Pitiye found that the only way to send him off was to kill cattle, eat their flesh and also to see to it that the bones of these animals were thrown at him to get rid of God Natha from the area. 
God Natha, whose mission was to be Maithree Buddha developed a strategy of moving away from the area that offended him. So God Natha moved on to the Central Hills and to Vehgiriya at Embekke. God Pitiye went after God Natha and wanted him to accommodate him at Vehgiriya. God Natha refused and he acted in the same manner as at Dorawaka. God Natha moved out from the area and went to Dodamwela in the present Yatinuwara electorate. Here too God Pitiye began to develop the same attitude towards God Natha. God Pitiye who was notorious for bringing disaster more than favours used these systems to drive God Natha out of any area that he lives.God Natha complained to the mighty God Sakra and he is believed to have advised God Pitiye to leave God Natha alone and find a suitable place as his abode. But, that did not deter him and God Pitiye continued to enjoy in his tactics to drive God Natha from place to place as a beggar.. God Natha, was not afraid of the attitude of God Pitiye, yet his mission and vision were to be Maithree Buddha. He then moved to Gonawatte in Haragama. This area is full of deer. Now taking this opportunity God Pitiye came to God Natha and demanded that he moved out of Gonawatte. But, God Natha refused. There upon, he adopted the same methods at Dorawaka, instead of cattle, he killed deer, ate their flesh and threw the bones at God Natha.
Being a God with mannerisms of purity and to become Buddha, God Natha moved away to find a far-off place at Pasgama. On his route near the present Kande Junction, the intersection between Hanguranketha and Talatuoya, he came upon an old man clearing up a plot of land. 
He changed into the form of a human and asked him to show the closest way to Pasgama. The old man went with God Natha thinking he was a human. At Pasgama, God Natha took his own form-that of no shape or form-and called upon the old man to inform all and sundry in the village that God Natha has come to reside in the village. Further he took the stick that was in the hand of the old man and stuck it on the ground and said that they should construct an abode for him. This information was passed on to Bhuvenka Bahu IV and he directed that a Devale be constructed in the place he planted the stick. But, where he first stood is considered to be the stone on which there seems to be some print of a heel.
But God Natha through his powers knew that his task had to be accomplished at Senkadagalapura and set up an abode on Dharmaraja Hill. From there he set foot to the present abode at the Natha Devale premises in Kandy. So God Natha got himself established in this sacred ground, where the oil anointing ceremony is held every year and which John D’Oyly records. The Natha Devale also plays a specific ritual in the naming of a new King.  
There is no crowning in the Kandyan Kingdom. The new King selects his name at Natha Devale and from there he shouts his name looking towards the Sri Dalada Maligawa standing on a stone (Which is now used as a flower stand). According to Professor Dhammaloka Thera who lived at the Natha Devale Temple, he was of opinion that the Cheitiya close to the Sri Dalada Maligawa was built over the Begging Bowl of the Buddha. It is a known fact that the Begging Bowl always was with the Sacred Tooth Relic. Professor Dhammaloka Thera time and again pointed out that the begging bowl of the Buddha should be in one of the two Chasitys on the grounds  of Natha.

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