Seetha Eliya (Ashok Vatika) is the place where Mata Seetha (wife of Lord Rama) was kept captive by Ravana, the king of Lanka. Lord Hanuman landed at the hill of Seetha Eliya to meet Seetha and His footprints are still visible here. Some footprints are huge and some are very small.
History of Mathangs
We are currently busy in understanding latest Log Book enteries of Mathangs which describe the visit of Lord Hanuman happened this year in 2014. This log book also contains conversations about history. "History" is a very confusing subject as far as Mathangs are concerned because according to them, there is no history (in absolute sense) and there is no future. Everything is happening in the present moment. Future as well as History can be changed (yes, you read it right! According to them, past can be changed). But the world which is influenced by western academics is too much obsessed about history, science and other physical realities. For them, we are trying to put bits and pieces of information together to draw a picture of "history". We will keep updating this page as we get more information.
Why Lord Hanuman's original footprints are visible till date at this place? Because this is the place where Hanuman attained 8th and last Siddhi which is known as Ishatvam. Thus He attained all 8 Sidhhis by his deep devotion towards Lord Ram. When He landed on this hill and found Mata Seetha there, He was overjoyed as He was able to accomplish the task given by His master (of searching Mata Seetha). In joy He closed His eyes and remembered the lotus feet of Lord Rama. As soon as He closed His eyes, He had an amazing experience.
It is impossible to describe this vision of Lord Hanuman in words. In almost all the versions of Ramayana known in India, Thailand and other places, the poets have described it as a vision which only the supreme lord Shri Ram can describe. Words cannot describe that vision. The 8th Sidhdhi i.e. Ishatvam is said attained when Yogi becomes One with the Supreme. Though Lord Hanuman had deep devotion and surrender towards Lord Rama, It is at Seetha Eliya that He experienced oneness with Rama- the supreme lord. That is why the chapter of Ramayana which describes the meeting of Lord Hanuman with Mata Seetha (called Sundar Kand in Valmiki Ramayana) is said to be the greatest chapter.
"Lord Rama was on another side of the ocean and Mata Seetha was on this side of ocean in Ashok Vatika. and between them was the Ocean....." "This side of the ocean is the soul separated from the Supreme soul. Between the soul and the supreme soul is the ocean... ocean of illusions... ocean of Maya". These words describe that experience of oneness best. Thousands of books can be written to describe this vision yet it cannot be described perfectly. It is enough to be noted that Lord Hanuman attained 8th Sidhhi and exhibited all 8 Siddhis at this place when he found Mata Seetha.For example, by virtue of Anima Sidhhi He was able to decrease size of His body to as small as an atom. That is why at this place, some footprints are very small and others are huge.
Lord Hanuman is immortal. At the end of Rama's life, Rama charged Hanuman with the task of protecting the devotees and being present wherever the flag of righteousness is flown. As per the history of Mathangs, Lord Hanuman came down to jungles of south after death of Lord Rama's mortal form. He then crossed the ocean and came to Sri Lankan jungles where He lived with Mathangs for many years.
"Matanga" is also name of Lord Shiva. Descendants of Mathangs still live in jungles of Sri Lanka. They are very few in numbers. People categorize them as a tribe within Veddahs tribe itself. But they are not Veddahs. Matangas are the people who are directly in service of Lord Hanuman. These people live in forests and they can see future (yes, because future for them is not distant reality. It is part of present.)
In the recorded history of Kaliyuga , some significant events took place. Some 2600 years back there was a king called SinhaBahu ruling the kingdom of Sinhapura (in Modern day Gujrat, India). He had many children of whom Vijaya was the eldest one. Vijaya was a problem child. By the time Vijaya became 18 year old, he started playing havoc. He created a group of his followers and started creating problems for the people of Sinhapura. People requested king Sinhabahu to punish Vijaya. Sinhabahu ordered his son Vijaya and his followers to leave Sinhapura. Vijaya and his 700 followers were boarded into an anchored ship without rudders. That ship finally landed in Sri Lanka.
There in Sri Lanka, descendants of Vibhishana (Ravana's brother in Ramayana) were living. At the time Vijaya landed in Lanka, a wise woman called Kuveni had succeeded her father as the ruler of the kingdom of Heladipa (Lanka). When she met Vijaya, she fell in love with him. Vijaya took it as an opportunity to establish himself as the king there. So the queen of Heladipa wedded Vijaya and Vijaya became the king. (It was 544 BC)
Vijaya pretended to be in love with queen Kuveni until he got full control of the kingdom. He had 2 children with her in that period of 5 years. After that he abandoned her and her both children to marry another princess of a kingdom called "Madhura" in South India.Thus Kuveni, a descendant of Vibhishana was betrayed by Vijaya. He not only abandoned Kuveni but also abandoned his two children he had with Kuveni. Kuveni later died and her both children started living in forests.
After new marriage king Vijaya went to Mathangs to perform a Pooja and get blessings of Lord Hanuman. Mathangs (people who are in direct service of Lord Hanuman as described in one of the paragraphs above) performed a Pooja for him but warned him that he did a very bad thing by abandoning Kuveni. The Mathang warned him that Kuveni has died but she will take birth in his family again and in her next birth she will give birth to a son who will destroy his lineage.
Vijaya got frightened. In his new marriage with princess of Madhura, he gave birth to only daughters. He killed all of them immediately after birth fearing that one of them could be rebirth of Kuveni. Finally he was on his deathbed but had no son who could become his heir. Finally he decided to appoint his brother's son PanduVasudeva as the new king of Lanka. PanduVasudeva was in India (Sinhapura) at that time. He came to Lanka to succeed Vijaya as the king of Lanka. (This was in 474 BC)
PanduVasudeva was also told of Mathang's prediction that betrayed Kuveni will take birth again in his family and she will give birth to a son who will destroy the lineage of Vijaya in Lanka. Panduvasudeva gave birth to 10 sons and 1 daughter. He was a noble soul. He did not kill his daughter. He was warned by his ministers that that daughter should be killed as she could be the rebirth of Kuveni. Because of the pressure from his ministers and well-wishers who were aware that Matang's prediction will never go wrong, He decided that he will NOT kill his daughter but ordered that she should be placed in a solitary confinement. She was placed in a chamber adjoining King's own private chamber. She was named "Citta".
A Time came when Citta was about to become a mother. King Panduvasudeva and his 10 sons decided that if Citta gives birth to a son, they will kill him. If she gives birth to a daughter, no problem. When citta came to know about plan of her brothers, she got alerted. She directed her maid to find out another women who are about to give birth to child. She told her that if she gives birth to a boy, replace that boy with a new-born-girl.
Princess Citta gave birth to a baby boy and he was immediately smuggled out of the palace and a new born baby girl was substituted in his place. This boy grew up in city of Ruhana (near the hills of Seetha Eliya). He was named Pandukabhaya. A Brahmin called Pandula gave him education. Pandula was devotee of Lord Hanuman and he knew that boy's mother Princess Citta is rebirth of Kuveni- the descendant of Vibhishana betrayed by King Vijaya.
Princess Citta used to send required money for upbringing of her child. Thus this secret did not remain a secret for long. Her brothers came to know about this and tried to kill the boy many times. The oldest of his brothers, Abhaya had become the king after demise of their father. King Abhaya was a noble soul. He was not in favour of killing the boy. His younger brothers did not like this hence they dethroned him. Tissa was younger than Abhaya hence Tissa started ruling the kingdom. Tissa and his brothers tried many times to kill the boy who was being brought up in the city of Ruhana. But the boy could not be killed as the supreme self- the universe - the power of Hanuman was protecting him.
This boy (Pandukabhaya) fought a very tough battle against King Tissa and his brothers. and finally killed all of them except Abhaya, who was a good soul. Thus Pandukabhaya became the king of Lanka. He founded city of Anuradhapur as his capital and did very good works for welfare of people.
After becoming the king, Pandukabhaya went to Mathangs. Mathangs performed a Pooja for him and he expressed his desire to build a huge temple for them. Mathang first smiled over his offer and then gave him a divine vision for few seconds. Pandukabhaya looked at the hill with that divine vision. There he saw Lord Hanuman in his huge form. He saw Hanuman's feet on the hill and head touching the sky.
Matang took back his divine vision and asked- "can you build a temple where Lord Hanuman can live?"
Pandukabhaya understood and dropped the idea of building the temple. He realized that the universe itself is the temple of Hanuman where He resides.
Pandukabhaya and the kings after him who ruled over lanka for centuries never built any structure for Mathangs. Instead of attaching themselves to man-made structures they connected directly to the divine.
British people discovered this place around 1814. Some troops got lost in jungles in Nuwara Eliya. They did not have food and other basic needs with them. They thought they will die in forest without food and water. But it was a miracle that the fresh air of the forest kept them alive for so many days without any food and water. Finally they found way out of the forest and informed about this miraculous place to their governor Sir Edward Barned.
in 1846 a British explorer Mr. Samuel Baker came to these jungles and got attracted by the amazing beauty of this place. He was ignorant about the divinity of this place. He was not aware that it is the abode of Lord Hanuman. So he planned to build a huge vegetable and animal farm and some palaces to live here. He went back to Britain with this plan and returned in 1848 with a Ship named "Pearl of Hard Week". This ship was full of equipments and goods he brought to build his dream structure. His brothers also came with him this time.
He was carrying all this stuff from Colombo to Nuwara Eliya on carts. On the way, All those carts along with his brothers fell down from the hill of Ramboda and died. Only Samuel Baker was left. Thus another effort to build structures failed.
These are some of the stories we got to know from Mathangs. We will update this page when we get to know more about them.