28th September 2017 22:17:39 Hours
The inaugural religious ceremony, the precursor to a series of commemorative events lined up in connection with the forthcoming Army Day (Oct 10) and 68th anniversary of the Sri Lanka Army took place this morning (28) at Sri Dalada Maligawa (Temple of Tooth) in Kandy where sacred relics remain enshrined for veneration.
Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, Commander of the Army as the Chief Guest for the occasion carried the Buddha Pooja for offering and afterwards joined the Sangeeka Daana (alms-giving) to a total of 68 members of the Maha Sangha.
Lieutenant General Senanayake carrying a tray of Jasmine flowers paid his obeisance to the inner chamber, together with ‘Muruthen’ and ‘Gilanpasa’ offerings, amid beating of traditional drums before religious observances commenced as the first segment of the religious ceremony.
Soon after those traditional rites and rituals of the daily Thevava (rituals) were over, the Commander on behalf of all in the Army, made a symbolic monetary donation to the Sri Dalada Maligawa at the Diyawadana Nilame’s office. Mr Pradeep Nilanga Dela Bandara, Diyawadana Nilame (DN) extending greetings on the anniversary accepted the gesture in the presence of a few Senior Officers of the Army at the DN’s office on the same occasion.
68 Buddhist monks, led by Most Ven. Divulkumbure Wimaladhamma Anunayake Thero of Malwatte Chapter and Most Ven. Wendaruwve Upali Anunayake Thero of Asgiriya Chapter afterwards partook of the alms (Daana) offered by representatives of the Army at the Sri Dalada Maligawa hall for alms.
Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, together with other Senior Officers served alms to the monks and listened to the Anushasanas (orations) of the monks who invoked blessings on the organization and spoke high of the achievements that have been made by the Army for the betterment of the country. The 'Penwedeema' ritual towards the end of the alms-giving transferred merits to all fallen Army War Heroes and others who had served the organization since its inception.
The morning segment ended with offer of 'Atapirikara' and other symbolic 'Pirikara' to members of the Maha Sangha.
The day’s second highlight in Kandy began this evening (28) soon after the representative gathering of All Ranks attending Kandy ceremonies formed up near the main gate to the Sri Dalada Maligawa with all Army flags, held in their hands as arrangements were set to conduct the symbolic Flag Blessing ceremony inside the inner chambers at the most sacred shrine.
Colourful Army Flags, including the Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force, all Security Force Headquarters, Divisions, Brigades, Regiments, Training Centres and formations across the country that symbolize the living memory, dignity of the organization and all members serving each of them, took the centre-stage of attraction as those flags were taken respectfully in procession to the upper chamber and the Paththirippuwa (octagon) of the Dalada Maligawa by representative Officers of each unit.
As the Head of the organization, the Commander carried the Sri Lanka Army Flag at the front of the procession for invocation of blessings.
Flags were subsequently delivered to the monks in charge of the 'Thevava' at the upper chamber where chanting of Seth Pirith and conduct of religious observances afterwards invoked blessings on the Army’s long journey. Ven (Dr) Niyangoda Vijithasiri Anunayake Thero of the Malwatte Chapter presided the religious observances.
‘Gilanpasa Pooja’ at the Sri Dalada Maligawa on Thursday (28) evening was patronized by the troops of the 11 Division Headquarters at Pallekele.
Hundreds of Officers and Other Rankers took part in the ceremonies.