‘Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi’ blessings invoked on 68th Army anniversary

The second main religious flag blessing ceremony in connection with the forthcoming 68th Army anniversary and the Army Day (Oct 10) got underway at Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya, Anuradhapura this morning (2) amid a representative gathering of Officers and other Rankers, headed by Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake.

Hundreds of Army soldiers-turned flag-bearers, attired in formal glittering dresses, representative of the entire organisation, lined up inside the Welimaluwa (lower layer) precincts this morning (2) before all Army flags were taken to the Udamaluwa (upper layer) for symbolic invocation of blessings. As rhythmic beats of traditional and auspicious drums, Hevisi and Magul Bera were echoing around the most sacred Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi precincts, a colourful pageant a little later conducted the monks to the Udamaluwa.

Amid reverberating beating of traditional drums, members of the Maha Sangha chanted Seth Pirith and invoked blessings on all Army Flags that were symbolically handed over to the Army Commander by the flag-bearers.

Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake laid Jasmine and lotus flowers around the foot of the sacred tree and prayed for the well-being of the indispensable guardians of the nation serving in the Army. Members of the Maha Sangha extolled the Army’s contribution and dedication towards the motherland in special Anushasana (oratories), made by two Nayake Theras.

As has been the practice, all the Army Flags, representing the Army Headquarters, the Volunteer Force Headquarters, Security Force Headquarters, Forward Maintenance Areas, Divisions, Brigades, Regiments, Units and Army Training Schools, were blessed after they were taken in the colourful procession around the Weli Maluwa (lower layer) thrice. The flags were then accepted by Senior Officers, waiting at the Meda Maluwa (middle layer). The Commander respectfully laid the flags around the sacred tree later on.

A special cash donation of Rs one million for development of the sacred place was offered by the Army Commander to Ven. Pallegama Siriniwasabhidhana Nayake Thera, the Atamasthanadhipathi and the Incumbent of Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya, after the main ceremony.

The day’s religious ceremony began after the arrival of the Chief Guest, Army Commander Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake in the sacred premises. He first paid his obeisance to Ven. Pallegama Siriniwasabhidhana Nayake Thera, the Atamasthanadhipathi in his Awasageya (residential monastery) and offered a traditional Pirikara and a tray of fruits inviting him formally to perform anniversary blessings, together with other members of the Maha Sangha. Ven. Nugatenne Pannananda Nayake Thera, Incumbent of Sri Jayanthi Viharaya and Ven. Ralapanave Rathanajothi Nayake Thera, Incumbent of Lankaramaya led religious observances and made brief orations.

Chief of Staff of the Army, Deputy Chief of Staff, Director General of General Staff, Adjutant General, Senior Officers of the Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force, Commander of Security Forces Wanni, all Principal Staff Officers, Commanders of Security Force Headquarters, Commandants, formation Commanders, General Officers Commanding, Brigade Commanders, Commanding Officers and a gathering of other Senior Officers were present during the ceremony.

Soon after the main ceremonies at Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya were over, the Commander and participating officers went to the wellness resort, ‘Abimansala - 1’ at Anuradhapura where some 35 dependent War Heroes are undergoing rehabilitation and recuperation. The visitors inquired into their well-being, gave gift parcels and sat together with them for a fellow-lunch as another important segment of the day’s events, symbolic of their concern towards those differently able War Heroes.

Before his departure from Anuradapura, the Army Commander made a visit to the construction site of the ‘Sada Hiru Seya’ Pagoda (Dagoba) and inquired in to its progress. He also did not forget to leave memories in the premises by planting a Naa sapling in the sacred place.

The traditional and colourful Flag Blessing ceremony at Anuradhapura Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya preceded last Thursday’s religious performances at Sri Dalada Maligawa. The third Buddhist ceremony on October 6 at Kataragama, Kirivehera and Panagoda ceremonies on October 8-9 culminates the religious ceremonies. In addition, three other religious services, Poojas and prayers have been planned at All Saints’ Church, Jumma Mosque and Sri Ponnambalam Vanesar Kovil on account of the forthcoming Army anniversary. 

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