This section is from the book "Some Contributions Of South India To Indian Culture", by S. Krishnaswami Aiyangar. Also available from Amazon: Some Contributions of South India to Indian Culture.
1 Canto. 23, 11. 138-158. 2 Canto. 26. 11. 15-25.
Patalipura had some knowledge even of distant Madura. It is in connection with Vijaya that the Pandya country first comes in contact with the history of Ceylon.
On this occasion, however, the connection, it must be remembered, is entirely of a friendly character. So far as the Mahavamsa or the Dipavamsa is concerned South India is not brought into contact again with Ceylon subsequently to Vijaya's coming, but it is stated that when Vijaya died without leaving a successor he had to direct his ministers to go for a successor to his father to send in his stead his brother, Sumitta (Sans. Sumitra) to be king. Before, however, the embassy could arrive the father had died and the said Sumitra was actually ruling; and this Sumitra had married a Madra (Maddha) princess and had three sons by her. He directed his younger son Pandu Vasudeva to go and succeed the uncle in Ceylon. He reached Ceylon with 32 followers and was much in the same predicament for lack of a consort as Vijaya himself. He looked about himself for a suitable bride in the daughter of a Sakya chief who had settled on the other side of the Ganges when the whole clan was destroyed by the Magadha ruler. He had a beautiful daughter by name Bhadda-kaccana who was so warmly wooed by seven princes that to save her and himself from their importunities, the father sent her with 32 attendants on a ship down the Ganges. The ship sailing safely arrived in Ceylon. Pandu Vasudeva married her and made this princess his queen. In course of time all of her brothers followed excepting one, and they settled in various localities in Ceylon and founded communities of their own. It is by him that the dynasty was founded and there was a continuous succession of rulers, among whom was one who brought about the conversion of Ceylon to Buddhism. In this part of the story again the indication is fairly clear that the emigrants came from the region of the Ganges rather than from anywhere near Gujarat.
During the period of rule of Devanam-piya Tissa embassies went backward and forward several times and the connection indicated is with theGangetic delta naturally enough, and in all the transactions in connection with the establishment of Buddhism in Ceylon and all the doings of Mahinda and Sangamitta in connection therewith, there is no mention direct or indirect with South India. Sangamitta sailed straight from the mouth of the Ganges, Mahinda came up to Vidisa in eastern Malva, and therefrom is supposed to have come by way of air. Asoka himself is said to have sent Sangamitta and the branch of the Bodhi tree down the Ganges while he himself came down to the port of embarkation over the Vindhya mountains.
It is very doubtful if Mahinda's aerial passage took him over the region of the Tamil country at all. Except for this possibility there is no mention of South India till we come to the year 177 B.C. according to the Mahavamsa. Devanam-Piya Tisa died leaving three brothers to succeed him one after the other and the period of their rule covered about twenty years. At the end of the third reign however, the administration had so far gone in ineptitude that two horse traders from the Tamil country were able to overthrow the ruling dynasty; which part of the Tamil country they came from is not stated. After a reign of twenty-two years the usurpers were overthrown by a member of the ruling family who occupied the throne for a period of ten years.
It was after this that a Tamil of noble descent came from the Chola country, seized the kingdom and ruled for a period of forty-four years "with even justice towards friend and foe on occasions of dispute at law." This Tamil chief is named in the Mahavamsa Elara, but is known to Tamil tradition as Elelasingam; but this tradition however, tells us little that could be brought into connection with the story as told of him in this work. Some of the stories recorded of him in the Mahilvamsa in regard to his acts of extraordinary justice are several of them, traceable in the accounts of the semi-mythical
Cholas. While confirming the Chola origin of the chief, these do not lead us to any definite kind of connection with any of the ruling kings of the Chola dynasty so far as we know at present. So much, however, seems clear from the Mahavamsa itself that he continued throughout his long reign in the religion of his fathers and did not adopt Buddhism even though in regard to the Buddhists themselves he exhibited the same beneficent liberality as to his own co-religionists. The Mahavamsa itself admits of this heretic from their point of view, that "only because he freed himself from the guilt of walking in the path of evil did this (monarch) though he had not put aside false beliefs, gained such miraculous power" as to regulate and control rain. The connection this time is with the Chola country as is clear from the account, and is admittedly of a hostile character. The most powerful usurper who had a comparatively long reign was a man who continued to be other than Buddhist, and has evoked the admiration of the hostile witnesses to his equitable rule. The description in circumstantial detail of the war between the usurper Elara and Dutthagamani gives one a feeling that the event is of a historical character. The hostility thus started between the Tamils of the Chola country, which for some reason or other appears to have been nearest for this purpose, and the Ceylonese of northern Ceylon continued permanently ever afterwards, so much so that this hostility had become more or less the normal relation between the two Kingdoms.
In the consecration of the "great Vihara" it was already pointed out, the Tamil country proper took no part. None of the localities from which representatives came to take part in the consecration, with the doubtful exception of the representative from Mahishamandala, is it possible to locate in the Tamil country. It is impossible to refer this Mahishamandala to the Mysore territory to which there are a number of references in early Tamil literature from which I have drawn so largely. None of the references however gives us even a hint that the country was Buddhist, or that there was a Buddhist establishment in it. It seems likely that the Mahishamandala from which Buddhist representatives did come was the Mahishamandala dominated by Mahishmati on the Narbada, the country of the Mahishakas round Mandhata (an island in the Narbada river). The hostility therefore between the Hindu Tamils and Buddhist Ceylon that is inferable gets indirectly supported by this significant omission.