September 25, 2006Four-year-old boy from Dewundara speaks of previous life in Kandy by Cyril Wimalasurendre
It was amazing to find a four-year-old boy Esara Bhashitha Kauminda, from Dewundara, in Southern Sri Lanka, visiting Kandy for the first time identifying the location of the house in which he lived in his previous life, six years ago as a school boy.
The house which was his home is no more there. He walked to the foot of a Nuga tree which stands on the side of Mosque Road in Kandy, in close proximity to the lake, and said that the tree was in front of his house.
When asked about the house he lived, he walked a few steps behind the tree and stood in a place where there was no sign of any construction. The house which was both a hotel and residence was demolished along with some other buildings nearly three years ago to make room for the Kandy Municipal Car Park.
Dr. G. G. Keman Kulasiri, gold medalist in astrology and his wife Padmalatha of Kiralawella Dewundara, took their son Esara, aged 4 years and 8 months to Kandy following repeated requests.
"From the day our son began to speak he wanted to go to Kandy. The first words he muttered were Nuwara (Kandy), Dalada Maligawa (temple), 'Walakulubemma' (parapet wall), wewa (lake), Perahera (procession) among other words and names of people."
Dr. Kulasiri and his wife said that their son mentioned about the bomb explosion at the Dalada Maligawa, and said that the perahera passed his house. He referred to two dogs and said that one was named Jimmy. He often spoke of his friends. One was 'Peethi'. He also told that he had a red shirt and occasionally went to swim and his chest hit a rock in the water, Dr. Kulasiri and Padmalatha said.
In order to satisfy the boy Dr. Kulasiri his wife, son and their three daughters had travelled to Kandy by train on Friday 15 and spent the night with relatives in Matale. The following morning they left for Kandy, and as they got off the bus near QueenHotel, the smart little boy had showed them the entrance to the Sri Dalada maligawa as if he was a regular pilgrim to the shrine. He had pointed at the lake and the 'Walakulubemma' (parapet wall).
At the Dalada Maligawa he had moved about as if he knew all about the Shrine and the rituals of the sacred place. He led his parents and sisters to different places of worship and of importance, within the Maligawa.
He had said he wished to see the cobra-hooded statue of the Buddha on a hill-top and pointed in the direction of the Buddha statue. The little boy had led the way to the statue at Rajapihilla Mawatha and later walked down the road by the Kandy lake in the direction of the Kandy Central Market. On the way down Mosque Roadhe had pointed at a Nuga tree by the road side, which he said was in front of the house he had lived.
Dr. Kulasiri sought the assistance of some young men in the area to ascertain the truth of what his son said. They not only confirmed what the child had said but also extended their assistance to trace the family that ran an eating house in a line of houses near the Nuga tree which were later demolished to accommodate the Kandy Municipal Car Park.
The Ranasinghe family who had run the eating house in the ground floor and used the upper floor as their residence, had gone into occupation to a house at Singharagama, about ten kilometeres away from Kandy.
Subsequently, in the afternoon of Saturday 16, arrangements were made by G. H. Premadasa, General Manager of Devon Hotel Kandy, who too was from Dewundara, arranged for a meeting of Kulasiri and Ranasinghe families. The families met at Devon Hotel.
Mangalika Kasthuriarachchi wife of the eating house owner, and her two daughters were present at the meeting. Ranasinghe did not attend the meeting since he was indisposed.
The meeting at the hotel was a sensational event with excitement. Huggings and tears were rolling down their cheeks as Mangalika clasped the little boy in her arms crying, "This is my dear son who was drowned in the river five years ago."
The child had remained in the arms of Mangalika, who was believed to be his mother five years ago.
"My only son who was second in the family was a student at Dharmaraja College, Kandy. While swimming with some friends in the Mahaweli river at Tennekumbura, on January 31, 2001, he was drowned. Another boy was also drowned and three others escaped. My son Thilanga Madhushantha Ransinghe, was a year ten student. He had many friends and was very popular among his colleagues. A red colour shirt was bought for him to attend a wedding."
Mangalika said that there were two dogs in the house and one was called Jimmy. He had an elder sister Shasika, she is now 22 years and a younger sister Shalika, who is now 16 year, she said.
The mother of Esara, Padmalatha recalling the story of how she got the son as the fourth child in the family, said that she had three daughters and urged for a son. "I travelled to Kandy several times from Dewundara and paid homage to the Sacred Tooth Relic at the Sri Dalada Maligawa. Every time I worshipped the Sacred Tooth I prayed that I would be blessed with a son," she said.
"With the blessings of the Tooth Relic, "Dalada Vahanse" blessed me with a son on January 31, 2002, eleven years after my third daughter was born. My son is very loving, pious and intelligent," she added proudly.
The two families departed later in the day after having made arrangements to visit the Ranasinghe family at Singaragama the following day, Sunday 17.
The house of the Ranasinghe family was crowded with relatives, friends and neighbours to welcome the family from Dewundara with Esara. The little boy loved by two families had a warm welcome at the residence of his previous life parents. There was immense curiosity and tension as the child identified many articles shown to him. Among them were the red shirt he referred to very often and also identified the dog Jimmy.
Easara asked for the bat he used to play with his friends. But the bat was not available in the house as it was given to a boy in the neighbourhood. Mangalika assured to get it back and make it available to him.
On Sunday afternoon the families separated with a pledge to continue the relationship which the little son had bridged.
The child has contacted the Ranasinghe family regularly by phone from the day they returned to Dewundara. The Ranasinghe family is planning to visit Dewundara shortly.
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