The acting Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva as the Chief Guest, amid a sea of Buddhist monks (Maha Sangha) and white-clad devotees, along with Mrs Sujeewa Nelson, President, Army Seva Vanitha Unit Saturday (15) evening graced the mammoth multifaceted Anuradhapura ‘Swarnamali Thupabhivandana’, meritorious programme that got underway on account of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Sri Kalyani Yogashrama Chapter at the sacred Ruwanweli Mahaseya premises.
The overnight programme, presided by Thripitaka Visharada, Most Ven Kahagolle Somawansa Nayake Thera, General Secretary of Sri Kalyani Yogashrama Sect and Chief Incumbent, Galduwa Forest Monastery, Kahawa was profusely supported by more than 300 Army personnel of Gajaba Regiment (GR) HQ for preparation of seating halls, ‘Gilanpasa’ and meals to both Buddhist monks and devotees, conduct of ‘Perahera’, and other facilities, following instructions, given by the Colonel of the Regiment, GR, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, acting Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army.
Offer of ‘Akthapathra’ (act of appointment) to newly-appointed monks of the Chapter, 50,000 ‘Atapirikara’ to the sacred Ruwanweli Maha Seya, Up-country and Low-country flowers, Kapruk and ‘Gilanpasa’ and incense smoke (Suwanda Dum), dropping of petals from air, display of ornamental fireworks as an offering, plus illuminations covering the entire area surrounding the pagoda and the Jaysri Maha Bodhi premises were among the highlights of the main ceremony on Saturday (15) evening.
During the same ceremony, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva on behalf of all in the Army presented a replica of a Dagoba to the Nayaka Thera as a token of veneration. As dusk fell Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva was invited to switch on Illuminations in the premises.
Upon Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva’s arrival, he was received by Colonel Mahinda Rajapakse, GR Centre Commandant and ushered him to the ‘Sanghawasa’ to receive blessings of Ven Pallegama Hemarathana Nayake Thera, Chief Incumbent at Ruwanweli Maha Seya. Afterwards, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva was conducted to the Chaithya Maluwa in a simple procession, led by members of the Maha Sangha. Over 1000 members of the Maha Sangha participated in the event, which invoked blessings on HE the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Hon Mahinda Rajapaksa and the country’s forward-march at large.
The ceremony that began after a few orations of the Maha Sangha invited Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva to make the first Gilanpasa offering before religious observances commenced. Similarly, he was also invited to present the ‘Vijinipatha’ to the newly-appointed Nayake Thera of the Sri Saddharma Vansha sect of the same Chapter.