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Maha Sona

“Much is written of the great war of 205 BC to 161 BC between Sinhala King Dutugemunu and a South Indian invader, Tamil King Elara for the City of Anuradhapura, and the central role played by Dutugemunu’sTen Giant Warriors (දසමහා යෝධයෝ) or the great warriors (dasa maha yodhayo in sinhalese) – the dasa maha yodha. Yodha must have come from the word Yohod, meaning Grand Master of Angampora. This makes sense, as all these warriors were great fighters, and from the way they were discovered and the way they managed to raise an army. According to the chronicle Mahavamsa the men were drafted into Royal service during the reign of Dutugemunu’s father King Kavantissa, and levied to serve the young prince in due course.


The Rajavaliya claims that the ten champions had remained impartial throughout Dutugemunu’s battles with his younger brother Tissa, as they had promised King Kavantissa that they would remain impartial in the event of a dispute between the two brothers.

At the decisive battle between the two kings at Vijithapura, Nandhimitra and Nirmalaya (Suranimala) are said to have fought to secure the south gate to the city. Mahasona (sena), Gothaimbara and Theraputtabhya are said to have secured the east gate, while the remaining champions fought for the north and west gates (Rajavaliya p39).” (

But, what Wikipedia doesn’t say is that years later, some people in Sri Lanka would, through the practice of sack-ghost story-telling (gonibilla katha), rouse the full moon luna-ticks to the notion that Maha Sona ( was the ‘biggest devil’ (Mahasohona) and so they must hire drums, stay up all night, and beat the tom-tom and shout abuse at the sack-ghost of Maha Sona (, and make a thunderous racket – in repeated futile attempts to CHASE Maha Sona ( away.

Maha Sona

But Maha Sona always returns. And the ritual is repeated – over, and over, and over again.

So, Maha Sona, step out of the shadows – victorious giant warrior –

images (28)

Mahasona Mask

( – for the curious rolling stones islanders of Sri Lanka, who, in the nights of  dark moments, never fail to paint it black and perform the Devil Dance, in masked blind fear of the unknown.

Mahasohona Mask The Graveyard Demon

Mahasohona Mask
The Graveyard Demon


Paint it Black – Vietnam War: 

Midnight. Time for the Maha Sona Dragon Dance.



Sona is a language (

But due to the blind label ‘ghost,’ Maha Sona’s battles remain in the unseen world.

Only those with Second Sight can perceive the phantom: the ghost who walks (

Hajiani Sara Sona (Brock) Barnes

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