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Guththila Kavya: A Classic Sinhala Poem on Love and War

Guththila Kavya (Sinhala: ගුත්තිල කව්ය, Anglicized: Guttila Kāvya) is a book of poetry written in the period of the Kingdom of Kotte (1412-1597) by Weththewe Thero. The book is based on a story of previous soul of Gautama Buddha mentioned on Guththila Jataka in Jataka tales of Gautama Buddha. Guththila kawya contains over 511 poems. The book was written by Weththewe thero as a invitation and extolment of a minister called Salawatha Jayapala, of the Kotte Royal Council (King: VI Parakumba).


The book tells the story of a musical contest between two renowned flute players, Guththila and Musila, who were also rivals in love. Guththila was a handsome prince who renounced the world and became an ascetic, while Musila was a court musician who coveted the king's daughter, Sujata. The king, impressed by Musila's skill, promised to give him Sujata as his bride, but she was secretly in love with Guththila. Musila challenged Guththila to a duel of flutes, hoping to defeat him and win Sujata's hand. Guththila accepted the challenge, confident in his superior talent and virtue. The contest took place in front of a large audience, including the king, Sujata, and many gods and goddesses. Guththila played his flute with such grace and melody that he enchanted everyone who heard him, while Musila played with arrogance and envy that made his music harsh and unpleasant. Guththila won the contest and proved his worthiness to Sujata, who joined him as his faithful companion in the forest. Musila was humiliated and enraged, and plotted to kill Guththila. He hired a band of robbers to attack Guththila's hermitage, but they were scared away by a celestial voice that warned them of their evil deed. Musila then tried to poison Guththila's food, but was foiled by a wise crow who pecked at the tainted dish. Finally, Musila decided to confront Guththila himself and stabbed him with a dagger. However, Guththila forgave Musila for his crime and died peacefully, attaining Nirvana. Musila was overcome by remorse and sorrow, and followed Guththila's example by becoming an ascetic.

Guththila kawya is considered one of the masterpieces of Sinhala literature, as it combines poetic beauty, moral instruction, and historical relevance. The poem reflects the cultural and religious values of the Kotte period, which was marked by the flourishing of Buddhism, art, and education. The poem also showcases the rich diversity of Sinhala poetic forms, such as Gee Viritha, Mahamegha Viritha, Savisimath Viritha, Solos math Viritha, Dolos math Viritha and Mahapiyum Viritha. The poem uses various literary devices, such as similes, metaphors, alliterations, rhymes, and exaggerations to create vivid images and emotions. The poem also draws inspiration from various sources, such as the Jataka tales, the Dattilam, and the Ramayana.

Guththila kawya is not only a work of art, but also a source of wisdom and guidance for those who seek the path of enlightenment. The poem illustrates the virtues of compassion, generosity, humility, patience, and detachment that are essential for attaining Nirvana. The poem also warns against the vices of greed, lust, pride, anger, and attachment that lead to suffering and rebirth. The poem teaches that music is not only a form of entertainment, but also a means of spiritual expression and communication. The poem also celebrates the power of love that transcends worldly boundaries and unites two souls in harmony.

If you are interested in reading this classic Sinhala poem in its original language or in English translation, you can download a PDF version from this link. You can also listen to an audio version from this link. Enjoy!


  • : Guththila Kawya - Wikipedia

  • : Guththila Kavya Sinhala PDF 169: The Tale of the Flute Player who Renounced the World in Sinhala

  • : Stream Guththila Kavya Sinhala Pdf 169 from Jazzy - SoundCloud

  • : Grade 10 Sinhala text book-ගුත්තිල වණ නද (2014)

  • : The Jataka Tales Stories of the Buddha's Past Lives, Guttila Jataka

  • : A Study of Dattilam: A Treatise on the Sacred Music of Ancient India

  • : Guttila-Musila Re-enactment



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