view from foot of Śrī Pada
Śrī Pada © Dominic Sansoni

We are told that our first ancestor came down to Earth at Adam's Peak. Our poetry tells us how we followed the elephant herds down the Walawe Ganga River to settle at Gajaragama —Elephants' Village. Kataragama, as we now call it, is our first village.

On Adam's Peak, in the centre of Lanka, lies the first clue. We see the ancient Path of the Lotus. Born from the Fire of the Sun and cooled by the Fountains of Paradise, the lotus is everywhere. Red for blood, and white for virgin purity—these are the colours of the Nelum and the 0lu. The two hands of Lanka each carry a lotus—one red, one white.

All of this may sound like a fairy tale. After all, we are living in the 20th century and as William Blake wrote, "When nations grow old, the arts grow cold, and commerce settles on every tree."

I have been most fortunate. My journeys in Lanka have taken me to places and shown me things far removed from what I thought to be the truth. Only the inexperienced will give little credence to this tale.

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