Devapriyaji - True History Analaysed

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Gaspar (Gandhappar)
Gaspar was the youngest of the three kings.
(He was 109 years old?) When he journeyed to Bethlehem.
He brought frankincense to the Christ Child. Fontanini Nativities 5 Melchior.htm
        The second “Act” is beginning with the following headlines: “Coming to India Thomas undertook to build a palace for Gundafor, but spent the money entrusted to him on the poor. Gundafor imprisoned him, but the Apostle escaped miraculously and Gundafor was converted.”1
        Leaving the Parthian Empire, St. Thomas now came to India where he intended to meet the third Magi King. It was this Magi king who actually had sent his envoy Habban to bring an architect to build a palace for him. The arrival of St. Thomas one of the Apostles of Jesus Christ in India is a matter of honour for all the citizens of India. In fact, Rajendra Prasad, the former President of India, in his speech at the St. Thomas’ Day celebrations, in New Delhi on December 18, 1955, said: “….Remember St. Thomas came to India when many countries in Europe had not yet become Christian and so those Indians who trace their Christianity to him have a longer history and a higher ancestry than that of Christians of many of the European countries. And it is really a matter of pride to us that it so happened…..”2
        The name of the Indian Magi King is a Tamil name pronounced as Gandhappar. This is known by the coins discovered in the 19th century (Hyndopheres in Greek). “Furthermore we have the evidence of the Thakht-I-Bhai inscription, which is dated, and which the best specialists accept as establishing that the king Guduphara probably began to reign about 20 A.D. and was still reigning in 46 A.D.”3 The same King Gundafor is here spelled as Guduphara, which shows that the Tamil King Gandhappar is the third Magi King Gadpar or Gaspar, as we pronounce Kidkintha as kiskintha.  
            This King Gandhappar (Gaspar) was reigning the Southern Pandian Kingdom which at that time consisted of Ceylon as well.
        In Ceylon he was known as Peria Perumal, and his brother Gaatthiappar as Chinna Perumal. This was the king of Ceylon who heard the nativity of the messiah foretoled by an Indian Sybil, and had joined with the other Magi Kings and had gone to Bethlehem to adore the child. This has been cited by George Moraes from a legend which the Portuguese heard from the lips of the bishop of Quilon as follows: “A Perumal King of Ceylon having heard tell of it from the Sybil, embarked in a ship for Muscat. At this port he joined the other Magi and they went to Bethlehem to adore the child.”
        This legend has been attested by K.T. Rajasingham in his essay ‘Was one of the Magi a king from Lanka?”


“A page in history reveals that the Tamil king of Yalapanam (Jaffna), was one amongst those wise-men - Magi, who went to Bethlehem, to worship the new born baby Jesus. This happened, according to the prophecy in the Bible. “Kings along the Mediterranean coast- the kings of Tarshish and the Islands- and those from Sheba and from Seba- all will bring their gifts.” (Psalms 72: 10.)
“Joao de Barros, the Portuguese historian, in his book, “Asia de Joao Barros, dos fectos que od Portuguese fizeram no descobrimento & conquista dos mares & teras do Oriente,” published after 1563, relates, “a king of the island of Ceilam, called Primal, went in a ship to the coast of Muscat, to join other kings, who were going to adore the Lord, at Bethlehem, and that he was the third.”
“According to de Barros, the Tamil king Primal (Perumal) was one of the Magi, who went to Bethlehem, to worship the new born baby infant Jesus.”  

“Mudaliyar C.Rasanayagam, in his “Ancient Jaffna,” makes reference from “Cathay and the Way Thither,” written by Col. H. Yule, in 1348 or 1349 AD, John de Marignolli, the papal delegate to the Court of the Great Khan, on his return from China, landed at Columbam. He remained with the Christians there for one year and four months, after erecting a stone memorial,“ in the corner of the world over against Paradise,”  (supposed to be at Cape Comarin) he went to see the famous Queen of Saba, by whom he “was honorably treated” and them “ proceeded to Seyllan  (Ceylon).

“Father Fernao De Queyroz, who wrote “The Temporal and Spiritual Conquest of Ceylon,” strongly refutes the story put forward by Jao De Barros, but up to date, no historians has come forward to refute the historical facts, put forward by John De Marignolli, that Yalapanam was the famous Saba and the “Magi”-pathi, the king of Yalapanam (Jaffna), was one of those men who went to adore the infant Jesus.  
“Christianity visited Sri Lanka, long before the arrival of Portuguese colonists in 1504. Cosmas Indicopleustes (Christian Topography, book XI) tells of Ceylon and its trade in the 6thcentury AD, as follows: “This is the great island of the ocean, situated in the Indian sea, which is called by the Indians- Sielediba, by the Greeks - Taprobane, where the haycinthus stone is found; and it is beyond the pepper country (mainland).
“Considering the frequent communications between the Mediterranean world and Mantai, the international emporium and the entrée port in Sri Lanka, pre-historic period,  it is not beyond belief that, one of the disciples of Christ, came to India and Sri Lanka to preach Christianity.                                                              
“Anyhow, when we take into consideration the spread of Christianity in the coastal region of Kerala, and the existence of an ancient Syrian Church even today, it is very difficult to dismiss the fact that, an early king of Jaffna was one of those who paid his adoration to the infant Jesus, also Christianity was in existence in Lanka, since from the very beginning of the Christian era.”5 
Source: - 48k -
       Now there is a tradition that this Peria Perumal came to south India and was baptized by St. Thomas the Apostle as Gaspar. This fact is described by Fr. Motha Vaz as follows: “Peria Perumal, the King of Jaffna (Ceylon) journeyed to India to meet the Apostle. As soon as he saw St. Thomas, he requested him: ‘O Apostle of the Redeemer of the world! I am one of the Magi Kings who at the sight of the star in the East, followed it and visited the Holy Infant Messiah at Bethlehem. Therefore, please explain to me His life and teachings and baptize me. The Saint, accepting the request and after having instructed on the life and teachings of the Saviour, baptized him as Gaspar.”6
        Herman D’Souza writes: “It is noteworthy that the ancient song, described in the foregoing pages, says that at a certain stage the Apostle ‘started for the country of the Tamils’. The author (of the song) doubtless means ‘the country which is now of the Tamils’. For, at the time of the Apostle, all the three kingdoms (of the Chera, Chola and Pandia) was the country of the Tamils.”7 
            Alex C. Muthiah states that at the middle of the first century the Southern Pandian Kingdom i.e. Maana Veera Naadu was ruled by a heir of Pandian family and a valiant soldier called Gandhappar Raja.8 Hence it is clear that this Gandhappar Raja was no one except King Gaspar, one of the three Magi Kings, and that, as Alex C. Muthaiah states, two of the Magi Kings travelled through the South Indian Port called Ovari.9 Therefore it is clear that when St. Thomas and Habban left the court of Gondophernes, they began their journey to the Southern Pandian Kingdom by ship and reached Ovari, the south east Indian port of Naaraankottai.10  
        Some of the historians think that the present day Ovari called Ophir in the Bible was a very famous port at the time of King Solomon.11 George Moraes writes: “We are told in the Bible that Hiram, King of Tyre, sent his fleet of “ships of Tarshish” from Ezion Geber, at the head of the Gulf of Akaba in the Red Sea, to fetch ivory, apes and pea****s from the port of Ophir to decorate the palaces and the Temple of King Slomon.”12 It is said also that the three Magi Kings, in order to see the Son of God, travelled through this port of Ophir (Ovari). And that two of the three Magi Kings were the kings of Ceylon and Maanaveera Naadu.13But they were not exactly two Magi Kings, but only one king ruling both the countries of Ceylon and Maanaveera Naadu. But as it is well established by Alex C. Muthiah the small kingdom of Naaraankottai is the same as the Maanaveera Naadu, which was built on the banks of river Naattaaru, the present Nambiaaru, which starts from Nambikovil in the Western Ghats, runs through Erwadi, Thalapathisamuthiram, Chithoor, Kottaikarunkulam, Anaikkarai, Aathankarai Pallivaasal and reaches the sea at Koothenguli in Radhapuram Taluk, Thirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu. And this river in those days ran through the middle of the Southern Pandian Kingdom called Naaraankottai. This Naaraankottai had its fortress and palace at its Capital Jesupuram (Rammadupuram) in the south east direction of Anaikkarai near            
        Rammadupuram situated at the most fertile area then in between two branches of the Naattaaru. Since the fortress (Kottai) etc. were built on the bank of Naattaaru, this kingdom was also called Naattaatin Kottai, which gradually became Naaraankottai. The name of the capital Jesupuram was later changed by the Mohomadens as Isalapuram. This capital city had been swallowed by sands, and the remnants of it can be seen now covered by sands.14
        Gandhappar the king of Naaraankottai had his royal store house or go down, called in Tamil “Pandakasalai” at Kanakkankudiyiruppu, which was situated on the bank of a big lake called “Tharuvai” near the present Chettivilai and Sokkankudiyiruppu. This place was first called as Pandakasaslai; then since the royal accountants were settled in Pandakasalai, it was also called Kanakkankudiyiruppu, meaning the settlement of the kanakkargal (accountants). The lake and the surrounding area made a beautiful scenery of green fields, fruit groves and clean water rivulets running through. One of the branches of river Naattaaru was flowing through this Kanakkankudiyiruppu and reached the sea at Periathalai and made it a port. Another branch of the Naattaaru, and that was the main branch, reached the sea at Ovari and made Ovari an International Sea Port on the east coast of South India.
        It is through this port that Habban took St. Thomas to Naaraankottai and brought him to the court of Gandhappar Raja.15 The story goes as Fr. Motha Vaz narrates, 16 Habban approached the king and said that he had brought with him from Syria a Saintly Wiseman. As the king wanted to see the Saint, St. Thomas came and stood before the king. Gandhappar Raja asked the Saint: “Can you build a high palace for me?” The Saint thinking in his mind the spiritual edifice which he intended to raise in India, said: “Yes, I can”. Gandhappar Raja took the Saint to the spot and asked him for a plan of the palace. Immediately St. Thomas made a model plan of a beautiful palace on the ground. While he was making it, he was meditating in his mind as if God was laying the foundation of a palace for this king in heaven. At the sight of the plan Gandhappar Raja with joyful admiration said: “You are a qualified sculptor to serve the kings.”
            It was true that St. Thomas was to serve the King of kings (God Almighty) for the salvation of souls. Gandhappar Raja entrusted the work and money with St. Thomas to build the palace within six months i.e. from the month of Teshri (October-November 33 A.D.) to the month of Nisan (April, 34 A.D.)17 In the meanwhile the king went abroad to look after his royal duties in Ceylon, where he had his capital at Jafna.
       Here let us read the original narration of the story given in The Second Act of Thomas.

The Second Act: concerning his coming unto the king Gundaphorus. (Nos.1 to 19)

       “ Now when the apostle was come into the cities of India with Abbanes the merchant, Abbanes went to salute the king Gundaphorus, and reported to him of the carpenter whom he had brought with him. And the king was glad, and commanded him to come in to him. So when he was come in the king said unto him: What craft understandest thou? The apostle said unto him: The craft of carpentering and of building. The king saith unto him: What craftsmanship, then, knowest thou in wood, and what in stone? The apostle saith: In wood: ploughs, yokes, goads, pulleys, and boats and oars and masts; and in stone: pillars, temples, and court-houses for kings. And the king said: Canst thou build me a palace? And he answered: Yea, I can both build and furnish it; for to this end am I come, to build and to do the work of a carpenter.
        And the king took him and went out of the city gates and began to speak with him on the way concerning the building of the court-house, and of the foundations, how they should be laid, until they came to the place wherein he desired that the building should be; and he said: Here will I that the building should be. And the apostle said: Yea, for this place is suitable for the building. But the place was woody and there was much water there. So the king said: Begin to build. But he said: I cannot begin to build now at this season. And the king said: When canst thou begin? And he said: I will begin in the month Dius and finish in Xanthicus. But the king marveled and said: Every building is builded in summer, and canst thou in this very winter build and make ready a palace? And the apostle said: Thus it must be, and no otherwise is it possible.
            "And the king said: If, then, this seem good to thee, draw me a plan, how the work shall be, because I shall return hither after some long time. And the apostle took a reed and drew, measuring the place; and the doors he set toward the sun rising to look toward the light, and the windows toward the west to the breezes, and the bake house he appointed to be toward the south and the aqueduct for the service toward the north. And the king saw it and said to the apostle: Verily thou art a craftsman and it belitteth thee to be a servant of kings. And he left much money with him and departed from him.
        "And from time to time he sent money and provision, and victual for him and the rest of the workmen. But Thomas receiving it all dispensed it, going about the cities and the villages round about, distributing and giving alms to the poor and afflicted, and relieving them, saying: The king knoweth how to obtain recompense fit for kings, but at this time it is needful that the poor should have refreshment.
        "After these things the king sent an ambassador unto the apostle, and wrote thus: Signify unto me what thou hast done or what I shall send thee, or of what thou hast need. And the apostle sent unto him, saying: The palace (praetorium) is builded and only the roof remaineth. And the king hearing it sent him again gold and silver (lit. unstamped), and wrote unto him: Let the palace be roofed, if it is done. And the apostle said unto the Lord: I thank thee O Lord in all things that thou didst die for a little space that I might live forever in thee, and that thou hast sold me that by me thou mightest set free many. And he ceased not to teach and to refresh the afflicted, saying: This hath the Lord dispensed unto you, and he giveth unto every man his food: for he is the nourisher of orphans and steward of the widows, and unto all that are afflicted he is relief and rest.”18
1.  The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. XIV Page 65
2. Herman D’Souza “In the Steps of St. Thomas” quoted by Archbishop Arulappa in his foreword.
3. The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. XIV Pages 658, 659.
4. George Moraes Ibid. Page 213, Foot note 18.
5. K.T. Rajasingham, “Was one of the Magi a king from Lanka” - 48k -
6. Fr. Motha Vaz ibid. Page 32, 33.
7. Herman D’Souza ibid. Page 24.                                                                               
8. Alex C. Muthaiah ibid. Page 132.
9. ibid Page 111.
10. Fr. Motha Vaz ibid. Page 8.
11. Alex C. Muthiah ibid. Page 111.
12. George Moraes ibid. Pages 13, 14
13. Alex C. Muthiah ibid. Page 111.
14. Alex Cruz Muthaiah ibid. Page 168.
15. Fr. Motha Vaz ibid. Page 8.
16. Fr. Motha Vaz ibid. Chapter 4.
17. George Moraes ibid. Page 26                                                                            
18. M.R. James – Translation of “The Second act of Thomas”. Source: M.R. James-Translation and Notes, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924

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