Ananda Thero was the chief personal attendant of the living Lord Buddha. He had pure endless affection and immense respect towards Lord Buddha and dedicated his entire life to being the personnel help to Lord Buddha. The Sacred left Canine Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha, which is housed at the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy is being regarded as the living Lord Buddha. The poojas and rituals dedicated towards Lord Buddha which was carried out by Ananda Thero back then, are being carried out today as Theva (Daily Services) which are led by the Maha Nayaka Theros of Malwathu and Asgiri Chapters and followed by the residing Maha Sanga of those temples who are dedicated to do the rituals.
These Theva are carried out by the Maha Nayaka Thero of Malwathu or Asgiri chapters or a Nayaka Thero appointed in charge of Theva representing Maha Nayake Theros. These are annual shifts of tenures between Asgiri and Malwathu chapters. Besides the daily services (Theva), there are also weekly and annual poojas and rituals dedicated for the Sacred Tooth Relic which has been continuously carried out since ancient to present times.
The Traditional Theva Ceremony for The Sacred Tooth Relic
Annually, the daily service (Theva) responsibility is exchanged at the start of the rainy retreat (Vassana retreat) which falls after Esala full moon Poya day. Under the guidance of Mahanayaka Theros of Malwathu and Asgiri Maha Vihara’s Chapters, and the Chief Custodian (Diyawadana Nilame) of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. In this occasion the Secretary Mohottala (Traditional Officer) reads the inventories of the upper floor (Ihala Malaya), the lower floor (Pahala Malaya) and the octagonal pavilion (Paththirippuwa) along with the Thero who is in charge of Thevava. After the reading, the items in the inventories are shown, handed over by those who are finishing the Theva term and received by those who are taking over. Afterwards, those inventories are signed by the Mahanayaka Theros and the Diyawadana Nilame. Then, relevant keys are handed over officially after a brief discourse. It is considered fortunate and merciful for a Thero to have the opportunity to conduct the Tevava of the Sacred Tooth Relic.
Theva or Daily Services.
The daily rituals performed for the Sacred Tooth Relic is called “Theva” or Services, and there are tree services. Early Morning Service, Mid-Day Service and the Evening Service. It also includes traditional sound offerings.
Early Morning Service
The Early Morning Service commences at 5.15a.m. with the beating of Hewisi drums. Everything here is performed according to a schedule and those who attend the services must wait till the care takers open the doors, the silver door first and then the golden door.
The religious services include few steps and the same devotion offered to living Lord Buddha by Ananda Thero is offered to the Sacred Tooth Relic as well. Jasmine flowers “Saman Pichcha” are offered and other offerings are made with great devotion. Removal of the offerings are also done with great devotion according to a system. Starting from Silver vessels and ending with Gold vessels. These vessels are handled with so much respect by a Monk who is assigned to this task, only he is permitted to touch them.
Starts around 9.30.a.m and concludes at 10.30.a.m this is the daily meals offered to Lord Buddha called “Buddha Pooja”. The monks in charge of Thevava and the officials who performed the morning service perform this service too. First the oil lamps are lit and the withered flowers from morning service is removed. Then the official called “Geparala” gives the silver tray with Jasmine flowers or “Saman Pichcha” to be offered to the Sacred Tooth Relic. Then the conch blower along with other officials bring the meals or “Buddha Pooja” to be offered.
The removal of the vessels are also done by the same Monk. According to a schedule amidst of ceremonial drumming or “Maghul Bera” sounds. The doors are closed after the respective official inspects that everything is in order.
This starts around 6.30.p.m and goes till 7.15.p.m in the midst of Hewisi sound withered and old flowers are removed and fresh flower are offered. The evening service is to offer Lord Buddha with juices or “Gilan Pasa” and other things. Sugar, Sukiri and the sugary sap of Kithul palm or “Althelijja” is Offred in three small goblets and also Honey, Ginger Juice and Ghee are offered in a combination of gold & silver goblets. There are two “Gilanpasa” offerings, the first and the second. The second “Gilanpasa” offering started during the reign of King Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe.
Amuthu Muluthen Poojawa
This was introduced to Dalada Maligawa through a custom, performed in the King’s palace. Originally for this pooja, one has to cook 32 Serus (an ancient measuring) of Rice. But currently, this has been limited to 16 Serus. In addition, 32 curries are also prepared. Preparations of other items are also different. This Pooja was introduced to express the King’s respect to the Sacred Tooth Relic. This is performed even today as a Dalada ritual.