The philosophy of Dhajagga Piritha
“Maha Pirith Potha” is recited in temples and houses to ward off evil
and bring good luck. It is not a separate book in the Pali Canon. It is
an anthology of Suttas, derived from the Five Nikayas. In Pali, it is
known as Chatu–Bhanavara–Pali or “The text of the four recitals”.
In the Chatu-Bhanavara-Pali, there are 29 Suttas beginning from
Sarangamana to Atanatiya. They are extracted from Khuddaka Nikaya,
Anguttara Nikaya, Samyutta Nikaya, Majjhima Nikaya and Digha Nikaya. A
noteworthy feature is that the only Sutta in Digha Nikaya is Atanatiya
Sutta. Part I consists of 48 verses and part II consists of 60 verses,
totalling 108 stanzas.
Today let us discuss one of the most important Sutta Dhajagga
Paritta, which belongs to the Samyutta Nikaya. The other stanzas which
belongs to Samyutta Nikaya are Candaparitta, Suriyaparitta, Mahakassapa
Thera Bojjanga, Mahamoggallana Thera Bojjanga, Mahacundat Thera
Looking up to flags
The Dhajjagga Pirith is somewhat extraordinary. It refers to a war
between Suras (Gods) and Asuras (Demons). The Suras were advised to look
upto the flags (Dhajagga means flags) of the various gods for their
safety and fearlessness. The Blessed One says, “For your safety and
fearlessness you have to look upto the Triple Gem of Buddha, Dhamma and
Sangha. They are superior to the flags of the gods.
There are 21 stanzas in Dhajjagga Pirith. The Buddha uttered these
stanzas to the Bhikkhus while sojourning in Savatthi, at Jeta's Grove in
In the second verse of Dhajagga Sutta, the Buddha says that there was
a war between the Devas (Gods) and Asuras (Demons). The Chief of the
Devas, Sakka, uttered thus to the Devas of Tavatimsa heaven to keep
their morals high.
Sace, Marisa, Devanam Sangamagtanam, Uppajjeya
Bhayam va Chambhittatam va, Lomahamso va Maneva
Tasmini Samaye Dhajaggan Ullokeyyatha’
(Happy Ones, a fear or stupefaction or the hairs of the body standing
on end would arise to the Devas who have gone to war, at that time you
should look for the top of my standard flag.)
“If you do not look for my flag, look for the top of the standard
(flag) of Prajapati. Failing that look for the top of the standard of
Varuna. If you fail the above two, look for top of the standard (flag)
They are the kings of Devas. Whatever fear or stupefaction or hairs
of the body standing will vanish by seeing the top of the flags of these
gods stated Sakka chief of Gods.
The flags (Dhajagga) mentioned are ceremonial flags, especially those
belonging to the royalty. Even today, we witness various Sri Lanka Army
detachments carrying flags of their unit, to boost the morale of the
soldiers in the battle front.
The Buddha said, “Sakka, Prajapati, Varuna and Isana are not free
from Raga (Passion), Dhosa (Anger) and Moha (Delusion). Due to this
reason, they are afraid, full of fear and they run away. When you go to
live in the forests, or an empty lonely places, if you face situations
where you fear remember me.
“Itipso Bhagava Araham Samma Sambuddo
Vijjacarana Sampanno, Sugato, Lokavidu, Annuttaro,
Purisadhammasarathi Sattha Devamanussanam, Buddho Bhagavati
(The Blessed One, Exalted One the Buddha, is worthy, completely and
fully enlightened is possessed of knowledge and conduct, knower of the
world, unsurpassed, charioteer of men, teacher of Devas, the enlightened
The Buddha said, “Falling to remember me, look upto my Dhamma which
is Svakkhato, Bhagavato, Dhammo, Sandithiiko, Akaliko, Ehipassiko,
Opanayiko, Pachatam, Veditabbo Vinnuhiti.
(The dhamma preached by the Buddha is visible. It has the equality of
Ehipassiko” - open to all leads to Nibbana. It should be understood
individually by wise men).
If you forget the Buddha and Dhamma, you should remember the Sangha -
Order of the Bhikkhus – Supatipanno Bhagavota (Multitude of disciples on
– Ahuneyyo, Pahuneyyo, Dhakkineyyo, Anjalikaraneiyo Anuttaran
The multitude of the Buddha.... Worthy of sacrifice, worthy of
hospitality, worthy of offerings worthy of being worshipped with palms
joined together. It is the unsurpassed field of merit of the world.
The Buddha said: Tam Kissa Hetu? (What is the reason?)
Thathagato Hi Bhikkave, Araham Samma
Sambuddho, Vitarango – Vitadoso, Abhiru
Acchambhi Anutrasi, Apalayati
(The Enlightened One is free from passion – anger and delusion not
afraid, not tremulous, free from fear and does not run away.)
In the last four stanzas or verses in the Dhajagga Sutta, Buddha said
if one remembers the Noble Triple Gem - the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha
all the fears will vanish.