Navam full moon has special significance for the Buddhists in Sri Lanka and in the world. The two very significant incidents that took place on the Navam Pura Pasalosvaka Poya Day were the first ever Buddhist congregation and the appointment of two chief disciples of Gautama Buddha as Aggasavakes namely Sariputta and Moggallana.
In the eve of the first Navam Full Moon Poya day after the Enlightenment of Gauthama Buddha, there were more than One thousand two hundred and fifty disciples in the Order of Maha Sangha. The Enlightened One envisaged the need for the use of the principles of management for maintaining the moral conduct and discipline of His followers.
Although there had been no problems until then the far- sighted Enlightened One would have anticipated incidents of breach of conduct and morality when the community of Sangha grew in number and variety.
The Buddha had observed the inconvenience caused to His prospective disciples who had to come all the way to Veluvanaramaya where the Enlightened One was dwelling whenever they wanted His advice and when they wanted to get their points clarified.
During the early days after the Enlightenment the aspirants of asceticism or monasticism were ordained by Buddha Himself. At the first congregation Gauthama Buddha introduced the principles of delegation of powers and functions and requested the members of the Maha Sangha to ordain the aspirants of asceticism without requiring them to come all the way to see Buddha. This enabled them to enter the priesthood when and where they wished and come to Buddha when they needed clarifications and further advice.
As mentioned earlier, the appointment of Sariputta and Moggallana as the two main disciples – “Aggrasavaka” took place on this significant day of Navam Poya.
Sariputta was appointed to the prestigious position of “Dharmasenadipathi” and Moggallana as “Dharmapurohita” respectively.
Some monks were discussing as to why some of the senior monks were overlooked in making these key appointments. The Exalted one – Gautama Buddha with HIS divine eye saw what the disciples or Buddhist monks were contemplating and explained to them the appropriateness of those two appointments. In order to clear the doubts of the monks and to elucidate or to make clear, Buddha explained the fact that seniority was not the only criteria or qualification that had been taken in to consideration in these two key appointments.