From Cosmogony to Exorcism in a Javanese Genesis, 2


2. Murwala Kala Performance

sect. #

sectio titulus






Synopsis of the Murwa Kala



Translation of the Murwa Kala



Narrative-Codes and Narrative-Categories


2.1 -- p. 27 attitude of the audience at a performance

"I have seen Javanese families sit behind a screen, perfectly still in an attitude of prayer, for five hours."

"The wayang platform completely bloked the narrow street, heightning the public aspect of the spectacle, and manby Javanese neighbours crowded in temporarily to listen and watch."

2.2 -- pp. 28-9 synopsis of the Murwa Kala






"In the gods' heaven ... : Guru attempts to copulate with a female (wife, sister, daughter {cf. attempt by Praja-pati/Brahma to copulate with his own daughter}).

Seed is spilt on the earth's ocean below."

{That which was spilt of Ouranos onto the sea was "thornei ... supposed to be related to a word meaning 'ejaculation' or 'semen'" (DP, p. 161).}


"The beautiful Uma {Uma}, Guru's consort, is exiled ... for having repelled Guru's advances.

The seed becomes a white rolling drum on the ocean's waves."

{According to Sankhouniathon (lib. 1, cap. 6), "It was god Ouranos who devised Baithulia, contriving stones that moved as having life." (2B, p. 300)} {According to Philon, Baitulos is a son of Ouranos (RP, p. 140).}



"Kala {'time'} rolls onto the shore

{The youngest son of Ouranos is named Kronos (for whose name is substituted, by later authors, /Khronos/ 'time', which is considered to roll (as circle, wheel, or cylindre).}

and meets 'Isn't', his monstrous 'mother' ... .

{Cf. Taoist "Mother of the world" : "being is produced by non-being." ("ChRK&R").} {Cf. Vajra-yana aequation of s`unyata 'emptiness' with goddess Prajn~a-paramita as "Mother of the World".}


In a heavenly palace : Kala seeks his father. Guru fails to recognize his son, but Guru's elder brother Narada {Nara-da} does.


... Guru gives his son a name, food, and clothes.


On earth in a forest : Kala dislikes the food given, but ... eating a sugar palm ... fallen into his mouth from a tree ... .


In a heavenly palace : ... Guru ... files ... Kala's teeth. In return he gives Kala a ... axe. Finally Guru writes mantras on Kala's body. ...


On earth in the homes of afflicted (sukerta) persons : Father Lacking (Bapa Truna) escapes, becoming Lacking Father (Truna Bapa).


In Guru's heavenly palace : ... Narada gives a book of mantras to Wisnu.


Kala and his army ... are hungry."

{Cf. how "under the prompting of extreme hunger, Kumbhakarna suddenly sprang up from sleep" (Rama-ayana, "Yuddha" kanda, sarga 60).}


"Play within a play in the village of Medhangkawit ["Origin of the Rice Chaff" (p. 69) -- "Mendhang means (rice) chaff" (p. 69, fn. 41)] : The village chief ... seeks a dhalang. Dhalang Wisnu and his troupe descend to earth ... .


In earthly theatre : Kala trades the head-hunting axe in order to attend the play.

{According to the prakr.ta-language Jaina Pauma-cariya (by Vimala), "The Raks.asas are not man-eating demons but adherents of the race of the Vidyadharas." (IDIP, p. 85)}

The dhalang recites Kala's birth then reads the mantra off his body.

Kala's victim is freed by the dhalang."

{According to the Aitareya Brahman.a, S`unah.-s`ephas, when about to be immolated, was freed by Indra (CDHM, s.v. "S`unah.s`ephas").}

DP = Gábor Betegh : The Derveni Papyrus : Cosmology, Theology and Interpretation. Cambridge Univ Pr, 2004.

2B = Alexander Hislop : The Two Babylons. Edinburgh : W. Whyte & Co., 1853.

RP = Augustine Pagolu : The Religion of the Patriarchs. J FOR THE STUDY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT, SUPPLEMENT SERIES 277. Sheffield Academic Pr, 1998.

"ChRK&R" = "Chinese Religions of Kongzi and Rujiao".

Rama-ayana, "Yuddha" 60

IDIP = N. N. Bhattacharyya : Indian Demonology : the Inverted Pantheon. Manohar Publ, Delhi, 2000.

CDHM = Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology.

2.3 -- p. 34, fn. 3 insect-army

"The term Bucara-Bucari may be related ... to a Javanese word for scratch, referring to biting insects that cause itching and scratching. In the context of agriculture, this collective name for Kala's army of male and female demons designates parasites, insects that attack and devour the rice fields. In the popular imagination, as reflected in Widi Prayitino's illustrations to the ruwatan scenarios ..., these large-headed demonic children are no taller than the rice plants they gobble up."

2.3 -- p. 37, fn. 5 suluk

"Suluks are sung archaic poetry, sometimes call dhalangs' songs ... . Most of the dhalangs' songs come from Javanese classical poetry in 'Sanskrit metres' (sekara ageng)."

2.4 -- p. 44 the names of the 7 mantra-s for exorcizing Kala


"Asking of Kala"


"Alphabet Backwards"


"Dhalang's Goose"


"Upside-down Banyan Tree"


"Flaming Moustache"


"Footsoldiers (or wagon, pedhati) of Letters"


[fn. 13 : "Core of the Wagon of Letters"]

2.4 -- pp. 48-51 Lacking-Father & Father-Lacking

p. 48

"In the middle of the forest they met a man ... carrying over his back a bamboo tube as if he was {were} going to look for grasshoppers. ... Lacking-Father [said :]. I'm going to collect ... forest grasshoppers ... . ...

{Starting in a "hollow log", Gluskabe voyaged to steal the first tobacco from Grasshopper ("HGST").}

"in the pine barrens of Lenapehoking ... was the largest grasshopper they had ever seen." ("GW") -- Pituo-kamptes ('Pinetree-bender') catapulted persons skyward ("LTh" & "S(K)"). -- "The locust returned to the lower world and told the people that the beings above had strong medicine," climbing, within it, "up the reed ... the people ... emerged" through the sky into another world (OMNI, p. 12).

p. 49

Kala [said :]. What kind of skin is this? ... weapons just don't go in."

p. 50

"I am Father Lacking. ... . ... I must be exorcized and washed in the seven pools and nine ponds. ...

p. 51

Kala [said :]. The seven pools ad the nine ponds are the path that passes right thorugh the palm of my hand straight into ny mouth here. ...

Kala tries in vain to bite through Father Lacking's skin".

"HGST" = "How Gluskabe Stole Tobacco".

"GW" = "The Grasshopper War".

"LTh" = "The Labours of Theseus".

"S(K)" = "Sxoinous (Kalamaki)".

OMNI =Aileen O'Bryan : The Dîné : Origin Myths of the Navaho Indians. BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF AMER ETHNOLOGY 163.Washington (DC), 1956.

2.4 -- pp. 54-5 solution to a riddle : the retinue of Vanas-pati

p. 54

"Guru [said :]. Eka, Ego, Boga Parusah Sat Kerna. ...

Kala [said :]. ... Eka, that's one. Ego is the tail. Of ... Andini {Nandini}. ... That Boga ... is a woman, Lady Uma. Sat {} Kerna {karn.a} : ... six ... an ear."

p. 55

"Narration by the dhalang ... . All deployed in their progress, like taro, were the ... followers of Banaspati. ... In the village of Panggung, at number 235, ... they calmly advanced.

2.4 -- p. 61 Budi-mulyana

"Bucara-Bucari, the 400 {cf. sets of 400 deities each in the Popol Vuh}, move out all of you and chase Mister Budimulyana, his wife and elder sister".

{Evidently, this "BUDi-MULYANA" = BUDDHa's disciple MaUdgaLya-aYANA (pronounced /MULIAN/ in Chinese Buddhism), who likewise returned alive from the Netherworld of the death-deities ("GMRMH").}

"GMRMH" = "The Great Maudgalyayana Rescues His Mother From Hell". {This Bauddha myth is aequivalent, in turn, to the myth of rescue, by Dio-nusos, of his mother Semele-Thuone from the Netherworld. (It may have been imported into India by Thraikians in the employ of the Hellenistic government of Baktria.)}

2.4 -- pp. 61-2, 65 wild-potato-thorn; beans &c.; mustard-greens

p. 61

"Who dared place it? A wild potato thorn (Coleus tuberosus) ... has been placed here.

p. 62

As a matter of fact, there is ... here, only ginger and beans, surrounded (dikohi?) by a (protective) thorn fence ... ."

p. 65

"Kala [said :]. ... I'm going to stop in the midst of these decorated mustard greens (an offering). ... Well, it's that bunch of mustard greens over there in the middle of the rice field. If the offerings there are complete, nothing can bother the owner of the rice field."

2.4 -- pp. 65-6 the essence of exorcism






"Oh {O!} young Lord Wisnu, ... I am


going to pay a visit to the Sea of Heat (... i.e. where humans live and suffer).


Sire, my hands clasped in front of my forehead, I do you reverence.


Yes, young Lord Wisnu, I accept your homage ... . ... You must understand, young Lord Wisnu. The essence of the Murwa Kala is to make impairments disappear, to purify, to sanctify, to cleanse male and female ... who are afflicted by sukerta ... . Those who have a bad reputation (ciri) can lose it and improve, but only after ... meeting the expenses entailed by the numerous offerings."

2.4 -- pp. 67-8 titles of the dhalan






"Reverend Dhalang Purbawas`esa, I understand that to mean rules and reigns (was`esa) over all that is ancient (purba).


Reverend Dhalang Ragilkuning (youngest sweet child).


Reverend Dhalang Ragilkuning means to always be able to devote one-


self to all the spectators both young and old, big and small, that the spectators see you as yellow, so golden is your shining aura.


Yes, and Reverend Dhalang Kangungrungan.


Ah, Reverend Kangungrungan (sweet-voiced) means whoever watches you perform will invariably fall in love with you, ... always be devoted to your friendship."

2.4 -- p. 68 assumption of personal names by deities to be theirs when incarnating for participating in the performance




"I'll name our elder sister, the gende`r player, Marikangen [fn. 38 : "The Cure for Longing".]"


"And me! What's my name, young man? ...


I order you to be named Sire Main Basket (encek enggel).


Ah, Sire Main Basket. I accept it.


As well as Sire of the Big Mallet Family."

2.4 -- p. 69 a divine gamelan which is able to play itself, and to walk itself

"Later, if we meet a person, pretend that the gamelan is being carried, or tuned, or play on it so that no one will hear it (playing all by itself). Later on, once no one is there, the gamelan will walk all by itself."

2.4 -- p. 70 an astronomically metaphoric suluk

"The gamelan plays the ayak-ayakan melody, then the dhalang sings a suluk."

"The ocean's water mirror is like the sky's vault.

The tortoise drifts in it like the moon

and the stars like flowers scattered everywhere."

2.4 -- pp. 70-1 bride's involvement of her father in her bickering with her groom, until her father is consenting to subsidize a shadow-puppet theatre-performance

p. 70

"Bekel [said :]. ... My daughter Babar Piyak ... squabbles with that boy, my son-in-law Jaka Sondong. ...

Daughter [Babar Piyak said :]. ... a monster for a husband? ... It is unjust ... . ...

p. 71

Yes, I only ask you to b kind enough to allow me to organize a shadow puppet theatre performance later {i.e., after the wedding}."

2.4 -- pp. 73-4 self-introduction of Sire Puppeteer to the son-in-law and to the daughter's father




p. 73


"Where's your home, Sire Puppeteer?


My home is in the navel of the world.


... What's your name?


Sire Dhalang, Speaking the World. ...

p. 74


Your name, Younger Brother Dhalang?


My name is Speaking the World, yes the Infatuator, the Authority of Old, the Golden Last-Born. ... Is your name Setyadarma {Satya-dharma 'True Law'}, whose ancestors are from the village of Medhangkawit?


Yes, that is indeed the case, Younger Brother."

2.4 -- p. 83, fn. 54 synopsis of the Manik-maya [/manikka-maya/ 'Ruby-Illusion']

"A more complex descent and ascent episode sequence involving several myths (Birth of Kala, Sri Sadana, and Sengkan-Turunan) is present in the Manik-maya. Here the jewel of a woman, Dumilah, literally falls into the 'mouth' of the earth-bound

Anantaboga {/an-anta 'bliss' + /bhoga/ 'enjoyment'}, a snake,

{This "snake" would be source of the book's title, "the ruby-red jewels from the snake's foreheads" (RK"PK").}

which then experiences unending bliss.

{The "unending bliss" would be that experienced in the heaven of Indra, who according to the Upa-puran.a is worshipper of the ruby.}

Narada recovers both her and the snake in order to bring her back to Guru in heaven."

RK"PK" = "Personalities : Kaliya".


Stephen C.[avanna] Headley : From Cosmogony to Exorcism in a Javanese Genesis : the Spilt Seed. Oxford Univ Pr, 2000.