From Cosmogony to Exorcism in a Javanese Genesis, 3


3. Performances Compared





Murwa Kala in Surakarta



Murwa Kala in Semaran



Murwa Kala in Kutaharjo



Murwa Kala in Banalaya



Structure and Agency


3.1 -- p. 86 mythic reason for the 1st ruwatan

"at the Silver Palace in heaven ...

{divine Mirror-World, mirroring cosmic psychology in worldly social organization?}

[1.1] Guru asks

{/guru/, litterally 'weight', such as, 'sinker of fishing-line' (figuratively, sinker-in of questions}

Narada about

{/nara-/ = Kemetic /n<r/ 'catfish' + /-da/ '-giving' : 'giver of catfish' would be 'deity enabling human anglers to catch catfishes' (or figuratively, 'solver of vexing human problems')}

the cosmic ... beam of light (sotya) ... .

{divine Ray-of-Creation (described in esoteric Qabbalah)?}

Narada says that Guru himself is responsible for the situation

{a psycho-analytic explanation is proposed}

because this ... is caused by the faulty seed (kama salah) {divine animate semen virile in needed of being cosmicly redeemed} that was aroused in him by

{the typical Manikhaian primordial myth of origin of the current perilous cosmic situation by involuntary emission of semen virile of male arkhones}

the beautiful Endang Sri Kaedhep. [fn. 4 "The goddess bhatari Kedhep (translated by Brinkgreve as belief, feeling, faith) ... (Brinkgreve 1997:239)."]

{"In Greek faith is Pistis ... . Faith may be personified and given the name Pistis" (GB, p. 452, fn. 41).} {/Pistis/ is a Hellenistic translation of heroine-name /Diynah/ (Strong's 1783) = /diyn/ 'faith, belief' (DMWA, p. 353b).}

This seed, having fallen into the ocean in the middle world (earth), has taken the form of Rolling Drum (Kendhang Gumulung). Narada gives Guru a list of foods for Kala. ...

[1.2] Uma {Uma} ... is cursed and is changed into the ogress ..., [1.3] but Guru assures her can again become a fairy (widadari {vidya-dhari 'lore-upholderess'}) if she is purified in the middle world by a dhalang experienced in ruwatan lore. ...

[1.4] Guru tells Narada to organize the shadow puppet theatre troupe. ... [1.5] Narada calls on the gods Kuwera, Bayu {Vayu}, and Penyarikan to incarnate themselves on earth.

{This implies that these deities themselves praesent their own divine shadows (cancellations of divine -- or indeed any -- luminosity) for the earthly theatre-performance. With Proto-Malayo-Polynesian /QAnTad/ 'shadow' (H-ED, s.v. "aka") cf. Proto-Malayo-Polynesian /QATuh/ 'deity' (H-ED, s.v. "akua").}

Brinkgreve 1997 = Francine Brinkgreve : "Offerings to Durga and Pretiwi in Bali". In :- Robert Wessing (ed.) : The Divine Female in Indonesia. ASIAN FOLKLORE STUDIES 66.2:227-52.

GB = Willis Barnstone & Marvin Meyer : The Gnostic Bible. Shambhala Publ, Boston, 2003.

James Strong = Hebrew and Aramaic Dictionary of Bible Words. frequently reprinted by Thomas Nelson Publ.

DMWA = J. Milton Cowan : A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic. 4th edn. Wiesbaden : Harrassowitz, 1979.

H-ED = Mary Kawena Pukui & Samuel H. Elbert : Hawaiian-English Dictionary. 3rd edn 1965. {These close resemblances may be a pun based on a fairly archaic Austronesian myth concerning shadows of the deities.}

3.1 -- pp. 87-9 sleepings of Kala; blushing-flushing (calidification) of Kala's body

p. 87

"[2.2] While Kala sleeps at the edge of the crossroads next to the pool for the purification ... (called the pure lake) ..., an only child ... comes up and tells Kala to wake up. This sugar palm tapper says he is going to pull out Kala's fur. Kala tells him that ... the pool is here, in his mouth. [2.3] This only child has escaped Kala ... . Then Kala meets two sisters (kembang sepasang) ... . They also flee. [2.4.] Two brothers approach ..., but are also forced to flee ... . [2.5] A boy and a girl (kedana-kedini) who know Kala's name, but not their own, approach and they also flee ... . [2.6] Five brothers (pandhawa) are the next to approach ..., but they also escape. [2.7] An only child leaves a steamer{-pot} on the kitchen hearth unattended ..., but Kala gets burned {scalded} by its boiling water. ... [2.8] Kala tells his army [of daimones and of spirits] that that a person who drops a pestle and breaks a mortar is considered to have crippled (lempoh) behaviour ... .

[2.9] Kala muses over the hole in his {hand's} palm.

{cf. the stigmata of saints}

[2.10] Kala steps on a thorn left my a man smoothing off the thorns from a stick of bamboo in the middle of the path. [2.11] Kala meets Father Lacking and interrogates him about his parents ..., none of which he has. ... [2.12] Kala fails to eat him, but then meets another person who resembles Father Lacking and ... When he person replies that he is Lacking Father, Kala tries to eat him. ...

[3.1] Now begins the play within a play in the primeval Javanese village of Medhangkawit where we find Jatimurti and his new wife, who is now pregnant ... .

p. 88

[3.2] Kala sees the girl sitting in the doorway of her house. He approaches her and tells her that ... this is taboo ... . ... Description of the customary practice of nine parallel diagonal black and white lines of slaked lime and soot

applied to the door posts of the house to ward off Kala.

{"strike it on the two side posts ... of the houses" (S^mowt 12:7). "strike ... the two side posts ... at the door" (S^mowt 12:22); (S^mowt 12:23) "and will not suffer the Destroyer [ha-Mas^h.iyt, litterally 'the Destruction'] to come in unto your houses to smite you."}

[4.1] Narada ... explains that ... nine deities (jawata) must incarnate themselves to work with a 'true' (sejati) dhalang ... . ...

[5.1] The father of the pregnant girl greets the dhalang and his troupe ... . The required offerings (saje`n) are ... found to be complete. The troupe, led by Pucu Bacak, sets up the stage, screen, and instruments. ... The deities (jawata) attend the performance. [5.2.] Etymology of talu music is given. [5.3] Mantras asre read over the household ... . [5.4] ... The father requests that the dhalang continue.

[5.5] Kala realizes that ... he likes ... the gamelan music. He feels sleepy

{Hermes "played his pipes of reed." Consequently all Argos Pan-optes's "eyelids closed ... every eye vanquished in sleep." (Ovidius : Metamorphoses 1.624 sq -- "GAP")}

and leans against the banana trunk in which the puppets are planted [pinned, "stuck into the horizontal trunks of banana trees" (p. 75, fn. 44)]

{although for a banana-plant "trunk" and "tree" are both misnomers, the "tree" being a stalkless herb, and its "trunk" being a mere array of leaf-stems : this is more similar to stalkless fern than to any bush or tree}

and falls asleep. His snoring warns Pucu Bacak that Kala is present and will ruin the ... the performance. [5.6] ... Pucu Bacak ... then throws chopped food at Kala. ..

p. 89

Kala asks who dared disturb his sleep. He ... is attracted by the facial expressions of the dhalang ... . He asks the dhalang to continue with the play and offers ... payment. The dhalang prefers Kala's cleaver, called Mentawa. ... [5.7 Kala wants ... the newborn baby. ... [5.8] ... the dhalang retorts that a baby born during a wayang is a 'dropped scarf' (tiba sampir) and therefore belongs to the dhalang ... . [5.9] Kala ... tries to grab the baby ..., but is magically unable to do so, due to the dhalang's sacred powers (sakti {s`akti). ... The dhalang insists that this means that Kala will afterwards have to obey him. ...

[5.10] ["Mantras are read."] [5.11] Kala is convinced by this reading. He has lost his strength and asks permission to leave since his body is all hot. The dhalang sends Kala off to the palace of the world below where he will be king of the spirits."

"GAP" = "Gigante Argos Panoptes".

{It is implied that, if Kala = Argos Pan-optes, then Kala's father Guru/S`iva = Pan-optes's father (according to Phere-kudes) Arestor (/arester/ 'cake').}

3.1 -- p. 90 backwards-recitation of the alphabet [cf. arapacana]

"Kala ... challenges the dhalang to recite the Javanese alphabet backwards (that is, nga, tha, ba, ga, ma, ... etc. instead of ha na ca ra ka ...) ... . ...

{The ordinary sequence of the Jawanese alphabet is already backwards : /na-ca-ra-/ is evidently the /[a]-ra-[pa-]ca-na/ backwards.}

If the dhalang can do this, Kala will be forced to submit to him. ...

Some traditional Javanese theories ... claim that the creation of the world was accomplished by the forwards recitation of the alphabet, while backwards recitation is

a sign of ... the paradigm of re-creation. ...

It would be a deconstruction praeliminary to a renovation.}

Many Javanese reflections on the subject of the alphabet explore this view.

What emerges at the end of the play is a tamed Kala who is confined to the underworld. Many other versions ... mention his marriage to ... Durga."

3.2 -- p. 91 boundary-ropes; process of writing in unseen sites; feeding on sandstone

Kala's "hairs are pulled from his head

{Plucking of head-hair, in lieu of shaving, is done by some Jaina religious orders.}

to make 'boundary' ropes.

{In Heaven, "the boundaries are demarcated with golden cords" (MBS, p. 24); and in the earthly temple, regions are "separated by "rainbow-coloured cordons" ... of the Tibetan altar" (SS, p. 291).}

At the moment when Kala is given the cleaver ..., Guru writes seven figures on the monster's body. The most important of these are on his chest,his soft palate, and his upper back, three places where he cannot read them himself. ... Guru then begins to read a long list of the sukerta children .. he now prefers ... over

the sandstone ... and clay previously allowed him."

{The brethren of C^i-you "used sand and stone as their food." (HChM, s.v. "Chiyou", p. 92)}

MBS = Minh Tha`nh & P. D. Leigh (transll.) : Sutra of the Medicine Buddha. Taisho XIV, 450. Buddha Dharma Education Assn; International Buddhist Monastic Institute, 2001.

SS = Adrian Snodgrass : The Symbolism of the Stupa. Cornell Univ Pr, NY, 1985.

HChM = Lihui Yang & Deming An : Handbook of Chinese Mythology. ABC-Clio, Santa Barbara (CA), 2005.

3.2 -- pp. 91-2 Vis.n.u organizeth a dhalan-troupe

p. 91

"Then, giving Wisnu a book of purification

p. 92

(pakem pangruwatan) ..., Guru instructs him to organize the gods into a dhalang troupe that, incarnated on earth, can alleviate the sufferings from Kala's depredations."

3.3 -- pp. 93-5 absorption into the coagulated semen (plus menstrual-blood?) of heirloom-weapons, resultant in thundre-voiced drum

p. 93

"The heirloom weapons that they hurl at this fallen seed not only fail to harm it, but are incorporated into it and then constitute its body. As the gods flee, the lively baby rolls up upon the shore and is named

Rolling Drum (a name which describes both his

{"When struck with the bone of the Thunder God, the drum made a great sound ... of Kui's skin ... that it prevented Chiyou from flying away" (HChM, p. 33).}

p. 94

movement and his voice). ...

Narada explains that there are two kinds of white blood {i.e., whitish bodily secretion}, Guru's and Umadi's (Uma's);

they have mingled, becoming something ... . ... .

{combining of spermatozoo:n with ovum hath engendred an embryo}

p. 95

... Guru may refer to Kala's extra-uterine birth ... ." {Cf., e.g., "retas ... springing from them ... in the Middle-region (Pus.kara)." ("M/V/U")}

{Cf., e.g. : "Upon seeing Urvaśī, the celestial society girl, both Mitra and Varuṇa discharged semen, which they preserved in an earthen pot. The two sons Agastya and Vasiṣṭha later appeared from that pot" (Bhagavata Upa-puran.a 6:18:6).}

"M/V/U" = "Mitra/Varuna/Urvas`i".!topic/alt.magick/Pe-Xur1OsEA

Bhagavata Upa-puran.a 6:18:6,_the_celestial_society_girl,_both_Mitra_and_Varuna_discharged_semen,_which_they_preserved_in_an_earthen_pot._The_two_sons_Agastya_and_Vasistha_later_appeared_from_tt_pot

3.3 -- p. 95 cantillation during process of writing; prayer; deity Broom-of-the-World

"cantillating (ura-ura) of the mantras as they are written on Kala's body ... chanted over Kala's forehead as follows :

... Protected by an iron fence; umbrella-ed by the wheel of time.

Yes, Kala, I am Sanghyang. ... I will reveal your origins.

The play ends ... with the deity Broom of the World ... dusting off all impurities from the screen."

3.4 -- p. 96 Durga is wife of Kala

"Later Durga, who is given to Kala as a spouse on the 'demon' island of Nusa Kembangan, recites mantras as she sends out her demon army with Kala to hunt for sukerta children."

[p. 96, fn. 15 "There seems to be ... a play (Udan Agung) to bring rain, namely ... from seven different sources (well, lake, stream, coconut, etc.)."]

3.4 pp. 97-8 8 waters [for the 8 trigrams?] are transformed into a 9th water

p. 97

"Towards the end of the play, before purifying the victim by reciting the prayer of the ninefold water (mantram banyu sanga), this dhalang warned the audience that pregnant or menstruating women should stand away from the platform, as required by custom (adat) in both East and Central Java. ... . ... this taboo could be explained, ... in Bali, by identifying the sprinkler of holy water with Siwa's lingga (Hooykaas 1964:148-50)."

p. 98

"eight demonic waters are transformed into a nin[e]th (ninefold?), white-coloured water which then descends from heaven, uniting Father and Mother, ... in the pond of purification containing the ninefold waters."

Hooykaas 1964 = C. Hooykaas : Agama Tirtha : Five Studies in Hindu-Balinese Religion. Amsterdam : Noord-Hollandsche.

3.5 -- p. 99 Kala must hear

"To read the mantras is to say aloud so that Kala must hear. By reciting words off the demon's body, written where Kala cannot hmself see the letters, the dhalang ... tells Kala what Kala cannot know."


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