From Cosmogony to Exorcism in a Javanese Genesis, 7-8


7. Javanese Cosmology





Cosmos and Society



Royal and Commoner Cosmic Orientation



Values in Javanese Social Structure



Origin of Mythological Landscape



Contribution of >islam to Cosmology



Collective Cosmogonies and Needs


7.1 -- p. 188 spiritual geography : abode of spirits

"one could speak of a variable geography of religious pracice (Vincent, Dory and Verdier 1995:8) ..., a variable 'spiritual geography. ...

As [Ruth] McVey affirms, for the Javanese, nature is the abode of spirits and the source of power".

Vincent, Dory, & Verdier 1995 = J.-F. Vincent, D. Dory, & R. Verdier : La Construction religieuse du territoire. Paris : E'ditions de l'Harmattan

7.1 -- p. 192 autochthonous identities

"Prior to the seventeenth century, autochthonous identities were linked to cemeteries, protective village spirits, and local residence. ... The eminent domain of the king ... did not apply to religion."

7.2 -- pp. 193-5 greater cosmic order (macrocosm) & lesser cosmic order (microcosm)

p. 193

"Both the Javanese king and the Javanese peasant ... maintain links with the macrocosm from which the material body ... becomes a microcosm. ... everyone, king and peasant, has their {his or her} four foetus siblings derived

p. 194

from the cosmos and identified with their {his or her} own placenta, umbilical cord, amniotic fluid, and vernix caseosa. These invisibly accompany a person throughout life."

"Ancient texts of classificatory tables place colours, cardinal directions, elemental forces (fire, wind, air, and water), and divinities in parallel columns (Pigeaud 1983:64-82). ... These texts associate each foetus sibling with a colour, a direction, an element, a divinity. These associations were derived ... by plotting out in systematic tables the cosmographic coordinates from the myths."

p. 195

"the king ... displays his relaionships with his foetus siblings and hence with the cosmic elements, in spacious architectural motifs and buildings inside his kraton (city-palace)."

Pigeaud 1983 = Th. Pigeaud : "Javanese Divination and Classification". In :- Patrick Edward de Josselin de Jong (ed.) : Structural Anthropology in the Netherlands. KONINKLIJK INSTITUUT VOOR TAAL-, LAND- EN VOLKENKUNDE TRANSLATION SERIES 7. Dordrecht : Foris. pp. 61-82.

7.2 -- pp. 195-6 rites in honor of goddess S`ri

p. 195

"references to the Sri or to the Queen of the Southern Ocean, Lara Kidul, ... are implied by the architecture and by the rites performed on the nuptial bed behind which the palace regalia lay. ... The myth of the origin of rice and of the kingdom involves Sri and her younger brother Sadana, {mythic} founder of the first Javanese kingdom. ...

On propitious evenings, such as Thursdays, the peasant can utter simple prayers or place modest offerings around his house that honour ... his own protective spirit siblings and the

p. 196

local protective spirits. ... The terms for the different rooms of these houses ... Rassers (1940/1959) examined ... in his famous article on the same. When, discretely and almost furtively, the peasant's wife made offerings to Sri, the rice goddess, it was traditionally at the central granary (konongon) of a house with exactly the same architectural plan, although not the same scale, as a palace".

Rassers 1959 = Willem Huibert Rassers : Pan~ji the Culture Hero : a Structural Study of Religion in Java. KONINKLIJK INSTITUUT VOOR TAAL-, LAND- EN VOLKENKUNDE TRANSLATION SERIES 3. The Hague : Martinus Nijhoff.

7.2 -- p. 198 the twain idols (a male and a female) in each royal/noble bedroom

"Sadana, the youngest brother and founder of the first dynasty at Medhangkawit and also {his} consort ... his eldest sister Sri ... are represented in {respectively, groomal and} bridal clothing as statues on either side of the royal bed laid out for {Sadana and for} Sri in the centre of every Javanese palace or noble home."

7.3 -- pp. 199-200 myth of the origin of rice

p. 199

"In the founding myth of Javanese society, the Sri Sadana {S`ri Sadana}, after the king has refusd to allow Sri's marriage to her younger brother,

this elder sister flees her father's house and descends from earth to heaven.

{cf. the departure, for similar reasons, of H.awwah (together with >adam) out of the heavenly garden of <eden downward to the earthly realm below}

There they found the first village/kingdom Medhangkawit (or Mendhang

p. 200

kamulan, the origin of the rice chaff). ... The origin of illness is recounted by a description of the kala's attack on the first ripening rice fields. ... This is the rice that sprang from the corpse of Sri buried in the earth."

"In 1925 Rassers had suggested (1959:9) that

Dewi Tenaga

{Cf. the name /Tanaga/ of the of the Aleut Islands}

(also named Uma or Tiknawati

{Jawi /tisna/ < Skt / 'sharp'}

in certain variants) was separated from Guru by ... her refusing Guru's offer of marriage and fleeing from him. ... From Sri's buried corpse comes rice, from Guru's interrupted relationship with Tenaga come the rice parasites and evil insects of all kinds".

Tanaga Island &

7.3 -- pp. 200-1 the myth of goddess LARA Kidul {cf. the name of LARAK (memtioned as a dynasty-name in the Sumerian King-List) Island in the Strait of Hormuz -- Larak Island adjoineth the Indian Ocean, which is known in Jawi as "the Southern Ocean"}

p. 200

"Following Sri/rice goddess and Uma/Durga as mother of Kala, the third ... of culture heroines is Lara Kidul, the ancestress-consort and Queen of the Southern Ocean. ... In the Surakarta cult of the Queen of the Southern Ocean Lara Kidul receivesweekly offerings in her tower. ... . ... Lara Kidul in the Sangga Buwana tower ...

p. 201

performed ... the lifeline of the dynastic chain ... effected by making ... a 'younger' spouse (Lara Kidul). ... Yet Lara Kidul may be actualized ... sexually as ... sibling to the king. The king has ritual {sexual} intercourse once a year with this Queen of the Southern Ocean. ... Just as Sadana's descendants remain to reign in the first mythical kingdom of Medhangkawit, Sri, his elder sister, returns to the rice field and becomes a snake, thus assuring the fertility of the growing rice.

This parallels the return to the southern ocean of the queen, Lara Kidul."

{Cf., e.g., the Inuit myth entry of heroine Sedna into the sea so as to become sea-goddess.}

7.4 -- pp. 203 & 205 bija mantra ('seed-spell')

p. 203

"The cosmogonic myths 'write' cosmographic maps, portray mythological landscapes on the hills and valleys of Java. The identifiable paysages are the sites of rituals using those very cosmogonic syllables (bija mantra) said to have created that world. ... The cosmogonic maps ... of one's place in space creates a 'relatedness' of beings (humans and spirits) who share a common corner of the cosmology."

p. 205

"the function of its 'creative syllables' (bija) found in earliest cosmogonies ... was justified by earlier practice, for instance in the Balinese Beginning of the Earth myth (Hooykaas 1974:15-16), where the mantric syllables evoked and manifested the gods, created the world, revealed the origins of the world."

Hooykaas 1974 = Christiaan Hooykaas : Cosmogony and Creation in Balinese Tradition. The Hague : Martinus Nijhoff.

7.5 -- p. 209 heirlooms & worship

"Bali ... received many of the Javanese Majapahit cultural heirlooms ... (AD 1527). This anthology of stuti and stava (praise and hymns; Hooykaas and Goudriaan 1971), based on Balinese Bauddha, S[`]aiva, and Vaisnava materials, displays an inextricable mixture of, on the one hand, ... hymns and praises of the divinties, and on the other, formulaic bija mantras."

"Earlier invocations, some of which were known to the population at large, were ... as formulaic and sometimes just as obscure. They were controlled for private use by dhukuns (healers)".

Hooykaas & Goudriaan 1971 = Teun Goudriaan & Christiaan Hooykaas : Stuti and Stava. Amsterdam : Noord-Hollandsche Uitgevers.

7.5 -- p. 210 assistment of austerities of mortals by goddess Lara Kidul

"In the poem 'We`dhatama' (II.3-5), written in the mid-nineteenth century, we see

{a mortal ascetic retaining the divine name (suggestive of power to assist the piety of the general populace of Jawa, in combating the hideous machinations of the accursed Christian infidel)} Senapati ... .

{/Sena-pati/ 'husband of goddess Sena ('Army')' is an epithet of god Skanda. It is a title similar to /Yhowah>owt/ 'Lord of Hosts'/ (where Strong's 6635 />ah/ 'army' is feminine, as is /sena/ in Skt) in the TNaK.}

... this poem was written in the Mangkunagaran court {and recounting an epoch of resistance against the abominable Christian foe} ... . The ... grandeur was pervasive (Robson's translation 1990:27-9) : [quoted]

And there on the shore of the ocean

In the midst of his austerities he was visited by an inward sign : ...

And verily the Queen of the South Sea

Arose soaring into the sky

And came before him ...,

To be allied to him as companion,

In the realms of the invisible ...;

Her intention was merely ...

The blessing {to be bestowed upon the mortal populace, namely the boon of final victory over the disgusting Christian aggressor} from his austerities."

Robson 1990 = Stuart O. Robson (transl.) : The We`dhatama : an English Translation. KONINKLIJK INSTITUUT VOOR TAAL-, LAND- EN VOLKENKUNDE WORKING PAPERS 4. Leiden : KITV Pr.

7.6 -- p. 212 Madura Island (nigh, and immediately to the north of, Jawa)

"The Madurese had a long tradition of making sacred tombs which served as a point of convergence for individual prayer, cultural identity, cultural identity, local solidarity, social interaction, and pecuniary profit. ... these princely and saint's tombs were {stationed} over ... orthodox praxis for ancient beliefs in territorial spirits."

7.6 -- p. 213 the Purva Ayus ['Lesser Age'] cosmogony

"Andrew Beatty notes that in East Java the Purwa Ayu praise-song (pujian) 're-enacts the unfolding of the cosmos'. This is indeed the theme of the Jagad Gumelar (Unfolding of the World) creation myth in the wayang."

Beatty 1999 = Andrew Beatty : Varieties of Javanese Religion. Cambridge Univ Pr.


8. Appendices





The Mythological Corpus



The Mantra Corpus



Sukerta List from Citra-kusuma's Serat Murwa-kala


p. 221 "Citrakusuma ... in his Serat Murwakala (1926) ... has ... an unusually long list {or rather, 12 distinct lists} of adat taboos." {Lists ## 4 through 12 consist mostly of common-sense generally-agreed-against-by-sensible-people-everywhere-in-the-world sorts of improprieties (so much so as not be be included in the usual books of etiquette) : S.C.H. published here only such as seemed not-so-much commonsense; we have abridged his selections further. [our explanations of the reasons (in terms of praesence of easily-offended spirits, etc.) for them (8.3.4-5 & .9-10), written Febr 27 2016, Dem Nomination primary in SC].}

8.1.1 -- p. 215 prae-16th-century[-ChrAira]-verse- or prose-tales construed as ruwatan


printed edition

year of print-publication

Smara-dahana {'Memory-Burning'}

Poerbatcaraka edn.


Calon Aran

Poerbatjaraka edn.


Suda-mala ('Sweetness-Garland/Wreath')

van Stein Callenfels, study by


Sri Tanjun

Prijono edn.


Nawa-ruci ('Nine Lustres/Splendors')

Prijohoetomo edn.


Kun~jara-karn.a ('Eminent Ear')

van der Molen, edn.


Kaurawa-s`rama ('Pertaining-to-Kuru Exertion/Toil')

Swellengrebel edn.


Suta-soma ('Herald-Psychedelic')

Soewito Santoso edn.


Van Stein Callenfels 1925 = P. van Stein Callenfels : "De Sudamala in de Hindu-Javaansche Kunst". VERHANDLINGEN VAN DE BATAVIAASCHE GENOOTSCHAP 66:1-181.

Van der Molen 1983 = Willem van der Molen : Javaanse Tekstkritiek : een overzicht en ... de Kunjarakarna. Dordrecht : Foris.

{/Kuru/ = valley of the Kura/Kuros river (main river in Qart-wel/Kolkhis)}

8.2 -- pp. 218-9 Yogyakarta manuscript (LUB, MS LOr. 6525/1) translated by E. Lind (1975 {read "1974}, pp. 134-51)






"The dhalang continues, saying, 'My eyes existed first, the earth also is in me; my name is the "inverted banyan" ... . A description follows of

the parts of his body composed of various metals and their alloys

{As for the minerals necessary to the body's biochemistry, each constisteth of a metallic compound (such as, of potassium, of magnesium, of zinc, or of whatever).}

(MS 29.1-31.8; the name of this mantra is 'Upside-down Banyan', Waringin Sungsang)."

{the term "Upside-down" referring to inversions of many processes in biochemistry of the body}


"Continuing on Kala's throat (or {and} shoulder blades), the dhalang reads :

'Kala ... is feeling ill, cured by Wisnu.

Wisnu falls ill ..., he is cured by Bra{h}ma;

Bra{h}ma falls ill, he is cured by Guru {i.e., by Br.has-pati?};

Guru {i.e., Br.has-pati?} falls ill and he is cured by Wenang;

the Powerful One (Wenang) does not fall ill, but unites with Sang Hyang Tunggal (the unified One), and the two become one feeling. ..."


"The dhalang then reads ... on Kala's chest. Kala emerges from Guru's spilt seed. His mother is earth,

and he is called ... (... 'perfect' {i.e., /siddha/} for he resembles a jewel. ...

{The soul (*/sawelyos/ > Hellenic /helios/, Skt /surya/) appeareth (to praeternatural 2nd-sight) as if a faceted jewel at the solar plexus.}

Sun and moon are thrown at Kala

only to become his flesh

{Skt /mas/ 'moon' is etymologically the same word as Skt /mams[a]/ '[cooked] meat'.} {Could this "meat" refer to the ""night lotus" ... "sacred to the moon"" ("T&N~LK", citing Stutley 1985, p. 102)? -- This utpala's blossom is well-reputed as a psychedelic drug.}

and blood;

{In regard to the psychedelic-drug-plant Virola, "A copious flow of liquid which rapidly turns a blood-red" (ASQu"SS") is explained by the Tukano by their myth of how "Father Sun practiced incest with his daughter who acquired Viho by scratching her father’s penis."}

rocks become his eyelashes;

bells become his head and tongue;

{The word for /bell/ hath also the signification (S-ED, s.v. "ghan.t.a") "sort of sauce , vegetables made into a pulp and mixed with turmeric and mustard seeds and capsicums"; where Capsicum is not only helpful enzymatically in digesting plant-proteins into water-soluble amino-acids, but also is (when in sufficient concentration) stinging to one's tongue.}

two caves become his nostrils;

a jagged rock becomes his mouth;

weapons become nis neck and teeth;

lightning becomes his hair and beard;

hollow stones {i.e., geodes} become his glance ... (... MS 33.2-34.8 ...)."


"The dhalang then recites a spell to drivew away the upside-down Papag ... :


'My wrath is that of Nata Buwana ["world oreder"]. ... I descend this moment, guarded by the five holy beings ["the four demiurges"] : Kusika {Kus`ika the grandfather of Vis`va-mitra}, Gagra, Kurusa, Pritanjala all guard my body.' (MS 37.6-39.1; Lind 1975:143)."


"Another list referring to the celestial exorcist describes how his body is composed of

two snakes ... .

{Kun.d.ala and Kun.d.alini?}

He is called the 'quivering ...' king of the New Pavilion ... . Birds with iron beaks remove all impurities".


"The shadow of the sacred tree-like shape is evoked (kayon or gunungan), repelling all sicknesses".


"The fluttering ... at the great well of blood meets with the dhalang's goose and the dhukun ki Empu."


"Dazzling Gana (Ganes[`]a,

a brother of Kala)

{Usuall,y Gan.a-isa is brother of Skanda (not Kala).}

is described limb by limb ... (MS 51.1)."


"The dhalang's final speech concludes : 'I am the true dhalang, able to stand without legs, to reach for things without hands, to see without eyes, to hear without ears, to

speak without a mouth,

to think without a mind' (MS 59.5-6)."

{Deitites are (by employing their own minds) performing the thinking for him -- and are guiding him by their own thoughts.

Lind 1974 = Elisabet Lind : The Ideal Equilibrium : Balanced Oppositions in the Javanese Symbolic Structure. [p. 237 "(1975) ... University of Leiden, MA"; but read :] Univ of

Stockholm, 1974.

"T&N~LK" = Roy E. Jordaan : "Tara and Nyai Lara Kidul : Images of the Divine Feminine in Java". ASIAN FOLKLORE STUDIES 56.2 (Oct 1997):285-312.

Stutley 1985 = Margaret Stutley : The Illustrated Dictionary of Hindu Iconography. London : Routledge & Kegan Paul.

ASQu"SS" = "Ayahuasca SpiritQuest -- Semen of the Sun".

8.3.2 -- p. 221 child born having discolored skin

23. "child half-white, half black (sle`wah ...)"

24. "dark blue (kresna) {N.B. / is 'glistening black'; whereas the word for 'dark (deep)- blue' is nila : such confoundment of hues may be a result of confounding Vis.n.u with Makha.} child"

25. "mottled white child (wungle`)"

26. "albino child"

8.3.3 -- p. 222 child born at unusual time of nychthemeron

10. "child born ... during a feast"

11. "child born at sunrise"

12. "child born at sunset"

8.3.4 -- p. 222 household-prohibitions

103. "hanging clothes up to dry in the house" {However, residents in urban apartment-buildings do this commonly, as they have little other recourse.}

104. "standing on a pillow" {would attract unwonted spirits to stand on one's head?}

114. "singing a lullaby to a child at night" {might attract harmful nocturnal spirits?}

117. "opening an umbrella inside a house" {if door be too narrow to exit with it open?}

118. "blowing a padi straw flute inside a house" {might invoke rice-spirits?}

119. "placing a rolled-up mat (tikar) upright" {unless one sleepeth on one's side anyway?}

123. "leaving a broom upright on its bristles" {lest it attract flying witches?}

129. "keeping sandalwood inside a house" {because it should belong in a temple instead?}

8.3.5 -- p. 223 medicine/food-praeparation prohibitions

46. "grinding herbal medicines (jamu) towards the north, south, or east {because healing-deities abide only in the west, along with god Varun.a who untieth knots, loosing the bond of sickness}

47. "taking jamu from in front of a pestle" {because emptying it into a receptable on the other side of the pestle (away from the grinder) will conduce to the sick patient passing from this-side sickness over to the over to other-side cured health}

143. "making vegetables out of hot pepper bush leaves" {because its seeds and its fruits well-suffice, so that the plant's spirit might be offended by implying that they suffice not}

8.3.9 -- p. 224 improprieties of speech etc.

121. "calling mother or father by their personal names" {lest the relationship be ignored}

127. "saying 'tiger' at night" {lest the spirit of vyaghra send it at night onto the speaker}

141. "spitting in the shadow of a lamp" {lest its shadow-abiding spirit suppose that one is aiming one's expectoration at the lamp's flame and be offended at this way of quenching its flame}

8.3.10 -- p. 224 corporeal prohibitions

116. " pregnant woman sitting on a bowl" {it would be upside-down when sat upon, and an upside-down bowl can contain no food; so it would be supposed by spirits that she is unwilling to gestate her foetus, and therefore the spirits in order to supposedly please her, might cause her to abort}

130. "looking at a mirror while laughing" {because spirits looking at the mirror through one's own eyen might imagine that one is laughing at (ridiculing) them, and be offended at such mockery}

131. "looking at a mirror while eating" {because spirits looking at the mirror through one's own eyen might imagine that one is (as host) blatantly eating in defiance of their guest-rights to eat first (before the host be permitted to) as guests ought of rights to be allowed to"}


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