The Kingdom of Kasi


King Darmamuka of the Kingdom of Kasi or Gyantipuro or Srawantipuro had three lovely daughters: Amba, Ambika and Ambalika. Many kings and ksatrias of different Kingdoms wished to marry these ‘flowers’ of Kasi. These proposals had made happy Darmamuka but on the other side made him giddy too. He was put in a delicate position, where he had to accept without hurting those rejected ones.

The result of negotiation with his Patih/Prime Minester Trimuka and other advisers decided to organize a battle contest, which was a usual way out in ancient time. The ksatria who could defeat the chief-warriors of Gyantipuro, Wahmuka and Arimuka, entitled to take those beautiful princesses.

In the list of the contestants was Bisma from Hastinapura. He was assigned by his father King Sentanu and the queen of Hastinapura Satyawati or Durgandini to join the contest. If he won, the ladies were for his two younger brothers, Citragada and Citrasena, the legitimate heirs of Hastina.

Bisma or Dewabrata (his name when he was young) had vowed that he would always remain as a celibate and would never be a King. In the several days of dreadful contest, all other ksatrias were not able to defeat the mighty Wahmuka and Arimuka.

The powerful Bisma entered the ring. It was difficult for Bisma to defeat both of them. When one of them was killed, immediately revived after being over-jumped by the other. It was happened several times Bisma became fatique. Semar who has watching the fight, knew the secret of Wahmuka and Arimuka. He put some Kunir (turmeric) and Enjet (lime) on the point of keris used by Bisma. Both Kasi warriors were dead after being stabbed by Bisma’s keris.

Wahmuka and Arimuka were in fact the spiritual brothers of the three ladies (in Javanese traditional belief, a newly born baby is accompanied by his/her spiritual brothers = Sedulur Papat Kalima Pancer. (four = papat, brothers = sedulur, kalima = the fifth, pancer = represents the form of the person) these spiritual/unseen brothers should accompany the person as long as he/she lives.

The four brothers consist of:

  1. Kakang Kawah/elder brother, from the fetal membrane.
  2. Adi Ari-Ari/younger brother, from the placenta
  3. Getih/blood, represents life, a human being can not live without perfect blood circulation.
  4. Puser/navel, connecting the person with the entire life.

The four brothers should always help and protect the person accompanied. Some say they are like angels (Malaikat) in other religion. The fifth, Kalima Pancer is the physical form of the person.

Dewi Amba

Bisma as the winner of the contest was warmly praised by the courtiers of Kasi. He was invited to come and stayed in the palace and treated as a VIP. As in accordance with traditional ancient protocal, the three princesses were available for him. But he kept his vow firmly. He was a ksatria who was able to defeat his lust of power and sexual need, it was his way to keep his supernatural ability dedicated to the Creator and his country. There was no problem with Ambika and Ambalika, they agreed to marry his brothers, Citragada and Citrasena. But Dewi Amba had different opinion. It was the Rule of the contest which had to be honored.

Bisma had tried hard to convince her, even he asked Amba to marry with her lover, Salwa, the King of Soba Kingdom. She admitted that she admired very much Bisma and she would follow wherever her husband (Bisma) goes. Bisma desperately tried to scare her with his arrow. Dewi Amba said categorically: "OK, go on, kill me. I’m a woman of honor. I’d rather die than live in shame."

Unintentionally the arrow shot her to death. A soft voice heard "oh my beloved Bisma. You have acted cruelly for the love I offer you. I remind you that I’m your loyal life. Remember that in Baratayuda (the war between Barata families), I’ll pick-up your soul through a lady-warrior, an expert in archery".

Bisma regretted deeply the accident. The truth that he was also attracted by her charm and behavior. But he could not help. He was ready to meet her in Baratayuda. (after his death in Baratayuda, his soul together with the soul of Dewi Amba, lived together happily in eternal life in heaven).

Dewi Ambika was married with Citragada, Dewi Ambalika was married with Citrasena. I did not last long, their husbands passed away. Both of them remarried with Kresna Dwipayana, the son of Setyawati with her first husband Resi Palasara (Prabu Dipakeswara or Hastimurti).

Kresna Dwipayana with Ambika had a son Destarata, with Ambalika had a son – Pandu. His marriage with another woman gave him another son Widura.

Suryo S. Negoro