The Kingdom of Maespati
The courtiers of Maespati were the descendants of god Ismaya. The family lineage was: god/Hyang Ismaya – H. Surya – H. Karaba – H. Dewangkara – H. Dewasana – King Heriya and Resi Wisanggeni and Resi Yamadagni.
The famous figure in Maespati was Prabu Arjuna Sasrabahu, the great King, the incarnation of Wisnu. He was wise, clever and Sakti (had strong supernatural power). His famous Patih/first minister was Bambang Sumantri or Patih Suwanda. He was the son of Resi Wisanggeni, a wise and Sakti hermit. He had also a Sakti small giant brother, Bambang Sukrasana. Resi Yamadagni was the brother of Resi Wisanggeni and King Heriya, he was also a reputable priest with high knowledge.
It was usual in the old time as in the world of Wayang, a brother became a King and the other brother gave his life entirely to the spiritual world. The one lived in glamour in the palace, the other had ascetic life, very modest and lived in a retreat, in a remote place. In Javanese it is called Padepokan where The Resi/Begawan/Wiku/ Guru or spiritual teacher or hermit lived with his family in this domain which consist of: a traditional house for the family to live in and a Sanggar Pamujan, a small worship house for meditation and a piece of land to cultavate rice and other crops and vegetables for internal consumption, for the guru, his family and also for his students. The students learn various traditional and spiritual knowledge, but in return they have obligation to take care of the household including working in the garden and rice field.
One of his sons was Rama Bargawa/Parasu, a Sakti begawan, also incarnation of Wisnu. He was an expert to use weapons. He had two famous students: Bisma and Durna.
The story of Bambang Sumantri
It is well-known in Java. The name of the Lakon/story in wayang leather puppet show is ‘Sumantri ngenger’ (Sumantri serves to the King).
The young talented Sumantri had successfully mastered a lot of knowledge such as good manner, art of battle, war strategy, spiritualism etc. his father cum teacher, Resi Wisanggeni was satisfied. The last lesson, he gave him court etiquette as he planned to send him to serve the King of Maespati. Although a villager, Sumantri knew how to behave among the courtiers. Politely and confidently, he applied for the job. Kneeting and with traditional sembah (respectful greeting, made with palms together, fingertips upward, the two thumbs touching lips or nose)
He said to Prabu Arjuna Sosrobahu:
At that time Maespati was already a big rich country. Arjuna Sasrabahu was in love with princess Dewi Citrawati of Magada. She agreed to marry him and became the queen of Maespati upon condition, the King had to conquer the Kings and the armed forces of ‘one thousand countries’ to prove that he really was a mighty King. The ‘one thousand countries’ were smaller kingdoms which did want to bow to Maespati. Bambang Sumantri's martial skill was tested, he was assigned to lead Maespati army. He was successful, within a short time the enemy surrendered completely.
Arjuna Sasrabahu was satisfied, Sumantri was nominated as his Patih (first minister), and his official name was Patih Suwanda.
Princess Citrawati was used of extravagance style of life in the palace. She was beautiful but also ambitious. She always wanted to have a husband who was able to secure her life, he had to be handsome, clever, powerful and rich. She saw these things in Arjuna Sasrabahu. She made another wish again. She wanted to see with her own eyes. That Arjuna Sasrabahu was really incarnation of god Wisnu and when he was very angry he could change his body to be an enormous giant.
She instructed Patih Suwanda to prove it. Suwanda hesitated, but Citrawati menaced him in such a way that Suwanda had no alternative than fulfilling her wish. The King and the Patih were involved in a battle, with both sides showing their expertise in martial art. They were equal in battle. The mighty Arjuna Sasrabahu could not conquer Sumantri even after a long time of duel. He became really angry and instantly he became an enormous scarying giant, he were in the state of Triwikrama. At this point, he could break to pieces anything he touched, Sumantri immediately surrendered and knelt to his feet.
The Sriwedari garden and Sukrasana
There was no reason now for Citrawati to avoid Arjuna Sasrabahu’s proposal and to live in Maespati Kingdom. Knowing that the King was madly in love with her, she made another request which was irrational.
For a while, Arjuna Sasrabahu was shocked to hear her unbelievable wish. He felt that he won’t be able to do such a miracle. But he did not want to loose face and to loose her love. So he agreed to fulfill her wish, in his mind he should instruct his Patih Suwanda to overcome this delicate task. Right away, he called his Patih. He told him firmly:
If you can’t do that, you should go back to live in the village and live as a peasant.
Patih Suwanda was trembling with guilty feeling, He could not imagine to return to his village. It should be a complete failure of his life. He remembered, his younger ugly little giant brother, Bambang Sukrasana who had a stronger supernatural power than himself. He replied politely to the King that he should do his duty at his best.
Bambang Sukrasana, despite his ugly face with the form of a small giant, he was honest and above all he loved very much his elder brother Sumantri. For him he would do everything. Since the childhood days, Sukrasana had always helped his brother, anytime he faced trouble.
He was very glad when was called by his brother to come immediately to the capital of Maespati. The two brothers met, embracing each other, as they have not seen each other for a quite long time. Sukrasana was very proud of his brother’s achievement and then Sumantri told him the point, confessing him that he was the only man in the world who could accomplish this ‘mission impossible’.
Sukrasana would gladly help Sumantri with one condition, he should be allowed to join his brother to live in the Prime Minister’s Residence. His request was delicate. Their father Resi Wisanggeni had forbidden Sukrasana to live outside the Padepokan/hermit. Due to his form as an ugly small giant, although he had good manner and honest, but he should scare everybody he met.
To accomplish the King’s instruction, there was no way for Sumantri than accepting his brother’s request with condition: Sukrasana was given permission to live in Sumantri’s house but he had to hide himself not to be seen by anybody. Sukrasana was pleased and told his brother not to worry.
In the deep of the night when everybody had fallen asleep, Sukrasana, a man with gifted supernatural power/sakti, concentrated all his power, prayed solemnly to God Almighty. His request was approved the next morning, the people of Maespati was astonished to see a new garden in the palace compound. Its beauty was only comparable to the garden in heaven.
Bambang Sumantri was pleased to see, he retained his court position. King Arjuna Sasrabahu was happy, at last his beloved queen lived with him in Maespati. More over, inside his heart he was proud to have a loyal and powerful Patih.
Meanwhile, Sukrasana was given a secret room to live in Sumantri’s official mansion. During the day time, he had to stay in his room. He was quite happy to stay with his brother. As a man from remote village, it was only natural, if he enjoyed very much the beauty and glamour of the palace. Sometime he forgot to hide. Some palace employees saw a small ugly giant wandering around in the palace, many courtiers, especially the princesses were scared. Patih Suwanda was instructed by the King to keep out of the giant’s disturbance. He was compelled to ask his younger brother to leave the palace and go back to the village. But Sukrasana could not live separately from him. He preferred to die if he had to go back the village. Patih Suwanda tried to scare him by appointing his mighty arrow, ask him to go, Sukrasana was crying telling him that he loved him very much and should not quit him even a day.
Unintentionally, Sumantri, loosed the grip of his arrow, the arrow speeded away and struck the heart of Sukrasana. Sukrasana fell down and died. Sumantri himself was startled. He did not want to hurt his brother. But now his brother died in his hand. He cried in agony, wanted to grab his brother’s body. All of a sudden the body of his brother disappeared. Sukrasana, the honest man had gone mokswa. The voice of Sukrasana was heard from somewhere in the air: ‘ oh, my beloved elder brother Sumantri, you don’t know how much I love you. The position of nobility and worldly life have made you blind. But I don’t hate you, I’m waiting for you that our souls can go together to heaven. I’ll pick you up when you fight against a mighty giant King Rahwana".
Sumantri, in tears, called him back but it was in vain. Sumantri as a Ksatria knightly warrior, at last was able to self-composed. He knew what would be his fate and he should face it voluntarily.
The death of Sumantri
The life went on in the prosperous kingdom of Maespati. Patih Suwanda had gained full confidence from the King and he served the King and the country whole heartedly. Citrawati the queen with a rare beauty, went on with her lavish style of life, was proud to be always the center of attention.
On day, in a very hot weather, she wished to swim in the park-pool of Sriwedari, accompanied by many other wives and concubines of the King. The king was not happy with her idea. But once again, he was weak to reject her wish. Apparently it was in the dry season, so the flow of water coming inside the pool was not abundant. The queen was discontent and she asked her husband to do necessary action to fill the pool with abundant clean fresh water. The only way was to block the outflow of water from the pool. Arjuna Sasrabahu instructed the Patih to guard the park security from outside, while to king himself was damming up the pool. Citrawati accompanied with other women, most of them were beautiful, enjoyed the swimming.
Her almost naked perfect body was clearly seen in the gleaming water. She joked happily with the other women, swimming and diving only wearing minimum clothes. Arjuna Sasrabahu, the mighty King was too excited to see his women happy. He admired more and more his wife Citrawati and he had to be patient for tonight warm love with her.
Starting at her beauty, he did not realize that someone else was peeping her from his hide-out. The other daring man wanted to take Citrawati by force. He was the evil giant Dasamuka or Rahwana. The security force of Maespati heard someone was moaning loudly in the park. It was Rahwana’s moan, as he could not resist his desire to grab Citrawati. He could eliminate the palace guards easily. Soon the battle between Rahwana and Patih Suwanda occurred. Patih Suwanda or Sumantri fought heroically, showing all of his abilities. Even he knew that his time to die had come, he did not surrender. He was aware that his soul would join with Sukrasana’s, but as a Ksatria – warrior he had to fight until his end. Sukrasana entered the canine tooth of Rahwana. Rahwana bited the neck of Sumantri cruelly. Bambang Sumantri or Patih Suwanda, the strong and powerful Patih of Maespati died in a heroic battle.
The End of Arjuna Sasrabahu
The death of his Patih made Arjuna Sasrabahu very angry. In a relatively short battle, Rahwana could be defeated with his mighty power. Rahwana was tortured badly but he did not die as he was destined to die in the hand of god Wisnu’s incarnation.
Rahwana almost died but he was saved by his uncle, King Puksara of Alengka. The kind-hearted giant King Puksara, who had good relation with Arjuna Sasrabahu apoligized to him for what his nephew had done. Rahwana promised to behave with good manners and should not disturb Maespati again. As a sign of gratitude Alengka became a colony of Maespati. King Puksara, due to his honesty became a dewa/god and lived as a dewa in heaven.
Arjuna Sasrabahu was also a Wisnu incarnation, but due to his misconduct, the spirit of god Wisnu had left him. He had made serious mistakes as a wise man:
The lust of material wealth and sexual seduction had separated him from the true holy life (Urip Sejati). When he was beating severely Rahwana, he got another blow, he was told that his most beloved wife, Citrawati committed suicide, after having been cheated by Rahwana’s spy.
His mind became unbalanced as he had been left by his two most beloved persons in the world. He did not see any reason to live anymore. He started to look for his death, he wanted to go back to where he belonged.
He had been separated from the best of glory, material wealth and power and now it was time for him to seek purification of life. He left the palace, the country and the people abruptly. It was not supposed to be in a hasty way. But he was determined to seek another incarnation of Wisnu to end his life. At the end, he met Rama Bargawa, a hermit, the son of Resi Yamadagni. Rama Bargawa was also a Wisnu incarnation. Both of them, for different reason, were seeking to die. Both knew that they were Wisnu incarnations. They had to decide thru battle who would be killed. The one who was still alive, had promised solemnly to let the soul of the dead to join him. Arjuna Sasrabahu was killed in the hand of Rama Bargawa, his soul joined the incarnation of Wisnu.
Rama Bargawa or Parasu was a very sakti ascetic (mastering supernatural power), as a result of spiritual lessons and exercises he got from his father, Resi Yamadagni who was also a wise and sakti Resi (hermit). Resi Yamadagni was the younger brother of Resi Wisanggeni, the father of Bambang Sumantri and Bambang Sukrasana.
Resi Yamadagni and his wife, Dewi Renuka and their five children lived in a remote and peaceful Padepokan (abode). He dedicated himself to spiritual life as in accordance with the holy teachings of Weda (holy book). He taught his children to be honest men with good conduct to be able to preserve the world and the existence mankind in the right way, by avoiding and if necessary by eliminating all evil deeds, by the blessing of God the Almighty (Mamayu Hayuning Bawono – in Javanese term).
The mastering of supernatural power was solely used for the benefit of mankind. Parasu was the most talented student. The simple and happy life went on for years without any disturbance until the arrival of King Citrarata for hunting in the neighborhood.
One early bright morning, Dewi Renuka, the wife of Resi Yamadagni as usual went to a nearby river to wash some clothes. While she was washing, in her astonishment, she saw a man standing in the other side of the river. He started to undress to bathe in the clean river. She wondered how could that man come to this faraway lonesome place. Her sharp eyes saw a perfect athletically build body of a charming male.
All of a sudden, she was tempted. After long years of life in loneliness, she was longing to be caressed by a young handsome guy. Her inside natural desire made her forget that she was a wife of a Resi and a mother of five children. She swam near him, half naked. The young Citrarata, after several weeks of hunting, alone, was bewildered to see a middle aged beautiful lady, as if he saw a goddess from heaven.
Sexually attracted to each other, they made passionate love. Three days in a row, in the morning and in the afternoon, they made rendez-vous in the same tranquile romantic bushes amidst the flowers in the side of a river.
In the fourth day, Renuka could not find her lover. The intermezzo was over. In dismay, she returned home. Resi Yamadagni, as a wise man, without being told by her, had already known what had happened to her. Controlling his anger, he told her: " My dear wife Renuka, the Melati (yasmin) flower in the Padepokan (retreat) had wilted to die. What could I do to save it?"
Renuka was trembling, unable to speak. She regretted very much the affair. The Resi then called all his five children. He told them that their mother had a heavy burden in her mind. She was unable to release her burden, she got to be helped. The only way to help her was by,,, killing her.
All the four elder brothers of Parasu rejected the cruel execution instructed by their father. He cursed them to become animals because they disobeyed their father. The words of Resi Yamadagni were strong as mantra, so they became animals. Parasu, a smart ascetic killed his mother by shooting an arrow. Renuka felt down and died. Crying, Parasu embraced his dead mother. Resi Yamadagni told Parasu:
" You are my obedient son, now ask me five requests, God shall fulfil your requests".
Parasu in tears, told his requests:
Immediately, his mother and brothers lived again. The usual peaceful life was back to normal. But it did not last long. The abode was attacked and robbed by King Hehaya and his soldiers, Resi Yamadagni was killed. At that moment, Parasu was meditating in the pool. He was not aware what had happened. When he came back, he saw the family was crying around his father’s corpse.
After the accident, Parasu vowed to kill every King and Ksatria he should meet by using his mighty axe and arrow. He hated all Ksatrias/knights – warriors as the ones who had killed his father cruely. The Ksatrias were cruel because they spread the teaching/Darma of war.
After asking the blessing from his mother and brothers, he left the Padepokan only wearing short swim suit and holding his weapons. He became dangerous eccentric, killing with no mercy all Ksatrias he met. He had killed a lot of Ksatrias but he saw more and more Ksatrias were born. He was tired physically and mentaly. He made an introspection. He realized that not all ksatrias were guilty or cruel. He had made an unexcusable mistake and he was frustrated.
He knew that only god Wisnu could release him from his sin. Now, he was searching for Wisnu.
After wandering around in several Kingdoms, he met a handsome and powerful (sakti) ksatria, a Prince of Ayodya Kingdom by the name of Rama. He knew that Rama was Wisnu’s incarnation. Only in the hand of Rama, his soul could be released from this world. Before his death, he gave Rama, his sacred heirloom – the arrow "Guwa Wijaya", the destroyer of all evil.
Suryo S. Negoro