Prabu Dewasrani was the king of Nusarukmi. The handsome king was the son of the evil-goddess Betari Durga. Betari Durga was Guru’s wife, Dewi Uma in punishment due to her misbehavior. One day, Sadewa, the youngest of Pendawa would help Durga through a ritual to gain back her consciousness and form where she became again Dewi Uma.
Dewasrani was very jealous to Arjuna, a ksatria who was always protected and blessed by gods. He hated Arjuna who was assigned as a king of the heaven kingdom of Tejamaya where he had many beautiful goddesses’ wives.
He complained to his mother Durga that Arjuna had been spoiled by gods. It should be him who should receive such a generous treatment. Dewasrani, in difficult time, could complain only to his mother. He did not dare to face Arjuna in duel. Several times, he was beaten by Arjuna.
He was the son of Betari Durga, the wife of Betara Guru. His charm could match Arjuna’s. He was polite and refined. As a king he knew perfectly court etiquette, he had a lot of subordinates who honored him with loyalty. It was true from outer appearance! Everything was perfect. But it was not the outer appearance which valued a person’s behavior. It was his heart, his mind and his deed.
Dewasrani was good-looking but he had bad conducts. He was dishonest and cruel. He always fought for his own interest, he was envy to the success of other people. He kept and treated well his followers who blindly praised his actions, even the wrong ones. For them, good positions and abundant material wealth were availably secured. In the other hand, he would not hesitate to eliminate his critics whom he considered as enemies cold-bloodedly.
Dewasrani was a knight but not a ksatria! A ksatria had a duty to protect the interest of the people and the country combating evil-doers. Durga, his mother, had never given him any proper advice. She always agreed with Dewasrani’s wishes. If necessary, she would go to Betara Guru for a back-up. Sometimes Betara Guru could be influenced by Durga. In that case, Betara Narada and Semar reminded Guru to behave accordingly.
Upon seeing the beauty of Dewi Dresanala, Arjuna’s wife, a daughter of Betara Brama, Dewasrani wanted to take her as his wife. It was absolutely absurb, Dresanala was pregnant at that time. Betari Durga could influence Brama and Brama, at once, divorced Dresanala from Arjuna. Soon, Dresanala delivered a baby boy, Wisanggeni. After the birth of the boy. Dresanala was taken by Dewasrani to his kingdom, while the boy was thrown by Brama to the heaven’s crater-Kawah Candradimuka. By heaven destiny, the boy could survive the heat of the crater, immediately he became an adult, he came-out from the crater, strong and healthy. The youth, Wisanggeni, a son of Dresanala and Arjuna was a ksatria having a tremendous supernatural power, not even Dewa/god could match him.
Betara Narada smelt something wrong with Brama. He told Wisanggeni to ask Brama, who was his father and his mother whereabouts. At first, Brama did not disclose which made Wisanggeni became angry. He hated a liar as he himself was a honest man. The heated argument turned to be a quarrel, then a fight. Brama defeated, telling him everything. He admitted that he had made a mistake. Wisanggeni took back his mother, after easily defeated the proud Dewasrani.
Dewasrani, the charming boy, complained again to his mother, but neither Durga could help. In the wayang performance, Dewasrani appeared in the stories of the Birth of Wisanggeni, Pendawa seven etc.
Many fans of wayang and even some dalangs (puppeteers) hate very much Dewasrani.
Suryo S. Negoro