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Dalang, Pengrawit, Pesinden, Tukang Becak Hingga Presiden Boleh Baca Ini

Ki Jlitheng Suparman

(Makalah ini disajikan dalam Sarasehan Dalang Wonogiri di Plaza Gajah Mungkur Ngadirojo, 14 Nopember 2009)

Manusia berkesenian adalah untuk meraih keindahan sebagai wahana memperoleh pencerahan. Dari keindahan itu manusia memperoleh penghayatan tentang kebaikan dan keburukan, kebenaran dan kebatilan, dan sebagainya yang kesemuanya itu bermuara kepada kedewasaan, kepekaan, dan kecerdasan jiwani atau batiniah. Maka estetika dan etika merupakan dua aspek yang kuat menandai keberadaan salah satu unsur kebudayaan manusia yang disebut kesenian. Estetika adalah ilmu pengetahuan tentang keindahan, etika adalah ilmu pengetahuan yang berhubungan dengan perihal kebaikan. Kedua aspek itulah di dalam dunia seni pedalangan yang secara sederhana dikatakan sebagai tontonan dan tuntunan.

Namun sebenarnya istilah tontonan dan tuntunan maknanya tidak sama persis dengan estetika dan etika. Tontonan dan tuntunan adalah sebuah konsep pemikiran yang terjemahannya cenderung mendangkalkan makna estetika dan etika. Tontonan lebih bermakna sebagai hiburan, tuntunan lebih bermakna sebagai pedoman. Hiburan lebih berarti sebagai wahana pencapaian kesenangan, yakni kepuasan atas hasrat inderawi, tidak sampai kepada wilayah jiwani. Sedang tuntunan lebih bermakna sebagai pedoman yang bersifat normatif dan statis. Maka istilah tontonan dan tuntunan bila tidak disikapi secara hati-hati justru akan menjebak pelaku seni pada kegiatan kreatif yang hanya bersentuhan dengan hasrat inderawi dan penyampaian pesan nomatif secara vulgar. Perilaku kreatif yang demikian sulit rasanya melahirkan bentuk kesenian atau seni pertunjukan yang mampu memberikan daya rangsang penghayatan yang bersifat jiwani atau pencerahan. Sebab tontonan hanya memberi kepuasan inderawi dan sesaat; tuntunan cenderung menyampaikan nilai-nilai secara verbal dan vulgar atau menggurui.

Kesenian yang mampu memberi pencerahan adalah kesenian yang tidak menggurui. Penikmat atau penonton dibiarkan menafsir dan menangkap pesan makna sesuai dengan latar dan kemampuan masing-masing. Seseorang yang berlatar profesi sebagai guru dengan seorang petani niscaya akan memiliki tafsir yang berbeda atas pesan makna yang disampaikan oleh sebuah seni pertunjukan. Maka jaman dulu pagelaran wayang kulit selalu ditutup dengan golekan ‘sajian wayang golek’, yang konon artinya penonton diminta mencari sendiri makna cerita yang digelar oleh dalang semalam suntuk. Dari fenomena golekan tersebut memberi pemahaman kepada kita bahwa seni pertunjukan wayang kulit di masa lalu memang tidak menggurui, tetapi menyampaikan pesan melalui struktur lakonnya.

Bagaimana dengan perkembangan kondisi pertunjukan wayang kulit dewasa ini? Mampukah ia memberi pencerahan kepada masyarakat penontonnya?

Kesenjangan Komunikasi

Kemampuan seni pertunjukan wayang (baca: wayang kulit purwa) sebagai media pencerahan dewasa ini agaknya memang perlu dipertanyakan. Keraguan itu bukan tanpa alasan. Betapa saat ini telah terjadi kesenjangan komunikasi antara penonton dan pertunjukan wayang. Artinya bahwa penonton tidak mampu menangkap apalagi mencerna cerita yang dibawakan oleh dalang. Kebanyakan penonton, terutama generasi muda sudah tidak paham terhadap kisah yang dibawakan oleh dalang. Ketidak-pahaman tersebut bukan semata-mata karena faktor bahasa, yang mana masyarakat kita terutama generasi muda makin asing dengan bahasanya sendiri, melainkan juga karena kurangnya bekal pengetahuan tentang latar belakang budaya yang membentuk seni pertunjukan wayang. Kita ketahui bahwa seni pertunjukan wayang dibangun oleh kebudayaan keraton dan sedikit kebudayaan masyarakat bawah agraris. Sementara masyarakat kita telah bergeser ke peradaban modern dan pola kehidupan industrialis. Perubahan kebudayaan yang sedemikian pesat itu membuat generasi muda kita terputus dengan informasi dan pengetahuan tentang kebudayaannya sendiri.

Seni pertunjukan wayang yang lahir dan dibesarkan oleh kebudayaan keraton, sudah barang tentu kesenian ini akan banyak bercerita perihal kehidupan keraton. Tokoh-tokoh ceritanya didominasi oleh kaum elit kerajaan (raja, ksatria, brahmana) dan para dewa. Ungkapan-ungkapan dan bahasanya banyak mengacu yang berkembang di keraton. Demikian pula konflik-konflik dan permasalahan yang diangkat lebih banyak berkutat di wilayah konflik dan permasalahan kaum elit keraton. Sedikit sekali atau bahkan nyaris tidak ada kisah yang mengangkat persoalan-persoalan kaum kelas bawah. Dengan kata lain kisah cerita yang disajikan oleh seni pertunjukan wayang adalah potret atau gambaran kehidupan masyarakat kerajaan di masa lalu.

Kini masyarakat kita telah berubah. Bentuk pemerintahan kerajaan bergeser ke bentuk pemerintahan republik. Susunan masyarakat telah berubah, demikian pula cara hidup dan pola berpikir masyarakat sudah berbeda dengan masa lalu. Ketika seni pertunjukan wayang masih bertahan di dunia masa lalu apakah masyarakat sekarang masih bisa mengerti dan menghayati? Kiranya sulit bagi kita untuk memahami apa lagi menghayati sesuatu yang tidak kita mengerti. Dengan demikian jelas bahwa tujuan pencerahan yang diharapkan dari seni pertunjukan wayang nampaknya sulit dicapai.

Revitalisasi Seni Pertunjukan Wayang

Sampai saat ini seni pertunjukan wayang memang masih hidup dan berkembang di masyarakat. Fakta itu bukan berarti menjadi jaminan bahwa seni pertunjukan wayang akan bertahan selamanya. Kecuali bila secepatnya kita dapat mengantisipasi persoalan-persoalan yang dihadapinya, terutama persoalan kesenjangan komunikasi seperti terurai di atas.

Guna menghantar seni pertunjukan wayang agar dapat mengarungi perjalanan sejarah hingga masa depan diperlukan sebuah usaha revitalisasi. Yakni sebuah usaha yang tidak hanya sebatas menjaganya tetap hidup, namun juga bermanfaat bagi kehidupan. Manfaat yang dimaksud bukan sebatas untuk kepentingan sesaat, semisal kepentingan politik dan propaganda pihak tertentu, melainkan manfaat yang lebih besar lagi yakni membawa pencerahan bagi kehidupan umat manusia. Usaha revitalisasi itu langkah konkritnya seperti apa, kiranya kita semua juga belum tahu pasti. Langkah awal yang terpenting adalah adanya kesadaran dan kemauan untuk secara bersama-sama melakukan proses pembenahan dan perubahan menuju target revitalisasi.

Upaya revitalisasi adalah usaha untuk membuat seni pertunjukan wayang agar hidup dan berdaya guna kembali sesuai dengan fungsi keberadaannya sebagai kesenian. Usaha menuju revitalisasi tersebut pertama-tama harus dipahami tentang hakekat pertunjukan wayang sebagai sebuah kesenian, tentang karakteristik dan perilakunya dalam menjaga keberadaannya. Pemahaman itu dapat kita peroleh dari mempelajari perjalanan sejarahnya.

Seni Pewayangan

Seni pewayangan di kalangan masyarakat umum dipahami sebatas seni pertunjukan wayang. Namun sesungguhnya seni pewayangan sebagai media ekspresi memiliki tiga bentuk ekspresi, yakni ekspresi yang berakar pada tradisi lisan, tradisi tulis, dan tradisi rupa. Masing-masing bentuk ekspresi seni pewayangan tersebut masih berkembang hingga saat ini.

Seni pewayangan yang berakar pada tradisi lisan adalah seni pertunjukan wayang seperti yang sering kita tonton hingga saat ini. Di dalam bentuk seni pertunjukan ini pun terdapat beragam bentuk, corak dan gaya, yang dapat disebutkan antara lain: wayang kulit purwa, wayang golek, wayang kulit betawi, wayang kancil, wayang krucil, wayang menak, wayang beber, wayang orang, wayang wahyu, dan lain sebagainya. Masing-masing jenis pertunjukan wayang tersebut menunjukkan perbedaan pada bentuk boneka, bahan yang digunakan untuk boneka, sumber cerita, maupun ciri kedaerahan. Seperti misalnya wayang kulit purwa bentuk bonekanya pipih dua dimensi terbuat dari bahan kulit, sumber cerita mengambil dua epos besar Mahabarata dan Ramayana, berkembang di wilayah Jawa Tengah dan Jawa timur. Kemudian wayang golek Sunda bentuk bonekanya tiga dimensi terbuat dari bahan kayu, sumber cerita dari dua epos besar Mahabarata dan Ramayana, berkembang di wilayah Jawa Barat,  dan
sebagainya.

Seni pewayangan yang berakar pada tradisi tulis adalah berbentuk sastra wayang. Di era Jawa Kuno sastra wayang ini sudah berkembang, biasanya berbentuk kakawin (puisi Jawa Kuno), seperti misalnya karya para empu di Jawa: Kakawin Bharatayudda, Kakawin Arjuna Wiwaha, Kakawin Ramayana, dan sebagainya. Di jaman kerajaan pasca era Jawa Kuno, sastra wayang pun tetap berkembang dan melahirkan banyak tulisan karya para pujangga, seperti Serat Kandha, Serat Pustakaraja Purwa, dan lain sebagai yang jumlahnya ratusan. Kemudian setelah Indonesia merdeka sastra wayang juga tetap berkembang, bahkan tidak sebatas monopoli bahasa Jawa, tetapi banyak yang ditulis ke dalam bahasa Indonesia, atau bahkan bahasa Inggris, seperti misalnya novel wayang “Hamba Sebut Paduka Ramadewa” oleh Herman Pratikto, “Anak Bajang Menggiring Angin” oleh Sindhunata, “Wisanggeni Sang Buronan” oleh Seno Gumira Ajidarma, “Pertempuran Dua Ksatria Karna-Arjuna” oleh Pitoyo Amrih, dan lain sebagainya.

Kemudian seni pewayangan yang berakar pada tradisi rupa adalah berbentuk lukisan, relief dan patung-patung wayang. Cerita-cerita wayang banyak memberi inspirasi kepada seniman perupa sehingga terlahir banyak karya lukisan, relief dan patung wayang seperti yang sering kita temui di berbagai tempat.

Seni pertunjukan wayang adalah media ekspresi yang didalamnya terdapat beragam unsur seni yang lengkap, yakni: seni sastra, seni musik, seni suara, seni drama, dan seni rupa. Di samping secara struktur pertunjukannya merangkum berbagai unsur seni, dalam kisah yang di bawakannya banyak mengandung nilai-nilai ajaran moralitas, budi pekerti, maupun filsafat yang kesemuanya menawarkan nilai-nilai keluhuran. Maka tidak heran bila seni pertunjukan wayang kemudian diberi label sebagai kesenian yang adi luhung.

Hakekat Dalang

Seni pedalangan pada dasarnya berakar dari tradisi tutur, yakni tradisi penyampaian pesan secara lisan. Menurut hasil penelitian para sarjana, jauh sebelum seni pedalangan terbentuk, sekian puluh abad yang lalu di Jawa terdapat tukang dongeng yang disebut Saman. Fenomena Saman ini muncul ketika orang Jawa belum mengenal tulisan atau tradisi tulis. Tugas seorang Saman adalah mendongeng tentang roh-roh leluhur sebagai bagian dari kegiatan upacara ritual keagamaan. Untuk menggambarkan secara visual roh-roh leluhur tersebut Saman membuat benda yang ketika disinari api memunculkan bayang-bayang. Dari fenomena permainan bayang-bayang inilah diperkirakan sebagai awal mula muncul istilah “wayang” yang berarti bayang-bayang.

Setelah tradisi tulis muncul dan berkembang, mulailah bermunculan pustaka-pustaka hasil karya para pujangga kerajaan yang memperkaya sumber cerita masyarakat. Dalam perkembangannya, di samping Saman, muncul lagi pendongeng yang mengangkat cerita yang bersumber dari pustaka-pustaka karya para pujangga. Pendongeng tersebut disebut sebagai Wiracarita. Baik Saman maupun Wiracarita, di dalam mendongeng melengkapi diri dengan alat bantu peraga yang kemudian disebut sebagai wayang. Entah mulai kapan, lama kelamaan sebutan Saman dan Wiracarita tersebut hilang, pendongeng yang menggunakan alat bantu peraga berupa wayang berganti sebutan sebagai “Dalang”.

Dari ilustrasi singkat di atas kiranya dapat disimpulkan bahwa hakekat dalang adalah sebagai pendongeng. Ia menyampaikan kisah dengan dibantu dengan alat peraga wayang dan iringan bunyi-bunyian (gamelan) untuk mendukung kisah yang diceritakannya agar menjadi lebih menarik. Dengan maksud untuk meraih perhatian dan antusiasme audien atau penonton terhadap cerita dalang secara lebih besar. Besarnya perhatian dan antusiasme tersebut merupakan pintu bagi masuknya pesan-pesan nilai yang terkandung dalam cerita.

Bila kita kembalikan pada perkembangan seni pertunjukan wayang pada umumnya di masa sekarang, hakekat dalang sebagai pendongeng memang semakin tidak nampak. Posisi unsur cerita atau lakon sebagai panglima dari struktur pertunjukan wayang menjadi terbalik. Eksplorasi atau penggarapan alat peraga (wayang) maupun iringan (gamelan) lebih mendominasi sehingga melemahkan unsur cerita atau lakon yang seharusnya diperkuat oleh kedua unsur tersebut. Seloroh bahwa dalang sekarang tak lebih sekadar sebagai MC, kiranya dimaksudkan untuk mengkritisi memudarnya hakekat peran dalang sebagai pendongeng, Saman, atau Wiracarita. Dalang dinilai tidak lagi memproyeksikan diri sebagai pendongeng namun sebatas sebagai pemegang kendali pertunjukan. Dalang tidak lagi mengidupkan wayang melainkan menghidupkan pertunjukan. Keberadaan panggungan, yakni ruang layar selebar tangan dalang merentang sebagai pusat pertunjukan, menjadi hilang tertelan oleh panggung (stage) yang mejadi ajang aktivitas dalang, pengrawit dan pesinden. Figur wayang yang rata-rata setinggi 40 sampai dengan 90 centimeter menjadi kabur oleh kemilau logam perunggu, rampaknya kostum pengrawit, dan indahnya tata rias pesindhen. Maka kesentosaan sosok Bima, kelicikan Patih Sengkuni, dan kekonyolan Buta Cakil tidak lagi dikenali penonton, yang membekas dibenak mereka adalah kesohoran nama dalang dan pesinden. Malang bagi pengrawit yang secara individu jarang tersebut namanya…

Istilahnya begitu sederhana: pendongeng! Namun membangun kembali keberadaan dalang sebagai pendongeng bukan hal mudah. Tekanan-tekanan dari luar merupakan salah satu faktor yang mempersulit dalang untuk kembali menjadi pendongeng. Faktor tekanan dari luar beraneka ragam dan sangat kompleks. Pesan sponsor, trend tuntutan massa penonton, intervensi penanggap, adalah kendala-kendala kasat mata yang sulit terantisipasi. Budaya materialisme yang makin menguat adalah kendala yang tidak kasat mata namun benar-benar menghantui keimanan para dalang. Dan masih banyak lagi kendala-kendala eksternal lain yang kiranya tak cukup ruang untuk diuraikan dalam forum yang singkat ini.

Kemudian kendala-kendala dari dalam yang berhubungan dengan aspek estetik juga menjadi masalah yang cukup pelik, yang mempersulit dalang untuk dapat kembali menjadi pendongeng. Aspek-aspek: kebahasaan dan aturan-aturan (konvensi) struktur cerita maupun gending merupakan bentuk-bentuk persoalan internal yang sulit diurai dan mempersulit dalang untuk menjadi pendongeng yang komunikatif.

Oleh sebab kompleksitas kendala tersebut di atas maka tidak adil bila usaha agar seni pertunjukan wayang bisa kembali kepada hakekatnya sebagai sumber pencerahan hanya dibebankan di pundak para dalang dan seniman pendukungnya. Sebaliknya fakta persoalan yang dihadapi oleh seni pertunjukan wayang tersebut hendaknya menyadarkan para dalang untuk mau terbuka dan bekerja sama dengan pihak lain sehingga beban tugas yang begitu berat tersebut bisa dikerjakan secara bersama-sama.

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Oleh: KH. Abdurrahman Wahid

Kamis, 5 Agustus 2004

Semasa mengikuti pendidikan SMEP di Growongan Lor (Yogyakarta), penulis
‘indekost’ di rumah H. Djunaidi di Kauman Jogyakarta untuk 3 tahun lamanya.
Tokoh yang kemudian menjadi anggota Majelis Tarjih Pimpinan Pusat (PP)
Muhammadiyah itu adalah penjahit terkenal di kotanya. Penulis sendiri yang
baru berusia belasan tahun waktu itu, pada pertengahan 1954 hingga
pertengahan 1957, sering kali “menimba ilmu” fiqh dari beliau. Juga cara
hidup beliau yang penuh degan kesederhanaan, di samping penghormatan tulus
kepada para ulama baik dari lingkungan organisasinya, maupun dari Nahdlatul
Ulama (NU), terasa sangat mengesankan bagi penulis pada usia formatif
(pembentukan kepribadian) tersebut. Salah satu ‘kegemaran’ beliau adalah
memperdengarkan rekaman radio dari pagelaran Ketoprak, yang disiarkan Radio
Republik Indonesia (RRI) stasiun Yogyakarta.

Baru-baru ini, saat 2 hari 2 malam penulis mengulangi pengobatan matanya di
sebuah tempat, penulis membawa rekaman pagelaran wayang kulit dengan dalang
Ki Timbul Hadiprayitno, dengan lakon/cerita “Karno Tanding”. Selama masa
pengobatan itu, rekaman pagelaran wayang kulit yang terdiri dari 8 buah
kaset itu “diselesaikan” oleh penulis. Kaset terakhir, penulis dengarkan
dalam cassette player yang ada dalam sistem suara (sound system) mobil.
Terjadi dialog antara diri penulis, sistem nilai yang dianutnya dengan
sistem nilai yang digunakan dalam kisah epic karya seorang sarjana India
itu, yang penulis baca puluhan tahun yang lalu. Segitiga nilai itulah yang
ingin penulis kemukakan dalam artikel ini. Dalam hal ini “perbenturan”
nilai-nilai itu menjadi sangat penting bagi penulis, dan ia ingin “berbagi
rasa” dalam proses tersebut.

Dahulu, seorang santri (penganut ajaran Islam yang taat pada angamanya),
tidak akan “menonton” wayang kulit. Ini dialami KH. Ahmad Mutamakkin (Kajen,
Pati), yang memimpin sebuah tarekat, diadili oleh “Menteri Agama” (Khatib
Anom) cucu/turunan Sunan Kudus, Ja’far Shadiq. Dalam “proses pengadilan” di
jaman Amangkurat IV itu, seperti diceritakan oleh ‘Serat Cebolek’ ditinjau
ulang dan dijadikan disertasi doktor oleh R. Subardi pada Monash University
di Melbourne (Australia), Khatib Anom membela pendirian para ahli fiqh di
paruh kedua abad ke-18 Masehi itu. “Serat Cebolek” itu bercerita tentang
“dialog” dalam proses itu, yang mengemukakan bahwa KH. Mutamakkin (disebut
sebagai Kyai Mutamakkin), yang menurut “versi keratin /penguasa” akhirnya
kalah dan minta ampun.

Dalam versi lain, yaitu Kidung yang beberapa tahun lalu dibacakan dalam
Khaul/peringatan kematian beliau tiap tahun di Kajen, dihadiri oleh sekitar
100.000 orang Kyai Mutamakkin justru memenangkan atas Raja Pakubuwono II
dari Keraton Surakarta Hadiningrat. Dalam hal ini, Raja tersebut justru
mengikuti Suluk (teks doa-doa) dalam tarekat yang dipimpin Kyai kita itu.
Salah satu ‘tuduhan’ yang diarahkan kepadanya oleh para ahli Fi’qh, adalah
kegemarannya untuk menonton wayang kulit, terutama dengan lakon “Bima Sakti/
Dewa Ruci”, seperi penulis yang telah dua kali mengundang dua orang dalang
(termasuk Ki Entus dari Tegal) untuk mengelar wayang kulit di dekat
rumahnya, di Ciganjur Jakarta-Selatan .

Dalam rekaman “Karno Tanding” itu, dalang mengemukan bagaimana perang
tanding menggunakan jemparing (panah) antara Adipati Karno dan Arjuna. Yang
menarik “versi Jawa” itu mengemukakan, bagaimana Prabu Salya (mertua Adipati
Karno) menghentakan kuda penarik kereta yang dikusirinya, sehingga sang
Adipati Karno yang sudah meluncurkan panah Kuntawijayadanu, terpaksa melihat
dengan mata kepala sendiri bagaimana senjata pusaka itu hanya mengenai
rambut atau mahkota Arjuna, Raja Amarta. Pada saat itu, Raja Krisna dari
negara Dwarwati, menjadi kusir kereta (chariote) yang digunakan Arjuna. Ia
pada saat itu meminta Prabu Arjuna, untuk melepaskan anak panahnya, senjata
pusaka Pasopati. Anak panah mengenai Adipati Karna, dan ia mati seketika.

Buku mengenai tokoh-tokoh Mahabarata yang ditulis orang India itu,
menggambarkan Krisna sebagai “tokoh licik” (master of deceit) yang penuh
dengan tipu daya dalam menghadapi lawan. Dalam rekaman lakon yang
diceritakan Ki Timbul itu, Prabu Krisna adalah seorang tokoh setia yang
“jujur-jujur” saja.

Kalau perbedaan dua versi ini menggambarkan bagaimana obyek dapat di “lihat’
oleh dua pendekatan budaya yang berbeda (dalam hal ini antara India dan
Jawa), maka dapat dimengerti jika penulis artikel ini juga mempunyai
pandangannya sendiri mengenai Komisi Pemilihan Umum (KPU). Di mata penulis,
KPU melakukan kecerobohan dalam persiapan pemilu tahun ini, memihak kepada
peserta tertentu dan melakukan manipulasi penghitungan suara. Di mata orang
lain, KPU adalah “lembaga formal/resmi” yang tidak dapat diganggu gugat.

Hal lain, yang sangat menarik perhatian penulis, adalah “pesan abadi” yang
dibawakan Ki Timbul. Dalang bercerita, Arjuna menolak untuk menjadi
senopati/ panglima perang kaum Pandawa. Ini berarti, ia harus bertempur
sampai mati melawan kakak lain ayah, yaitu Adipati Karno Raja Muda (viceroy)
Awangga, yang menjadi Senopati Agung dari pihak Kurawa. Ada persamaan antara
sikapnya itu dengan ucapan Nabi SAW: “Bukan golongan kita, orang yang tidak
menyayangi kaum muda dan tidak menghormati kaum tua” (Laissa minna mallam
yarham saghiranaa, walaa yuwaqqir kabiirana). Baru setelah ada laporan,
bahwa Adipati Karno mempermalukan dirinya dengan melepas senjata pusaka
berupa anak panah bukan untuk membunuh Wara Srikandi (istri Arjuna),
melainkan hanya untuk membuat terlihat payudaranya, maka Prabu Arjuna pun
langsung meminta diangkat menjadi senopati/ panglima perang kaum Pandawa.

Episode di atas menunjukkan, bahwa kakuatan saja tidak cukup untuk digunakan
menopang sebuah pemerintahan melainkan ada aspek lain yang harus dimiliki
juga, yaitu batas-batas moral dalam penyelenggaraan kekuasaan. Tanpa
moralitas yang kokoh, kekuasaan hanya akan membawa kesulitan dan keboborokan
hidup bersama belaka. Kembali ingatan penulis melayang ke KPU lagi.
Pelanggarannya atas 5 buah Undang-Undang menunjukkan tidak adanya kedaulatan
hukum di negeri kita saat ini. Apalagi dijalankan dengan sikap sangat
arogan/sombong, yang justru”sepi” dari wawasan moral tersebut. Dalam hal
ini, penulis ingat kepada firman Allah Swt “Dan jangan kalian campur adukan
kebenaran dengan kebathilan, serta jangan kalian tutup-tutupi kebenaran,
jika kalian ketahui” (Wa la talbisu al-haqqa bi al-bathil wa taktumu
al-haqqa wa antum ta’lamu).

Demikianlah dua buah pelajaran penting yang penulis ambil dari rekaman
pagelaran wayang dengan dalam Ki Timbul Hadiprajitno tersebut. Yaitu bahwa
setiap masalah dapat ditinjau dari berbagai sudut pandangan dan bahwa
moralitas adalah ‘pesan abadi’ yang harus terus menerus diperjuangkan dalam
kehidupan, termasuk kehidupan kita bersama selaku bangsa dan negara. Jika
ini kita lupakan, jadilah kita orang-orang yang hanya bersandar pada
kekuasaan belaka, sedangkan sebenarnya ia hanyalah ‘alat’ untuk mencapai
masyarakat adil dan makmur menurut pembukaan undang-undang dasar kita
sebagai sebuah proses jangka panjang, yang “dituangkan” dalam perjuangan
menegakkan demokrasi. Mudah dikatakan, namun sulit dilaksanakan bukan?

Jakarta, 26 Juli 2004


“…menyembah yang maha esa,
menghormati yang lebih tua,
menyayangi yang lebih muda,
mengasihi sesama…”

Pendahuluan

Pada 17 Agustus 1918 di Yogyakarta berdiri organisasi Kridha Beksa Wirama (KBW). Peristiwa itu menandai awal proses demokratisasi seni pertunjukkan di kraton Jawa. Pendirian KBW sendiri karena permintaan para pemuda/ pelajar yang tergabung dalam Tri Kara Darma (setelah 1918 berubah menjadi Jong Java) kepada Sultan Hamengkubuwana VII agar mereka boleh mempelajari kesenian kraton.

Ini tidak lepas dari suasana masa itu, ketika bibit nasionalisme mulai tumbuh di kalangan bangsa pribumi. Pemerintah kolonial menjalankan Politik Etis (“Etische Politiek”) yang diantaranya membuka kesempatan sedikit lebih luas bagi masyarakat pribumi untuk menikmati pendidikan modern. Muncul suatu kelompok terpelajar yang sadar dan bangga pada kebudayaan mereka (Furnivall, 1944; Larson, 1990). Di lain pihak, di kalangan orang-orang Belanda penganjur Politik Etis tumbuh minat untuk lebih mengenal dan mempelajari kebudayaan dan seni Jawa.

Hamengkubuwana VII memerintahkan dua tokoh kesenian kraton Yogyakarta, Pangeran Suryadiningrat dan Pangeran Tejakusuma untuk menyelenggarakan pendidikan tari dan musik kraton kepada masyarakat luas melalui KBW. Sultan sendiri memberikan dukungan finansial bagi kegiatan-kegiatan KBW. Sejak itu seni pertunjukkan yang semula hanya berkembang di dalam kraton, seperti tari bedhaya, srimpi, wireng dan wayang wong bisa dipelajari dan dinikmati masyarakat di luar kraton. Bahkan di Surakarta wayang wong mengalami komersialisasi dengan munculnya wayang wong panggung (Soedarsono, 1984).

Volkskunstvereeniging  Sobokartti

Menyusul berdirinya KBW di Yogyakarta, di beberapa kota muncul pula organisasi-organisasi sejenis. Di antaranya adalah Volkskunstvereeniging Sobokartti di Semarang yang diprakarsai antara lain Pangeran Prangwadana (Mangkunagara VII), Dr. Radjiman dan Ir. Thomas Karsten. Tanggal pendirian Sobokartti yang pasti tidak diketahui, tapi dalam surat keputusan Gubernur Jenderal Hindia Belanda September 1929 tentang perubahan anggaran dasar dan anggaran rumah tangga Sobokartti, disebutkan Sobokartti telah berdiri sejak 9 Desember 1920.

Tujuan pendirian Sobokartti: “De vereeniging stelt zich ten doel de bevordering van de inheemsche kunst en de verbreiding der waardering voor deze kunst onder alle bevolkingsgroepen en in het bijzonder de Inlandsche bevolking.” (“Perkumpulan ini bertujuan untuk mempromosikan seni asli dan menyebarkan apresiasi seni ini di antara semua bangsa dan terutama pada masyarakat pribumi.”)(Staatsblad van Nederlandsch-Indië 1929 – 50).

Kegiatan yang dilakukan antara lain pementasan, kursus, pameran, diskusi dan lain-lain. Kegiatan-kegiatan itu sampai sekarang masih tetap dilaksanakan Perkumpulan Sobokartti. Berdirinya Perkumpulan Sobokartti dengan ratusan anggota yang terdiri dari orang Jawa, Belanda dan Tionghoa tidak lepas dari keadaan Kota Semarang ketika itu. Semarang adalah kota pelabuhan yang progresif, dengan kehidupan intelektual yang dinamis dan tempat munculnya gagasan-gagasan dan pemikiran yang maju. Gerakan sosialisme di Hindia Belanda pertama kali muncul di Kota Semarang. Salah satu koran paling progresif dan berpengaruh di Hindia Belanda, De Locomotief, terbit di Semarang. Perencanaan dan pengelolaan kota Semarang (dan khususnya perumahan rakyat) ketika itu juga termasuk yang paling maju di Hindia Belanda (Furnivall, 1944).

Javaansche schouwburg Sobokartti

Pada 1919 Karsten telah membuat model prototipe gedung teater untuk pementasan kesenian Jawa yang telah mengalami proses demokratisasi. Karsten berpendapat bahwa melalui proses yang telah berlangsung sangat lama setting pendhapa tidak bisa dipisahkan dari seni pertunjukan Jawa. Seni pertunjukan Jawa (seperti umumnya seni pertunjukan di Nusantara) tidak mengenal pemisahan yang ketat antara penonton dan pelakon. Selain itu, koregrafi tarian Jawa dirancang untuk dinikmati dari semua penjuru (Brandon,  1967).

Sementara seni pertunjukan Barat justru berusaha menciptakan realitas baru atau dunia lain yang sepenuhnya terpisah dari penonton. Karena itu Karsten berpendapat panggung proscenium yang hanya bisa dinikmati dari satu sisi bukan tempat yang cocok untuk pementasan kesenian Jawa.

Meski demikian, pendhapa konvensional di istana dan rumah para bangsawan juga tidak lagi sesuai dengan perkembangan jaman. Kelemahan paling mendasar pendhapa konvensional sebagai suatu teater adalah karena faktor kenyamanan penonton, sama sekali diabaikan. Di mana penonton hendak duduk atau berdiri dan apakah mereka bisa melihat panggung dengan jelas tidak dipikirkan dalam rancangan pendhapa konvensional . Bagi Karsten ini sama sekali tidak bisa diterima justru ketika “kesenjangan sosial di masyarakat harus semakin dihilangkan” (Jessup, 1985).

Prototipe gedung teater Jawa (javaansche schouwburg) atau teater rakyat (volkstheater) ini diharapkan Karsten bisa menjadi acuan mendirikan gedung pertunjukan di berbagai tempat yang sesuai dengan karakter seni pertunjukan Jawa, sekaligus mengkoreksi kesenjangan sosial yang ekstrem di masyarakat. Sayang bahwa satu-satunya gedung teater seperti yang diimpikan Karsten itu yang sempat dibangun hanyalah Gedung Sobokartti di Semarang (diresmikan 10 Oktober 1931 (Anomim, 1931). Itupun dengan banyak mengalami penyederhanaan karena keterbatasan dana.

Namun, sebenarnya konsep yang mendasari rancangan Gedung Sobokartti ini masih sangat relevan untuk dipertimbangkan pada masa sekarang. Lebih-lebih ketika kita berteriak-teriak tentang perlunya “nguri-uri kabudayan” tapi dalam kenyataannya di Kota Semarang ini tidak ada tempat pementasan yang betul-betul sesuai dengan karakter seni pertunjukan Jawa dan sekaligus demokratis. Satu-satunya adalah Gedung Sobokartti, yang sayangnya saat ini rawan banjir akibat ketidakmampuan pihak-pihak yang berwenang mengatasi kerusakan lingkungan di Kota Semarang .

Tjahjono Rahardjo

Kepustakaan

Anonim (1931) Opening Javaansche Schouwburg Sabakartti, Karrenweg Semarang, 10 Oct ’31, Semarang: The Koei Liem

Brandon, James R. (1967) Theatre in South East Asia. Harvard: Harvard University Press.

Furnivall, J.S. (1944) Netherlands India: A Study of Plural Economy. Cambridge: At the University Press

Jessup, Helen (1985) “Dutch Architectural Visions of the Indonesian Tradition”, Muqarnas, Vol. 3, (1985), pp. 138-161

Larson, George D.(1990) Menjelang Revolusi: Kraton dan kehidupan politik di Surakarta 1912-1942, Yogyakarta: Gadjah Mada University Press

Soedarsono (1984) Wayang Wong: The state ritual dance drama in the court of Yogyakarta, Yogyakarta: Gadjah Mada University Press

Staatsblad van Nederlandsch-Indië 1929 – 50

Variations in Indonesian Mahabharata
by Indrajit Bandyopadhyay

Ramayana and Mahabharata reached Java along the trade routes by the first centuries C.E. and possibly much earlier. Naturally, some of the Mahabharata narratives in Indonesia may be older than the Indian Mahabharata in its present corpus, which was still evolving as late as 4th Century A.D. There is thus, no way turning away from the Indonesian version, some parts of which may even be closer to Vyasa’s ‘original‘. It is better to admit at the outset that though we propose here to discus some major Indonesian variations, the term ‘variation‘ is entirely relative in so far as it may well be the other way round.

Our main sources of the Indonesian version are the old Javanese Literatures and renderings, folk culture and Wayang puppet show. Most scholars now agree that Wayang made its entry in Javanese culture at the latest during the rule of King Sri Maha Panggung (Raden Jaka Pakukuhan), in the 4th century. Furthermore it was developed by Airlangga, one of the great kings in East Java in the 11th century. Wayang Kulit was declared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization “a masterpiece of the oral and intangible of humanity” in Paris on Nov.7, 2003.

Wayang Kulit means “shadow from leather”. Wayang is a Javanese word meaning “shadow” or “ghost”, kulit means “leather”. It is a theatrical performance of living actors (Wayang orang), three dimensional puppets (Wayang golek) or shadow images projected before a backlit screen (Wayang kulit). The Wayang kulit uses two-dimensional puppets chiseled by hand of buffalo or goat parchment; like paper dolls, but with arms that swivel. The story teller and puppet master is called Dalang. He plays different characters with its different voice, with the accompaniment of Gamelan, Javanese traditional orchestra, as the background music. These shadow puppet plays (there are well over 200 different plays) contain the elements of the great Indian epics but have been made uniquely Javanese.

Bil Baird, in his book ‘The Art of the Puppet ‘ says, ‘Perhaps the most interesting of the south-Indian puppet types … were the Tholubomalatta — the articulated, leather, shadow puppets — which are the probable ancestors of Indonesia’s Wayang.’ Victor H. Mair gives a concise run-down of the literary evidence for ancient Indian shadow theatre: ‘It is likely that the shadow play existed already in the first century B.C……there is a reference to rupparupakam in the Pali Therigatha (“Hymns of the Elder Nuns”). This may be compared to a reference to rupopajivana in the twelfth book of the Mahabharata (12.194, II. 5-6)…….the tolubommalata (“the play of leather dolls”) of Andhra Pradesh, the tolubommalata (“the play of leather dolls”) of Tamil Nadu, the togalugombai atta (“the play of leather dolls”) of Karnataka, and the tholupava kootu (“the play of leather dolls”) of Kerala…….In Indonesia, whereto Hindu culture spread around AD 100, we have the Wayang theatre. One form of Wayang theatre serves to demonstrate the possible origin of puppetry from picture explanations. Considered the oldest form of Wayang, this is the Wayang beber, a picture narration form. Its history is interesting and revealing for the demonstration of the origins of shadow theatre.’

The Mahabharata narratives as found in present Wayang consist of folk-narratives developed by Wayang puppet-masters and bards over the ages, as also the narratives of Old Javanese Literature, which perhaps itself owes much to Folk-narratives. Kakawin Bhāratayuddha is an Old Javanese poetical rendering of some Parvas of the Mahabharata by Mpu Sedah and his brother Mpu Panuluh in Indian meters (kāvya or Kakawin). The commencement of this work was exactly November 6, 1157. It is by far the oldest extant Javanese work. Some important Kakawins relevant to our present discussion are – Kakawin Arjunawiwaha, by Mpu Kanwa, – 1030, Kakawin Krsnayana, Kakawin Bharatayuddha, by Mpu Sedah and Mpu Panuluh, 1157, Kakawin Hariwangsa Kakawin Gatotkacaśraya, Kakawin Arjunawijaya, by Mpu Tantular, and Kakawin Parthayajña.

With reference to Old Javanese literature and particularly Wayang puppet show, let us now see what major variations we find in the Indonesian narrative from its Indian origin. Let us also see the similarities of some Indian variations with the Indonesian narrative.

Shantanu-Satyavati-Prashara-Vyasa

In the wayang kulit/leather-puppet performance Prabu Matsyapati or Durgandana, is the King of Wiroto(Virata). He is the son of Basukiswara, a just and powerful king of Cedhiwiyasa. Virataraja Matsya is Satyabati’s brother. Satyabati or Durgandini makes love to Bambang Palasara (Rishi Parashara) in a boat and produces five children.

Among them one daughter Rekatawati later on marries her own uncle Prabu Matsyapati. The other four brothers live and serve in the palace of Wirata. Palasara and Durgandini or Satyawati come to stay in the palace, learn the art of love (kamashashtra) and Satyawati gives birth to Kresna Dwipayana. Their new palace and country/island is named Astina. Palasara changes his name to Prabu/King Dipakeswara. They live together happily for several years. Thus in the Indonesian version Satyavati and Parashara is a happily married couple, whereas in the Indian version it is just a ‘one-day’ affair. Here Satyabati is a member of the royal palace, whereas in the Indian version she is brought up by a fisherman. The Indian Jain version of the Mahabharata also supports that Vyasa is a legitimate child.

Durgandana or King Matswapati accepts his brother-in-law Palasara as his Guru. When Palasara’s father, the hermit of Satasrengga or Sapta Arga, Begawan Sakri(Vashishtha’s son Shakti) passes away, he has to return to Satasrengga respecting the last wish of his father. He has also been told by Narada that Satyawati should marry Sentanu. Despite intense inner conflict, he finally leaves the life of palace. Kresna Dwipayana follows him to Setasrengga and becomes his student. This has a parallel in the Keralian Cherusseri Bharatham or Bharatagatha. After Vyasa’s birth, Parasara instructs Satyavati that she will become the King’s wife and not to accept anything from the King till he gives her the land.

Vyasa is thus related to this land of Matsya through his mother, and Shantanu-Satyabati love-affair and marriage becomes a ‘celestial script’ written by Narada! This Indonesian version perhaps provides an explaination to the Indian story why the Pandavas chose Virata on Dhaumya’s advice for their incognito one-year exile. In the Indian Mahabharata Dhaumya is a Vyaghrapadi Brahmin, which is one sect of Vashishtha i.e. Vyasa’s Gotra. Again Yudhishthira identifies himself as a Vyaghrapadi before king Virata.

The Indonesian version makes Kresna Dwaipayana the actual King of Hastinapura after the death of Bhisma’s brothers. He rules the country wisely. The life in his kingdom is just and prosperous. Later he steps down as king and carries on a life as a hermit. He changes his name to Begaban Abiyoso(Vyasa). There is no niyoga here; Vyasa actually marries the Princesses of Kasi Kingdom, Ambika and Ambalika, after the death of his half-brothers.

Bhishma

King Sentanu (Shantanu) and the queen of Hastinapura Satyawati or Durgandini sends Bhisma to join the contest in Kasi to win the three princesses Amba, Ambika and Ambalika for his two younger brothers, Citragada and Citrasena (Chitrangada and Bichitrabirya). Shantanu is alive when Bhisma goes to the Swamvara. In the Indian version Shantanu and Chitrangada are already dead.

Amba falls in love with Bhisma and wants to marry him. Bhisma tries hard to convince her of the impossibility of the union. He asks Amba to marry with her lover, Salwa, the King of Soba Kingdom. But she has already admitted Bhisma as her husband. Bhisma desperately tries to scare her with his arrow. Amba says she would rather die than live in shame. Unintentionally the arrow gets shot, and Amba is killed. Amba’s spirit curses Bhisma that in Baratayuda she would pick-up his soul through a lady-warrior expert in archery. Bhisma deeply regrets the accident because he has also started loving Amba. After his death in Baratayuda, his soul and Amba’s, live together happily in eternal life in heaven. There is no Bhisma-Parashuram duel here or Amba’s reincarnation. Bhisma is more humane here with a vibrating heart beneath his ascetic mask. In the Keralian Cherusseri Bharatham too Amba wants to marry Bhisma and approaches Vyasa to advise Bhisma to marry her.

Gandhari

Gendari (Gandhari) plants hatred in the mind of her sons against Pendawa(Pandavas) because her love to Pandu is rejected. That is why the Korawa(Kauravas) always hate the Pendawa since their childhood. The portrayal of Gandhari as an evil character has its parallel in the Keralian oral epic Mavaratam Pattu. Kantakari (Gandhari) wishes to see the children of Kuncutevi (Kunti) dead. She tries to kill them. In the seventh month of Kuncutevi’s pregnancy, Kantakari tries to poison Kuncutevi. Once, seeing blood coming out through the drain of a room where the Pandavas are sleeping, Kantakari, assuming that the Pandavas are killed, rejoices and bathes in the blood. She is depicted as a blood-thirsty woman.

Pandu-Kunti

King Pandu appoints Sangkuni (Shakuni) as his chief minister, after Gandamana quits. In the Indian version Shakuni gains prominence only after Dhritarashtra ascends throne.

Sursena’s cousin Sang Kuntiboja raises Kunti and ‘ratu pedanda siwa budha’ (high priest) performs ‘upacara meningkat dewasa’, her puberty ceremony. This is indeed a very fine example of Indonesianization of Mahabharata. In Indonesia it is an ancient practice that a girl’s first menses is celebrated and then the rite of tooth filling follows for girls and boys. This ceremony must be carried out before marriage; often it is incorporated into the marriage ceremony. The canine teeth, which the Balinese regard as animalistic fangs, are filed flat. This represents the moving out of the more extreme aspects of one’s personality as one enters adulthood. After the tooth-filling a father’s duties to his female children are generally regarded as being completed.

The Indonesian version tallies with the Indian in that Kunti menstruates when Durvasa/Brahmana stays as a guest in Kuntibhoja’s house. Here is something new that Kunti is ‘Ratu Begawan Duwasena’s’ (Durvasa) disciple. The rest of the story is similar. Here is also a very clear hint what Durvasa might have done to her. Kunti is said to have ‘felt wrong and not ready to be a mother’. (My article ‘Karna’s Father Found‘)

The Indonesian Surya myth goes as follows. One night, attracted by Kunti’s mantra, Betara Surya(Sun-God) arrives. The young Kunti is trapped by god Surya and becomes pregnant. His father is very angry. Thus, here Kuntibhoja knows Kunti’s childbirth. Betara Surya admits his responsibility. The Indian Surya slipped away! With Surya’s magical strength, Kunti delivers a son through her ear and remains a virgin. As the son is born through ear, his name is Karna, or Suryaputra or Suryaatmaja. In Javanese traditional teachings, ears are the gate of amorous desire. Karna’s birth through Kunti’s ear has a parallel in the Indian variation of Bheel Mahabharata found among the Dungari Bheels of Gujarat. The Keralian Cherusseri Bharatham too has the same myth of Karna’s birth through Kunti’s ear.
According to one version of Wayang, Sang Prabhu Pandu is alive when his sons become disciples of Risi Krepa and Rsi Drona. The Indian version has Pandu long been dead.

Here Puntadewo (Yudistira), Bratasena (Bima) and Permadi (Arjuna) all three are Pandu’s biological sons. The Gods are the Pandavas’ spiritual fathers.

Vidura

Widura (Vidura) marries Padmarini, the daughter of King Dipakendra of Pangombakan. He gets a son, Sanjaya and two daughters, Padmasari and Padmawati. Here, Sanjaya is Vidura’s son. Vidura is also the father-in-law of Nakula and Sahadeva! The Indonesian version thus offers an explanation of Vidura’s partiality for the Pandavas, and leaves no room to speculate that Vidura fathered Yudhishthira.

Yatugriha

In the Indonesian version Yatugriha-parva is a bit different. The lac house is set at Balai Sigala-gala, a retreat palace of Bharata family. The conspiring Kauravas are present with the Pandavas. It is Narada who comes and reveals to the Pandavas about the conspiracy. When the fire begins to burn the palace, they follow a Garangan (white squirrel) and escape through an underground tunnel. Narada vanishes. In the Indian version, Dhritarashtra sends the Pandavas to Varnabarta. Vidura realises the conspiracy and appoints a Khanaka (tunnel-digger). The presence of at least some of the Kauravas has a parallel in the Keralian Bharatam Pattu, where Karna and Shakuni surround the lac house and set fire to it.

Yudhisthira

Kresna calls him Samiaji. His other name is Guna Talikrama. His childhood name is Puntodewa . He has a holy heirloom Jamus Kalimasada, for protection, truth and mastering the true knowledge of life (Ilmu Sejati). When he sees a terrible injustice, he becomes angry and automatically transforms (Triwikrama) into a huge white giant.

Yudhishthira cannot reject the gambling proposal by Korawa and Sengkuni because he is seduced by forbidden Mo Limo .

Yudhishthira takes active part in cleansing the jungle of Wanamarta. This episode is known as Babat Wanamarta. He has to face a spirit-giant in a duel. The giant has an heirloom in the form of a set of earrings. He challenges Yudhishthira to wear his earrings. If he is strong enough to wear the earrings, then the spirit-giant would surrender. Yudhishthira proves to be strong to wear them and the giant accepts his defeat. He wishes to serve Yudhishthira forever, In Baratayuda, the giant does nothing when Yudhishthira fights against King Salya.

He has two wives

1) Drupadi is his loyal wife. Pancawala is his son from Draupadi.
2) Dewi Kuntulwilaten

After the Baratayuda, he rules Hastinapura again with his new name, Prabu Kalimataya.

Bhima

Bima or Werkudara’s other names are Bayu Tanaya, Dandum Wacana, Kusuma Waligita, Bondan Paksajandu and Satria Jodipati. His name as a child was Arya Bratasena. Once he becomes a king of Gilingwesi by the name of Prabu Tungguwasesa .

Besides a well known warrior, Bhima is a spiritual person in pursuit of the knowledge of truth (Ilmu Sejati). In search of Holy Water- Perwitasari, the essence of life he becomes omniscient. He becomes a fighter of truth, a Satrio Pinandito, who has mastered the knowledge of truth – Ilmu sejati,. He has a separate palace named Jodypati. To everybody, even to Dewas (gods) he speaks in Ngoko language (lower level language). Only to Dewa Ruci (a God resembling him) he speaks in Kromo Inggil language (high level language). This shows he never thinks of himself as elite, but is a very down-to-earth person.

He has at least two wives other than Draupadi

1) Nagagini, the daughter of Sang Hyang Antaboga(Ananta Nag), a god ascetic living in the seventh layer of the earth(Sapta Pratala). She is an earth goddess. In the Keralian Mavaratam Pattu too Bhima marries a serpent girl.

2) Dewi Urang Ayu, the daughter of Sang Hyang Baruna, a powerful god living under the ocean. In Balinese mythology Devi Durga, a goddess of death and disease, is Varuna’s wife. That makes Durga Bhima’s mother-in-law! Whew!

As a father he is a loser, because all his powerful sons Antareja, Gatotkaca and Antasena die long before him.

1)      Antareja is son of Bima with Nagagini. Educated and trained by his own grand-father, Antareja becomes invincible. He has tremendous magical power. If he licks the footprint of someone, that person would die. If he participates in the Kuru-war with his unbelievable power, the Kurus should be eliminated within a short time. He is too strong for any opponent. Furthermore there is a prediction that if he takes part in Baratayuda he should meet Baladewa. Kresna knows that his brother cannot match Antareja. Kresna secretly executes heaven’s order by causing his death. Antareja licks his own footprint and dies at once. This story of killing of Ghatothkacha’s son is akin to the Rajasthani and Assamese story of Barbareek’s death caused by Krishna. In a Dalit telling of the Mahabharata i.e. deval stories sung in jagrans by ‘untouchable’ Meghwals, one such story is that of Khatu Shyamji. Krishna is responsible for Ghatotkach’s son Barbareek. Barbareek’s headless body is worshipped in a temple in Sikar, Rajasthan. In Telugu folk narratives too the same story of Barbareek is found.

2)      Antasena, sea goddess Urang Ayu’s son. He also has strong magical ability to kill his enemies by spitting over his poison. Anantasena’s prowess is like a spitting cobra. He is very much concerned for the victory of Pandavas in Bharatayuddha. He is advised by his grand-father to ask to Sang Hyang Wenang, the greatest decision-maker of life, the grand-father of Batara Guru about the result of the war. When Antasena asks him what he is supposed to do, to secure Pandava’s victory, Sang Hayang Wenang tells him, that he has to be a Tumbal (spiritual tool to gain something) for Pendawa. In other word, he has to sacrifice his life. Antasena has no objection to sacrifice himself. Sang Hyang Wenang stares at him sharply, using his extraordinary powerful eyes, focussing on a spot between his eyes. Astonishingly, Antasena’s body becomes smaller and smaller and he vanishes. His soul returns to heaven. Thus, he cannot take part in Bharatayuddha.

3)      Gatokaca, from Arimbi (Hirimba).

Bhima has also powerful grandsons

1)      Danurwinda (son of Antareja) serves as a Patih (Prime Minister) under Parikesit.

2)      Sasi Kirana (son of Gatotkaca and Arjuna’s daughter Pergiwa) is a chief-warrior of Hastinapura under Parikesit.

There is no mention of Barbareek here or his mother Maurvi. However according to folklore of Rajasthan, Barbareek is the son of Bhim and a Nag Kanya – Ahilawati. Since Nagagini is a Naga-kanya, Ahilawati might be Nagagini, and Antareja and Barbareek might be same.

Arjuna

Arjuna’s name as a boy is Permadi.

He is a religious-minded adventurer who never keeps himself confined within the Karaton (Kuru) wall. Sometimes, he lives as an ascetic, sometimes he goes to remote places to learn from a guru or sometimes he meditates alone.

Arjuna is also incarnation of Wisnu (Vishnu). In the episode of Kresna’s (Krishna) marriage with Rukmini, both of them appear as Wisnu, fighting each other. It is stopped immediately by Barata Guru. The story appears in Kakawin Harivamsha. This story of Krishna-Arjuna fight has a parallel in a Bengali folk version, though over different issue. In the Tamil ‘Kurkshetra Malai’ too we get Krishna fighting Pandavas who are helped by Duryodhana.

Arjuna’s wives and sons are many. His wives other than Draupadi are

1)      Dewi Jimambang, the daughter of Begawan Wilwuk from Pringgadani (Hirimba’s kingdom). She falls in love with Arjuna when the Pandavas are cleaning the jungle of Wanamarta to build a new palace. From his father-in-law, Arjuna receives a kind of perfume oil, Jayengkaton. With this perfume oil, the unseen becomes clearly visible.

2)      Princes Subadra, Kresna’s twin sister from the Kingdom of Mandura.

3)      Srikandi(Shikhandi, Draupadi’s sister). After seeing Arjuna at the time of his marriage to Subhadra, she falls in love with him. Srikandi becomes his disciple in archery. After completing her course in archery, Srikandi tells Arjuna that he could be her husband, if he could find a woman who can defeat her in an archery contest. Larasati is appointed by Arjuna. In the contest, Srikandi loses willingly and gains Arjuna. Looks like ‘Dil ki baji jita jang har kar’!

4)      Larasati. ‘Laras’ means ‘to tune-up, feeling relaxed’ etc., ‘Ati’ means ‘heart.’

5)      Arjuna has also several goddess wives. The most beautiful is goddess Supraba. She is also the most beautiful goddess in Khayangan (the abode of gods). He marries Supraba as a gift from Batara Guru (Indra) after defeating Nirwatakawaca (Nivatakabacha), the ogre giant King. The Arjunawiwaha dance-drama (Wayang Wong or Sendratari), Yogyakarta style, describes the marriage between Arjuna and the heavenly nymphs. 0ne day the giant king Newatakawaca from Ngimanimantaka proposes Supraba. Nivatakavacha has a goddess wife, Dewi Prabasini, with whom he has two sons: Bumiloka and Bumisangara and a daughter Mustakaweni. But it is not enough for him. Still he wants to marry Supraba . His request is turned down by the gods. But all the gods are unable to face Newatakawaca. According to the gods, only Arjuna can face him. At that time Arjuna happens to be living as an ascetic.

Batara Guru, disguised as a king, called Kilatawarna, tests Arjuna’s supernatural powers. First Arjuna is tempted by beautiful nymphs from heaven, including Dewi Supraba, but he cannot be tempted. Then a wild boar (disguise of Mamangmurka, commander-in-chief of Newatakawaca) destroys the plants around Arjuna, who is in meditation. A startled Arjuna takes his bow and arrow and shoots it. To his surprise the boar is shot at the same time by Kilatawarna. The two quarrels and a violent fight ensue. Kilatnwarna is beaten and changes into Batara Guru. This episode is a clear parallel to the Kirata-Arjuna episode in the Indian version, though there is no Shiva here. Batara Guru conveys to Arjuna the real purpose of his visit, and finding that Arjuna is willing to kill Newatakawaca, Batara Guru gives him a magic arrow called Pasupati. Newatakawaca has received no answer from the gods to his proposal and is impatient and angry. When Arjuna approaches him, Newatakawaca stabs him with his weapon called limpung (a short lance). Arjuna pretends that he has been killed, and Supraba comes to tease Newatakawaca, who is delighted and bursts into hilarious laughter. Arjuna uses this opportunity to shoot the Pasupati arrow at the root of Newatakawaca’s tongue, which is his vulnerable spot. Newatakawaca is killed instantly. As a reward the gods marry Arjuna to Supraba and other heavenly nymphs. Arjuna is crowned as king of heaven for seven days with plenty of wives!

6)      Dresanala, the daughter of Betara Brama.

7)      Wilutama, another Goddess.

8)      Duryodhana’s wife Banowati. Arjuna is her secret lover, and after Duryodhana’s death their love affair continues. He marries her. But she is killed by Ashwathama.

9)      After Banowati is killed by Aswatama, Arjuna is very sad. Then he marries Citrahoyi, the widow of Arjunapati, who resembles Banowati.

10)  Naga-kanya Palupi (Ulupi).

11)  A Rishi-kanya. She is daughter of Resi Sidiwaspada from the abode of Glagahwangi.

The Indian version of Mahabharata portrays Arjuna as invincible in love and war. The Indonesian version makes him lose in both matters at least once. What’s more, this same story combines Ekalavya-episode, Dhristradumnya-birth-episode and Arjuna’s defeat all in one! Palgunadi is the king of Paranggelang. He wants to be Drona’s student, but Drona refuses, telling him he is too occupied with Pendawa-Korawa education. Palgunadi through meditation creates a statue of Drona. He makes self-training diligently, accompanied by his faithful and beautiful wife, Dewi Anggraini. Later Drona, upon seeing, Palgunadi’s expertise agrees to recognize him as his student. Arjuna challenges Palgunadi to a duel but is defeated. Arjuna protests. Drona is afraid to lose his job in Hastina and by trickery he seeks Palgunadi’s ring heirloom called Roning Ampal. Palgunadi, believing that he is accepted as his student, gives it to Drona. Now he is easily killed by Drona. Palgunadi’s soul vows to take revenge in Baratayuda. He incarnates as Drestajumena (Dhrishtadumnya). In memory of Palgunadi, Drona gives a new name to Arjuna, Palguna. Arjuna now desires Dewi Anggraini. But she refuses his love. She remains loyal to her husband’s memory and rejects Arjuna’s temptation. Arjuna’s falling in love with the Indonesian Ekalabya’s wife, and the Indonesian Ekalabya taking rebirth as Dhrishtadumnya is indeed a gem of a variation!

Arjuna’s progenies are

1)      Wisanggeni from Dresanala. He is not afraid of anybody. Like Bima and Antasena, he speaks in Ngoko language. His fate is the same as Antasena’s. He disappears mysteriously before Bharatayuddha. In Tamil Peruntevanar’s version of 5th-6th century AD, Aravan, Arjuna’s son, is sacrificed pre-war; to ensure a Pandava victory. The Tamil ‘Aravan Ammanai’ too sings of the sacrifice of Aravan to Kotravai (Durga). The sacrifice is celebrated in Vallalur near Coimbatore.

2)      Wilugangga from Wilutama.

3)      Ongko Wijaya or Abimayu (Abhimanyu) from Subhadra. His wives were – Dewi Utari (Uttara) of Wirata. Their son is Parikesit (Parikhshit). Another of his wife is Siti Sundari, Kresna’s daughter. In the Eleventh-century old Javanese ‘ Kakawin Ghatotkacšraya’, it is Goddess Durga, who comes to the aid of separated lovers, and unites Abhimanyu and Siti Sunadari. Abhimanyu marries Siti Sundari after quite an adventure, helped by Ghatothkacha. Duryodana’s son Lesmana Dakumara is also madly in love with the beautiful Siti Sundari. Abhimanyu and Ghatothkacha have to defeat them, and meanwhile Abhimanyu also finds twin girls – Pregiwa and Pregiwati – who turn out to be Arjuna’s daughters!

In the Tamil ‘Abimannan Sundari Malai’ of 6600 lines we find the same love story of Abhimanyu and Sundari, daughter of Krishna and Alarmelu Mankai. Sundari is asked for by Duryodhana for his son Lakkunan. Aravan and Ghatotkacha help Abhimanyu to win Sundari with krishna’s blessing. The story has another parallel in the Telugu folk version of ‘Shashirekha Parinayam’, where Ghatothkacha helps Abhimanyu’s marriage with Shashirekha, Balaram’s daughter.

Once King Duryudana informs his entourage that Wahyu Cakraningrat, or the divine blessing of kingship, is soon to descend to earth to be bestowed on the most worthy. The king summons his son, Lesmana, and commands him to strive for the Wahyu by going on a spiritual retreat in the Krendhayana forest. Meanwhile, in preparing himself to receive the Wahyu, Abimanyu is clearing his mind by taking a journey in an unknown forest, admiring its great beauty. Semar and his three sons accompany him. In passing through dense forest, Abimanyu encounters demon soldiers, who try to expel him from the forest. Abimanyu kills Gendir Penjalin, the Cakil (a giant with two movable arms and a portruding fang) and another demon. The essence of the Wahyu, taking the form of the god Wulandrema, enters Lesmana. The disguised receptacle of the Wahyu, taking the form of a beautiful woman, Wulandremi, attempts to seduce him. Ignoring Durna’s advice, Lesmana succumbs to Wulandremi’s seductive temptations. Wulandrema leaves him. Arjuna and Bima arrive at the scene and are delighted to learn that Abimanyu has received the Wahyu, since this means that Abimanyu’s descendants will be future kings.

4)      Bambang Irawan (Iravan) from Ulupi. He marries Titisari, another daughter of Kresna. He becomes the ruler of the kingdom of Rencang Kencana and is then called Prabu Gambir Anom. Arjuna and Duryodana each wants his own son to marry Krishna’s daughter, Titisari. The plot pits the houses of the Pandawas and the Kurawas against each other, with Krishna in the middle. To complicate matters further, Krishna’s eldest daughter, Siti Sendari has been separated from Abhimanyu as a result of family feud. Into this already complex situation steps the evil ogre king Barandjana. He is consumed by an overwhelming passion for the same young maiden. Fearing that Krishna would laugh at him if he sues for marriage, the ogre king decides he will steal the girl and make her his bride. The resultant confusion permits Siti Sendari to manipulate events. She succeeds in winning her sister’s hand for Iravan, and in the process reunites herself with her own husband, Abhimanyu. In the end, both Duryodana and the ogre king are defeated. The real heroine in this play is Siti Sundari, who uses intelligence and guile to bring about a happy ending. Iravan is killed in a duel in Bharatayuddha along with his enormous and strong enemy- a giant – Kalasrenggi.

5)      Bambang Sumitra, the son of Larasati. Semar, Arjuna’s loyal servant has to arrange the wedding ceremony of Sumitra, because Arjuna is negligent to his other sons. The wedding helped by gods is successful and extravagant.

6)      Priyambada. His mother is a Rishi-kanya, the daughter of Resi Sidiwaspada He helps Shikhandi to recover Kalimasada, the holy heirloom of Yudistira, stolen by the daughter of Niwatakawaca, Mustakaweni. After the recovery the happy-ending is the wedding of Mustakaweni with Priyambada. That Arjuna’s son marries Nivatakabacha’s daughter is indeed remarkable.

7)      Pregiwa and Pregiwati are his two daughters. Their mother is unknown. They are brought up by their grandfather – an old hermit named Begawan Sidikwacana. When they grow-up they ask who their father really is, and the grandfather tells them that their father is Arjuna. Then they set out in search of their father. Abhimanyu rescues them and finally they find their father. Ghatothkacha marries them with Arjuna’s permission. Ghatothkacha becoming Arjuna’s son-in-law is another interesting twist!
The famous arrow Kuntawijaya(Indra’s Ekaghnni of the Indian version) which could have killed Arjuna, had Karna not used it on Ghatothkacha falls into Karna’s hand by mistake of Batara Guru (Indra). The heirloom Kuntawijaya is an arrow with a case, a gift from Batara Guru for Arjuna. By mistake Batara Narada gives it to Karna, who resembles Arjuna. Karna and Arjuna struggle to obtain the heirloom. Karna gets the arrow while Arjuna gets its case only. This is an explanation how the Ekaghnni falls into Karna’s hand. This incident happens long before Bhima’s marriage to Hirimba.
Arjuna forgets to pray the safety of his sons to Batara Guru, and prays for the safety of Pandavas only. As a consequence, he becomes indirectly responsible for their death.

In the Indonesian version Arjuna and Karna have identical looks. Karna-Arjuna resemblance has a parallel in the Malayalam – Cherusseri Bharatham (Bharatagatha). In her swamvara Draupadi looks at Karna with desire, because she confuses Karna for Arjuna.

Kangsa (our very familiar Kamsha-mama) organizes a “cock fight” to eliminate Krishna-Balaram. Suratrimantra is his cock-fighter. He is sure, Kakrasana(Balaram) and Narayana should appear to see the fight. Then they would be killed. But in the thrilling fight the robust giant Suratrimantra is killed by Bratasena (young Bima). Kangsa is caught and assassinated by Permadi (Arjuna). This is indeed a great twist that Kansha is killed by Arjuna.

Nakula-Sahadeva

Nakula’s name as a child was Pinten. Nakula-Sahadeva has never seen their father as when they were born Pandu had died. Soon their mother died too, at young age. Only with their help, King Salya – the chief-warrior of Hastinapura could be quickly eliminated. After the Baratayuda, honouring King Salya’s wish, they become rulers of Mandaraka (Madra).

Nakula’s court domain is Sawojajar. He is an expert in agriculture. He has three wives other than Draupadi. Padmasari (the daughter of Widura), Dewi Suyati and Srengganawati.

Sahadeva’s childhood name was Tangsen. He is an expert in animal husbandry. Sadewa has a padepokan/spiritual retreat-Bumi Retawu . As a result of his solemn spiritual deeds he becomes a Satrio Pinandito (Kshatriya Pandit). With his powerful spiritual strength, he is able to release Betari Durga from her punishment. Sadewa helps her to gain back her true consciousness; she becomes again Dewi Uma, the wife of Betara Guru.

He too has three wives other than Draupadi – Padmawati (Widura’s daughter), Endang Sadarmi (daughter of Resi Tembang Petra from the hermit of Parangalas) and Srengginiwati. He has at least two sons – Raden Sabekti, a son from Endang Sadarmi and Dewi Tanjung a daughter from Srengginiwati

Draupadi

One Javanese Wayang sub-variation of Draupadi’s swamvara is however different. Here there is no archery competition. The winner of the contest is to be the one, who can defeat, Patih Gandamana, uncle of Draupadi, in a duel battle. It is as per the wish of king Drupada. Meanwhile Kunti and Pandavas decide to join the contest, with the purpose to get a wife for Yudhishthira. As Bima is already a married man, he represents Yudhidhthira, defeats Gandamana and wins her for his elder brother. Gandamana knows of his imminent death and gives his strength to Bhima before his death. That it is Bhima and not Arjuna who wins Draupadi has a parallel in Nepal’s Dangaura Tharu folk version of Mahabharata. Bhima shoots and hits the rau bird.in swamvara, which is the target in this case.

When Dursasana tries to undress Draupadi in front of the public, she is saved by Batara Darma, the god of justice. She vows that she would never wear a breast-cloth if not made from Dursasana skin. Her seeking help from Yama/ Dharma and not Krishna has a parallel in the Keralian Bharatmala. In the Keralian Cherusseri Bharatham too Draupadi is like Kali in her revenge. Hearing that Dussasana has fallen, Draupadi goes to the battlefield and puts her foot on his chest. Bhima tears Dussasana’s body into pieces and Drinks his blood. Draupadi wears the liver as a garland, collects the teeth of Dussasana and laughs.

Kencaka (Kichaka) has uncontrollable desire towards women. Kencaka is at first lustful to her and tries to possess her by temptation, but gradually his lust turns to love. He proposes her to be his official wife by the consent of the queen. With only two weeks time left for the end of the incognito exile, the situation poses a threat to the Pandavas. One night, Bima kills Kichaka. The Indonesian version gives Kichaka a human face as his lust turns to love. After the news of the death of Kencaka reaches the intelligent force of Korawa, they analyse, the killer has to be Bima and decides to attack Virata. In Bharatamala too, when Kicaka’s death is reported in the court of Hastinapura, elders conclude that Bhima has done it; Draupadi might be the cause.

Subhadra

Dewi Wara Sembadra is the twin sister of Narajana/Kresna. She is a charming, ‘black-sweet’ lady Dewi Roro Ireng. She is also very wise as an incarnation of Wisnu. Here, Basudewa and Pandu decide her marriage. Arjuna marries Subhadra with all pomp in a rather ‘social’ way. There is no Subhadra-harana by Arjuna. Even Pandu is alive at the time of the marriage. There is however Subhadra-harana by Bhurishrava (or by a giant according to another sub-variation) and Arjuna is the rescuer (Ghatothkacha in another variation).

Servants

The Indonesian version gives important place to the Pandava servants (the Ponokawans). Everywhere Arjuna goes, he is always escorted by his loyal servant, Semar, accompanied by his sons Gareng, Petruk, Bagong. They are inseparable. Semar is actually God Ismaya and it is his duty to always protect Arjuna. Semar is never tired to give wise advice to Arjuna. It is a unique master-servant relation!

Drona

As a youngster his name was Bambang Kumbayana. Durna’s father is a Brahmana (Hindu priest). Here there is no mention of his father or birth from his father’s ejaculated semen.

Gandamana from Cempala or Panchala kingdom is his ex-rival. Gandamana is Patih of Hastinapura. This is a remarkable departure from the Indian narrative that a man from Panchala is chief minister of Hastinapur. In the Indian version Kuru-Panchala are arch rivals with the rivalry spanning over generations. Durna has to involve in a face to face battle with Gandamana. Durna is totally defeated and one of his hands is fractured badly for life. His nose is broken, so he has a twisted nose forever.

Duryodhana and Dushhashana

Duryudana is not the legitimate heir of Hastinapura. The Indonesian Mahabharata takes a clear stand on the question of legitimacy. The wayang puppeteers call him Prabu Kurupati.

Gendari strongly influences Destarata and Sengkuni to coronate Duryodhana as king of Hastinapura. Despite their hatred for the Pandavas, Duryudana and his sister and brothers always ask help from the Pandavas in difficult time. Duryudana’s misbehaviour against the Pandavas is encouraged by Sengkuni, Karna and Burisrawa and other ruling elite of Hastinapura. He has a special hatred for Arjuna because he knows that his wife, Banowati (Bhanumati, the daughter of Shalya) secretly loves Arjuna.

There is no unfair warfare on Bima’s part in his climactic battle with Duryodhana. Bhima challenges him in duel with bludgeon. The fight is terrific but within a short time Duryudana is in trouble. Without shame, he runs away and tries to hide somewhere to save his life. At last, he is assassinated by Bima. That Duryodhana flees from battle has a parallel in Nepal’s Dangaura Tharu folk version of Mahabharata.

Dursasana too seeks help from Arjuna to marry princess Sartini from Srawantipura.

Shikhandi

Resi Stunakarna helps Srikandi become a man. Her name changes to Bambang Kandihawa . As a man, he marries princess Durniti, the daughter of a giant king, Prabu Dike from the kingdom of Manimantaka. From this marriage, a son is born, by the name of Nirbita, who later-on, succeeds his grand-father as a king of Manimantaka. Nirbita’s grandfather is none other than Prabu Niwatakawaca.

She as a woman falls madly in love with Arjuna. Draupadi does not approve this. Shikhandi makes strategies which work. Once the Garden of Maerakaca , the palace garden in Pancala is badly damaged. Arjuna restores the garden, and is entitled to marry Srikandi.

In Yogyakarta there is another lakon, an addition to the Pregiwa -Pregiwati story, called lakon Suprabawati Tinanding (Suprabawati fighting Srikandi). When king Kresna holds the contest for his daughter, a king from Simbarmanyura called Dasalengkara, also wants to marry Dewi Siti Sundari. The wedding-gift is his twin sisters Dewi Suprabawati and Dewi Suradewati. Unfortunately, when the messenger arrives at Dwarawati the marriage between Abimanyu and Dewi Siti Sundari is already in preparation. Bima becomes violently angry and kicks the messenger out of the palace. A battle ensues. The all women troops from the Simbarmanyura kingdom are led by Dewi Suprabawati herself and her younger sister Dewi Suradewati. From the Pandawa family, the wives of Arjuna go to battle under the command of Srikandi. A heavy battle then takes place between the two women’s armies where even Garudas are used as vehicles for air-fights. Abirnanyu also joins the fighting as he feels responsible for the cause of it and Gatotkaca helps him. The Pandawas win the battle and the marriage between Abimanyu and Dewi Siti Sundari takes place without any hindrance.

Shikhandi’s ‘amazonian’ qualities have a parallel in the Tamil myth of Queen Alli. She is a rather masculine lady, until Arjuna tames her and makes a woman and faithful wife of her!

Ghatothkacha

Gatotkaca’s other names are Jabang Tetuko, Purbaya and Satria Pringgadani.

When Gatotkaca is born, his navel can not be cut with any knife. Upon advice from a wise man, the navel is cut by the casing of Kunto arrow, the heirloom Arjuna gets from Batara Guru. But the Kunto’s casing goes inside the baby’s navel permanently. The fate predicts that when the arrow Kunto returns to its casing then Gatotkaca should die.

Gatotkaca becomes the new king of Pringgadani with full support of all his giant-uncles. Brajadenta and Brajamusti are his chief-warriors. Brajamusti is very loyal and caring to Gatotkaca. The youngest Uncle Kala Bendana is very kind-hearted and truthful. By a stroke of fate, Kala Bendara dies at Gatotkaca’s hand, when he tells Siti Sundari (Krishna’s daughter) the whereabouts of Abhimanyu, who is at that time marrying Dewi Utari (Uttara). Siti Sundari becomes very upset. Gatotkaca blames Bendana. He hits Kala Bendana too strong. The old good giant dies. But he loves his nephew very much and tells that he won’t go to heaven without Gatotkaca.

Gatotkaca admits his mistake and is ready to pay for it. In Bharatyuddha when Karna shoots the arrow Kunto, it can not reach Gatotkaca, because he flies too high. In a very quick move, Kalabendana’s spirit guides the arrow Kunto to return to its casing, which is inside Ghatothkacha. So, with the help of Kalabendana’s spirit, Kunto hits Gatotkaca. Gatotkaca’s spirit together with Kalabendana’s goes happily to eternity.
Once, Gatotkaca becomes a king in Kahyangan (heaven). Kahyangan is attacked by the forces of a giant king Pracona of Guwakrenda because Pracona’s proposal to marry the most beautiful goddess Dewi Supraba has been turned down. The gods have difficulties to defeat Guwakrenda’s troop. Gatotkaca is assigned to lead the battle. King Pracona and his powerful Patih (first-minister), Sekipu are killed by Gatotkaca. As a reward, he is given kingship of Kahyangan. Ghatothkacha is a great man. He, however, relinquishes the rule of heaven for the duties of his own country.
His wives are

1)      Pergiwa, Arjuna’s daughter. At the time Abhimanyu is going to marry Siti Sundari, Ghatothkacha sees Pregiwa and Pregiwath for the first time and falls madly in love with Pregiwa, He intends to ask his uncle Arjuna for her hand after they reach Madukara. Pregiwa silently responds to his love. Abhimanyu and Ghatothkacha arrive at Madukara, after defeating the Kauravas, and Arjuna is delighted to see that his son has managed to find twin girls, and is further exalted that they are his own daughters. Gatotkaca then asks Arjuna’s permission to marry Pregiwa, and his request is granted. Their son is Sasi Kirana who becomes one of Hastinapura’s chief-warrior under Parikesit.

2)      Suryawati

3)      Dewi Sumpani, a lady having strong supernatural power. In order to be more powerful, Gatotkaca has been given an Aji-aji/mantra called: Narantaka. To perfectly master the aji-aji, Gatotkaca has to meditate alone in a cave for 40 consecutive days with full abstinence from sex. Several days before the deadline, he feels that he is watched by a young lady. After finishing 40 days meditation, he goes out from the cave, and is greeted by an attractive village lady. The lady, Sumpani proposes him. Sumpani is not an ordinary village girl; she is a daughter of a powerful Resi. She has powerful mantras. Ultimately they marry.

One day, when Gatotkaca and his cousins are making a war exercise in Kurusetra, the Kauravas, led by Dursasana and his son Dursala attack them. Gatotkaca is captured but saved by his brother Antareja.

Karna

In Draupadi’s swamvara, one by one archers including king Shalya and Duryodhana fails. When Karna’s term comes, many people believe that he should be the winner, after seeing him raise the bow. But he misses the target and fails. This episode of Karna’s failure has a parallel in a Malayalam folk version — Cherusseri Bharatham (Bharatagatha). Karna fails in his attempt because of Krishna’s act, though there is no elaboration of what this act is. Again, the Tamil Vyasa Bharatam has similar things to say. Karna fails because when he tries to tie the string in the bow, it recoils and hurts him. In the Keralian Bharatmala too Karna fails in the contest along with Jarasandha, Salya, and Sisupala.

Karna wants to learn Brahmasirah mantra from Drona, but Drona refuses out of affection for Arjuna and also realising Karna’s foul intentions saying, ‘only holy, renounced yogis may know this mantra’. Many years later, Karna hearing a rumour about the death of the Pandavas, throws a big party and promises the people to give anything they want. Then leaving his wife Sutikanti and their seven sons under the care of her father (Shalya), he travels to Mt. Mnidyuti, to Bagawan Pongkatiksna’s holy dwelling. Once there, he meets his father, ‘sang hyang Surya’, who bestows him with Bajra Wijayacopa, a powerful energy weapon. He then travels to Mt. Mahendra to study with Begawan Ramaparasu, who because of Karna’s obedience and skill teaches him all he knows, including Brahmasirah mantra. Parashurama’s subsequent curse is similar to the Indian version.

The most poignant moment in the Indonesian version is the Karna-Arjuna meeting in the eve of Karna’s first day as the Kaurava army’s commander in chief. Arjuna secretly visits him. He has the most difficult moment in his life. Arjuna suddenly stands in front of him, kneels and greets him respectfully and says clearly, ‘Please accept my sincere respects and Pandava’s respect to you.’ Karna is deeply moved. His eyes are filled with tears. Arjuna proposes to make him the emperor of Hastinapura and hopes that he will join them. They speak emotionally with each other and express love for each other. Finally they decide to adhere by their Kshatriya duties and fight in next day’s battle. Then they embrace each other again without a word and Arjuna leaves with Karna’s permission.

Next day after Karna kills Ghatothkacha with his Kunto-arrow; Karna’s carriage is torn to pieces, hit by Ghatothkacha’s body falling from the sky. He is thrown away. With no carriage he meets Arjuna directly. He is aware that Arjuna has several heirlooms, which should kill him. But he would be happy to be killed by a mighty, powerful brother. He is happy that his brothers would be glorious rulers in Hastinapur. Finally Arjuna releases his Pasupati arrow piercing Karna through the neck. In the Indian version Karna is beheaded. Karna’s death is mourned deeply by both sides. The Pandava family performs Karna’s funeral rites with full honour. In the Indian version this happens at the end of the war after Kunti reveals Karnas’ identity to the Pandavas.

Krishna

His name as a boy is Raden Narayana. He is the son of Basudewa with Dewi Badraini. He is the twin brother of Sembadra (Subhadra). Both of them have smooth black/dark colour of skin. He is tall with slender body and a good-looking face, brilliant and wise.

After defeating King Yudakala Kresna of Dwarawati, Narayana becomes the king of the kingdom of Dwarawati and takes his official name – Prabu Kresna. He is the king of Dwarawati, the wisest man in the world. He is the incarnation of Wisnu. Krishna’s kingship has a parallel in the Indian Buddhist Jataka tales, where Krishna is the eldest among ten brothers collectively called the Andakavenhudāsaputta. After killing Kangsha, they assume the sovereignty of Asitañjana. From there they set out to conquer the whole of Jambudīpa, starting with Ayojjhā (whose king, Kālasena, they take prisoner) and Dvāravatī, which they capture with the help of Kanhadīpayana. They make Dvāravatī their capital and divide their kingdom into ten shares. Balaram’s kingship is also supported in the Pali version.

According to Javanese Pedalangan (shadow-puppet story), Kresna has four wives.

1)      Dewi Jembawati, the daughter of Kapi Resi Jembawan, a respectable monkey guru, and Trijata, the daughter of Wibisana (Bibhishana?). Their two sons are Raden Samba and Raden Gunadewa. Samba lives with his father in Dwarawati palace, Gunadewa lives in Gadamana hermit. Samba is shown as a notorious character, making love to his sister-in-law. He gets killed by his half-brother Narakasura.

2)      Dewi Pratiwi, the daughter of Hyang Antoboga(Ananta Nag!), a very powerful god living in the 7th layer inside the earth( Sapta Pratala) Kresna’s son with her is Narakasura! In the Indian puranas, Narakasura is the son of Goddess earth, (referred to as Bhumi), by Lord Vishnu himself during his Varaha (boar) avatar. Here, Narakasura’s wife is Dewi Hagnyawati . She has illicit love-affair with Samba. So Narakasura kills Samba. Anantanag’s other daughter Nagagini is married to Bhima.

The spirit of Rahwana (Ravana), Prabu Godayitma of Tawang Gantungan misleads the power of Suteja or Narakasura. Godayitma and Narakasura become good friends; both of them have the same powerful mantra Pancasona, so they cannot be killed when their bodies touch the earth. Narakasura dies in Krishna’s hand. Krishna kills him, when amidst a Naraka-Ghatothkacha duel, Narakasura insults Krishna. Krishna learns the secret to kill him from Pratiwi, and cuts him with his Chakra. Ghatothkacha holds his dead body in the air, so that Naraka cannot revive. This story is unique because here we find the Ramayana character of Ravana.

3)      Dewi Rukmini, the daughter of Prabu Bismaka. Once, she dreams of making love with Kresna in his Triwikrama (a giant) state. A giant son is born – Saronodewo. He is not allowed to live in the palace. The Indian Pradumnya is absent here.

4)      Dewi Setyaboma(Satyabhama), the daughter of Prabu Setyajid, the elder sister of Setyaki. Satyaki is the army chief of Krishna’s kingdom.

5)      According to one sub-variation of Wayang, Krishna has another wife – Alarmelu Mankai. Siti Sundari is their daughter. Titisari is another daughter.

Balarama

Baladewa is the king of Madura. He is assisted by two loyal persons:

Patih Pragota. His father is also a Patih (first minister of king Basudewa). He is big, tall, talks rudely, but is nice and loyal.

Prabawa. He is Pragota’s younger brother. He is assigned to handle the safety and security of the country.

Baladewa has two powerful heirlooms – Nenggala, received during his meditation as a young hermit and Alugara, received from Batara Guru as a wedding present.
His wife is Erawati, daughter of Shalya. Arjuna helps Balaram to get Erawati. The name obviously is akin to Revati of the Indian version. It is one of the reasons why he loves Arjuna very much. He is a kind-hearted man, but is too temperamental. When he gets angry, only Arjuna can easily cool him down. From Erawati, he has two adopted sons – Wisata (Nishadha) and Wimuka(Ulmuka). When he gets married, many gods escort him friendly (Bala). That is the origin of the name Baladewa. His name as a boy was Raden Kakrasana. He is tall with athletically body, his skin was light yellow.

As a youth he lived with strong self-denial in the village of Widarakandang, so he is called Wasi Jaladara. He is called Basukiyana for being incarnation of god Basuki; Kusumawalikita (named by gods), Balarama (named by gods), and Alayuda, a name given by Narada.

Baladewa does not involve in Baratayuda. Kresna asks him to meditate in the cave of Grojogan Sewu (one thousand waterfalls) before the war starts. Kresna presumes that Baladewa is too strong for Pendawa. When Baladawa completes his meditation, Baratayuda is already over. Krishna’s trick with Balarama has a parallel in Keralian Cherusseri Bharatham, where Krishna keeps Balarama out of the war by making him believe that he has killed a Brahmana. Balarama goes out to pilgrimage for expiation.

Until the end of his long life on earth, he becomes a protector of Parikesit, the new king of Hastinapura. Unlike Indian version Balarama does not die in Yadava civil war. This story of Balarama’s survival has a parallel in the Indian Pali version.

That Balaram and Duryodhana are brothers-in-law having married each a daughter of Shalya may be one explanation of Balaram’s special favouring for Duryodhana. In the Telugu folk ‘Shashirekha Parinayam’, he contemplates his daughter’s marriage to Duryodhana’s son, even at the cost of breaking his own promise. And from Indian Mahabharata we know he contemplates Subhadra’s marriage to Duryodhana,

Satyaki

Raden Harya Ugrasena/Prabu Setyajid i.e. Satyaki is the youngest son of Prabu Kuntiboja. His mother is a goddess, Dewi Wresni. Later-on Setyaki becomes the chief warrior of Dwarawati kingdom under Prabu Kresna. Here Satyaki and Satyabhama are brother and sister of same parents. The Indonesian version thus explains Krishna-Satyaki’s special liking for each other.

Shakuni

Shakuni is known as Sengkuni or Harya Sakuni. His name as a youth is Harya Suman. As a youth he attempts a Kunti-harana from the hands of Pandu. A fight breaks, but Shakuni loses to Pandu. As a punishment, Pandu buries his body, only his head appears above the land. Shakuni is frightened to die, and cries for forgiveness. He says that if he is freed from the punishment, he would give his sister to Pandu and he would serve him. Pandu agrees but he gives Gendari to his elder blind brother Destarata. Gendari feels insulted but cannot do anything. She feels jilted.

Sengkuni follows his sister and lives in Hastinapura. Since the first day in Hastinapura, he eyes the position of Patih/Prime Minister. He is very jealous of Gandamana, the Patih to Hastinapura. He tries to find a way to oust Gandamana. Cunningly, he traps Gandamana to be ambushed by many giants. Gandamana falls down into a deep hole. Instead of helping Gandamana, Sengkuni buries him alive in the hole, Then Sengkuni reports hastily to king Pandu that Gandamana is killed by an army of giants.

Gandamana, using his supernatural power, Bandung Bondowoso, comes out safely. He knows who has done it to him. Gandamana beats Shakuni severely until he loses his charm permanently. As a gentleman, Gandamana reports the case to king Pandu and admits his mistake for the merciless beating of Shakuni. King Pandu releases Gandamana from his position as Patih and he goes back to his country. Thus Shakuni succeeds in ousting him. After Pandu makes him Patih, he serves him, until Pandu’s death.

By chance, Sengkuni has also invulnerability to sharp weapons. One day Sang Hyang Tunggal, the father of Betara Guru sends Lenga Tawa, oil with supernatural power to King Pandu. By rubbing the oil the body, the parts of the body should be invulnerable to sharp weapons. Pandu’s death occurs at this time.

After King Pandu passes away Begawan Abiyasa (Vyasa), decides to the use the oil for his grand-children, witnessed by Hastinapura dignitaries, such as Kunti, Destarata and wife, Bisma, Sengkuni etc. Korawa, the elder grand children, gets their first turn. They make a queue starting from Duryudana and so on. But they can not put in order. They push one another. Some of the oil of Tawa, held by Abiyasa, spills out to the floor. Sengkuni quickly rolls his body on the floor. Kunti who is standing nearby Vyasa, falls down to the floor. Shakuni does not miss the chance to touch Kunti. Immediately, pretending to help Kunti, he grabs her breast. Kunti is shocked and ashamed. She vows that she would never wear breast-cloth, if not made from Shakuni’ skin. That Shakuni molests Kunti is unique in Indonesian Mahabharata. Kunti’s vow to avenge is akin to Draupadi’s.

In Baratayuda, Sengkuni is executed by Bima. Bima knows very well, the weakest parts of Sengkuni’s body are his mouth and his anus. Bima stabs deeply those parts with his kuku Pancanaka (long finger nails in his thumbs of both hands). He tears Sengkuni’s mouth to pieces and then peels his skin fulfilling Kunti’s wish. Sengkuni dies in agony.

Shalya

Indonesian version breathes more life to the character of Shalya. Shalya is portrayed as a great lover. He marries Bagaspati’s (Brihaspati) daughter Devi Pujawati against his father’s wishes. Wonder of wonder this man is monogamous. Salya makes a vow to Setyawati never to take another wife. This does not prevent him, however, to go to Draupadi’s swamvara. He kills his own father-in-law. Since Brihaspati is the symbol of Vedic wisdom, Shalya’s killing Brihaspati may actually mean his deviation from the brand of Vedic Brahmanism as prevalent in Kuru-Panchala. In this light we may understand the significance of Karna-Shalya dialogue in the Indian version in which Karna makes harsh derogatory remarks against the Madrakas.

Shalya has 5 children:

1)      Dewi Erawati. She marries Baladewa, the king of Mandura.

2)      Dewi Surtikanti, marries with Karna. They have two children: Warsakusuma and Warsasena. Surtikanti’s love to Arjuna is turned down. She marries Karna, the half brother of Arjuna, because Karna looks like Arjuna.

3)      Dewi Banowati, marries king Duryudana. They have two children: Leksmana Mandrakumara and Leksmanawati. The attractive princess Banowati is in fact deeply in love with Arjuna. Duryudana is mad in love with Banowati. Banowati always chases Arjuna to make a backstreet love. Arjuna asks Banowati if she really loves him, she has to marry Duryudana. The two re-unite after Duryodhana’s death.

4)      Raden Rukmarata. He is killed by Seta in Bharatayuddha.

5)      Raden Burisrawa. He is an impolite and arrogant giant. Since Salya hated his own father-in-law, Burisrawa is born to him as punishment. In Bharatayuddha, he is killed by his arch-rival Setyaki. In the Indian version Bhurishrava is Somdatta’s son and Bahlika’s grandson, and consequently a Puru-vamshi. Burisrawa is madly in love with Subadra, the wife of Arjuna. Once, he abducts Subhadra from Madukara, Arjuna’s palace. Luckily Antareja and Gatotkaca, the sons of Bima save her.

The Indonesian version in fact, abounds in knotty relations which give us insight into the motives of different characters. They are often unthought-of love-desire affairs like – Amba loves Bhisma, Bhisma loves Amba, Gandhari loves Pandu, Shakuni loves Kunti, Bhanumati loves Arjuna, Surtikanti loves Arjuna, Bhurishrava loves Subhadra, Arjuna loves Anggraini, and Kichaka loves Draupadi. All these love-desires remain unfulfilled.

The kings of Mandura Kingdom (Where Balaram becomes king) are descendants of the king of Ayoddha. Prabu Basuketi was the son of Prabu Rama Batlawa, a king of Ayoddha, the son of Rama and Sinta. This Ikshvaku-Yadav connection has its parallel in the Indian Harivamsha. Besides, the name ‘Basuketi’ strongly resembles Vasuki, which opens up yet another possibility that Balaram himself might have been a Naga. In the Indian version of Harivamsha, Balaram is born under mysterious circumstances. He is born when his father is actually locked in Kamsha’s prison. That hints at the possibility that he might have been an adopted son of Vasudeva. In Indian Harivamsha there is a story that following the misunderstanding over the Samantaka jewel, sulky Balaram leaves Dwarka and Krishna and goes straight to Ayoddha. It is here that Duryodhana learns mace-fight from him during his 12 years stay at Ayoddha. Thus the Indian Harivamsha also attests Ikhsvaku-Balaram connection. The Yadav-Ayoddha connection is also attested by the Buddhist Pali stories, where it is said that the Andakavenhudāsaputtā(Krishna and his brothers) set out to conquer the whole of Jambudīpa, starting with Ayojjhā (whose king, Kālasena, they took prisoner) and Dvāravatī, which they captured with the help of Kanhadīpayana.

In the Indonesian version of the Rajasuya Yajna there is a pre-requisite that ‘it must be attended at least by one hundred kings’. When Yudhishthira decides to perform one, Jarasandha too contemplates the same. He decides to celebrate it by force. He captures around seventy kings from these neighboring countries, and imprisons them. Now comes the twist! The Pandava army attack Magadha, kill Jarasandha and liberate the seventy kings. Thus the Indonesian version totally rules out a Bhima-Arjuna-Krishna adventure and Bhima-Jarasandha duel. On that victorious day, Amarta kingdom celebrates Rajasuya. Sisupala starts to insult Krishna. Krishna has promised Sishupala’s mother that he would not hurt Sishupala till he insults Krishna in front of one hundred persons. Now that Sishupala does so, Krishna slays him in a duel. In the Indian version, Krishna simply beheads Sishupala with his Chakra, though there is one reference of an actual battle in Dhritarshtra’s speech. However, there is description of an actual battle in the Kerala version.

Some other interesting variations are that though the dice game is there, and also revocation of Yudhishthira’s losses by Dhritarashtra, there is no second dice game. The Pandavas have to go to exile as an alternative. Aswatama and Kartamarma are killed shortly after Baratayuda.

The beauty of the Indonesian version lies in the fact that it explores possibilities that any reader of the Indian version always cherishes to explore. One such episode is the Karna-Arjuna meeting, in which the two brothers embrace each other with tearful eyes. The Indian version has always left us with the question that if so many people know Karna’s true parentage, why not the Pandavas? The Indonesian poets believe that superiority in war always goes with superiority in love. Both Karna and Duryodhana are losers to Arjuna in both love and war. Both their wives love Arjuna. The superior might of the Pandavas in war also matches their ‘might’ in love spanning over three generations. In the Kuru-Pandava war of love, Dhritarashtra loses to Pandu, Duryodhana to Arjuna and Lakshmana to Abhimanyu!

Many questions remain unanswered like in the Indian version. One wonders the secret of the glue that keeps Bhima attached to Krishna despite the fact that Krishna hates Bhima’s progenies so ardently, and is responsible for their death. One cannot forget Krishna’s inhuman dance following Ghatothkacha’s death in the Indian version. Madhabacharya’s ‘Mahabharata Tatparyanirnaya’ attempts an answer to that by showing that Bhima is an ardent believer of the Bhagavata dharma. So whatever Krishna does is accepted by him. One, however, is bound to feel dissatisfied with this explanation.

The Indonesian version snatches away Draupadi’s singular share to molestation, attempted rape (or even rape by Kichaka), kidnapping and humiliation. Kunti and Subhadra share the same fate. Draupadi’s vengeance and Shakti-aspect is paralleled by her mother-in-law Kunti. Just as Draupadi decides not to do her hair until Duhshashana’s chest is split, Kunti too has taken a vow never to wear a kanchuli unless Shakuni lies dead. Bhima becomes instrumental to fulfil the vow of both mother and wife. Shalya as Karna’s father-in-law is bound to throw new light on the Karna-Shalya dialogue in the Indian Mahabharata, and is also a possible explanation why Shalya could swallow his ego and become Karna’s charioteer! Going by Indonesian version, the bitter Karna-Shalya dialogue in the Indian version is after all a father-in-law vs. son-in-law pleasantry bout!!

Another important aspect of the Indonesian version is its focus on the ‘neglected’ characters of the Indian version. The Pandava sons gain prominence, they are given individuality. They are not just shadows as in the Indian version, but are full-blooded. Some of them like Bhima’s sons are regarded as more valiant than all others. Life has been breathed into shadowy characters of the Indian version like Shakuni and Shalya.

The Indonesian variations have much in common to the South Indian variations. Geographical location and trade have naturally a role to play in this. But what compels our wonder is the resemblance in variations with variations of other parts of India as well. More research will certainly reveal facts of great historical and anthropological interests.

Let us now come back to the present. The Hinduism practiced in Indonesia today is also known by its formal Indonesian name Agama Hindu Dharma. At present the most dominant Hindu culture is to be found in Bali. About 93% of the population of Bali are official Hindus. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinduism_in_Indonesia) Although only about 3% of Indonesian population is officially Hindu, Indonesian beliefs are too complex to classify as belonging to a single world religion. In Java in particular, a substantial number of Muslims follow a non-orthodox, Hindu-influenced form of Islam known as ‘Islam Abangan’ or ‘Islam Kejawèn’, while across the archipelago the Hindu legacy, along with the older mystic traditions, influences popular beliefs.

In present Indonesia, temples dedicated to the Pandavas can be found in Dieng. The Sanjaya dynasty, which established the first kingdom of Mataram, and which was founded around 730 A.D. by Sri Maharaja Sanjaya built the first Hindi-Javan temple site of Dieng (“Dieng” comes from ‘Di Hyang’ which means Abode of the Gods”) on the 2 000 meter (6 560 feet) high plateau, which is the basin of the surrounding volcanic region.’ (http://artasia.www2.50megs.com/Indonesia/temple.htm). The Arjuna, a group of Shiva temples, is the oldest Hindu temples in Java, built in 8th and 9th centuries. The plateau was once the site of over 400 temples. (For images visit http://www.mytravelguide.com/guides-and-advice/showthread.php?postid=13376). The eight temples are of Arjuna, Semar, Gatutkaca, Puntadewa, Srikandi, Sembadra, Bima and Dwarawati. At present the Arjuna temple is waiting restoration, as it has been found collapsing (http://www.kayuaya.com/bali-news/14/The_Arjuna_Temple_in_Dieng_was_threatened_with_collapsing.html).

Indonesia’s fascination with the Mahabharata and particularly with Bhima-Ghatothkacha is unflagging. Apart from the fact that Indonesian airlines is called ‘Garuda Airlines’, as recent as 1993, a Gatotkaca Statue has been built at the centre of road intersection at the northeast of Bali International airport. Even in modern Islamised Indonesia, he is identified as a flying knight who is responsible for air defence and security protection as his role for the Pandawa Kingdom was. It is believed the statue could contribute spiritual protection and safety for all incoming and outgoing flight. (http://bali.sawadee.com/badung.htm). An Indonesian-made fly-by-wire airplane has been named CN-250 Gatotkaca. It was launched on November 10, 1994, by then President Suharto. Indonesia has decided to use the names of characters from Javanese mythology to name cyclones when it begins a new weather warning service. Some names include ‘Arimbi’ (Hirimba) and ‘Bhima’.
It is great to realise that despite geographical and political boundaries, our neighbouring country across the sea shares a common culture with us. We are they, they are us!

References
1) http://oak.cats.ohiou.edu/~mcginn/STATEMENT.html
2) http://www.joglosemar.co.id/index.html
3) http://epic-mahabrata.tripod.com/
4) http://www.palikanon.com/english/pali_names/ay/andhakavenhu_puttaa.htm
5) THE THARU BARKA NAACH: Nepal’s Dangaura Tharu folk version of Mahabharata. Ed Kurt Meyer & Pamela Deuel, translation by Dinesh Chamling Rai, Himal Books, Lalitpur Nepal 1998
6) http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mahabharata_study/message/562
7) Summary of Cherusseri Bharatam (Bharatagatha). A retelling Mahabharata in Malayalam. Authored by Ponathil Sankaran Nambiti during the reign of Udyavarman Kolathiri – M.E 621 to 640 (A.D 1446 to 1465). Summary by A. Purushothaman. http://mahabharata-resources.org/variations.html
8) Summary of Bharatamala , a Mahabharata retelling in Malayalam from the fifteenth century. Study and commentary by Ponnara Saraswathy, Kannassa Smaraka Trust, Niranam. Thiruvalla, Kerala (2003).

May 5, 2007

Indrajit Bandyopadhyay is Lecturer in English at Kalyani Mahavidyalaya, Kalyani, WB.

Ki Sukasman, Ukuran Sejati

Jum’at, 30 Oktober 2009 | 07:46 WIB

TEMPO Interaktif

Suara gamelan bertalu-talu mengiringi kepergian Ki Sukasman di Mergangsan II/1308, Yogyakarta, kemarin. Prosesi pemakamannya berubah menjadi sebuah pentas wayang. Seorang dalang–diperankan oleh penari Miroto–memainkan anak wayang Semar, Togog, dan Batara Guru di kelir dengan tata cahaya yang digarap serius.

Tepat di depan kelir, tergolek sebuah peti mati terbungkus kain putih. Di dalam peti mati itu, terbujur jenazah Ki Sigit Sukasman, 73 tahun, seorang tokoh seniman pencipta wayang ukur. Tiga tokoh wayang ukur itu memang sengaja dimainkan untuk melepas kepergian penciptanya, Ki Sukasman, ke pemakaman.

Tak hanya Miroto, sebagai dalang yang menangis, tapi juga ratusan pelayat mencucurkan air mata menyaksikan adegan sangat mengharukan itu. Gendhing Tlutur yang dimainkan secara langsung oleh para murid Ki Sukasman semakin menambah suasana sedih. “Mas Kasman telah mencapai ukuran yang sejati,” kata budayawan Sindhunata SJ saat melepas jenazah di rumah duka.

Ki Sigit Sukasman mengembuskan napas terakhir kemarin pagi pukul 07.00 di ruang perawatan intensif Rumah Sakit Panti Rapih, Yogyakarta. Ia sempat dirawat selama dua hari akibat keluhan sesak napas. “Beliau memang punya penyakit paru-paru,” kata Bambang Paningron, anak angkat Ki Sukasman.

Ki Sigit Sukasman sejatinya bukan seorang dalang. Lelaki 73 tahun itu justru seorang perupa. Namun, kecintaannya terhadap wayang melebihi dalang mana pun. Tenaga, pikiran, bahkan seluruh hidupnya tercurah untuk dunia pewayangan.

Sejak kecil Sukasman memang akrab dengan wayang. Aktivitas harian Sukasman kecil selalu diisi dengan menggambar wayang. Ia bahkan memiliki sekotak wayang kertas, pemberian ayahnya.

Selepas SMA, pada 1957, Sukasman masuk ke Akademi Seni Rupa Indonesia (ASRI), Yogyakarta. Tujuannya hanya satu: mengembangkan hobi menggambar wayang. “Ternyata di ASRI tak ada pelajaran menggambar wayang,” kata Sukasman kepada Tempo, Agustus tahun lalu.

Meski kecewa, Sukasman tetap meneruskan pendidikannya. Sebab, ilmu yang ia dapat di bangku kuliah dinilainya tetap bermanfaat. Sukasman tidak lagi sekadar menjiplak saat menggambar tokoh wayang. Berbekal ilmu kuliah, ia bahkan mulai berani mengubah bentuk wayang klasik menjadi wayang kreasi baru.

Gambar-gambar wayang kreasi baru itu kemudian diperlihatkan kepada Ki Prayitno Wiguno, guru Sukasman di Abiranda (sebuah lembaga pendidikan pedalangan di Keraton Yogya). “Guru saya marah. Katanya, bentuk wayang itu sudah sempurna sehingga tidak boleh diutak-atik lagi,” kata dia, Agustus itu, kepada Tempo.

Sukasman berkisah, ia tak patah semangat. Ia bahkan mulai berani membuat wayang kreasinya itu dengan bahan dari kulit kerbau. Saat itu ia membuat tokoh wayang Petruk dan Gareng yang agak berbeda dengan pakem yang sudah ada. Wayang kreasi baru Sukasman ini lebih menonjolkan ciri khas kedua tokoh punakawan itu. Misalnya, ia lebih menonjolkan kecacatan mata, tangan, dan kaki Gareng.

Kegemaran Sukasman mengkreasikan wayang itu masih terus berlanjut saat ia bekerja di Jakarta sebagai dekorator, selepas lulus ASRI pada 1962. Ia bahkan dengan bangga memamerkan gambar-gambar wayang kreasi barunya saat mendapat kesempatan mengikuti World Fair di New York pada 1964.

Awal 1965, beberapa bulan setelah pulang dari New York, Sukasman merantau ke Belanda. Semangat mengkreasikan wayang semakin menjadi-jadi. Ia terus saja membuat gambar-gambar wayang kerasi baru dan menjualnya dari pintu ke pintu. Ia bahkan tak peduli harus menjadi buruh cuci piring di restoran, sekadar bisa bertahan hidup dan membeli peralatan gambar untuk menyalurkan ide-ide kreatifnya.

Pada Februari 1974, Sukasman kembali ke Indonesia. Sebulan kemudian, ia mengikuti Pekan Wayang II di Jakarta. Ia memamerkan sejumlah anak wayang kreasi barunya itu. “Banyak yang mencemooh, tapi ada satu orang yang memuji, yaitu Pak Budiardjo (menteri penerangan yang juga penggemar wayang),” katanya.

Sukasman hanya terhenyak saat Budiardjo menanyakan nama wayang kreasinya itu. “Terus terang, saat itu saya tidak pernah terpikir untuk memberi nama wayang buatan saya. Akhirnya secara spontan saya menjawab, ini wayang ukur,” ucapnya.

Sejak saat itulah nama wayang ukur melekat pada diri Sukasman. Sosok wayang ukur sebenarnya tetap mengacu pada wayang kulit konvensional. Sukasman hanya mengubah bagian-bagian tertentu untuk menonjolkan karakternya. Perubahan bagian-bagian tertentu anatomi wayang ini juga didasarkan atas perhitungan teknis pertunjukan. Misalnya, memperlebar bahu dan memanjangkan tangan agar gerak wayang saat dimainkan bisa tertangkap jelas oleh penonton.

Perubahan bentuk wayang kreasi Sukasman itu sebenarnya didasarkan atas perhitungan ilmiah. Sukasman mencontohkan, huruf E jika dilihat dari jauh akan terlibat seperti huruf B. Karena itu, “sosok” huruf E harus “dikuruskan” agar tetap tertangkap mata dengan jelas dari jarak jauh. Pertimbangan Sukasman sangat rasional. Menonton pertunjukan wayang selalu dari jarak jauh. Itu sebabnya, Sukasman perlu memasukkan perhitungan teknis.

“Saya hanya mencari ukuran baru dari ukuran yang sudah ada. Itulah Wayang Ukur,” ujar Sukasman.

Tentu butuh dana besar untuk mewujudkan ide-idenya. Padahal ia sama sekali tidak memiliki penghasilan tetap. Dari mana ia memperoleh uang untuk mewujudkan ide-idenya? Awalnya, kebutuhan uang selalu digelontorkan oleh Winotosastro, kakak kandungnya yang juga seorang juragan batik terkenal di Yogya.

Tapi gelontoran dana itu akhirnya terhenti. Kakaknya jengkel karena menganggap pekerjaan Sukasman tidak bermanfaat. Pasokan dana itu kemudian diambil-alih keponakannya, Felix, seorang pengusaha jasa persewaan sound system. “Setiap minggu saya diberi uang Rp 500 ribu oleh keponakan saya itu. Terserah saya mau digunakan untuk apa uang itu,” katanya.

Sukasman juga tidak pernah merasa risau meski wayang ukur-nya jarang diundang pentas. “Kalaupun diundang pentas, itu juga tidak menghasilkan uang, wong selalu saja nombok,” katanya enteng.

Pentas wayang ukur Sukasman memang tergolong unik. Ia menggabungkan pertunjukan wayang kulit dengan teater. Panggung pertunjukan selalu dihiasi dengan patung-patung fiberglass ukuran besar hasil kreasinya sendiri. Ia juga memanfaatkan teknik tata lampu, baik dari depan maupun dari belakang layar sehingga pentas wayang ukur bisa dinikmati dalam “format” tiga dimensi, bukan “format” dua dimensi seperti pertunjukan wayang kulit pada umumnya.

Sukasman juga selalu melibatkan para penari dalam setiap pementasannya. Ia juga tidak menggunakan satu dalang, melainkan tiga atau empat dalang. Bahasa yang digunakan bahasa Indonesia. Durasi pentasnya dibatasi hanya dua jam, agar penonton tidak jenuh.

Meski sudah mati-matian memformat pertunjukannya demi menyedot minat anak muda, toh pentas wayang ukur-nya selalu sepi pengunjung. Belum lagi cemoohan yang sering didengarnya. “Sakit hati juga jika mendengar cemoohan. Namun, saya tetap berusaha menghibur diri. Toh banyak orang lain yang mendapat perlakuan lebih buruk. Paling tidak saya tidak pernah dilempar telur busuk saat pertunjukan,” katanya enteng.

Hingga akhir hayatnya, Ki Sukasman tetap berkarya dan terus melakukan pencarian. Dunia penciptaan wayang begitu mengasyikkannya hingga ia rela tidak menikah. “Sampai saat ini tak kurang dari 400 wayang ukur diciptakan oleh Mas Kasman. Namun, dari 400-an wayang itu, hanya sekitar 15 wayang yang memuaskan hatinya. Mas Kasman memang terus gelisah, terus melakukan pencarian hingga akhir hayatnya,” kata Sindhunata saat melepas jenazah.

Heru CN

KOMPAS Jawa Tengah
Sabtu, 13 Juni 2009 | 10:51 WIB

Tidak banyak generasi muda yang tertarik kepada wayang kulit. Wayang kulit selama ini identik dengan generasi lama atau orang tua, kuno, serta Jawa karena bahasa pengantarnya bahasa Jawa yang tidak populer lagi di kalangan generasi muda. Untuk menarik minat generasi muda, wayang kulit sebagai kesenian tradisional sebaiknya dipertunjukkan dengan sentuhan kreatif.

Dosen di Fakultas Ilmu Budaya Universitas Gadjah Mada Yogyakarta yang juga pelestari kesenian wayang kulit, Eddy Pursubaryanto, Jumat (12/6), di Kota Semarang, mengatakan, kesenian tradisi harus selalu mengikuti perubahan dan tuntutan zaman agar dapat terus hidup dan bertahan.

“Ditonton tidaknya kan tergantung cara membawakannya. Jika tidak dapat berubah, maka sebuah kesenian akan mati,” ujar Eddy yang sering didaulat menjadi dalang.

Menurutnya, modifikasi yang membuat pertunjukan wayang kulit berbeda dari biasanya dapat menjadi daya tarik tersendiri. Untuk itu, unsur kekinian perlu dimasukkan sebagai bagian dari pertunjukan asalkan tidak mengubah substansinya. “Mulai dari musik, kosa kata, bahasa, maupun gaya humor yang terbaru dapat dimasukkan,” kata Eddy.

Rosalia Dini Dwi Nusita (20), mahasiswa Universitas Katolik Soegijapranata Semarang, mengatakan, wayang kulit dapat menjadi tontonan yang segar jika dikemas secara menarik. “Pertunjukan wayang kulit kan tidak harus dengan bahasa Jawa dan semalaman suntuk, tetapi bisa disajikan dengan cara lain agar tidak bikin ngantuk,” katanya.

Kedo Arya Aghasa (20), mahasiswa Unika Soegijapranata lainnya, juga mengakui, banyaknya tontonan seperti sinetron maupun film layar lebar bukanlah menjadi penghalang bagi wayang kulit untuk tetap dilestarikan. “Apalagi, pesan yang disampaikan lakon wayang kulit lebih mendidik dibandingkan sinetron dan film,” katanya.

Untuk menarik minat generasi muda terhadap wayang kulit, Dinas Kebudayaan, Pariwisata, Pemuda, dan Olahraga (DKPPO) Kabupaten Blora menggagas konsep wayang kontemporer remaja, serta membina dalang cilik dan remaja. DKPPO bekerja sama dengan Paguyuban Dalang Indonesia (Pepadi) Blora rutin menggelar program wayang kulit masuk sekolah

“Kami menjalin kerja sama dengan Jurusan Pedalangan Institut Seni Indonesia (ISI) Surakarta untuk mengemas wayang kontemporer yang diminati semua kalangan,” kata Kepala DKPPO Blora Pudiyatmo.

Pemerintah Kabupaten Temanggung tengah merintis program “Wayang Masuk Sekolah”. Kegiatan ini dilaksanakan dengan mementaskan wayang selama satu jam di sekolah.

Di Kabupaten Magelang, pemerintah kabupaten akan menggelar roadshow pementasan wayang kulit ke kecamatan-kecamatan mulai 2010. “Sasaran utama kegiatan ini adalah kelompok generasi muda dan anak-anak yang saat ini semakin jarang melihat pementasan wayang kulit,” kata Kepala Dinas Pariwisata dan Kebudayaan Kabupaten Magelang Wibowo Setyo Utomo. (ilo/hen/egi)

untitledDecember 18th, 2005

Kenapa wayang kulit membosankan?

Saksono

Beberapa saat yang lalu, para pemerhati wayang kulit berkumpul dan berkatarsis bersama-sama. Cukup menarik memang karena kebanyakan dari mereka mengeluh tentang eksistensi wayang kulit yang kalah dengan sinetron.

Salah satu hal yang membuat wayang kulit tidak lagi menarik adalah pertunjukan ini sangat membosankan. Bagaimana tidak, semua pertunjukan wayang kulit nyaris sama persis, ada pakemnya. Sebagai gambaran, semua pertunjukan wayang kulit jawa terdiri tiga pathet (act)1, yang terdiri dari adegan:

1. Patih dan Punggawa rapat dengan Raja

2. Raja ke keputren, lalu disusul lawakan oleh Limbuk & Cangik

3. Patih dan Punggawa rapat bersama, kemudian seluruh rombongan dari kerajaan berangkat ke suatu tempat

4. Di tengah jalan rombongan kerajaan bertemu dengan musuh, mereka berkelahi, kemudian salah satu kalah

5. Adegan lawakan Gareng, Petruk, dan Bagong. Kemudian mereka menemani sang Satria ke hutan.

6. Di tengah hutan sang Satria bertemu raksasa Cakil dan Bragalba. Terjadi perkelahian sengit walaupun akhirnya sang satria menang (seprise!!).

7. Semua tokoh muncul dan klimaks mulai terjadi

8. Tokoh antagonis perang dengan tokoh protagonis, dan akhirnya kalah dan mati. Terjadi resolusi.

9. Selesai!

Sebuah masalah muncul disini: pertunjukan wayang kulit dibuat baku sedemikian rupa, sehingga dalang nyaris tidak bisa berkreasi lebih dari itu. Paling mentok, dalang akan mengeksplorasi adegan perang dan adegan lawak, karena kedua adegan itu masih fleksibel.

Ketika sesuatu diulang-ulang terus menerus, akhirnya audience akan jenuh. Dan ketika mereka jenuh, otomatis mereka akan pindah ke hiburan lain.

Mungkin kalau diterapkan di jaman sunan-sunan, pakem wayang kulit tidak terlalu menjadi masalah karena frekuensi pagelaran wayang kulit masih jarang. Tapi ketika diterapkan di masa kini ketika sehari dapat diputar dua episode sekaligus, orang akan cepat bosan kalau plot cerita selalu mirip-mirip.

Ironisnya, kebanyakan para pemerhati wayang kulit (termasuk dalang), tidak suka ada inovasi pada pola pertunjukan wayang kulit. Ketika wayang kulit dipendekkan dari 9 jam menjadi 4 jam oleh Indosiar, mereka protes. Ketika urutan adegan di utak-atik mereka protes juga. Ketika Ki Sukasman membuat Wayang Ukur, mereka mencaci-maki.

Wayang kulit sebagai sebuah telur dari kebudayaan tidak seharusnya dikekang dan dibakukan. Seperti kebudayaan sendiri, seharusnya bisa berkembang dan menyesuaikan zaman.

Catatan kaki:
Selain plot yang sama terus, ritme perkembangan cerita wayang kulit mengumpulkan konflik, klimaks, dan resolusi pada 3 jam terakhir, kurang lebih grafiknya seperti ini:

grafik

Otomatis, penonton terpaksa harus menghabiskan 6 jam untuk melihat set-up dari lakon (cerita).

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