Variations in Indonesian Mahabharata

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 Bharatayuddha is an Old Javanese poetical rendering of some Parvas of the Mahabharata by Mpu Sedah and his brother Mpu Panuluh in Indian meters (kavya 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 Gatotkacasraya, 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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'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) Oogko 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.



More by :  Indrajit Bandyopadhyay

Top | Hinduism

Views: 4124      Comments: 2

Comment I am looking for co-producers to team with me in producing Mahabaratha2.0

It is a Monsoon Southeast-Asian production featuring a parallel of Mahabaratha's conflict of values proposition. It features a true story of a family that originates near Trichy in India, dabbles big in Malaysia and is rescued by the motherly values of a village in Central Java, Karangsari Watukumpul.

It is a story that juxtaposes the #everybody_is_doing_it (crime) culture in Malaysia and elsewhere against the epic.

Bala Pillai
05-Jul-2019 01:17 AM

Comment There is evidence from Vyasa-Mahabharata that the whole of the Yamuna basin on both sides were under Panchala and subsequently under Matsya rulers as described by the Indonesian version. We see that Santanu's forefather Kuru was ruling from Kurukshetra, not from Hastinapura. Further into past, Kuru's forefather Samvarana was banished by the Panchalas from Hastinapura (a city founded by Samvarana's forefather Hastin). Thus as the Indonesian version indicates, the Panchalas had indeed become the rulers of Hastinapura for some period of time. (Hastinapura then will be a boarder lying city for the Panchalas who already had Ahichatra and Kampila for them.) During this time Samvarana lived in the domains of the solar-dynasty kings and their Vasistha priests in the south like in the valley of Tapati (Tapti, Maharashtra) river and roamed in the forests on the banks of Sindhu (Sindhu river or Arabian Sea near Tapti river). Then it is possible for the Matsya kingdom to extend along the banks of Yamuna and engulf Hastinapura in the eastern banks of Ganga by reducing the Panchala influence or by forming an alliance with the Panchalas. Santanu probably retained back his ancestral territory (Ganga basin) by marrying Ganga and his ancestral city (Hastinapura) by marrying Satyavati.

23-Feb-2011 05:58 AM

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