Banjaran Gathotkaca, Live and Love Story of Javanese Iron Man

At  Saturday evening, March 2011, I came with my friend Puspa Sari to the puppet show ‘Banjaran Gathotkaca’ by  Ki Purbo Asmara. I came at seven o’clock and joined with my another friends. We  were going inside to find the crew to get the further information about the story itself. So we could  be more understood when watching the show because sometimes we were not really knowing well some Javanese words means. We also met Mr. Sri Joko Raharjo, pengrawit (a javanese instrument music player) in this show. He was really friendly, he pleased to answer our questions and finally we got little bit understood about the story. According to Mr. Sri Joko Raharjo, the meaning of banjaran is the life story of the protagonist figure of the puppets show. Here we go the story.

In the scene one, Kala Pracana, an ogre king that was falling in love with Goddes Supraba got confused about his own feeling. Then  his assistants, Togog Tejamantri and Bilung came and talked to him. Actually Kala Pracana had real aim why he wanted to marry Supraba . It was not his true feeling of love. Since Supraba was the ‘Queen’ of the heaven, if he could get her, it will be an easy way to rule the world. So, he sent his minister, Sekipu to attack the heaven and seized Supraba.The battle happened between the ogre troops and the gods. The gods on the right side and the ogre in the left side. Bhatara Bayu (he was the god of the wind ) fought with Sekipu. So many gods tried to defeat Sekipu included Yamadipati, god of death but no one could beat him.

In the earth, Werkudara (even called by Bima, Bratasena) and his wife, Arimbi were looking so sad because their children, a new born baby called jabang bayi Tetuka’s umbilical cord could not be cut by any weapons. Kresna, Baladewa, Puntadewa and all that came to the Bima’s house could not do anything. Arimbi asked to them to help their problem but no one can help. They asked to Arimbi and Bima to accept this fate and asked them to be more patient. Then suddenly came the messenger from the god. Bhatara Narada was looking for Arjuna and asked him to find Kuntawijayadanu, a special weapon that could cut the  baby’s umbilical cord. Finally he found the weapon but the only it container. He could not get the arrows because it obtained by Karna. Luckily , the container of Kuntawijayadanu  called Kayu Mastaba (Mastaba Wooden) cut the cord. However, it sank into the stomach of the baby. Arimbi and Bima were getting more and more confused with the condition that had happened in front of them. Bhatara Narada was calming down the situation and said that maybe it was a fate from God. “This baby would be great man one day and also he will defeat Sekipu and his cronies”. At first, Arimbi and Werkudara doubted Narada’s idea but finnaly  both of them allowed their child carried by god to the heaven to help knocked out the foes.

An amazing situation happened when a little baby defeat an ogre, Sekipu. In the first, he underestimated Tetuka but finally he surrendered because Tetuka was much  stronger than an older and big man like him. Sekipu who felt overwhelmed asked to the god. He wanted an appropriate opponent that have same body with him or at least the mature one. The gods agreed with his jag and decided to put the baby in Candradimuka Crater and also threw their weapons on it. Several times later, the baby turned into mature man with full of weapons in his body. Bhatara Guru gave the new man name : Gathotkaca. His bones were wire and the muscles were iron. Bhatara Guru also gave him three special amulets. One that made the rain will never affect him, second could fly without wings and the last he will not be disturbed when passing a haunted place. The Gathotkaca fought again with Sekipu and then Sekipu lost. Not only Sekipu, the King of  Gilingwesi kingdom, Kala Pracana also died after fought by Gathotkaca.. Finally the heaven and Sembadra saved .

Part II of the story was about Gathotkaca’s love story, but before this part began, the Dalang changed the plot to the interlude of two comics  (the conversation between Cangik and her daughter , Limbuk). Then, the story had been continued again. Lesmana was the son of Duryudana, the eldest of Kurawa’s brother. He was a fool person  that had been falling in love with Pergiwa, a beautiful woman from a village. He said that if he could not get Pergiwa, he rather died. Pergiwa was Arjuna’s daughter, meanwhile Pergiwa will be married with Gathotkaca. One day, Durna who had been sent by Kurawa, looked for Arjuna. He wanted to ruin the marriage planning between Pergiwa and Gathotkaca then changed it to be Pergiwa and Lesmana’s marriage. He influenced Arjuna to cancel the marriage and explained if Gathotkaca was not appropriate mate for Pergiwa. He said, there was ‘a special calculation’ how to know how a couple will be last or not. Durna explained about, 3 B, Bibit (the seed), Bebet (the ancestor) and Bobot (the weigh). Then he also told based on the calculation, Pergiwa and Gathotkaca will never last forever. Their marriage’s live would get bad luck. So, he suggested to Arjuna to cancel the Gathotkaca-Pergiwa’s marriage and changed the groom into Lesmana. Arjuna agreed to cancel it. Then he sent Abimanyu, his son to give the information about marriage cancelation to Werkudara’s family.

Abimanyu came into Werkudara’s house and told his uncle about it. Werkudara could not accept his brother’s (Arjuna) decision. He thought that it was not fair and asked Gathotkaca no matter the way to get her back. Gathotkaca felt sad with this news, he desperated and never thought it will be happened in his life. Kresna who saw him, share the suggestion from his experience to get another way that made Pergiwa back to Gathotkaca.  Then Gathotkaca went out to meet Pergiwa and asked about the truth. Pergiwa still loved Gathotkaca very much but she could not refuse what her father said. When they were still talking, Lesmana saw them and thought that Gathotkaca seized Pergiwa, his bride. Arjuna that knew this situation, was beating up Gathotkaca. Abimanyu, came again to Werkudara’s house. He reported to his uncle that a thief had been captured . Werkudara respondedv that if there was a thief, it might be just a common thief. Then Abimanyu explained the thief was Gathotkaca. To hear the news, of course Werkudara came to the place. When he saw his son was beaten by Arjuna, he beat Arjuna’s son, Abimanyu. Arjuna realized his fault and finally, Gathotkaca and Pregiwa married.

One day, Arimbi should be the next Queen of Pringgadani, replaced his previous king. Since Arimbi became Werkudara’s wife, she could not be a Queen of Pringgadani and the degree of power will be heritage by her son,Gathotkaca. But Arimbi’s brother named Brajadenta didn’t accept it because he thought that the one that should be the King is him, not his sister nor Gathotkaca. Then he resisted Gathotkaca. Both of them were fighting and Gathotkaca could not defeat his uncle.

Brajadenta had a twin named Brajamusti. Brajadenta had different mind than Brajamusti, he was not supported his twin that wanted to grab the King throne. Brajamusti preferred to stand in the Gathotkaca’s  side. So he helped his nephew to defeat Brajadenta. He told to Gathotkaca if Brajadenta would be only died if Brajamusti also died, so they must died together. Then he entered into Gathotkaca’s right hand. In the battle, Gathotkaca knocked his hand to Brajadenta and his uncle died. Both of the twin soul resided into Gathotkaca’s hands and added his strength .

In the Bharatayudha war, actually Gathotkaca was not true opponent for Karna because Karna must be defeated by Arjuna. Gathotkaca was used for tumbal (sacrificial) in this war. The gods planned it because Arjuna must be saved from Karna. There, Gathotkaca and Karna were fighting and actually Karna felt Gathotkaca was too strong for him. So, he had to use Kuntawijaya arrow  to make Gathotkaca died. Kuntawijaya arrow should have to be used only to kill Arjuna but the situation forced him to use the arrow. Gathotkaca copied himself into many but finally the arrow was stabbing to the stomach of  the truly Gathotkaca.The arrow of Kuntawijaya finally reunited with the container, Kayu Mastaba (remembered when Gatotkaca’s birth, there was Kayu Mastaba sank in his stomach). Finally Gathotkaca was killed in Bharatayudha war and that was the end of Gathotkaca’s life.

It was a sad ending and I was surprise I could stand until morning to watch the whole show. I could see people enthusiasm to watch. Not only from medical faculty but also from another faculty and not only indonesian but also foreigners. They laughed, commented to the Dalang when the interludes session came, and they were watching till the end of the story.

When people came home in the dawn in drunk, I came home in dawn by wayang.  This puppets show gives me so many things actually for the moral value. It makes me realize that Indonesia has an amazing cultural heritage stories and I proud to be a native Indonesian. Wayang, such a complicated but an amazing masterpiece.

Full show of puppets stage. (Courtesy : Rani Theresia)

Full show of puppets stage. (Courtesy : Rani Theresia)

A row of Sinden (the singers). (Courtesy : Rani Theresia)

A row of Sinden (the singers). (Courtesy : Rani Theresia)

Puppet show is not about the characters only. It is also about shadow motions (Courtesy : Rani Theresia)

Puppet show is not about the characters only. It is also about shadow motions (Courtesy : Rani Theresia)

The interpreter (sorry, I forget her name) to translate from Javanese to English (Courtesy : Restu Hapsari)

The interpreter (sorry, I forget her name) to translate from Javanese to English (Courtesy : Restu Hapsari)

Here is the show time (courtesy : Rani Theresia)

Here is the show time (courtesy : Rani Theresia)

The ogre King. (Courtesy : Restu Hapsari)

The ogre King. (Courtesy : Restu Hapsari)

To play the scene of puppet show. (Courtesy : Restu Hapsari)

To play the scene of puppet show. (Courtesy : Restu Hapsari)

Kresna and another puppets. (Courtesy : Restu Hapsari)

Kresna and another puppets. (Courtesy : Restu Hapsari)

Ki Purbo Asmara, the Dalang (the puppetiers player). (Courtesy : Restu Hapsari)

Ki Purbo Asmara, the Dalang (the puppetiers player). (Courtesy : Restu Hapsari)

Guess what? Here is Orlando Bloom !. Sri Joko Raharjo . He is Pengrawit (a person who playing gamelan in this puppets show). Also a lecture of ISI Surakarta. (Courtesy : Dwi Liana)

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