searching for the extra from the ordinary

“Ajisaka”: Loyalty, Fault, Blood

Ajisaka, the wise young man

for we are human,

and no human is flawless.

 *To read in Indonesian, see below.

The story of Ajisaka is a legendary Javanese folklore. It told the story of a young man named Ajisaka, who lived in a place called Pulo (Javanese: island) Majethi. While being handsome and wise, Ajisaka was also powerful.

He had two servants—Dora (some called Dara) and Sembada. Both the servants were very loyal and faithful to their master. One day, Ajisaka was willing to travel to see more of the world. He asked Dora to join him in the adventure. As for Sembada, he was commanded to stay in Pulo Majethi and to look after Ajisaka’s precious keris (Javanese traditional weapon).

“You must keep it well; you shall not give it to anyone but myself,” Ajisaka commanded to Sembada. His master’s words were his duty, so Sembada took it into his responsibility.

Shortly, Ajisaka and Dora began their adventure. They arrived at a kingdom named Medhangkamulan. Though being vast and wealthy, the kingdom was unusually quiet, if not to say looked like a dead kingdom. Asking the villagers, Ajisaka and Dora figured out that the ruling king—named Dewatacengkar—had a weird, terrifying ‘hobby’ of eating human flesh. There were particular moments when Dewatacengkar had to eat human flesh; if not, he would be so horribly cruel.

Many of the villagers had been offered to the king; as when Ajisaka arrived, there was another villager being captured by the king’s army. Eager to save the villager, Ajisaka told the army not to take villager. Instead, he offered himself to be the king’s prey.

Ajisaka was then brought to the king. Before the king took his life, Ajisaka asked for one thing. “You may make me your food only if you could give me a piece of land of the same length as my turban.”

Laughing, Dewatacengkar replied, “That would only be some small piece of land. I could give you even more than what you requested.”

So Ajisaka started to pull his turban off. He grabbed one end; the other end was held by the king. Strange, the turban seemed to have no end; the more Ajisaka pull it off, the longer it got. And so, the king had to keep moving backward to measure the land with the turban.

The king kept moving backward until he finally reached the seashore. Ajisaka gave the turban a flip and made the king fell down into the water. Once the king fell down into the water, he turned into a white crocodile for the rest of his life.

Long story short, after the death of King Dewatacengkar, Ajisaka was then made king od the Medhangkamulan kingdom. He ruled with wisdom and generosity. One day, Ajisaka assigned Dora to go back to Pulo Majethi to take the keris he had previously trusted to Sembada. being a loyal servant, Sembada departed to Pulo Majethi.

Upon arriving at the island, Dora told Sembada what he was coming for.

“The master assigned me to take the keris and bring it to him,” he said.

“No,” Sembada replied. “It is my duty to keep the keris and to not giving it to anyone but him; and I will do so until the master himself comes to take it.”

For quite a moment, they both argued on the keris; each insisted in doing what they had been told to do. Dora persisted on taking the keris, while Sembada undoubtedly stayed on keeping it and refused to give it away.

Having such a great argument, they both eventually fought one another. As they both had the same strength and skills, no one was defeated and no one won. In the end of the fight, however, they both died.

The news on the servants’ death reached Ajisaka. He was devastated; partly because the grief of losing his two loyal servants, part because he felt guilty as he realized that the death was, in some ways, caused by his own miscarriage in delivering assignments to the two servants.

To memorize the two servants, he wrote a poem, which later became the root for Javanese letters.

The poem read:

ha-na-ca-ra-ka : there were two servants/messengers

da-ta-sa-wa-la : [they were] fighting with one another

pa-dha-ja-ya-nya : [as they were of] the same strength

ma-ga-ba-tha-nga : [they]  both died

* * *

The two servants

Dewatacengkar, the cruel king, being angry for running out of food stocks.

The innocent villagers

The king’s troops captured a victim.

The king and his “meal”

Pada jaman dahulu, di Pulo (Jawa: pulau) Majethi hidup seorang satria tampan bernama Ajisaka. Selain tampan, Ajisaka juga berilmu tinggi dan sakti mandraguna. Sang Satria mempunyai dua orang punggawa, Dora dan Sembada namanya. Kedua punggawa itu sangat setia kepada pemimpinnya, sama sekali tidak pernah mengabaikan perintahnya. Pada suatu hari, Ajisaka berkeinginan pergi berkelanan meninggalkan Pulau Majethi. Kepergiannya ditemani oleh punggawanya yang bernama Dora, sementara Sembada tetap tinggal di Pulau Pulo Majethi, diperintahkan menjaga keris pusaka andalannya. Ajisaka berpesan bahwa Sembada tidak boleh menyerahkan pusaka tersebut kepada siapapun kecuali kepada Ajisaka sendiri. Sembada menyanggupi akan melaksanakan perintahnya.

Ajisaka bersama Dora tiba di Medhangkamulan. Kerajaan tersebut luas dan makmur, namun suasananya mencekam. Hal ini ternyata karena sang raja, Prabu Dewatacengkar, mempunyai tabiat yang aneh dan mengerikan—setiap waktu tertentu, ia harus menyantap daging manusia. Korbannya tak lain adalah rakyatnya sendiri.

Saat Ajisaka tiba, Patih tangan kanan Dewatacengkar sedang mencari tumbal untuk dipersembahkan kepada sang raja. Melihat keadaan ini, Ajisaka pun mengajukan diri untuk menggantikan calon mangsa tersebut.

Ajisaka  mengatakan bahwa ia rela dijadikan santapan sang Prabu asalakan ia dihadiahi tanah seluas ikat kepala yang dikenakannya. Mendengar permintaan itu, Dewatacengkar tertawa terbahak-bahak.

“Hanya itu?” tanyanya. “Aku bisa memberimu lebih banyak.”

“Ya, hanya itu,” jawab Ajisaka. “Dan Paduka sendirilah yang harus mengukur luas tanah tersebut.”

Dewatacengkar akhirnya menyanggupi permintaan itu. Ajisaka kemudian mempersilakan Sang Prabu menarik ujung ikat kepalanya. Sungguh ajaib, ikat kepala itu seakan tak ada habisnya. Sang Prabu Dewatacengkar terpaksa semakin mundur dan semakin mundur, sehingga akhirnya tiba ditepi laut selatan. Ikat kepala tersebut kemudian dikibaskan oleh Ajisaka sehingga Sang Prabu terlempar jatuh  ke laut. Seketika wujudnya berubah menjadi buaya putih. Ajisaka kemudian menjadi raja di Medhangkamulan.

Setelah dinobatkan menjadi raja Medhangkamulan, Ajisaka mengutus  Dora pergi kembali ke  Pulo Majethi menggambil pusaka yang dijaga oleh Sembada. Setibanya di  Pulo Majethi, Dora menemui Sembada dan menjelaskan bahwa ia diperintahkan untuk mengambil pusaka  Ajisaka. Sembada tidak mau memberikan pusaka tersebut karena ia berpegang pada perintah  Ajisaka ketika meninggalkan  Majethi. Dora yang juga melaksanakan perintah  Sang Prabu memaksa meminta agar pusaka tersebut diberikan kepadanya.

Akhirnya kedua punggawa itu bertempur. Karena keduanya sama-sama sakti, peperangan berlangsung seru, saling menyerang dan diserang, sampai keduanya sama-sama tewas.
Kabar mengenai tewasnya Dora dan Sembada terdengar oleh Sang Prabu Ajisaka. Ia sangat menyesal mengingat kesetiaan kedua punggawa kesayangannya itu, juga karena menyadari bahwa kematian keduanya adalah akibat kelalaiannya dalam memberikan perintah.

Kesedihannya mendorongnya untuk menciptakan sajak yang kelak dikenal sebagai aksara Jawa untuk mengabadikan kedua orang yang dikasihinya itu, yang bunyinya adalah sebagai berikut:

ha-na-ca-ra-ka : ana utusan [ada utusan]

da-ta-sa-wa-la : padha kekerengan [saling berselisih]

pa-dha-ja-ya-nya : padha digdayane [sama kuatnya]

ma-ga-ba-tha-nga : padha dadi bathange [sama-sama menjadi mayat]

* * *

 

Ajisaka offered himself to be the king’s meal.

 

The king, pulling out Ajisaka’s headcover, reached the sea.

 

The two servants were fighting.

 

Ajisaka and the memorial letters dedicated to the loyal servants.

From the Javanese dance-drama performance “Kasatyaning Jalma Dadya Aksara” by the 2011/2012 students of Sekolah Menengah Kejuruan 1 Kasihan Bantul (Vocational High School 1 Kasihan, Bantul); performed at Taman Budaya Yogyakarta (Yogyakarta Culture Stage), 14 March 2012.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s