Notes: Javanese tale of Saka hero and origins of first humans from naga serpent eggs

“The Javanese myth of Tantu Pagelaran explains the origin of Java island. Batara Guru (Shiva) ordered the gods Brahma andVishnu to fill Java island with human beings. However at that time Java island was floating freely on the ocean. To make the island stay still, the gods decided to nail it on the earth by moving part of Mahameru in Jambudvipa (India) and attaching it upon Java.[11] Vishnu transformed into a giant turtle and carried the Meru upon his back, while the god Brahma transformed into a giant naga serpent and wrapped his body around the mountain and giant turtle’s back, so the Meru mountain could be transported safely. The mountain fragments scattered upon Java created the volcanoes and mountainous regions spanned from west to east. The main part of the Meru mountain attached to the eastern part of Java. Later the gods cut off a small tip to make Mount Pawitra (Mount Penanggungan,) while the main part of Meru mountain became Semeru volcano, the abode of Lord Shiva.

The myth of Aji Saka tells the story about the coming of civilization to Java, brought by the legendary first king of Java Aji Saka, and the story of Javanese script.[12] Soon after the gods created and nailed the island of Java, the island become habitable. However the first race to rule the island were the denawa (giant demon) that repressed all creatures and ate humans. The first kingdom in Java was Medang Kamulan, and the king was the Giant King Dewata Cengkar, the cruel King of the country who ate the flesh of his own people.

One day a young wise man by the name of Aji Saka come to fight Dewata Cengkar. Aji Saka came from Bumi Majeti. Some sources hold that his origin was Jambudwipa (India) from Shaka (Schytian) origin, explaining his name. One day he told his two servants Dora and Sembodo that he was going to Java. He told them that while he was away, both of them were to guard his heirloom (Pusoko). After arriving in Java, Aji Saka moved inland to the kingdom of Medang Kamulan. In a battle, Aji Saka pushed Dewata Cengkar into the South Sea. Dewata Cengkar did not die, instead becoming a Bajul Putih (White Crocodile). Aji Saka became a ruler of Medang Kamulan.

Meanwhile a woman of the village of Dadapan, found an egg. She put the egg in her Lumbung (Rice Barn). After a certain period the egg vanished, replaced by a snake. The villagers wanted to kill the snake, but the snake said, “I’m the son of Aji Saka, bring me to him”. Aji Saka told the snake that he would be recognized as his son, if he could kill the Bajul Putih in the South Sea. After a long, stormy battle in which both sides demonstrated strength and skill, the snake killed Bajul Putih.

As had been promised the snake was recognized as Aji Saka’s son and he was given a name Jaka Linglung (a stupid boy). In the palace Jaka Linglung greedily ate the domestic pets of the palace. He was punished by the King, expelling him to live in the Jungle of Pesanga. He was tightly roped until he could not move his head. He was instructed only to eat things which fall into his mouth.

One day, a group of nine village boys were playing around in that Jungle. Suddenly it was raining heavily. They found shelter in a cave. Only eight boys went inside, while the ninth, suffering from skin disease had to stay out. All of a sudden, the cave fell apart, and the eight boys vanished. Only the one who stayed outside was safe. The cave was actually the mouth of Jaka Linglung.

After ruling the Medang Kamulan kingdom, Aji Saka sent a messenger to inform his faithful servants to bring the pusoko to him. Dora came to Sembodo and told him that Aji Saka ask them to bring the pusoko to Java. Sembodo refused, since he clearly remembered Aji Saka’s order: no one except Aji Saka himself was allowed to take the pusoko. Dora and Sembodo distrusted each other, and suspected that the other tried to steal the pusoko. They fought to death. Aji Saka became curious why it was taking so long, came home himself only to discover the bodies of his two faithful servants and the terrible misunderstanding between them. Aji Saka composed a poem to them that later become the origin of hanacaraka Javanese script. The Javanese alphabet itself forms a poem, and a perfect pangram…”. — Mythology of Indonesia

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