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Sea of Honey Page 2

Chapter 2
The Kings of Bali

The legend of the Barong

Kesari, king of Koripan, built five great temples during his lifetime. He was a virtuous man and he when he died he ascended into heaven, leaving no mortal remains on the earth. His son Cayaksuna then ruled the people but during his reign a terrible pestilence came to the land and many young people died. The king called the people together and they went in a great procession to the temple that his father had built in honour of the gods (Besakih, on the slopes of the holy mountain Gunung Agung).

The people prayed and made offerings. Siva’s wife Giriputri appeared before Cayaksuna and revealed to him that the people were dying because they had become possessed by a wicked demon trinity called Sangkalatiga. She requested that offerings be made at the watering holes throughout the land. He heard her say in a loud sweet voice . . . ‘let penjors and lamaks be hung out in decoration. Perhaps by these means Sangkalatiga may be persuaded to enter into, and become one large demon, who must be appeased. His name will be Sangkalagedê, and when he dances in front of peoples houses he must be rewarded’. So the king made this decree and the people obeyed. When Cayaksuna lived out his life, his deliverance from earth to heaven was in the same manner as his father before him.


At this time the king of Kediri, Dharmawangsa, conquered Bali and sent his sister Mahendradatta, to wed Dharmodayana, ruler of the conquered land. After her marriage Mahendradatta was known as Queen Gunapriya. This union produced three fine sons, Erlangga, Marakata, Anak Wungsu, and a beautiful daughter called Ratna Menggali, who was much loved by her mother Queen Gunapriya.

Because she was Dharmawangsa’s sister, Gunapriya’s influence on the kingdom was profound, and this is how the language and etiquette of Java was introduced to Bali. Erlangga went to Kediri and married the daughter of King Dharmawangsa and became as a trusted son to the king. When Erlangga was sixteen years old Dharmawangsa was assassinated and Erlangga had to flee for his life. He took refuge in the forest, and his only companions were two holy men who were brothers. Their names were Mpu Bharada and Mpu Kuturan. These brothers were gifted with great spiritual and magical powers. Erlangga remained in the forest for many years with these holy men. Finally, with the help and advice of these holy men Erlangga gradually regained his father-in-law’s kingdom, and ruled it for thirty difficult years.

When King Dharmodayana of Bali took another wife, he banished his faithful first wife, the ageing Queen Gunapriya, in favour of the younger more beautiful girl. Gunapriya was incensed at her husband’s heartless behaviour toward her and appealed to her powerful son Erlangga for help. Erlangga ignored his mother’s plea for help because his father had banished her to the forest with the accusation that Queen Gunapriya was a witch. Because of this terrible accusation not one man in all the nobility was brave enough to seek the hand of her beloved daughter Ratna Menggali, this made Queen Gunapriya very sad.

Then quite unexpectedly King Dharmodayana died and Gunapriya became a widow, a rangda. Rangda was furious with her son Erlangga, blaming him for all her misfortune. She made an oath to destroy him and the kingdom of Kediri; and to do this she turned to the powers of the black arts. Rangda went with her pupils to the cemetery and danced and made offerings to Begawiti, the deity of black magic, to help her destroy Kediri.

The goddess appeared and danced with them and granted her permission, but she warned Rangda that she must leave the centre of Kediri untouched. The witches danced at the crossroads and soon the people fell sick in great numbers throughout the land. When King Erlangga discovered the cause of the epidemic he ordered his mother to be destroyed. He gave his soldiers directions how to find the evil, wicked witch. The soldiers crept into her house while she was still sleeping and stabbed her in the heart. Rangda awoke, startled, but unhurt, and she consumed the soldiers with her great fire.

Once again the great witch went into the cemetery with her pupils and danced their evil; they dug up corpses, cutting them into pieces, eating their members, drinking the blood; wearing the entrails as necklaces. Begawiti came to them again and joined in the bloody banquet, but once again she warned Rangda that she must be careful. The witches danced again at the crossroads, and the dreadful epidemic ravaged the land. The vassals of Erlangga died before they could bury the corpses they carried to the graveyards.

In desperation the king sent for Mpu Bharada, the holy man from Lemah Tulis, the only living man that could vanquish the wicked witch. Mpu Bharada planned his campaign very carefully. He sent his trusted young assistant Bahuta to Rangda to seek permission to wed her beloved daughter Ratna Menggali. This pleased the old witch greatly and she quickly gave her consent and blessing.

Bahuta and Ratna enjoyed a passionate honeymoon and the happy, love-struck girl soon revealed to her husband the source of her mother’s diabolical power. Ratna Menggali told her husband that all her mother’s power was contained in a very small book. Bahuta quietly stole the book away and handed it to his master to make a copy of it, and then the book was returned before its disappearance could be notices.

The book was a manual of righteousness and it had to be read backwards by those that wished to practise the magic of the left (evil), for those that wished to gain the power of Begawiti, the deity of black magic. The holy man was then able to restore life to all those victims of Rangda; all those whose bodies had not yet decayed.

Armed with this knowledge he accused the witch of her terrible crimes but she challenged him by setting a huge waringin tree alight, merely with a glance from her fiery eyes. However, Mpu Bharada enraged the witch by restoring the tree so she turned her fire against the holy man. He remained unmoved and killed her with one of her own mantras. And she died in the monstrous form that is Rangda. Bharada, in order to absolve her of her great evil and to allow her to atone, revived her and gave her a human appearance before he finally destroyed her.

Erlangga was overcome with grief and remorse on his mother’s death and renounced his kingdom, becoming a hermit in the forest far from any man’s eyes. The gods appointed Mpu Kuturan to rule Bali, to bring peace to the land and laws, so men could live in harmony at last. When Mpu Kuturan became king he built temples at Goa Lawa, Desar Gelgel, and Puseh Tasik (at Pejeng), in honour of the gods.

During his reign all robbers and thieves were banished from the kingdom, his reign was severe because he had to cleanse the land. The gods rewarded him at the end of his life in the same manner as the kings before him and when he died he ascended directly into heaven.

Now before Mpu Kuturan died, Indra, the mighty Lord of Heaven, assumed human form and came to Padang to visit the king of Bali. While Indra was there he fell in love with a beautiful girl from Blahbatuh. Their union produced three sons; all who became famous patihs in Bedulu. Blessed Indra then resumed his true form and returned to heaven soon after Mpu Kuturan’s release from earth.

Bali was again without a ruler.

The god Kacyapa came down from heaven to Gunung Agung and there he met a maiden called Giridanu, their union produced a son and they called him Mayadanawa. This child subsequently became the first king of Bedulu. Mayadanawa was an arrogant and jealous man who ignored the gods. He forbade his subjects to obey the commands of Giriputri because he wanted his subjects to worship him alone. The gods became angry at his impiety and went to mount Meru to complain to the creator.

Indra was sent at once to destroy the impudent Mayadanawa. A great battle took place at Petemon. Mayadanawa realised that he was overpowered and fled to Tampaksiring. Indra’s army followed Mayadanawa for they were hot and thirsty after the bloody battle, but the crafty Mayadanawa had poisoned the water; many drank of the water and died a slow agonising death. Indra soon realised what was happening so he planted two umbrellas in the ground and made them into life giving springs. He called these springs Tirta Selukat and Tirta Empul; whose water’s bring the dead to life again.

When he saw this Mayadanawa became very frightened and he fled once again. This time he went to a place called Manukaya, where he changed his form into that of a hen, for he was trying to evade the wrath of Indra. As time passed Mayadanawa changed his form many times trying to avoid retribution from the gods. Finally Mayadanawa was brought to justice by an arrow to his heart from Indra’s bow. As his lifeblood gushed out it formed the river called Petanu, and to this day it is cursed, for no man or beast may drink from it or use its water.

At last Batara Indra had overcome Mayadanawa but his plan had always been to make him come to life again; by dividing him into two parts; male and female, to become the first raja of Bali. The spirit of Mayadanawa was placed in a coconut flower on the slopes of Gunung Agung. After the gods had blessed it; from that flower came two children, a boy named Mesula and a girl called Mesuli.

The boy and girl twins loved each other and when they grew up they married and had children, also twins, and they continued to rule in Pejeng. These twins also loved each other and they married and gave birth to more twins, until the seventh generation of Mesula-Mesuli this continued. At this time the lastborn male twin rejected his sister because she was black and ugly. He married instead a pretty dancing girl, and by doing this he broke the tradition of marriage between the royal line of twins.

This lastborn male twin was endowed with great magical powers and he liked nothing better than to demonstrate these powers. His favourite trick was to allow a retainer to cut off his head and he would replace it without coming to any harm. One day when this lastborn male twin was performing his usual magic trick; by allowing his retainer to cut off his head, aduh! His head rolled down an embankment and fell into the swiftly flowing river and was swept away. His minister was horrified and in desperation he cut off the head of pig and quickly placed it on the shoulders of the king. The king’s name was Tapauling, and from that day the king lived in a high tower and killed anyone that raised his or her eyes in his presence. One day, unbeknown to the king, a small child passed unnoticed in the king’s presence and raised his eyes and saw the pig-headed king. Word of the pig-headed king spread like wildfire throughout the land, and from that day the people called the king Bedaulu, which means; the king who changed his head.

A legend of Tenganan

It came about that the king’s favourite horse went missing so the king sent men from whole villages to search in all directions, but it was to no avail. The king was broken-hearted because the animal could not be found. Finally, after many days the men from Tenganan who were searching to the east found the well-rotted corpse of the horse. The king told them to name their own reward.

A spokesman for the men of Tenganan stepped forward and told the king that they only wanted the land where the horse had been found. The king thought this was a very modest request so he instructed one of his officials with a delicate sense of smell to measure off the land, staring where the horse lay. The headman of Tenganan accompanied the official of the king, they walked for many days but no matter how far they went the foul smell was evident. Tired and exhausted they could walk no further so they agreed that the land already covered was more than sufficient, for no matter how far they walked the foul stench followed them. After the king’s official had departed the clever chief of Tenganan pulled out a piece of rotted horseflesh, which he had concealed beneath his clothing. To this day the people of Tenganan speak of this king and the love he showed for his favourite horse.

Now Bedaulu was a semi-demonic king, with the head of a pig and the powers of a magician. And he absolutely refus­ed to acknowledge the supremacy of the Majapahit king, Hay­am Wuruk. Gajah Mada, the Majapahit Prime Minister, was se­nt to Bali to subdue the recalcitrant king. Pasung Grigis, the Pejeng patih, welcomed Gajah Mada but told him that it was impossible for him to have an audience with Bedaulu. The king gave instructions that Pasung Grigis should prepa­re and choose Gajah Mada’s food, with his own hand. The food that the cunning patih prepared for Gajah Mada was fe­rns, dry rice and a jug of cool water. The water had to be drunk from a special jug with a curved spout. The patih had chosen food and water, which required the partaker to turn their face upwards. When the food was set before Gaj­ah Mada, he at once began to eat, as he was very hungry. This necessitated him to raise his face upwards, and he im­mediately saw the king aloft, in his high pavilion, wi­th the head of a pig!

The king was filled with a great rage that anyone would dare to look upon his dreadful head, to see his shame, but he could not according to custom; kill anyone whilst they were eating. Humiliation and embarrassment so overwhelmed the king, that it brought forth a great magic fire from within him, which consumed the king.

Then Gajah Mada returned to Java, and he told Hayam Wuruk what had happened. The king was troubled that the cunning patih of Pejeng, Pasung Grigis, had not also been destroyed. So he instructed Gajah Mada to devise a plan to kill the patih, and another of his enemies from Sumbawa. Gajah Mada pondered on it for a long time, and he wondered how it might be accomplished. He knew that the patih of Pejeng desired power, and that he wished to ingratiate himself with the Majapahit king, that he wished to be favourably looked on by Hayam Wuruk. So Gajah Mada let it be known to the cunning patih that Hayam Wuruk had a detested enemy in Sumbawa. The wily patih immediately launched forth an army against Sumbawa, and in the ensuing bloody battle, Gajah Mada made sure that both of the king’s enemies were slain.

And Bali was again without a ruler.

The grateful Majapahit king then gave Bali into the hands of his trusted prime minister, Gajah Mada. Then Gajah Mada returned to Bali and he became King of Bedulu, but he had left his beloved wife Ayu Bebed in Java, for he feared for her safety in Bali. The king, Hayam Wuruk, fell in love with her, for she was an extremely beautiful woman. He was determined to possess her, even though she spurned all of his advances. But the king was mad with desire, and he overpowered Ayu Bebed and raped her.

Poor Ayu Bebed was distraught, so she sent a messenger to Bali, to tell her husband of the king’s deed. Her mess­age was in the form of a cloth, with the footprints of ele­phants and buffaloes painted on it. Gajah Mada knew at on­ce what had happened, and he swore vengeance on Hayam Wuruk. By his magical power he brought hundreds of stone images to life, and he sent them flying across the sea to Java, to ma­ke the king sick. The king became grievously ill, and the medicine men were sent for; from the farthest points in the kingdom. The king had heard of an especially skilled medic­ine man from Bali, so he requested Gajah Mada to summons him to the king’s presence. But Gajah Mada called in an ironsm­ith, Mpu Gandring, whose kris had the power to kill at first thrust. Then he conspired with Mpu Gandring, and he promised the smith that if he succeeded in killing the king, that all of his descendants in perpetuity would always have the right to a seven-tiered cremation tower. The smith pro­mised to do his best, and accompanied Gajah Mada to Java.

When they came before the king, Mpu Gandring said that he could only treat the king if he was alone, and he requested that everyone should leave the room. Hayam Wuruk agreed, and all the servants and women went away. Mpu Gandring then quickly drew his kris, and stabbed the king to death with one thrust to his heart. All who were waiting outside hea­rd the king’s cry, and they came rushing into the room. There was a loud commotion and much excitement. Gajah Mada was among the people, and he loudly reproached Mpu Gandring for his terrible deed, lest any suspicion should fall on him.

A great assembly of officials was held, but even though they suspected Gajah Mada, they feared him more, and they were obliged to make him king, for he was the most powerful lord in all the land.

Gajah Mada had ruled for some years when a priest, a certa­in holy man, Mpu Kepakisan, approached him and told him th­at the gods had decided to call him to heaven.

Some time later, when Gajah Mada was walking by the sea-sho­re, he met a simple fisherman mending his nets. He asked the fisherman if he would like to be the Majapahit King. The man shook his head with fright at the very idea of it, but Gajah Mada by flattery succeeded in persuading him to comply with his wishes. The only condition that he gave the man was that he must not touch Ayu Bebed, his beloved wife. When the man’s face was washed and he was dressed in the king’s clothes, he looked so exactly like the king that even Ayu Bebed was deceived. But when she saw him eating she realised that she had been tricked, and she was very unhappy. Every day the unkingly attributes of the fisherm­an became more apparent. As Chief Justice, he gave foolish verdicts. In one particular case, a man complained that his neighbour had stolen his cow. ‘Had he no cow of his own?’


‘Then he shall have one given him!’

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