Batara Guru
and The World of Gods

In the wayang kulit the role of gods (batara, dewi, dewata) is very important. Goddess in local language is batari , dewati and the other synonim is hyang. They have their own kingdom where gods live:

Kahyangan:a place where gods (hyang) live, or
Kadewatan:a place where gods (dewa) live, or
Kaindran:a place where gods live under the supervision of god Indra (Indra has been assigned by Guru to take care of god's kingdom), or Suralaya

The supreme god is Batara Guru (teacher), he has full authority from Sang Hyang Wenang (power holder of all gods) to direct other gods to perform their duties, as well as to govern all kinds of life in the universe included life and fate of human beings. His other names are Sang Hyang Jagadnata (king of the universe) and Sang Hyang Girinata (king of mountains). In the ancient times, all kingdoms were located on top of mountains. When he was young, before receiving his authority of power, his name was Sang Hyang Manikmaya.

In his capacity as supreme god, he was assisted by Batara Narada (means wise), his other name was Resi Kaneko Putro, a senior god acting as his envoy in dealing with mankind.

Batara Guru is the son of Sang Hyang Tunggal. Oneday, Sang Hyang Tunggal was throwing an egg to create three dewas. The eldest is Togog (Tedjomantri) serves king of giants, he has a company, Bilung (Sorowito). Togog and Bilung were always against Semar and his sons who serve honest ksatrias. Togog was created from the egg's shell. The second was Semar (Sang Hyang Ismoyo) the most famous servant for Pandawa. He has three sons, named Gareng, Petruk and Bagong. Semar was created from the yolk of the egg. The youngest was Guru (Sang Hyang Manikmoyo), he was created from the white substance of egg.

The existence of gods and world of gods was created by supernatural power. Batara Guru has several sons, named Sang Hyang (S.H.) Basuki, S.H. Srimoyo, S.H. Sambo, S.H. Brahma, S.H. Indra, S.H. Wisnu, S.H. Bayu.

Other well-known figures were : S.H. Surya, Batara Kamajaya & Dewi Ratih (god and goddess of love) , Dewi Supraba (the most beautiful goddess, who married Arjuna), Dewi Uma (wife of Guru), Batara Kala (considered by other dewa) as a trouble maker. Batara Wisnu was the most active dewa in protecting human life against evils. He always fought for the truth. He had incarnated several times. As told in the wayang story, he had reincarnated as human being at least three times. The first when he became Ramabargawa or Wiku Jamadagni as a giant. Ramabargawa had a heirloom of a bow and arrows, called Bargawa.

He met King Arjuna Sosrobahu of Maespati, also known as a Wisnu reincarnation. Although Arjuna Sosrobahu was a wise king but he was greedy. He defeated other kings and those who defeated had to send material obligations to him, those who did not pay should be killed right away. Arjuna Sosrobahu was killed by Bargawa's arrow and his soul 'joined' Ramabargawa.

In his pursuit of death, Ramabargawa met Ramawijaya happily, also a reincarnation of Wisnu. Before being killed by Ramawijaya, he begged Ramawijaya to lead his soul to live together with Wisnu. Ramabargawa died and his soul 'joined' Ramawijaya. Wisnu's incarnations to Ramawijaya and Kresna were more famous.

Rama and Kresna had received authorization from S.H. Wenang to preserve a good, just, peaceful and Prosperous life in the earth. Both of them had the same heirloom - Cakra, which were used only against evil people. They were very wise, knew everything what's going to be. Kresna had another divine heirloom called Kembang (flower) Wijaya Kusuma.

This Wijaya Kusuma could make a dead people to live again, only by slightly touching it to the body of the man. Sometime the peaceful life of gods in their domain, kahyangan could be disturbed by two things :

1.By hot weather or uncomfortable feeling which penetrated kahyangan due two a man strong meditation. For instance, someone had a strong wish for something, and he was aware that only Batara Guru could help accomplished his wish. Then he went to solitude, alone, fasting and didn't sleep days and nights and solemnly meditated with full of concentration and would not stop before S.H. Guru agreed with his request. This meditation should bring uncomfortable situation in Kahyangan. Usually Batara Guru should instruct Narada to stop his meditation. Narada could send some goddesses to attract the meditator, in the hope that he would stop his meditation. If his concentration could not be deviated, Guru should grant his wish by sending Narada. After that, the situation in Kahyangan should be normal again.
2.By the attacks of some evil powerful giants because his request to marry a certain goddess was rejected. As the giant is sakti, having powerful supernatural power, he had the ability to make chaos in Suralaya. If there is no god could expel him, then Guru should call a ksatria to defeat the attaker. In the aftermath, the ksatria should receive certain gift from Guru could be a goddess, a heirloom or a ksatria wish.
Note :
Giant in Javanese is Buto or Wuto means blind. This is symbolizing a blind man can not see the good and wrong.


The dewas have a sacred book, called Serat Jitapsoro. Serat means letter or book, jitapsoro means descendants of supernatural being. In Jitapsoro it is written the dewas family tree and all secret events in the universe (in the past, at present and future). Batara Panyarikan was the one who wrote the book upon instruction by Guru.

Kresna, in his capacity as Wishnu's reincarnation, visited Guru and Narada just before Bharatayuda broke, asking them the fate of Pandawa and Kaurawa which had to be decided in a family war.

Why dewas did not decide to instruct Kaurawa to return to Pandawa the Amarta Kingdom ? Thus to avoid bloodshed of many people.

Guru through Narada replied that Bharatayuda was already written in Jitapsoro, so it could not be avoided. The duty of Wishnu in that case Kresna was to supervise the war to be in accordance with the scenario of the secret book.

Then Kresna with the permission of Guru read Jitapsoro, so he knew what was going to happened.

(Suryo S. Negoro)

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