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Home » Tale

A Balinese Folktale: Banaspati Raja  

by on Sunday, 14 October 2007No Comment | 2,029 views

Siwa and his wife Dewi Sri were walking once in the mountain walaraoe. And moved by the lonely beauty of place Siwa wanted to enjoy his wife. But she would not, because it seemed to her too solemn and godlike a place for such a thing. And while he strove with her two drops of sperma fell into a hollow of the mountain. Siwa was vexed with is wife because she had caused them to be wasted, and he said mantras over them, and they became twins, a boy and girl. Then he went away with Dewi Sri and left the children alone. And in heaven he heard them crying for food; and he went down to them and told them who their father was, and gave them names: kalawenara and kalekek, and told them to find their food in the graveyard. Kalekek was to eat, but after midday only, the offerings for the dead; Kalawenara was to live beside the magic spring, on the titi-gonggan and serve the god of the spring, whose name was Sanghyang Putrajaya. And his food was to be the coins which accompany the offerings, and one of the cremation offerings.

Meanwhile, Dewi Sri, who was rather out of favor, began to wander whether she too might be able to make a child without the help of her husband. So he began to haunt the temple of death. And at the full moon of Kajeng Kliwon (a magically powerful day) she went to bathe with her servant in the water spout in the middle of the graveyard. And by chance she laid her clothes on the grave of a woman who had died pregnant. When the night came she went again to the spot as Durga and said spells over the corpse, and a girl- child was born. And the after-birth she made into a boy. And she called the girl Bhuta Seliwer and the boy Cuildaki, and appointed both to be the guardians of the graveyard. But Buta Seliwer complained that her magic was not strong enough, so her name was changed to Seliwarmaya, and she was given the kepuh tree to live in. and Cuildaki was told to mingle with souls of uncremated people and cause trouble in the houses of their relations. And for their food she gave them, as Siwa had done to their children, the offering to the dead.

Now when the next death-offerings were brought, Kelekek went to the graveyard to eat them. But because she was invisible they could not see who was stealing the offerings. And Cuildaki who was also waiting for his food, saw the people running away and saw Kelekek devouring the offerings. And he fetched his sister Seliwarmaya, and they fought with Kelekek over the offerings. And because they were two against one, kelekek was defeated and burned to ashes. And they mocked the magic she was boasted. Meanwhile Kalawenara sat waiting for his sister in titi-gonggan, and when she did not come he asked leave of Sanghyang Putrajayato go and look for her; for he said: “I suppose that she has eaten so many offerings that she cannot walk”. And he called to her in the graveyard but there was no answer; only a heap of ashes. And when Putrajaya heard him calling in vain he came also to the graveyard and knew them to e the ashes of Kalekek. And at the prayer of Kalawenara he said spells over them and brought them to life again. Then Kalekek related how a terrible giant and his sister had fought against her over the offerings and killed her. And Kalawenara roared in anger and challenged them to fight with him. The Seliwarmaya came down from her kepoh tree, snorting with rage, to answer the challenge. But this time she felt she was weaker, and called Cuildaki to come and help her, and he rolled in a decaying corpse and threw himself upon Kalawenara. Kalawenara could not endure the stench of the corpse and ran away to fetch Kalekek, who came as Barong and licked the stink off with her tongue. And when Durga children felt they were losing, they cried for help to their mother, she came and began to spit fire. Kalawenara and Kalekek ran and ran, one behind another, till they came to Siwa’s world. And Siwa very much astonished to see the crowd arriving with Durga at their heels, and she asked her why she was pursuing his children. She replied: “Because your beastly children have been fighting with mine”. He was astonished and said: “Where did you get children from?” and when he heard the story he was furious with his wife and ordered her never to show her face in heaven again. He condemned her to remain forever in the graveyard, and place Kalekek there to keep an eye on her. And Civa gave Kalekek the name Banaspati Raja.

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