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The Ramayana in Malay Tradition Hikayat Seri Rama Melayu

The Ramayana in Malay Tradition Hikayat Seri Rama Melayu

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The Rama Story in Malay Tradition
The Rama Story in Malay Tradition

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The L'etters of Sir Stamford Raffles to Nathaniel Wallich 1819-1824.

Edited by John Bastin

Prince Damrong's Introduction to the Dispatches of Luang Udom Sombat

by C. Skinner

Social banditry and rural crime in North Kedah 1909-1929 by Cheah Boon Kheng

The Rama Story in Malay Tradition by S. Singaravelu

South Asian Toponyms

Obituary: Prof. Dr. C. Hooykaas

Biographical Notes about Contributors to this Issue.

KON 0569/B1-MC(P) No. 91/5/B1-ISSN 0126-7353 Published in December 19B1

The Rima story in the Malay tradition by

S. SINGARA VEW University of Malaya

The Riima story forms part of two distinct, but interrelated streams of Malay tradition, namely, the folk and the literary traditions. The folk versions of the Rama story are used primarily by the dalang, or the performer of the leather-puppet shadowplay known as Wayallg Kulit,l and secondarily by the professional storyteller, who is known as penglipur lara.'

1. The Shadow-play version

The basic repertoire of the most popular form of Malay shadow-play known as Wayang Siam is the Rama story. The Wayallg Siam version of the Rama story is known as Cerita Maharaja Wana (Rawdna) ,3 and its present form is found to be the result of intermingling of two main versions, namely, Malay and Thai versions, and it has also a considerable number of similarities with the Javanese, Laotian, and Khmer versions,"

A detailed comparative study of the repertoire of over a hundred Wayang Siam dalangs has revealed that the majority of its motifs and episodes are also to be found in the Malay and Thai literary versions of the Rama story, but none of the Wayallg Siam versions are found to be identical with the literary versions, nor are any two wayang versions identical with each other. In other words, each dalang has a distinct version, though several motifs and episodes of such a version are to a considerable degree similar to the Malay and Thai literary versions.!

The Waymrg Siam versions are found to possess certain common features in respect of the plot, localisation of motifs or episodes, and characterisation. The plot of

I Four distinct types of Wayang Kulit are to be found in Peninsular Malaysia, and they are known as Wayang Siam, Wayang Jawa, Wayang Gedek, and Wayang Kuli: Jawa. Of'these, the Wayang Siam, which has the Riima story as its basic repertoire, seems to be the most popular form, and it is to be found in the states of Kelantan, Trengganu, Kedah, and Perak in Peninsular Malaysia, and also in the provinces of southern Thailand. The Wayang Ja .... a presents only episodes from the Panji and the Mohiibilliraia stories, and it is also to be found in the states of Kelantan, Kedah, and Trengganu in Peninsular Malaysla and in southern Thailand. While the Wayang Siam and the Wayang Jawa are Malay forms of shadow-play, the Wayang Gedek: is performed by and mainly forth. Thais in Thai language in Kelantan and southern Thailand, and it is also known as Nang Talung in Thai language. The Wayang Kulit Jawa is the Jawanese Wayang Purwa, performed in Jawanese in west Johore and Selangor by the first and the second generation descendants of immigrants from the Ponorogo and Madiun districts of Jawa. See P.L. Amin Sweeney, The Riimiiya,!a and 'he Malay Shadow-Play (Kuala Lumpur: Penerblt Unlversitl Kebangsaan Malaysia, 1972), pp. 3-4. See also J. Cuisinier, Le Thiiilre d'ombres a Kelantan, avec introduction par J. Filliozat (Paris: Gallimard, 1957). Shahrum bin Yub, "The technical aspects of the Kelantan Malay Shadow Play Theatre," Traditional Drama and Music of Southeast Asia, edited by Mohd Taib Osman (Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 1974), pp. 86-11l. ~'

'See W.E. Maxwell, "Penglipur Lara. the Soother of Cares." JSBRAS .• No. 11 (1886), pp. 87-115. 'P.L. Amin Sweeney, op. cit., p. 15.

·P.L. Amin Sweeney, up. cit., pp, 207-253 and 256, 5 Ibid" p, 256.




the Malay shadow-play versions is based on the pattern of the Malay folk tales, which are characterised by such elements as separation of loved ones, wandering in the wilderness, overcoming numerous obstacles, and eventual reunion. Furthermore, the plot is far more compressed in the shadow-play version than in the literary version. Certain episodes such as Rama's exclusion from the throne, his meeting with Guha and his bestowal of his sandals to Bharata, are omitted from the shadow-play versions:

On the other hand, the Wayang Siam versions have certain motifs and episodes, which are either absent or differ from the literary versions," and these include motifs such as Rava!)a having seven or twelve heads, Rama shooting through palm trees which grow on the back of a serpent at the time of the contest for SIUi's hand, VibhT~a!)a being set adrift on the sea when he is banished by Ravana, and the role of clowns such as Semar and Jernuras, who are believed to be of divine origin."

As regards localisation of episodes. certain events are said to have occurred locally. Thus, some of the dalangs consider Lanka to be Langkawi, an island off the west coast of Kedah in Peninsular Malaysia, while others believe that it was located near Bangkok in Thailand. Many dalangs assert that the contest for Slta's hand took place at Singgora in southern Thailand, while others believe that it was held at Jitra in Kedah.8

As regards characterisation, Rama in the shadow-play versions is depicted as an effeminate, petulant and amorous person, who depends on the wisdom and foresight of Laksmana and Vibhl~a!)a. Laksmana is depicted as a celibate ascetic, who is gifted with great wisdom, and he exerts a great deal of moderating influence on Rama, It is also found that, as Laksmana's celibate ascetic status does not appeal to the dalangs, they tend to characterise him as a papak Chermophrodite') .. 9

As regards name-forms in the shadow-play versions, though the chief characters' names such as Sfi Rama and Laksamana are the same or similar to those of the Malay literary version, there are also certain variations of name-forms to be found in the Wayang-Siam versions. Thus, Slta Dew! is SIB Dew], Ravana is Maharaja Wana, Hanuman is Hamiman Kera Putih (Hanuman the white monkey), Vibhl~al,la is Mah Babu Sanam, Kumbhakarna is Mah Babu Kenung, Indrajit is Nerajit, Sugriva is Sagariwa, Janaka is Maharisi Kala Api, Ayodhyii is Sertapura, Lanka is Lankapuri, and Kiskindha is Pakian.'?

Another feature of the Wayang Siam versions is that they include a mass of other stories, which, though featuring the characters of the Rama story, are not parallel to the literary versions of the Rama story. These extraneous tales, collectively known as ranting ('twig') tales, relate to the minor adventures of the heroes or their offspring. The plots of these tales are based mostly on Panji stories, which have been adapted to suit the characters of the Rama legend. Thus, Rama assumes the role of the Panji hero Radin Ino Kertapati, Slta that of his wife Radin Galuh Cendera Kirana, and

·P.L. Amin Sweeney, op, ci! .• pp. 256-257.

'Ibid .. pp. 224-225. Sec also Mubin Sheppard. "The Comic characters in the Malay Shadow Play," Traditional Drama and Music of Southeast Asia. edited by MoM Taib Osman (Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa Dan Pustaka, 1974), pp. 30-34.

·P.L. Amin Sweeney. up. cit .. pp. 257-258. ·P.L. Amin Sweeney, op. cit .• p. 258. '"Ibid .• pp. 82-84.


PART 2,1981


Laksmana that of Radin Ino Kertapati's brother. Certain characters from the bas.ic Ra~a repertoire, though not corresponding to any Panji character, .are also b:ought m to play parts in keeping with their character and role in. the baSIC re.pertOlre. Thus Hanuman appears on the scene to perform a task requiring extraordmary strength, and Vibhl~al,la is introduced when divination is required to unravel a problem.1I

2. The Penglipur Lara version

W.E. Maxwell published in 1866 a verbatim account of a Malay folk versj~n narrated by a penglipur lara named Mir Hassan of Kampar in th~ state of Perak in Peninsular Malaysia.1Z The plot of this folk version is found to be akin t? that .of Malay folk romances which centre around the adventurous deeds of a wandenng pnnce, who eventually settles down to a peaceful and happy lif~ with a pr~ncess, whom he encounters during his journeys, and it is also characterised by localised name-forms, local adat or customs, and certain elements of Islamic influence.13

Mir Hassan's folk version makes no reference to Rama's lineage or pare~tag:, an~ Rama is directly identified as the ruler of Tanjung Bunga, not Ayodh~a. Ran;a_s consort is called Sekuntum Bunga Setangkai ('Single Blossom on a Stalk_), not Sita, Both Rama and his consort are given the Islamic title of khalipha ('caliph', or the Islamic religious head of the state). Rams's keris ('dagger') is said !o be a we?pon, which is made of the metal left over after making the bolt of Allah s Kaabah m the Ilharam mosque in Mecca. Rama's court officials include Temen~gung ('a Ma}ay minister of state, ranking next after the Bendahara, or Premle~), Laksa~ana ('Guardian of the sea-coast', or 'Admiral') and Orang Kaya Besa! (Noblem~n ).

Laksmana is identified as the elder, not younger, brother of Rama, and he IS. a~so characterised' as a diviner. The ceremonies, which he performs in order t.o ?tv!ne whether Rama will obtain an heir to the throne by the grace of Allah, are similar to

those performed by the Malay folk religious officiant l!awang. .

When Rama undertakes a journey to the seashore m the company of his consort and others, he performs the traditional royal Malay ceremonial. k~o~n a~ Lan~ka!1 Sidang Budiman, which consists of taking one step forward, signifying th: kl~g s departure from the kingdom', and then taking two steps backward, indicating the

king's return to the kingdom'. ,

Rama and his consort are transformed into monkeys whe~ they bathe m a

forbidden lake and they disport themselves as monkeys un~1I Lak~mal,la uses incantations, and persuades them to plunge into the lake once again, s~ that they m~y assume the human form again. Subsequently, Rama's consort giv:s bl~h to a son 10 the form of a monkey named Kera Kecil Imam Tergangga. ~s Rama IS ashamed_ to have a monkey son, he banishes him to the forest. After a senes of adventures, Kera

"P.L. Amin Sweeney, op. fit •• pp. 264-272. . _ _ " 1886) l2W.E. Maxwell (Ed.)" "Sri Rama. a fairy tale founded on the Ramaya~a, JSBRAS .. No. 17. (June , pp. 1-&4; see also "Hikayat seri Rama, with a preface by W.E. Maxwell and text romarused by R.O. Winstedt" JSBRAS., No. 55 ([910), pp. 1-99.

"Ah d bin Muhammad Yusof, An Analys;s and a comparative study of plots oj the Shellabtar and the Ma~~ell texts of Hi kay at Serf Rama (Academic Exercise for B.A. Honours Degree, Department of Malay Studies, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. 1960). pp, 49-70.




Kecil Imam Tergangga becomes the ruler of monkey hordes in the plain of Anta Beranta,

Ravana in Mir Hassan's folk version is known as Maharaja Duwana, and he is said to be the ruler of an island kingdom known as Kacapuri, not Lanka, He appears in the form ofa golden goat, not deer, in order to attract the attention of Ram a's consort. After Rarna has been drawn far into the jungle in the course of'the chase after the goat, Ravana assumes his usual form and presents himself before Rama's consort. Their conversation takes the form of Malay pantun ('quatrain of inner assonance'). After Ravana has taken Rama's consort to his kingdom, he discovers from his genealogical records that he cannot marry her, for she happens to be his daughter.

Rama seeks the help of his son Kera Kecil Imam Tergangga in recovering his consort from Kacapuri, It may be noted in this connexion that all the adventures of Hanuman in the Rama story are attributed to Rama's son Kera Kecil Imam Tergangga, 'who plays i major role in the folk version.

Kera Kecil Imam Tergangga meets his mother in Kacapuri, and after defeating her abductor in battIe, he carries her back to Rama, Ravana, however, follows them to Tanjung Bunga for another battle to avenge his defeat in Kacapuri, but he is defeated again by Kera Kecil Imam Tergangga and finally he returns to his own kingdom.

Kera Kecil Imam Tergangga is acknowledged by Rama and his consort as their son and heir to the throne of Tanjung Bunga. He marries a princess named Renak Jintan, whom he met during his journeys. On the third night after his marriage, Kera Kecil Imam Tergangga assumes the human form and succeeds to the throne of his father-in-law's kingdom known as Tahwil.l+

It would seem evident from the above account that the folk version of the penglipur lara is characterised not only by several elements of the Malay folk romalloce, but also by localised scenery, name-forms, customs, and Islamic religious influence. It is perhaps on account of the localisation of the Rama story that the chief characters of the story have assumed symbolic significance in the overall system of ideals cherished by the masses in the Malay society. Thus, for example, Rama is regarded as the ultimate symbol of male excellence. while Slta represents the highest exemplary of female beauty. The names 01 Rama and Slta are included in the euphemistic magic syllables, which are intended to make a person look charming in the esteem of others. Similarly, their names are also uttered in conjunction with the use of love potions in order to ensure that the potions yield ·the desired results. Another example of the influence of the Rama story in folk culture is that the Malay folk religious officiant pawang draws a circular line of magical potency around an object, which he wants to protect, and the magic circle is called barfs Laksamdna ('Laksamana's line') or tali Laksamdna ('Laksamana's cord'). This practice is apparently derived from the motif'in the Malay version of the Rama story, in which Laksmana draws a circular line around Slta in order to protect her from all evil when she is alone.P

"For a detailed comparative study of this folk version and the Malay literary version. see Juan R. Francisco, "Rama story in the post-Muslim Malay literature of South-East Asia," Sarawak Museum Journal, n.s, Vol. X, No. 19-20 (1962), pp.468-485.

"See Mohd Taib Osman, "Riimaya~a dalam kebudayaan Melayu," Malaysia, Hart Kebangsaan 31 Ogos 1971 (Kuala Lumpur: Jabatan Penerangan untuk Kernenterian Luar Negeri, Malaysia, 1971), p. 31; see


PART 2,1981


3. The literary version

The literary version of the Rarna story in Malay is gene:~lIy regarded as. the manifestation of the cultural ideals of the ruling elite in the traditional Malay society. Since the Rama story and the traditional Malay society shared in common c~r.tain cultural ideals such as righteous warfare, contests of skill and strength, un~lvlded loyalty of the subjects to the king, and fidelity among the membe:s of the family, the Ramayana tradition was readily acceptable to the Malay society ev~n a~ter t~e adoption of Islam.l" The high esteem in which the Rama story was held IS :vldent in some of the classical Malay historical works. Thus, for example, according to the author of the Hikayat Acheh, the lineage of Sultan Iskandar Muda, who ruled over Acheh between 1607 and 1635 A.D., was as glorious as that of Rama, for the ruler's ancestors also had their origin in the bamboo clump (buluh. betung), just as Rama's mother is said to have been discovered in the bamboo clump by king Dasaratha in the Malay literary version of the Rama story.!" According to the Sejarah Melayu, the famous Malay hero Hang Tuah was called Laksamiina, because whenever he was jesting with youths of his own age, he would roll up his sleeves and defiantly declare that only Laksmana was his match.'" The Sejarah MefaYIi als_o reco~ds the fa~t that Hang Tuah was officially conferred with the title of Laksamana dunng the rel~n of Sultan Mansur Shah (1459-1477 A.D.}.19 According to the S~jarah M elayu, .by virtue of the conferment of the title Laksamdna, Hang Tuah's status III the royal audience hall was equal to that of the Bendahara or Dato' Naradiraja,. and whenever Dato' Naradiraja was absent, it was the Laksamdna who acted for him as the bearer of the sword of the state.i" The conferment ofthe title Laksamdna on Hang Tuah, who was a high-placed dignitary in the ruler's immediate vicinity, is ~pparently based not only on the pre-Islamic royal Malay tradition which characterised the .Malay ~ler as ~~e manifestation of the ideal king Rama, but also on a popular Indian traditIOn: Whl~h refers to Rama appointing h.is younger brother L~k~mal)a as th~ ~~m~a~de~-m-chlef of his realm at the time of his enthronement as king of Ayodhya. It IS significant to note in this connexion that Hang Tuah identified himself as the commander-in -chief of the king of Malacca.22 As regards the title Laksamiina being used to designate the

also S. Durai Raja Singam, "Wayang Kulit," Kalakshetra Quarterly, Vol. I, No. 3 (Adyar. October-December 1978), p. 32. 971) 29 '"Mohd Taib Osman, "Rimaya'!a dalam kebudayaan Melayo," Malaysia (Ku~la !-umpur, .1. ' p. .

"Mohd TaibOsman,K~susasteraal1 Melayu Lama (Kuala Lumpur: Federal PubhcauonsSendman Berhad,

18~'~~~~a':; ~~layu, Raffles ms., edited by R.O. Winstedt," iMBRAS .• Vol. 16, pt. 3.(193.8), p. 104: Sejaralz

Melayu. or Malay Annals, translated by C.C. Brown (Kuala Lumpur: Oxford Unlyerst~Y Press, 1970). p, 67: Sejarah Metayu, diusahakan oleh W,G. Shellabear (Kuala Lumpur. Oxford University Press, 1967), p.

I).~~jarah Melayu, Raffles ms., edited by R.O. Winstedt," iMBRA.S., Vol. 16, pt. 3 (1938),~. 113: Sejara/r Melayu, or Malay Annals, translated by C.C. Brown (Kuala Lumpur, 1970), p. 77: Sejarah' Melay«, diusahakan oleh W.G. Shellabear (Kuala Lumpur, 1967), pp. 113 and 132.

lO"&jarah Melayu, Raffles ms., edited by R.O. Winstedt," JMBRAS. ":?l. 16, pt. 3 (I?,38), p. 1~4. . 21 A. Zicsenlss, "Funkt;on and Stellung des Laksamana am Hofe der Malaiischen ~ultane, Acta Omnta/la.

Vol. XV (1937), pp. 72-75; C. Hooykaas, "Laks(a)mana at Malay courts, iDlB., Vol. VI, No.1

(&ptember 1956), pp. 1-2. . k 1 h K .

"Hikayar Hang Tuah' (menurut naskhah Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka), dlsclenggara an 0 e asssm

Ahmad (Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. 1968). p. 135; Hlkaiot Hang Taeah (Weltevreden:

Balai Poestaka, 1930), Jilid, I, p. 140.





Guardian of the sea-coast. or Admiral of the naval fleet in Malay kingdoms, this usage came into being apparently because the admiral played the role of the commander-in_ chief in the Malay maritime kingdoms.

The literary version of the Rama story in Malay, which is a long and comprehensive prose narration, is generally known as the Hikayat Serf Rdma ('Story, or Chronicle, of.Sri Rama'j.It would seem to have been written in its present form, or adapted to that form, in Perso-Arabic (JaWl) script after the coming of Islam to the Malay archipelago and peninsula by an unknown author sometime between the thirteenth and the seventeenth centuries A.D.23

The Hikayat SerT Rdma (HSR) has survived in several manuscripts, which contain differing recensions of essentially the same basic story or part of the same basic story. Of these, two recensions have been published, one by P.P. Roordavan Bysingasin 1843, and the other by W.G. Shellabear'" in 1915. It must be noted, however, that there are at least five oilier recensions of HSR still in manuscript form, of which brief accounts have been given by various scholars in their writings.t" A significant feature of the various recensions of HSR is that, though they differ from each other in respect of certain aspects such as the sequence of episodes, name-forms, and the degree of Islamic influence found in them, there is nevertheless close identity between one text and the other in regard to their overall contents, and this characteristic would seem to indicate that all these texts were apparently derived from some older version of the Rama story, which was a common source of all the recensions.s"

The question regarding the source or sources of the original HSR2B has been open to discussion for a long time ever since A.pozon refuted Roorda van Eysinga's description of HSR as a translation of Valmlki's Sanskrit epic. by pointing out that

>JCf. Sir Richard Winstedt, A History of Classical Malay Literature (Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press, 1969), pp, 37-38; A. Zieseniss, The Rama Saga In MalaYSia, lts origin and development. translated by P.W. Burch (Singapore; Malaysian Sociological Research Institute Ltd., 1963), pp, 187-188.

"Gescldedenis van Sr, Ramo, beroemd Indisch Herolsch Dichstuk, oorspronkelijk van Valmic en naar eene Maleische vertaling daarvan in het Malciseh met Arabisch karakter, mitsgaders meteene voorrede en plaat uitgegeven, daoren voor rekening van P.P. Roorda van Eysinga (Amsterdam: L. van Bakkenes, 1843), 173 pp, See also a romanised and simplified version of'this work, entitled Hikojat Seri Rama, first published by Balai Poestaka at Batavia in 1938 (256 pp.).

""Hikayat Serf Rama, edited by Rev. W.G. Shetlabear," JSERAS .• No. 71 (December, 1915). pp, 1-285.

See also Htkaya: serlT Rdma, edited by Rev. W.G. Shellabear, Rumi version prepared by Wahi hi" Long (Singapore: Malaysia Publishing House Ltd., 1964),298 pp. The manuscript containing this recension of HSR happen. to be the oldest extant manuscript, and it was given to the Bodleian Library of the Oxford University by Archbishop Laud in 1633. It is, however, believed that the HSR recension contained in the Bodlein, or Shellabear text is the youngest of all the known HSR recensions. See W.G. Shellabear, "An Account of some of the oldest Malay MSS., now extant," JSERAS .• No. 31 (189-8), pp. 113 and 143-151; Sir Richard Winstedt, A History of Classical Malay Literature (Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press, 1969), pp. 39 and 45-46.

"Gerth wan Wijk, "lets over verschillende Maleische redacties van den seri Riima," TBG •. Vol. XXXIV (1891), pp. 401-433; H.H. Juynboll, Catalogus va" de Ma{eische ell Sundaneesche ~andsc"rif,en der Leidsche Universiteits Bibliotheek (Leiden, 1899), p, 47 et seq.; H. Overbeck, "Hikayat Maharaja Rawana," JMERAS., Vol. XI, pt, 2 (1933), pp. 111-132; R.O. Windstedt, "An Undescribed Malay version of the Ramayal,l3," JRAS (1944), pp. 62-73: E.C.G. Barrett, "Further light on Sir Richard Winsted!,s 'Undescribed Malay version of the Riimiiyal,l3'," BSOAS., Vol. XXVI, pt. 3 (1963), pp, 531-543.

"Cf. R.O. Winstedt. "An Undescribed Malay version of the Riimayal_l3." JRAS ([944), p. 66.

"&!: also Ph. S .. van Ronkel, "The Riimiiyal_la in Malay," Acra Or/en/alia •. Vol. VII (1929), pp. 319-324.



PART 2, 1981

. . gh d lin with the same characters and

HSR was indeed a distinct work, t~ou fthea Hi!du epic.19 Subsequently in 1899, following for the most part the na~~tlvef ~SRe to the southern Indian Tamil source, H.H. Juynboll tried to trac:~~_I~~eg~~s of some proper names such as Baradan, because of the apparent T _ "n the Malayversion.31 In 1919,Ph. S. Bibiisiinam, and M ahameru Parwatam, occ~nn~ ~ian or Tamil features relating to the van Ronkel also drew attention to so~e ra~1 ithout however venturing to judge name-forms such as trisulam in the ~a I~y ~:~s:~;~;~blem of the sources of HSR in his its origin.31 In 1922, W.H. Rassers e~ wtlh most important features of the Malay

k D P d,'i-roman by comparmg e ." d

wor e an. '.. -I iki H' conclusion was that those motus an

version with the San~knt .eplc ~~ Va ~~ Isa ~krit epic were derived from Indonesian episodes of HSR, which dlffere rom 'n: th: uestio~ was W.F. Stutterheim, who sources." The next sch<:>l~r ~o d~~a~~o~esia 2nd that it had its source in a mixture of thought that HSR had ongtna e .1 It d'tion from the western as well as the Indonesian tales and the p.redo~nantl~ or~ 33 r~~ree years later, A. Zieseniss wrote a eastern regions of the Indla~ ~u -conunen . sis of the entire Malay tale in its systematic monograph by grving ad~UtlldtbextRuaoloSr:O:an Eysinga and W.G, Shellabear,

. s namely thetextse 1 e y . £' Id

two recensIOn , , k . . f V-I Tki His conclUSIOns were tWO-IO ,

and comparing it with the Sans nt;:f~ 0 censions were to be traced back to one namely, that the texts of ~oth hthe . a. ay/~ rally and that the Malay version is a original vers.ion, from whlc~ ~ ey ~~~~:r~usoinno~ations and amplifications drawn more extensive form compnsmg 0 uch as the Puriinas and popular tales, from diverse textual and oral legendary source~; di specially from the eastern and which reached Indonesia from various parts 0 n ia, e

the western parts of India.34

4. Major characteristics of HSR .' e the Hindu versions

The first major .char~cte}is~:tT~~r~ o~~~: ;~:h~~~n~~ Raval}a's birth and

such as the Sansknt epic 0 a: th sa e Agastya to Rama after his triumphant antecedents is narrated separately y e . g f HSR are known to commence the

f Lanka 35 nearly all the recensions 0 • I t f

return rom , fR-' bi th and antecedents as an integra par 0 Rama storv with an account 0 avana S ord E' ga text (HSR RO) which

'.1 • bei th Roor a van ysm ..,

the story, the only exceptio? emgh ~'rth fRama 3~ It may be also recalled in this

begins with the events relating to tel 0 .

s'R- .. JA iveme serie Vol. VII (1846), pp. 425-471.

lOA. Dozen, "Sur Ie roman ~alay d~ n aOm~ •. d' '1. R-maya~a verge1ekcn met de Javaansche en lOH.H. Juynboll, "Eene episode umt bel U In isc ea.

Maleische bewerkingen," BKI.,. Vol. 50 (l899);t ~'1' hen Ramiijanateksl," EKI .. Vol. 75 (1919). pp.

"PH. S. van Ronkel, "Aanteekenmgen op een ou en a else

379-383. . de vos & van Kleer, [922). pp. 238-292.

"W.H. Rassers, De Pandjl·roman (Antwerpe_n. iieis i l doneslen (Miinchen: G. Muller, 1925), pp.

"W.F. Stutterheim, Rallla-Legendell und Rdma-Re leJs In n

21-{;3 . ./ R k ifl und Ges/a/tung (Hamburg: Gruyter and Co.,

"A. Zi~nseniss, Die Rama~Qge be; d~n ~ala'~n:: ;:d ;;v;:pmtnt. translaled by P.W. Burch (Singapore:

1928)' Tire Rama Saga In MalaYSIa, '!S orf d 1963) 179-188.

Mala~sian Sociological Research Insutute I., , pp.

"VR .• VII, 2-34; RV(~PS) .• nr, pp. 37~-490 .. h the birth and the antecedents of Rav"Qa, the. R.runes "Of the various recenssons .of HSR de~~tng Wl~th R yal Asiatic Society in London. and the WUkmson manuscript No. 22, belonging to the LI cary 0 e °





connexion that a Malay recension of HSR . . I d

Rawdna, and this work also begins with IS entit e f Hikayat Ceeritera Maharaia

o· an account 0 Rav 's bi h v

career.>? A notable feature of the narrative relatin t R- a a?a s rrt and his early

recensions contained in the Raffles and th Wilk! g 0 avana s ancestry in the Malay a character named Sirancak, who is descr~be~ a~n:on ~~nusc:6:s, i~ that they r~fer to heavenly world of Keindraan and who rei ravlhs. er 0 autifu] women In the

C' b h • 0 reincarnates imself as Rav h

itra a a and the grandson of Bi:ra .. h ana, t e son of

Indrapuri, The motif ofSirancak reincar:~~:Ja .In t e ear~hly kingdom known as references in the Hindu Purdnas to the d s hlm;.lfas ~aval)a!s reminiscent of the as Raval)a.J8 . emon Iral)yak~a reIncarnating himself

BOdl~:~,t~: ~~~;:~::; ~:~~u~~~}e ~~n: i~ ~~rt~n ~~cen5ions of HSR such as the

Rawana, is that some episodes rei~ting ton the e ter Idn text °ffRH!.kayac Maharaja

ld d I J .' an ece ents 0 avana have b

remou e on s amic lines, and indeed Ravana's tal . d . t d '. een

the time of the Prophet Adam A' di h IS epic e as unfolding during

manuscripts Ravana at the a e f' I cc~r In~ to t e .Raffles and the Wilkinson Bukit Serendib (La'tika) as a ~u o. t:e ve I~ bantshed b~ hIS ~randfather to the island of becomes an ascetic and perfor~ls e~:~~e ~ maltn~atIng hIS playmates. Ravana then night for twelve years. AccordingPto the Sh~I~:gIng head downwards over a fire at sends down the Prophet Adam to me t R _ ar text, Allah Subhanahu-wata'ala convey to him his granting of a bo e f aval)~ at the time of his ascetic practices and the Keindraan, the Netherworld, th~nS~a :~~e::~g~; over the fo~: kingdoms, namely, the kingdoms justly. It is also noteworthy that in th:~h °l~ :ndlt!on tha~ he.rules. over to contain a younger recension than th th e a ar, text. which IS believed

~;;~ B~a_hma. who confers the. boon ~f~~in:rb~~;;s~:~~~a:~ ~~~~:k~~n~: ~~~:~f

Prop~et ~~~~~~!y and that king Dasaratha is said to be the great grandson of th!

The story of Lord Visnu's reincarnation as R- I

subjected to varying degrees of Isla . b dl ~ma. wou d also seem to have been

copyists of HSR manuscripts i m:. h oWh en~atJon on ~he part of successive reincarnation has been excised' le;vi: ~ t e d?,ect menuon of Lord ViglU's Thus, for example, in the Shellabear fextnI~ ~erta~n traces of th~ original version. emerald green complexion 40 which j .'d admahlS merely mentioned as being of

. ' I IS In ee t e complexion of R- h

reincarnation of Lord Visnu 41 It m b I " ama as t e

..' ay e a so noted In this connexion that the Roorda

i i

manuscript No. Add. 3756, belonging to the Camb . d U' . .

ve~i~ns of the tale than the other recensions. See Rn 08eW' ruve .... l~ Library, w~uld seem 10 contain fuller Ramayana," JRAS (1944) pp 62 73; E C G B' . instedt, An Undescribed Malay version or the 'Undescribed Malay versio~ of ihe Ramay~n'a' ;, B~;;~'s "~u~her Light on Sir Richard Winstedt's

"The manuscript containing this recension i!e'lo~ to '. 0 .. XXVI, pI. 3.(1?63), pp. 531-543.

found to be more or less identical with the L id gs the .t:'reusS1Sch~ Staatsblbhothek, Berlin, and it is description in hi. catalogue, See H. Overbec~ ~~~anuscnpl, of~hlc~ H.H. Juynboll has given a short (19.33). pp. Ill-!32: H.H. Juynboll, COlalo 'us ~o:y;: ~aha.raJa Raval_la," JMBRAS .• Vol. XI, pl. 2 Letdsche Unirersitetts Bibliolheek (Leiden !8~9) 47 alelsche en Sundaneesehe handsehriften der

=cr; The BMgavato·Puriina. III xvi 7-12: VII .' f5-46

J9H~kayal Se" Riima, edited by R~v. W:G S~'11 be . . .

(Singapore: Malaysia Publishing House Ltd 1ge64a) ar, ts: versron prepared by Wahi bin Long

·"Ibid .• p. 59. " ,pp. - and 56.

·'Cr. KR .. I, 20: 36; II, 6: I: IV. 3: 17.


PART 2,1981


van Eysinga's text, which is believed to contain an older recension than the Sheila bear text, happens to retain certain passages making dear mention of Lord ViHIU's reincarnation as Rama.42

Another notable feature of HSR is that the chief characters such as Rama, Sltii, Ravana, Valin, Sugriva, and Hanumiin are closely related to each other through their birth stories, and this feature may be illustrated in the following diagram (Fig. I), showing their relationship. As for the details of the primary and the secondary relationships of the chief characters shown in the diagram. Rama is the son of king Dasaratha and a princess named Mandudar], whom the king discovers in a bamboo clump. Rama is said to have been born as the result of his mother partaking of the king's sacrificial meal (according to the Roorda van Eysinga text) and the bezoar stone or g'idiga (according to the Shellabear text). Ravana, who hears of king Dasaratha's beautiful wife, demands to have Mandudarl for himself. However, Mandudar] resorts to a strategem of creating a replica. or a pseudo-image, of herself named Mandudak]. who becomes a Ravena's wife. King Dasaratha, who is enamoured of Mandtidaki's beauty, makes a clandestine visit to the inner apartment of Ravana's palace in Lanka and sleeps with MandiidakT. Moreover, Ravana is also said to partake of a portion of king Dasaratha's sacrificial meal, which is brought to him by the crowdemon named Gagakswara. As a consequence of these events, Ravana's consort MandiidakT gives birth to a daughter. Soon after her birth, the astrologers in Ravana's court including Bibiisanam (Vibhl~al)a) predict that the child will cause the destruction of Ravana, Though Ravana wants to kill the child there and then, finally in response to Mandiidakl's appeal he agrees to the suggestion that the child be abandoned. The infant is placed in an iron box and set adrift on the sea. Eventually. she becomes the adoptive daughter of Durwatipurwa's ruler Maharisi Kali, who names her Sita Dewi, Subsequently, Slta Dewi becomes Rama's wife after he wins her hand in an archery contest, in which the suitors are required to shoot through forty lontar palm trees with a single arrow from a divine bow. Thus, in HSR, Slta is represented nominally as the daughter of Ravana as well as king Dasaratha through Mandudakl, who is the pseudoMandndar], and she also happens to be Rama's half-sister.P whom he marries after winning her hand in the archery contest. and subsequently Ravana carries off his own daughter.

As regards Rama's relationship to Valin, Sugriva and Hanuman, according to HSR, Balya Raja (Valin) and Sugriva are born of Dew! Indra, the wife of Begawan Kutama (Gautama) as the result ofher adultery with a divine being (dewa) and a spirit (mambang). Later when Begawan Kutama immerses them into a pool of clear waterin order to test their legitimacy, they become monkeys and vanish into the forest. Subsequently, Valin becomes the ruler of the monkey kingdom and Sugriva his deputy. Meanwhile, Dew! Indra curses her daughter Dewl Anjatl to keep her mouth wide open for a hundred years as a punishment for having exposed the secret of her adultery. When Dewl Anjat! is performing penance by standing on the point of a needle in the

4lHSR., RO., /1-12 and 23; cr. also HSR (Rf.) .• 65-66. 133 ff.: E.C.G. Barrett, op, cit .. pp. 540-543. 43The motif ofSitii being Rama's sister and queen-consort is also to be found in the Buddhist DasarathaJiitaka. See Daiaratha-Jdtaka, tile Buddhist story oj King Rdma, edited and translated by V. Fausboll (Copenhagen: Hagerup, 1871). _





sea with her mouth wide open, Rama's sperm is transferred by the wind-god into her open mouth.s+ and later she gives birth to Hanuman in the' form of a white monkey with earrings. Hanuman's paternal great grandfather Sang Perdana declares that Hanurnan's father is one, who will recognise his earrings. Subsequently, Hanuman observes Rama sleeping in the lap of Laksmana under a tamarind tree, and after Rama is awakened by him, Rama recognises him as his son by his earrings. It would seem evident from the above birth-stories of Vii lin, Sugriva and Hanumiin that Hanuman is a ~o.n ofRa~a and Dewl Anjatl, who is the sister of Valin and Sugriva, and thus Rama, Valin, Sugnva, and Hanuman are related to each other.

As regards Ravana's relationship to Valin, Sugriva and Hanumiin, according to HSR. when Ravana is on his way to Lanka with his consort Mandudakl, Valin seizes her and sires a son named Seri Anggada by Mandudak], who is later restored to Ra~a~a ~t the interces~iop of Valin's teacher. As for Hanuman, during his journey to Lanka, hIS sperm falls Into the sea and it is swallowed by a fish, who later gives birth to a son named Hanuman Tuganggah. Hanuman Tuganggah is first brought up by Ravana's son Gangga Mahasura, who rules over the sea, and later he becomes the guardian of the fortress in the kingdom of the Netherworld, ruled by Ravana's son Patala Maharayan. Hanuman recognises his son when he visits the Netherworld in order to rescue Rama from the fortress of Patala Maharayan. It is also pertinent to note in this connexion that Hanuman does not allow the filial connexion between him and his son to interfere with the duty of his son as the guardian of the fortress. This is evident from his refusal of his son's offer to fetch Rama, as such a conduct will be treacherous and a unworthy of his ancestry. Hanuman also exhorts his son to remain faithful to his master during his lifetime.

. On t?e question of the origi~ality of the innovations concerning the relationships of the major characters as found III HSR, it maybe of interest to draw attention to the observations made by J. Kats regarding the OCCurrence of similar motifs in some of the Javanese versions such as the Serat Riima Keling, According to him, the close relationships forged among the chief characters on the basis of odd and unnatural combination of the birth stories of the various characters need not necessarily mean that they were merely invented by the authors of these versions, either because of their ignorance of the original story, or because of their attempt to give a new tum to the story. On the contrary, the tales. which may seem odd and unnatural now. may in fact be reflective of very old manners and customs, and therefore they may well be regarded as more original than the original story itsclf.4s Moreover, it may be also pointed out t~at, though certain elements of the birth-stories such as the king's consorts giving bl.rth t~ ~hildr.en after partaking of divine food t the wife of a sage committing adultery WIth divine beings, the transfer of a person's sperm or even embryo ofa child to another person~ and transformation into animal or human form as a result of plunging into mystenous pools of water, are to be found in some of the literary as well as the folk

"In the Shellabear text, Rama and Sit.a arc changed into monkeys as a result of bathing in a forbidden pool of clear water. and after they have disported themselves, they are thrown by Laksmana intf' another pool of muddy water nnE they !!ssume human form. Later, Rams's sperm is transferred from Sit .. 's bodv into

the mouth of Dew! Anjati by the wind-god. .

"J. Kats, "The Ramiiyana in Indonesia," BSOAS., Vol. IV, pt. 3 (l926-1928). p. 582.


PART 2,1981


versions of the Rama story in India 46 and elsewhere, nevertheless the manner in which the various disparate elements have been moulded into a unified whole is certainly reflective of the distinct originality of the authors, who composed the versions such as HSR.

Another characteristic feature, which marks HSR as a distinct work is that it has several motifs and episodes, which are not to be found in other versions and which appear in modified form in HSR. The following may be mentioned as examples of such motifs and episodes:

(1) Sirancak, who is depicted as the future Ravana, is pushed into the Underworld by Lord Visnu with his great toe, and Sirancak makes a viol from one of his heads, arms and three fingers, and plays it in honour of Dewata Mulia Raya, who allows him to ascend to the earth in order to reincarnate himself as Ravana.??

(2) Ravana as an ascetic hangs head downwards over a fire at night for twelve years in Bukit Serendib (Lanka) and performs penance."

(3) Allah Subhanahu-wata'ala grants Ravana a boon, which makes him the ruler of four kingdoms, namely, the Earth, the Keindraan, the Sea and the N etherworld+"

(4) Ravana has three sons named Indrajat (Indrajit), Gangga Mahasura, and Patala Mahiirayan,SO who are bam of Ravena's first three consorts. namely, Nila Utama of the Keindraan, Gangga Mahii Dewl of the Sea, and PertiwI Dew! of the Netherworld.f

(5) Ravana's younger brother Vibhl~alJa is known as Bibusanam." , and he is depicted as an astrologer.

.ocr: VR .. I, 16; KR., l. 5: 86-106; KKII., I. 5: 8&-108: VR .• I, 48: KR., I.. 9: 74-81: lR(OU) .• II: 43, pp. 92G--921. V. Raghavan, The Greater Riimiiyarya (Varanasi, 1973), p, 87.

"Cf. HSR (WIL).. 13: also E.C.G. Barrett, "Further light on Sir Richard Winstedt'. 'Undescribed Malay version of the Riimayal)8'." BSOAS., Vol. XXVI, pt. 3 (1963), p. 537. According to the Tamil Uuarakiimam and the Tamil Tewiram verses of the saint Tirunavukkaracar, (Appar), when Ravana tries to uproot the mountain of'Kailasa, Lord Siva presses the mountain with his great toe and crushes R~val)a's arms, and Ravana then makes a lute from oneofhis heads and one of his arms, and sings the Siima-Vedato the accompaniment of the lute in praise of Lord Siva for a thousand years. Lord Siva, who is impressed by Riivana's devotion, releases him from the pressure of his great toe On the mountain and confers upon him a magic sword known as Candrahdsa and a boon ofIong life to rule over the Three Worlds. See IR(OU) .• 6&-75; Tiviiram, IV, 28: 10; IV, 34: 10. It may be also noted in this connexion that several of the Wayang Siam versions in Malaysia have the motif of Sirancak making a viol with his skull. one arm. three fingers. tendons, and hair, and playing it to Dewata Mulia Riiya for twelve years. P.L Amin Sweeney. The Riimiiya~a and the Malay Shadow-Play (Kuala Lumpur. 1972), pp. 138. 154. and 217.

•• According to a South Indian folk tradition. Riiva~a performs penance in Gokarna for ten thousand years between five fires with his feet suspended in the air. B. Ziegenbalg, Genealog;e der Malabarischen Goner (Madras, 1867), p. 187; A. Zieseniss, op. cit .. p. 105.

"The Hindu versions of the Rlilna. story generally refer to Ravana's sovereignty extending to the Three Worlds. namely, The Earth, the Heaven. and the Netherworld. Cf. IR(OU) .• 7: 75,

,0The name Patala Mahiiriiyan. is derived from the termpiilii/a('the nether region'j and the word maharayan which is a Tamil form for the Sanskrit word mahariija ('supreme king').

"The names of Ravana's consorts Nila Utama, Gangga Maha Dew], and PertiwI Dewl are apparently derived from such names as Tilottamii (name ora celestial damsel), Gangga (the river Ganges, personified as a goddess). and Prlhvl (the goddess of the Earth). Cf. A. Zieseniss, op, cit., p. 105.

52The name-form Bibiisdnam seems to be a Tamil name-form for the Sanskrit word Bib/riisana or V;Miirano,

meaning 'the adorning one'. . • . .



JMBRAS, VOL. 54 (6) King Dasaratha has also a daughter named Kikew] DeW] born of hi

favourite concubine Balyadari. S3 ' IS

(7) Rama is excluded from succession to the throne of Mandurapuri Nega

becau ki D' h h . ra,

. se Ing asa:at a as I?romlsed his favourite concubine Balyadar]

~Wlce th~t her son WIll be the heir ~o t~e throne i~ gratitude for her timely help In aver~Ing the danger of ~he k~ng.s palanquin collapsing during a royal procession and later III saving his life by curing him of a malignant boil

(8) Raval}a'S sister Sfirpal}akha is known as Surapandaki.s+ I. (9) A~ter Surapandaki's husband named Berga Singa 55 is inadvertently killed b Ravana, Berga Singa's son Darsa Singa begins to perform a penance in the forest. of Indrapawanams6 in order to obtain a magic sword from' heaven and his mother Surapandaki visits him every week to supply him with 'food: ~ne d~y, La~~m~l).a, who happens to be near the bam boo bush, where Darsa ~Illga IS performing penance, sees a sword falling from the sky and he catches ~t. When he tests its edges b_Y cutting the bam boo bush, he kills Darsa Singa ma?vertently. Surapandaki assumes that Laksmana is responsible for her son s death, and she seeks the aid of her relatives to take revenge on Laksmana.s?

(10) At Ravana's command, two demons named Martanja and Takl assume the forms of a golden and a silver gazelles in order to attract SIta's attention. (11) L~k~mal).a draws a magic circle around STta's hut before he goes in search of Rama.58

(12) When Jatayu falls to the ground after his valient fight with Ravana in his attempt to stop him from abducting STta, STta drops her ring into Jatayu's

beak. .

(13) Whe~ Ra~a rema~ns unconscious after learning of STta's disappearan:e, a celestial voice predicts that he will be parted with his wife for twelve years.59

"A di h'

naccod J~?k to t~ slxt~e~th century Bengali version of Candrayati. king Dasaratha has also a daughter

19:~97. u ua. rn a his second consort KaikeyT. 0, Sen. The Bengali Ramiiya'las (Calcutta, (920), pp.

"~e ;amke.~orm Surapandaki is probably connected with the Tamil colloquial name-form Ciirppallaki for ,,t e ans nt nam~ Sfiiip,arakitii. Cf Tamil Lexicon Vol. III, pt. I (Madras. 1928), p. 1565.

ThheSname-~orm Berg~ Sml:~ seems to be related to the Tamil name-form Viuurueinkan or Vi//urucinku for

5. t e anskrit name Vrdyu)}~l>'a. Cf. JR(OU) .• 6: 56, pp.340-342.

:he na,me-f0nl! JndrafalYtmam appears to be a Tamil name-form for the Sanskrit word Indm-Bhavana ( I~dra s abode ), but It may also have been_ a misconstrued form for the word Talllakiivallanr in Tamil. w~.:ch refers 10 ~he Dandaka forest, where Rama and his companions take up their residence before Sita is abducted by Ravana.

S1!o_Vimala S?ri's Ja'i~a versio~ ~ntilled Paumacariya, Sambiika. who is said 10 be the Son of Candranakha Surpa~akha), pracuses asceticism in a bamboo thicket in order to acquire the divine sword Suryahiisa. W.hen the ~word descends from he~ven. Laksmana finds it. and trying out the weapon in the bamboo ~~cket, he inadvertently slays S.ambuka. Candrauakha finds the body of her SOn and then goes in search of

" ama ~nd Lak~mal)a, suspectmg them of perpetrating the deed, See also A. Zieseniss 0 cit 131

Accordlng to the Tallvasamgrallaramayana (III, 15) composed in Sanskrit by Riima Brah' mP: 'd' P: th' eighteenth century A 0 L k d' ! - anan a In e

_ . ;. a smana raws a safety line around Sit". and When she steps out of the circle in

~sponse to R~va~a s request to read her palm. he abducts her V Raghavan "The

Vattvasamgraharamiiya~a of Rarna Brahmananda," Anals of Oriental Resea;ch Uni,'ersity oifMadTcu 01. X (J952-1953), p. 28. '.

5. According to the Hindu versions such as the Sanskrit epicofValmiki.theperiod ofRiima's exile is fourteen


PART 2,1981


(14) Valin is known as BaJya Raja, and when he and the leader of the buffalo herd are engaged in a duel in a cave, Sugriva, who is guarding the mouth of the cave, sees both white and red blood flowing out of the cave and therefore he assumes that both his brother and the buffalo are dead and closes the mouth of the cave.

(15) After Valin banishes Sugriva to the forest, Sugriva becomes an asectic, and a river springs from the tears shed by him over his misfortune.

(16) At Sugriva's request, Rama proves his skill and strength by felling a whole forest of palm trees with his arrow, then by shooting through seven gigantic nangkcfO trees growing on the back of a mighty serpent, and finally kicking a mass of skeleton belonging to a demon named Katabihara with his great toe into the sea.

(17) When Rama shoots an arrow at Valin from a hidden place, Valin catches it in his hand, and subsequently when Rama asks him to return the arrow, Viilin replies that Lord Visnu's arrow must reach its target, and then he flings the arrow towards the ground, The arrow rises into the air, swerves back, and pierces Valin to death."

(18) Rama enlists the help of a monkey king named Sambtirana, in addition to the assistance of Sugriva and his warriors including Hanuman,

(19) Hanuman is willing to fly to Lanka, ifhe is permitted to eat from the same leaf with Rama, who complies with the request.

(20) Hanuman jumps from Rama's arms towards Lanka.

(21) After reaching Lanka, Hanuman casts Rama's ring into a pitcher of water, which is meant for Slta's bath, and when Sits. finds the ring, she calls for Hanuman.s-

(22) When Hanuman is brought before Ravana, because he has eaten all the fruits of'Ravana's grove, he extends his tail, coils it, and perches on top, thus sitting higher than Ravana on his throne.v"

(23) When the causeway is being built, Ravana's Son Gangga Mahasura asks the fish in the sea to destroy the causeway, Hanuman whips up the water with his tail and causes the fish to be paralysed. When a mighty crab tries to destroy the causeway, Hanurnan tosses It on the land, where it reduces a great forest to a plain by its fall.

years. The twelve-year period of Rama's parting with his wife in HSR is probably related to the' motif of Rama's absence from the capital for a twelve-year period to be found in the Buddhist Dasarafha·Jiifaka.

.., Artocarpus hnerophyllus. According to VR (IV, II), Rama demonstrates his strength by pushing away the heap of skeleton belonging to a buffalo-demon named Dundubhi with a single kick of his great toe, and by shooting through Seven siila (Sllorea robusta) trees as well as the mountain and the earth with a single arrow, which finally returns to his quiver.

·'Accordingto KR (IV, 7: 57, 67, 71 and 153), after Rama's arrow pierces VaHn'schest, be pulls it from his chest, finds that Rima's name is engraved on it, and begins to accuse Rama of attacking him from his hiding place, and finally as Viilin'. grip on the arrow is relaxed at the point of death, the arrow pierces right through Valin'. body, dips itself in the pure waters of the sea, and returns, to Rama'. quiver.

"In VR (y, 36) and KR (y, 5: 63), Hanuman himself shows Rama's ring to Sitii as a token of his identity. OlIn the Bengali version entitled Angader Raivara, composed by Kavicandra in the eighteenth century, Rams's envoy Angada elongates his tail, rolls it up and sits on it, so as to be on the same level as Ravnna. 0, Sen. The Bengali MmayallQS (Calcutta, 1920), pp. 218-219.




(24) Ravana's younger brother Vibhi~al,la defects to Rama after the building of the cuuseway.s+

(25) Ravana tries to deceive Slta by showing her the heads of two demons as those of Rama and Laksmana, whom he claims to have slain in battle, but Vibblsana's daughter Dew. SeriJatl (Trijata) visits Rama's camp, and on her return she assures S.ta that Rama and Laksmana are alive.6s

(26) There is' a forty-day respite in battle after' the' fall of Ravana's brother Kumbhakarna.s?

(27) Hanuman plays the role of Rama's emissary to RavalJa.67 ,

(28) Ravana's son Patala Maharayan abducts Rama to the Netherworld, but Rama is rescued by Hanuman, and Patala Maharayan is slain by Rama.os (29) When Indrajit creates a woman resembling Slta and kills her, Hanuman assumes the form of a bee and flies to SIUi's dwelling to ascertain that she is

alive.69 '.

(30) Indrajit's arrow changes into floral wreath around Rama's neck.70

(31) After Indrajit is killed by Rama, his wife Kornala Dew! enters the funeral pyre of her husband.

(32) When Laksmana is wounded by Ravana's arrow, Hanuman is sent to fetch the medicinal herbs from the mountain of Anjani and as the herbs can only be ground upon a stone, which is hidden beneath Ravena's bed, Hanuman goes to fetch the stone as well. DUring his visit to Ravana's bed-chamber, Hanuman ties Ravana's hair to that of his wife, and leaves a note that the knot can only be untied when his wife beats him on his head. As Ravana allows himself to be beaten by a woman, he makes himself liable to defe~t.

(33) When Rama sends Hanurnan to Slta to find out how Ravana may be killed, she tells Hanuman that, though Ravana cannot suffer death, he will lose all " his strength and power if the little head under his right earis struck off, for it

is the dwelling-place of his soul. Accordingly, when Rama cuts off the little head under Ravana's ear, Ravana collapses and Rama makes his triumphant entry into Lanka.

(34) Rama builds a new city known as Duryapuri Negara and becomes its ruler. (35) When Slta is six months pregnant, Klkewi Dcwi persuades her to draw a picture of Ravana on a fan, and when STta is asleep, Klkewl Dew] places the

"In VR and KR. VibhI~a':la seeks refuge with Rama even before the building of the causeway ...

·'In V R (VI, 31) at the cgmmand of'Ravana, a demon named Vidyujjihva creates an illusion of Rarna's head and his bow before Sita, and she is consoled by Vibhlsana's wife Sarama.

··It is custo~ary to obs~rve a forty-day mourning for the death of a prince, who is also the heir-apparent to the throne In Malay kingdoms, See A. Ziesieniss, op. cit., p. 139; Alwi bin Sheikh Alhady, Malay Customs and Traditions (Singapore: Donald Moore for Eastern University Press Ltd., 1962), p. 117. .'

"In VR <:VI, 41) and KR (VI, 13: 8-43), Valin's son ADgada plays the role of Rania's emissary to Ravana. ·'Accordtng to the Bengali version entitled Mahi R<fvGner pala. composed by Kruivasa in the fifteenth century A.D., R~va9a's son Mahi abducts Rama and Laksmana with the intention of sacrificing them to the goddess Kali, Hanuman assumes the form of a fly, enters Mahi's palace. slays the demon and rescues Rama. OlSen. The Beng_ali Ramay<lt!as (Calcutta. 1920), pp. 254-283.

··In KR jVi, 25: 92), Vibhi~a'.'a assumes tho form of a bee and ascertains that Slta is alive.

,oAccortling to [he Laliu~fislara, the weapons hurled against the Bodhisattva by Mira's army change into festoons of flowers hovering above his head. Cf. A. Zieseniss, op, cit .. p. 166.


PART 2,1981


fan on Sita's breast. Rama, on seeing the picture of Rav~l)a, accusse~ Slta.of unfaithful conduct and orders her to leave the palace. Slta goes to live WIth

her adoptive father Maharisi Kali of Durwatipurwa.1[ _.. .

(36) Slta gives birth to a son named Tablawi (Lava), and Maharisi Kah creates another boy named Gusi (Kusa) from a bundle of grass.P

(37) Rama and Slta are eventually united in marriag: again: .

(38) Tablawi is married to Indrajit's daughter, and he IS apPOInted as the king of

Duryapuri Negara,

(39) Gusi is married to Gangga Mahasura's daughter and he becomes the ruler of


(40) VibhT~alJa's daughter Sandari Dew! becomes. Tablawi's second consort.

Hanuman falls in love with her. When Tablawi comes to know of the loveaffair, he fights with Hanuman. Rlima stops the fight and chides H~numan for the offence and reminds him of his origin, so that he may exercise more

decorum in the future.

(41) Rama builds a new city known as Ayodyapuri Negara in the forest, where he

goes to live with SIta, Laksmana and Hanuman. .

(42) Baradan (Bharata) and Citradan (Satrughna} rule over Mandurapun

Negara and Isfahaboga, respectively. . _

(43) Rarna and Slta devote themselves to ascetic life in Ayodyapun Negara, and after spending forty years of ascetic life, Rama passes from the transitory world to the world of eternity.

5, Characterisation in HSR

The chief motive behind HSR is to show the ideals of heroism, righteous co~duct, love, loyalty, selfless devotion, compassion, ~nd asceticism. Accordingl~, these Ideals are portrayed through the various facets of human charact:r as reflected m t.he condu:t of the chief characters. First of all, it is noteworthy that, in accordance WIth the ep~c character of the story, there is a great deal of emphasis on heroism demonstrated .m battles and in various kinds of contests involving skill and. str~ngth of t~e chief characters. The finer human qualities such as brotherly loyalty, WIfely devotl?n, and asceticism are brought out clearly in conjunction with numerous hardshIps an? privations at the time of Rama's journey in the forest both before and after Ravana s

abduction of S.ta.· .

Rama and Hanuman exemplify the heroic qualities of almost superhuman kind.

Rama's greatness is further enhanced by the role he plays as an obedien~ son, a devoted brother, a loving husband, an a ble leader of the famil~ as well a: the kingdom, an~ as an ascetic. Rama is depicted as an epitome of herOIsm and nghteousness. He IS a

"In the Bengali version of Can<!!iivatl, Slta draws the picture of RavalJa~o~, a fan at the request of Kai~:yl's

daughter Kukuii, and when Sit;; is asleep, Kukua places the fan on Slta S bre~s~ a~d mak_;s_ ~ mah~ous report to Rama that Sita is constantly thinking about Ravana. As a result of this incident, S[ta ts bam shed to the forest. D. Sen. The Bengali Ramaya!'os (Calcutta, 1920), pp. 196-2l!O' .

72Somadeva's Kathiisarir.agara (IX. taranga 51, verses 86-93) refers to ~usa .belng created by the sage Valmlki from the kuia (POQ cynosuroides) grass after Sitii has already gJvc~ birth to Lava. The Ocea~ of stor», being C.H. Tawney's translation of Somadeva's Kalhiisarilsagara. edited by N.H. Penzer (Reprint,

Delhi. I96B). Vol. IV. p. 128.


!J ~ I




champion of right and honour. All good forces come to his support. He is always prepared to destroy the evil and wicked elements. At the same time, he shows concern for the wellbeing of his fellow warriors, and he tries to reach an honourable compromise with his foe in an attempt to save them from destruction. but Rarna's initiative for peace is rejected by Ravana.

Rama as an obedient son abides by his father's decision to exclude him from succession to the throne of Mandurapuri Negara on account of the king's previous promise to Balyadari to make her son the heir to the throne. It is noteworthy that Bharata continues to rule over Mandurapuri Negara even after Rania's conquest of Ravana, and indeed Rama builds new cities for his son Tablawi and for himselfinstead of returning to his father's kingdom.

The brotherly loyalty and devotion between Rama and Laksmana is evident from the fact that they never part with each other from birth to death. Laksmana's selfless devotion to his brother has wven rise to the general conception that he -is an ascetic.

Rama's effective role as the head of the family may be seen in the performance of his duties in connexion with the arrangement of marriage relationships between the members of his family and those of his erstwhile foe and also in establishing new cities for his son and his followers. Rama as an ideal monarch ofa righteous government also instructs his sons in the art of a just, humane and firm administration.

Rama's inclination towards asceticism is seen not only at the time of his journeys in the forest, but also after his conquest of Ravana, In the final stage of his career. he leaves the worldly and mundane duties of ruling the kingdom to his son Tablawi and devotes himself to asceticism for forty years.

As regards Sita's character, she is depicted as one whose purity and honour are not

to be questioned or doubted by anyone, and she exemplifies unwavering loyalty and ,; steadfastness especially in times of hardship and even in the face of Ravana's intimidation and trickery.

Hanuman as a great warrior would sometimes seem to playa greater heroic role than Rama himself. However, his heroic and noble character is somewhat tarnished by the incident of his adultery with Tablawi's second consort, but eventually he is forgiven by Rama and Tablawi.

Vibhisana, the younger brother of Ravana, is a supporter of truth and honour. and he provides a foil to the unrighteous deeds of his unreasoning brother.

Ravana's son Indrajit would seem to be caught in a conflicting human situation in which he has the courage to speak for the rightful course of action when he pleads with his fatber to release STta, but at the same time he chooses to remain loyal to his.father till his death.

Ravana represents evil, and his defeat is the conquest of evil by righteousness. To sum up now, it would seem evident from the above discussion that the' Rama story in the Malay folk and literary traditions has assumed distinc(Jorms incorporating both localised elements and popular elements from oral sources reaching the Malay archipelago and peninsula from the different parts of the Indian subcontinent, and that it is a highly developed and well-balanced account containing many innovations. modifications. and embellishments in regard to motifs, episodes. and characterisation.


PART 2,1981



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