and Barong. The origin of the fascinating Rangda is now
confused, fantastic myth, a sample of which is the following
tale as it was told to me bv an old man of Den Pasar:
A concubine of King Erlangga gave birth to a pair of pigs,
a dreadful omen of approaching calamity. The Brahrnanas
were consulted and they advised turning the pigs loose in
the forest. The pigs played havoc with the trees, and to
prevent further destruction, Sanghyang Berawi (Begawati)
turned them into two beautiful women, whom she named Tjumpu
Mas and Tanting Mas. She gave them a small book of lontar
palm and ordered them to study the powerful magic formulas
contained in it.
Mas decided to remain in the jungle, keeping the book with
her, but Tanting Mas went to the country of Lemah Tulis,
where she married the holy man Begawan Mpu Gandu. "
Because the holy man could not bear the fire of Tanting
Mas," he went to live in the forest as a hermit. There
he met an endeh, the dancing flame of a witch, that turned
out to be "Tjumpu Mas, his wife's sister, now a proficient
witch. So impiessed was the holy man with her beauty that
he married her on the spot, but on the following day, when
he went to perform his daily purification, he found among
his cleansing paraphernalia the entrails of a corpse, freshly
dug out of the cemetery by T'jumpu Mas.
at the profanation, the priest declared a magic war on the
witch and turned into a great cremation tower to intimidate
her. She became fire that consumed the tower, leaving her
a rangda, a widow. The Rangda later be-came pregnant, changed
her name to Sitowalu (also meaning " widow and lived
on as queen of the forest of Alas Trung in the country of
Dirah, becoming known as the " Widow from Dirah "
(Rangda ning Dirah, or Girah). Her child was born in the
jungle and grew up to be the famed beauty Ratna Menggali.
There are many varied versions of the tale, in one of which
Tanting Masand Tjumpu Mas are the result of the dreaded
male and female twins, Tanting Masthe male who struggles
with his twin sister for supremacy, becoming Banaspati Radja,
"Lord of the Jungle," the Barong's name. This
would explain the origin of the Rangda and Barong if it
were not for the fact that the Balinese are thoroughly confused
in regard to their identity; I have been told that Erlangga
himself turns into a Barong to fight Rangda and that Batara
Budda and the Barong are the same.
It is obvious, nevertheless, that they are not purely Balinese:
Rangdas are unknown in the oldest villages and the character
and appearance of the witch presents a striking similarity
with the wildeyed, fanged demons of Tibet and northern India,
where Tantric Buddhism holds sway. In Nepal there is a long-haired
devil called lakahe who dances like Rangda, holding a white
cloth which it uses as weapon. Both the Rangda and the Barong
seem to belong to the Tantric Buddhist lore, perhaps to
the now disappeared Bhairawa sect that flourished in Bali
in Erlangga's time.
Bhairawa Buddhism remains the deliverance element in the
HinduBalinese religion, a short cut to the release of the
soul from the cycle of reincarnations, attained not by simple
propitiation of gods, but by direct control of the supernatural
by man's own magic powers. The Bhairawas paid homage to
a sort of Durga - Sanghyang Berawi or Begawati, their deity
of evil and death - and they influenced the higher cult
with a new demonology, death cult, magic science, and magic
terminology. It imparted a strong magic flavour to the national
religion, but it disappeared as a separate sect.
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