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WHEN Bima MET Dewa Ruci

The story of  Dewa Ruci is quite popular amongst wayang lovers in Indonesia.  It is indeed an explicit  fact that Javanese people who value tradition do appreciate, and will always acknowledge, wayang as an artform which they inherited from their ancestors. Today, a wayang kulit performance will attract large audiences. Wayang totally permeates the heart because it is not only enjoyed as a clasical, interesting  performance but it also provides guidance into attitudes and values which  portray  truth.

This particular wayang performance is a Javanese version of the wayang which portrays Bima’s complicated spiritual journey, full of obstacles and challenges until finally Bima meets Dewa Suksma Ruci, better known as Dewa Ruci.

It is here that Bima finds spiritual enlightenment  when he meets  the Genuine Suksma which actually lives within him and has always been there. Bima’s meeting with Suksma Sejati ,  the Genuine Suksma, is an analogy from  Manunggaling Kawulo Gusti, Manunggalnya Kawulo Gusti, God’s humble servant, wherein the child of God is content in happiness within the sheltered light of God’s greatness.

From then on, Bima definitely strongly embraces life in its entirety which for most people will remain a continuous mystery. Bima’s spiritual behaviour needs to be studied as an effective attempt for his soul to receive enlightenment.

The Holy Water of Prawitasari

It all started when Bima was told by the Teacher DURNA to find  Air Suci Prawitasari, the Holy Water of Prawitasari, in order that his life should become truly peacefull and happy. .

Prawita from  pawita  means clean, pure; sari means essence. So,  Air Suci Prawitasari is the  The essence of divine spiritual knowledge.

The Teacher DURNA decided that it was time for Bima to achieve higher knowledge. He observed that thus far BIMA had been able to accomplish innumerable worldly tasks which he was able to achieve due to his intelligence and skills - combined with good character and  an excellent mental attitude.


In order to locate  Air Suci Prawitasari, or essence of divine spiritual knowledge, in the wayang story  of Dewa Ruci,  Bima must struggle and fight alone. Below are some of the obstacle he faced:

The  Tikbrasara Forest

Bima infiltrated the thick,  overgrown  and terrifying forest of  Tikbrasara which was densely inhabited by wild animals. His teacher told him to go into this forest. The danger which he faced was enormous and death always lurked around the corner.

Tikbrasara was actually a simbolism.  Tikbra means concern or  “prihatin”; sara means sharp. This encompassed teachings to achieve sharp and just creativity which in common spirituality means sharp visualisations in order that the end result is  achieved.

Gunung Reksamuka

Bima had to climb to the top of a high mountain, passing steep and winding paths. He bravely faced whatever risks came his way.

This is also a simbolism which means that he must be able to watchfully focus and look ahead. This experience of exploring the  Reksamuka mountain is a lesson in conducting meditation or  “samadi”.

Thorough preparation of one’s self by cleansing one’s body and soul  is also called  :sesuci.  A relaxed attitude or “pasrah”. Focussing one’s eyes towards the top of the mountain, which is the tip of the nose. When one meditates, one’s soul ascents to a higher place. In Kejawen spirituality it is said :like climbing TursinaTur means mountain; sina is a high place.

Defeating  Rukmuka and Rukmakala

In the jungle,  Bima managed to defeat two evil-looking scary giants, whose names are  Rukmuka and Rukmakala.

This is also a symbolism. In order for one’s meditation to be successful, those two obstacles must be eliminated.

How can one give in to total meditation when one’s thoughts are with  Rukmuka and thus it is supposed to  mean that one wishes to gorge on delicious food which actually damage one’s body and thoughts.

Our elders often provide the following advice: Its best to eat just enough and eat healthy food, mainly vegetables and fruits. If one eats too much fatty foods and meats, it is not only bad for one’s health, it is also bad for one’s spirituality.

Rukmakala is rukma( gold) which is  kala ( dangerous). This means that one’s thoughts should not concentrate on abundance of material wealth only . That can stand in the way of  spiritual behaviour and meditation.

That is the reason as to why  Bima had to defeat  Rukmuka and Rukmakala.

The Ocean and the snake

When it became clear that the  Air Suci Prawitasari – sacred water of Prawitasari – could not be found in the jungle, Bima was convinced that what he was looking for was in the ocean.

The ocean reminded him of the word  “samudra pangaksama” which means to have a big heart, to become a person who forgives.

So Bima continued his journey and without hesitation entered the ocean. Not long after he entered the water, Bima was already awaited to be attacked by a Giant Water Snake. Bima was no coward and faced the water snake.

Here the snake symbolises evil deeds which have to be conquered. After the snake, or the evil deeds, were eliminated, the good deeds have to be maintained and protected, and thus we get the following lessons:

    * Do not show envy towards  those who have achieved more and are successful. Do not feel bad when your own fortune diminishes. (In Javanese this is called : Rila).
    * Always behave in a good and just manner ( Legawa).
    * Live life with  gratitude and awareness. ( Nrima).
    * Humility and patience. Although others might be nasty, do not reciprocate. Do not show revenge.( Anoraga).
    * Know what is wrong and what is right. Think of truthfulness  ( Eling).
    * Never tire of performing good deeds, and always include  meditation..( Santosa).
    * Find peace of heart, forget past wrong doings  and don’t dwell on misgivings experienced in the past. ( Gembira).
    * Always show intention  and action for the good of all concerned.  ( Rahayu).
    * Watch one’s physical health, ascertain that the body is healthy and use it for positive actions. When sick, seek medical advice/obtain medication. ( Wilujeng).
    * Always learn and study things that are good. ( Marsudi kawruh).
    * Conduct routine meditations, regularly and everytime one feels the calling.

In living everyday life, in order to act ngurang-ngurangi, for instance to eat when one is hungry, one should not eat too much. Just enough until one has satisfied one’s hunger. Drink only when one is thirsty and its not necessary to drink delicious drinks. Sleep when one is tired, without the need to sleep on a luxurious and soft mattress. A simple mattress  will do as long as it is clean and assists to keep us healthy. Do not speak of others behind their backs and make them look bad. Also, try to always be positive in living this life. Make love in moderation and always with one’s legitimate spouse.

Encounter with  Dewa Suksma Ruci

After Bima was able to eliminate all obstancles, suddenly, without any preparation whatsoever, he met the small god which shone brightly but without glare, whose form was identical to his own and whose name was  Dewa Suksma Ruci.Bima was ordered to enter  Dewa Suksma Ruci’s body through his left ear.

Although he was hesitant, because how could Bima whose physical form was so big enter the ear of the small god? But Bima obeyed and did what he was told. And what happened? Bima found that he was already inside and there he saw the whole universe and also the inside of the small god.

The spiritual lesson portrayed by Bima’s meeting with Dewa Suksma Ruci is : Bima meditated correctly and his meditation achieved results. The presence of  Dewa Suksma Ruci is a sign of purety, the acceptance of Bima’s meditation, and the unity of  Kawulo Gusti.

Inside his soul, inside his inner thoughts,  Bima was able to see everything and everything was exposed to him ( Tinarbuko).

Bima  received the most important lesson of his life. He found his true self which was alive within him. “I am BIMA” encountered  “the real BIMA” in the form of light.

That is  Pamore Kawulo Gusti or Manunggaling Kawulo Gusti.



Suryo S. Negoro


Translated by Roswita Nimpuno Khaiyath BA (Hons), M.A. NAATI Prof.