Arjunawiwāha: the marriage of Arjuna of Mpu Kaṇwa by Kanwa (Empu)

By Kanwa (Empu)

The Arjunawiwaha is likely one of the most sensible identified of the previous Javanese classics. This quantity offers a brand new textual content, in response to Balinese manuscripts, with a whole translation, development at the paintings performed by means of past writers. An advent presents considerable historical past details, in addition to an unique interpretation of the importance of the textual content, inside of its historic and cultural setting.The poem used to be written by means of Mpu Kanwa in round A.D. 1030 below King Airlangga, who governed in East Java. it truly is Mpu Kanwa's merely identified paintings and is the second one oldest instance within the style of kakawin. The poem is a story but additionally includes passages of description, philosophical, or non secular educating of serious curiosity, in addition to awesome erotic scenes. components of the story were depicted on early temple reliefs and in paintings-and the textual content remains to be recited in Bali via literary golf equipment and in temple ceremonies.

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Sadly, by no means all the textual problems could be solved. As with earlier publications (for example, Deśawarnana 1995, Bhomāntaka 2005), it turned out that a number of the problematical words were not to be found in the dictionary (Zoetmulder 1982), or that the meaning given there for a particular word did not fit the context; such cases have been mentioned in the Comments. With all its shortcomings, the style of translation is the same as that of the above earlier efforts to render Old Javanese poetry into English.

This is why it is vital for Arjuna to be strong and to maintain his concentration, despite all the seductions devised by the seven beautiful nymphs. If he should waver, then his efforts would all have been in vain. So power is an underlying concept in the thought-world of early Java. However, this kind of power is not the usual, mundane kind, but one concentrated in a supernatural source, namely the gods. If we can gain access to this and channel it toward our purposes, then we will succeed. Perhaps ‘energy’ would also be a suitable term.

He is to be attained neither by austerity nor by sacrificial rites. When through discrimination the heart has become pure, then, in meditation, the Impersonal Self is revealed’ (Prabhavananda and Manchester 1957:47). And finally Zimmer quotes a commentary on the Māndukya Upanishad, ‘There is no dissolu- Introduction 33 tion, no beginning, no bondage, and no aspirant; there is neither anyone avid for liberation nor a liberated soul. This is the final truth’; and he quotes Śankara’s Upadeśasahasrī, ‘Only the one who has abandoned the notion that he has realized Brahman is a knower of the Self; and no one else’ (Zimmer 1956:456-7).

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