Hanuman (right) and the Evil Spirit (left), Musuem Batik, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

In the land of Java, people believe that each baby is born special.

The Mother delivers the baby along with the four important things that keep the baby alive inside the womb; the placenta, the amniotic fluid, blood and the umbilical cord. These four things will be placed  into  pottery and buried in a yard. A light will remain lit for 40 days, placed next to the buried pottery. And then, these four  important things will transform into the baby’s guardian spirit. Together, they are known as Sedulur Papat Limo Pancer,  the Four Brothers of the the  Five Axis.

The center is not always human/man. It could be humanity, mankind, nature, or  values. The Four also represent directions; North, West, South and East. These directions lead  to the right direction or path.

Once upon a time, in the land where gods and humans live together, a beautiful princess was cursed accidentally. Her  love of  her mother and her covering of  her mother's mistakes made her father turn her into monkey. She went to the forest and meditated. She fasted and prayed so the gods would have mercy on her. They granted her with a blessing. And it was the God of the Wind who fell for her and gave her a baby boy-Hanuman.

Hanuman  was beautiful, even though he was a monkey. He was as white as  snow, and as soft as magical fur. His eyes  were bright,  just  like the stars at night. And his  smile was  so pure. The princess loved him very much.

As  the days went  by, the white baby  grew into a handsome young monkey. He rejoiced the forest, and all the  animals were his friends. He grew powerful without asking permission. He flew the  sky and soared with his joy.

One day, when he got hungry, he saw the sun and thought it was delicious. He flew to the  sky and reached for the sun. Suddenly, a voice stopped him. It was the voice of the God of the Sun. The God of the Sun warned him about his power. The God then blessed Hanuman, knowing his heart’s purity.  

One day,  the mighty brother knights were fighting the 100-giant evil brothers for kidnapping a knight's  wife.  It was during this moment that the White Monkey (Hanuman) declared his faith to the knights and began his  battle against  evil.

These guardian spirits will always be watching over the baby, fighting the Evil Spirit who wants to claim the baby’s spirit, bringing  good fortune to the life of the baby. But the baby, growing with time and becoming a man, has to fight his own battles to win kindness and justice in this world. Like Hanuman, the White Monkey, Son of Batara Surya, man has to  to fight the Evil Spirit and beat the bad intentions. Evil will always seek the opportunity to lure mankind to his traps.

Never be afraid, because you are not alone.


Tales of The Guardian Spirit in The Land of Java Text by Maria Carmelia S. Kuncoro, Operational Manager of Museum Batik Yogyakarta,  made for Narratio, August 2015, Edited by Ahmed Badr. Batik Kawung, collection of Museum Batik Yogyakarta, Yogyakarta style, made c.a 1980 Wayang, or Puppets: Hanuman, c.a. 1980-1990’s, collection of Ki Sutojo Brotojoewono, a dalang/pupet master from Semarang, Central Java. Design by himself, with influence from wayang Solo style and style of Ki Sigit Sukasman, Yogyakarta. Buto, 2005, collection of Pius Sigit Kuncoro, made by Taufiq Hermawan.