Aji Saka is said to come from Bhumi Majeti, a mythical location in Jambudvipa (India). His name comes from the Javanese word saka or soko meaning essential, important, or in this case primordial. Thus the name Aji Saka literally means "primordial king". A more modern interpretation derives his name from the Saka or Indo-Scythians. In either case, the legend is viewed as symbolising the advent of Dharmic Hindu-Buddhist civilization in Java. The legend also holds that Aji Saka was the inventor of the Saka year, or at least the first king that initiated the adoption of this Hindu calendar system in Java. The kingdom of Medang Kamulan was probably linked to the historical Medang Kingdom. The story of Aji Saka defeating a man-eating king has also been interpreted as the downfall of an unpopular local ruler, the rise from cannibalism to civilisation, and perhaps also resistance to Indian faiths by the ruling class.
The pacification of Java
Soon after the gods created and nailed the island of Java to its place, the island become habitable. However the first race that rule the island was the race of denawa (giant demon) that repressed all creatures and ate humans. The first kingdom in Java was Medang Kamulan, and the king was the Giant King Dewata Cengkar, the cruel King of the country who had a habit to eat human flesh of his own people.
One day came a young wise man, by the name of Aji Saka to fight Dewata Cengkar. Aji Saka himself came from Bumi Majeti. One day he told his two servants, by the name of Dora and Sembodo, that he was going to Java. He told them that while he was away, both of them have to guard his Pusaka (heirloom). No one except Aji Saka himself allowed to take the Pusaka. After arriving in Java, Aji Saka moved inland to the kingdom of Medang Kamulan. In the big battle, Aji Saka could successfully push Dewata Cengkar to fall to the Javan Southern Sea (Indian Ocean). Dewata Cengkar did not die, he became a Bajul Putih (White Crocodile). Aji Saka became a ruler of Medang Kamulan.
The tale of a giant snake
Meanwhile, a woman from the village of Dadapan, found an egg. She put the egg in her lumbung (rice barn). After a certain period the egg vanished, instead a snake found in the rice barn. The villagers would like to kill the snake, but the snake said : "I'm the son of Aji Saka, bring me to him". Aji Saka told the snake, that he would be recognized as his son, if he could kill the Bajul Putih in the South Sea. After a long stormy battle which both sides demonstrating physical strength and showing skillful ability of fighting, the snake could kill Bajul Putih.
As had been promised the snake was recognized as Aji Saka's son and he was given a name Jaka Linglung (a stupid boy). In the palace Jaka Linglung greedily ate domestic pets of the palace. He was punished by the King, expelling him to live in the Jungle of Pesanga. He was tightly roped until he could not move his head. He was instructed only to eat things which fall to his mouth.
One day, a group of nine village boys were playing around in that Jungle. Suddenly it was raining heavily. They had to find a shelter, luckily there was a cave. Only eight boys went inside the cave, the other one who was suffering from a very bad skin disease, his skin was stinging and he was dirty, he had to stay out of the cave. All of a sudden, the cave fell apart, The eight boys vanished, only the one who stayed outside was safe. The cave in fact was the mouth of Jaka Linglung.
The origin of Javanese script
Meanwhile, after becoming ruler of the Medang Kamulan kingdom, Aji Saka sent a messenger back home to inform his faithful servants Dora and Sembodo, to bring the pusoko (heirloom) to Java and send them to Aji Saka. Then Dora came to Sembodo and told Aji Saka's order. Sembodo refused since he clearly remembered Aji Saka previous order: no one except Aji Saka himself was allowed to take the pusoko. Dora and Sembodo each felt suspicious towards another, and suspecting each other tried to steal the pusoko. So they fight each other to death. Aji Saka that was curious of why it is taken so long for the two to come to Java, finally came home himself only to discover the body of his two faithful servants and the terrible misunderstanding among them. To remember the faithful acts of his two servants, Aji Saka composed a poem that later become the origin of hanacaraka Javanese script. The Javanese alphabet itself forms a poem, and a perfect pangram, of which the line-by-line translation is as follows.:
Hana caraka There (were) two messengers
data sawala (They) had animosity (among each other)
padha jayanya (They were) equally powerful (in fight)
maga bathanga Here are the corpses.
hana / ana = there were/was
caraka = messenger (actually, 'one who is loyal to and trusted by someone')
data = have/has
sawala = difference (regarding a matter)
padha = same, equal
jayanya = 'their power', 'jaya' could mean 'glory' as well
maga = 'here'
bathanga = corpses
- "Javanese Characters and Aji Saka". Joglosemar. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
- Soemarmo, Marmo. "Javanese Script." Ohio Working Papers in Linguistics and Language Teaching 14.Winter (1995): 69-103.