Friday, December 17, 2010

Javanese Letter: The Great Twenty Letters

 Nora kurang wulang wuruk, tumrape wong tanah Jawi
Laku lakuning ngagesang, lamun gelem anglakoni
Tegese Aksara, iku guru kang sejati
The Macapat above talks about Aksara Jawa (Javanese Letter), a written language form that develop in Javanese society. Based on the legend, this letter made by Prabu Ajisaka of Medang Kamulan. He made this letter to give a reward for his servants that die in a duel. Javanese Letter has twenty letters that arranged into four lines. Every line consists of five letters.
Ha Na Ca Ra Ka
Da Ta Sa Wa La
Pa Da Ja Ya Nya
Ma Ga Ba Tha Nga
In fact, the Javanese language is from Sanskrit. The sequence is Dewanagari (used in India)—Sanskrit (appear in early 4th century in Indonesia, by Salakanagara, the first Imperium in Indonesia) and Pallawa (the written language in that era, mostly used in ‘prasasti’)---Ancient Java (it may spoken language) and Kawi (written language, mostly used in literary works, such as Arjunawiwaha, Gatutkacasraya, and the younger Negarakertagama). In the development, Javanese language has many changes from the Ancient Java, but some people are sure that Banyumanese is close with Ancient Java.
Each of Javanese Letter has its own meaning. For example, the first line is consist of five letters, they are: Ha Na Ca Ra Ka. The letter “Ha” is meaning “Urip” (life), and the complete meaning is “Ana urip wening suci” (there is a pure life). The second is “Na”. This letter has meaning “Nur candra Gusti Ingkang Murbheng Dumadi” (the light of the God). Next is “Ca”, “Cipta wening” (pure). The next, “Ra”, “Rasaingsun handulusih” (the pure love is from the pure heart). And the last, “Ka”, “Karsaningsun hamemayu hayuning bawono” (the will to life harmony with the earth). That is the example of the meaning of Javanese Letter, in the first line.
Because of that fact, the song above tells that anyone who can understand about Javanese Letter (the meaning and the secret), they have found a real teacher to face this world. That reflects on the last line of the song, Tegese Aksara iku guru kang sejati.


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