Bhima's Mystical Quest As a Model of Javanese Spiritual Growth

Bhima's Mystical Quest As a Model of Javanese Spiritual Growth


Bhima’s quest for the tirta pawitra ends with not finding what he is searching for, but encountering with Déwaruci which is considered “a mystical grace”, has become a reference model in achieving a perfect life. How Bhima’s quest as presented in the Sêrat Déwaruci and in the Déwaruci play articulates the degrees of Javanese spiritual progression is the focus of this study.
The basis of this research is the Jasadipoeran Sêrat Déwaruci which may has its sources of the Déwaruci story from the Mêrbabu collection, and/or oral tradition, the Ki Nartosabdan Déwaruci play and the dhalangs’ interpretation of the Déwaruci play they performed. The presentations of Bhima in these sources show many silimilarities with the reliefs found on mountain sancturaries in East and Central Java dated in the second half of the fifteenth century.
Using three divisions of the horizontal tripartite of the Déwaruci play, and of the vertical tripartite of the wayang kulit cosmology, and with the aid of spiritual theology, in collaboration with the Javanese concepts of lair, batin, and rasa, the finding the examining of Bhima’s mystical quest reveals three stages of the Javanese spiritual growth which can be systematically summarized as the purification of the corporeal feelings, the purification of the emotional feelings, and the purification of the intuitive feelings which culminates in the union with God, the so-called manunggaling kawula-Gusti.



Defended in


PhD defended at

Radboud University, FTR