Hidden, might never be found—
Still it is beauty.
This prince is one of my favourite wayang (literally means shadow, leather puppet show that are watched from behind the geber/screen as shadow). He is one of the bravest, most studious, dignified character in pewayangan (Javanese puppet stories that are mostly centralised on Mahabharata, Ramayana and their modifications). He is unpopular (in wayang stories, Pandhawa and Kurawa are those who are popular), humble and empan papan (knowing one’s proper position in some given situation— Javanese wisdom)
Ekalaya or Bambang Ekalaya or Palgunadi was a prince (king later) in a small kingdom called Paranggelung (Nishada) under Hastinapura commonwealth. He ruled his kingdom wisely. His life was contented and happy, yet there was one ambition he hadn’t fulfilled yet. He wanted to be one of the best archer in his era.
While he had the talent and ambition, his status as unpopular prince of a small kingdom hampered him from getting the opportunity to enrol in the most prestigious archery school under management of Pandhita Durna. Pandhita Durna was the highest professor educating Pandhawa and Kurawa children who were the heirs of the most prominent kingdom of the era. He was the patent holder of Danudewa, the highest archery skill in the era.
Bambang Ekalaya who was naturally talented himself had achieved high level of skill, that allegedly could beat the skill of the most skilful and most favourite student of Pandhita Durna, Arjuna or also called Palguna.
Bambang Ekalaya was also known as one human being who wore a divine ring called Mustika Ampal that could amplify his power. This ring was a gift given to Ekalaya’s father who prayed to the Highest Divine wishing that his child could be blessed as a wise king. Pandhita Durna didn’t know that this unpopular prince had this rare powerful gift and thought that only Arjuna was the most talented knight.
Although he was rejected, Bambang Ekalaya didn’t stop training himself for the perfection of archery skill. He made a statue of Pandhita Durna and everyday he religiously gave respect to “him” and rigorously exercised in front of the statue as if Pandhita Durna really had been witnessing his activities.
Bambang Ekalaya was married to a princess who loved him devotedly. Her name was Anggraeni or Dewi Anggraeni.
Anggraeni loved Bambang Ekalaya devotedly. The princess was a humble, courageous woman who would not easily give up to challenge of integrity.
to be continued