Batara Kala, The Lord of the Time

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Batara Kala is the lord of the time. Kala is derived from Sanskrit which means time. Batara Kala is often described as a demon (rakshasa) with a scary face. In Hindu mythology, Batara Kala is the son of Batara Siwa from his relationship with Dewi Uma. Batara Kala reminds us that nobody can ever go against the law of karma. Other sources also mention that Batara Kala is the universe’s energy, related to good or evil, space and time, and the universe’s equilibrium. When it is time for somebody to leave the world, he will invite this person. Nobody can refuse him. This is why Batara Kala has a scary face to frighten the person. Batara Kala has a consort named Setesuyara, the goddess of the underworld.

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Batara Kala Illustration (Image: Netizen World)

Kala as the Representation of Energy

Kala or Bhuta Kala is derived from the word Bhuta which means the elements of the universe. There are five elements of Bhuta called Panca (five) Maha Bhuta. The elements are earth (pertiwi), water (apah), fire (teja), air (apah), and ether (akasa). Kala can be two-edged swords. It can be either allies or enemies. If humans cannot manage it properly Kala can be a disaster. As a consequence, humans should create harmony in their surroundings. Moreover, Kala is also space and time. This is where human beings live. As long as human still lives, nobody can escape space and time. The area is inside the universe that is rotated based on the law of rta. This rotation of space will eventually cause time.

Hinduism believes there is always a perfect time to do some activities. This called wariga and dewasa. The philosophy is rooted in the Jyotisha Wedangga or Hindu astrology. The word dewasa originated from the word div which means light or ray. Similarly, wariga comes from the word vara and ga. Vara means principal whereas ga means way.

Kala as The Guard of the Universe

The birth of Kala can be traced according to the literature on Kala Tattwa. Once upon a time, Dewa Siwa took a walk at the seashore. At that time, Dewa Siwa was full of carnal desire. His lady, Dewi Uma, cannot fulfill the lust of Dewa Siwa. Thus, his cement dripped to the sea. Dewa Brahma dan Dewa Wisnu found the water droplets. Later, they gave the droplets a spell called Japa Mantra. As a result, a giant was born. Later, the giant is baptized by Dewa Siwa who named him Bhatara Kala.

The appearance of Kala can be found in the temple, especially at the main gate. The manifestation of Kala usually has bulging eyes, mouth open, canine tooth, and tongue sticking out. In this manifestation, Kala means negative energy. The human duty is to turn this negative energy into positive energy through ritual.

Ritual To Create Harmony with Kala

To achieve prosperity, humans should look after their environment first. The purpose is to create harmonized human relationships with the environment where they live in. This can be taken through the ritual for Kala which is called Caru. Caru is part of Bhuta Yadnya. The objective of Bhuta Yadnya is to protect the five natural laws called Panca Maha Bhuta. If these five elements of the universe function properly, a human can achieve prosperity.

Batara Kala and Hyang Rare Kumara

Batara Kala has a sibling named Hyang Rare Kumara. Different than Batara Kala, Hyang Rare Kumara has a handsome face. They were born on the same day called Wuku Wayang. Kala envies his sibling’s face and tries to eat him. Their father, Dewa Siwa, or Batara Guru, tries to prevent it. He then begs Batara Kala to eat his sibling when Rare Kumara is seven years old.

To cease Batara Kala’s plan, Batara Guru gave Hyang Rare Kumara a curse. Hyang Rare Kumara will remain a baby and never grow up. With that condition, Batara Kala will cancel his plan.

Seven years later, Batara Kala still insists on committing to his plan. Batara Guru looks for a way to save Hyang Rare Kumara. He told Rare Kumara to go to the Kertanegara Kingdom. With his strong sense of smell, Batara Kala is always able to follow his brother anywhere he goes.

With many deceits, Rare Kumara can always escape from Batara Kala’s chase. He sneaked to the bamboo clump, hiding in the pile of firewood, getaway through the fireplace. Every time Batara Kala failed to catch Rare Kumara, he condemns everybody that makes Rare Kumara can escape.

Rare Kumara then asks for protection from Maya Sura, the king of Kertanegara. All of the soldiers deployed to obstruct Batara Kala, but it is vain. Rare Kumara was cornered, and Batara Kala then swallow him.

Because of that incident, Batara Guru and Batari Uma come. They tell Batara Kala to vomit on his brother. Then he did it, but after that, he changed his mind. He want to swallow his brother again. He even wants to swallow his parents altogether. Batara Kala didn’t forbid him, but he gave one prerequisite. Batara Kala must answer a riddle that is given before sunset.

Because it took too long for Batara Kala to answer the question, the sun slipped to the west. Because of that, Batara Kala lost its right to eat Batara Guru and Batari Uma. This made Batara Kala very angry. He then curses all of the coconut trees. As a result, there is no coconut tree trunk that can stand upright.

At night, Rare Kumara’s escapement arrived at the puppet (wayang) show. The puppeteer gave protection by hiding him in the gong‘s (traditional instrument) resonator. When the puppeteer came, Batara Kala already ate all of the offerings. Batara Kala felt guilty. He promised to replace the eaten offerings with a spell that can prevent bad things. The puppeteer then made an agreement with Batara Kala. The puppeteer will replace the kid that was born on Wayang day, who that supposed to be eaten by Batara Kala, with a particular offering. Rare Kumara then returned to heaven to meet his father and mother.

Reference:

  1. Ideologi Kedok Muka Kala pada Bangunan Suci di Bali Telaah Tentang Idiologi
  2. Dibalik Sosok Menyeramkan Bhatara Kala

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