Dream or Reality (33)
The dreams of Jero Mangku
text and image by Hans Smeekes
Looking at the painting on the wall, completely absorbed by the scenery on it, Fifi and I are silently waiting for our two animal friends to appear for the usual meeting in the night, sitting close together on the romantic bed in the palace.
“What is fascinating you so much about this painting?” Tu Kodok, the frog asks when he in a split second shows up on the edge of the window together with his friend Tu Tokeh, the gecko, seeing us looking at the painting.
“As you can see it shows a small wooden bridge, leading to a temple gate. It reminds us very much of the bridge and the temple we visited so often in the course of the years.
It is in the outskirts of the little village of Tengkulak and the temple is called Pura Gandalangu.
Someone who knows our interest in old temples advised us to go there. It was not easy to find. We had to ask many times. But we arrived there and so we had to cross for the first time this fragile bridge, consisting of five long wooden poles. Our friendly guides from the village told us that it was made of ironwood. Strong wood, as the name already reveals, so there was nothing to fear, but anyway we have to admit we crossed it with sweat on the foreheads, the humidity had also its part in this, trying not to look in the deep ravine beneath us, where a fast-flowing river tried to find its way.”
“And Fifi,” Tu Tokeh asks, “how about you?”
“I had my doubts when I felt the bridge dangerously bending in the middle, but I did it and after that many times,” Fifi answers with a big proud smile.
“A small path,” I take over again, “with high coconut palm trees at each side, was leading to the small temple, at three sides surrounded by ricefields. Soon also the templepriest Jero Mangku Ardana arrived. Black beard and big smile. And he started to explain about this special temple.
Soon he mentioned the name of Pasung Grigis. Until that time we never heard before about him. So it was hard for us to understand why he was mentioned. What was the connection? It took several visits until we understood: this temple was exactly on the spot where before the palace (‘puri’) was of Pasung Grigis. And Pasung Grigis was the ‘patih’ of the last king of Bali as a whole (called Sri Bedahulu Astha Ratna Bumi Banten Sura), settled in Bedulu, which is not far from Tengkulak.
In the temple there are some old carved stone sculptures to be find, including the base of a ‘lingam’, probably from that time. Jero Mangku showed them proudly.
Jero Mangku told us about his dream. About twenty years ago he had some special dreams. In that time the temple was in a bad state. He dreamed that crickets were coming out of the statues. In the second dream he found a special bird in the ricefield and as top of the bill in the third one he found three coloured stones. One red, one white and one black. The colors of Brahma, Shiwa and Wishnu. So he shared his dreams with his family, friends and with the people in the village and they encouraged him to rebuild the temple and gave him money. Because everyone agreed it was a sign.
It was full moon when he told us about this and then when the sunset had taken place we meditated in complete darkness until the full moon came up behind the trees. Very special. It was unbelievable silent. Even the crickets made no sound. Only a bird after an hour and that was the sign the meditation was over.”
“Hans made some films about the temple and its (hi)story and put them on youtube,” Fifi is taking over. “And what do you think, what is the response?”
“Yes what?” Tu Tokeh curiously wants to know.
I give the answer: “Some ‘rich’ Balinese people (I think they have a high position in the army) saw the videos and found them very remarkabele and start to have interest in the temple and the history involved. Specially, I think, because the temple has so much to do with Pasung Grigis. The old general in fact. A collegue in arms.
They had a meeting with Jero Mangku and visited the temple. Jero Mangku saw this people already coming in a dream, he told us.
And they started to offer money to make a great gate just behind the bridge. As a special tribute to Pasung Grigis the gate is guarded by two black dogs. The dogs of Pasung Grigis.
We were very happy when we heard about this. Because we ourselves have not so much money, but to hear that we contributed in this indirect way we felt very satisfied. And Jero Mangku felt the same towards us. Very grateful.
Pointing in the direction of his heart and to our hearts, he said: “Same.”
After that Jero Mangku completed the ‘griya’ (the house of the high priest), next to the temple, because his final goal is to become high priest.
In the meantime also other buildings in the temple were built and last year the big celebration took place. It was called ‘Bagia Pulakerti’. It is really a very big ceremony as they told us. The offering involved is a symbolic seed of peace and happiness. ‘Bagia’ means happy and ‘pula’ means planting. The offering is composed of many smaller offerings which are symbols of the riches of the earth and they are put in the middle of the temple three meters deep in the earth. The goal is to create happiness for the future. It was a pity we were not there at that time. But Jero Mangku told us all the details.
And the people in the temple had to wait for him, because he went just a few days before to the island of Sumba. Accompanied by four other people of the village.
The reason had to do with Pasung Grigis. Because Pasung Grigis went to Sumba after he was defeated by Gajah Mada in the famous struggle some centuries ago, when the Majapahit took over in Bali.
So Jero Mangku had to go there, before the ceremony could be completed. It was part of it. To put everything right.
Also this was foreseen by him in his dreams. Pasung Grigis is almost part of him. And if we understand well Pasung Grigis is in fact his ancestor. This explains the relation.
Anyway, he told us that when he arrived on Sumba, it was like everyone was already expecting him. And he got all the guidance and protection. He arrived at a relief on a stone wall, which can be compared by that of Yeh Pulu. And he brought from there to Bali the symbol of Pasung Grigis, nobody of official institutes did ask anything, also not when he was going into the plane, miraculous.
The relic is now placed in a special ‘gedong’ in the temple.
And a statue is now completed on the corner of the street to Tengkulak (Jalan Pasung Grigis) and the main road between Ubud and Bedulu. It shows Pasung Grigis as a brave warrior with a big ‘keris’ in his raised right hand, ready for the struggle and his black dog at his feet.
“Thank you Hans and Fifi for this remarkable story, the story about the dreams of Jero Mangku, dreams which became reality. But how about us, you think we are real ...?
That remains a question for you, we think and now we have to go, until tomorrow, until our next session,” Tu Kodok utters with his creaky voice, his last words almost unhearable, leaving us behind with the big question, in silence.
Our dream or our reality?
See on youtube: “BALI - Pura Gandalangu (Puri Pasung Grigis) Tengkulak” and the many other videos (youtube channel: Hans Smeekes)