Joko Dolog

A stone image of the Buddha Akshobya, curiously matching the description of the 'missing statue' at Candi Jawi, can be found today in a small, secluded park in Surabaya. Known locally as Joko Dolog, the statue displays a lengthy sanskrit inscription, carved neatly around its base. When it was translated for the first time early in this century, the inscription was found to reveal important historical information dating from the period immediately prior to the founding of Majapahit. Executed in the year 1289 by a Buddhist scribe named Nada, the contents are roughly as follows:

It is said that in times long past the sage Mpu Bharada divided the land of Java into the kingdoms of Janggala and Panjalu (Kediri), with the purpose of settling a dispute between two brothers over the right to royal succession. The division was created magically, by means of holy water sprinkled out of a jar from the sky. Since the reign of Sri Wishnuwardhana, however, the country had been re-united, to the joy and benefit of all. The present ruler, of whom the statue was said to have been a portrait, was Wishnuwardhana's son, Kertanagara, who had commissioned the image as a symbol of this re-unification.

prasastiThe information contained in the Joko Dolog inscription is especially interesting because it appears to establish the authenticity of certain historical figures and events, previously known only from ancient Javanese literature. The story of the division of Java by the sage Mpu Bharada is of course well known, and refers to the reign of King Airlangga in the 11th century. On the other hand, by giving Wishnuwardhana the credit for having re-united the country, the inscription has tended to cast doubt upon the reliability of traditional literary sources, particularly with regard to the story of Ken Angrok and Ken Dedes, which has by some been dismissed as a complete fabrication.

Yet, since the discovery in 1975 of a number of inscribed copper sheets originating from the region of Kediri, new light has been shed on the early years of the Singosari period. Known as the inscription of Mula Malurung, issued by King Kertanagara in 1255, it mentions the names of Wishnuwardhana, Tohjaya, as well as a number of other kings whose names have been hitherto unknown to historians. Finally, and most interesting, the Mula Malurung inscription appears to suggest the existence of Ken Angrok, thus at least confirming an historical basis for a story which was beginning to fade entirely into the realm of myth.


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