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Old 28th February 2019, 08:02 PM   #1
Pusaka
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Default Rerajahan soul of the keris

I did a search on here for "Rerajahan" and it came up with zero results. Well it is arguably the most important aspect of the Keris so I decided to start this thread with some basic knowledge on the subject as I understand it.

So what is Rerajahan? During the construction of a keris there are two aspects.

The physical aspect, knowledge of blacksmithing, pamor making, metallurgy, carving, dapur, geometry, art, anatomy, chemical treatment etc etc

using the above skills you can produce a fine keris physically, a work of art but according to traditional belief beautiful as it maybe what you have produced is a keris mati, a dead keris. Most newly made keris today are like this actually.

A Living keris (keris hidup) on the other hand is an enchanted weapon. It is empowered by offerings to the Gods/spirits, mantra and Rerajahan.

Really the outer palmor and dapur are only visible indications which tells us the character of the Rerajahan and mantras used to empower the keris because depending on the specific requirements of the user these can be altered.

Really the soul of the keris is the Rerajahan which is given shakti (power) by reciting mantras over the keris during its construction.

A Rerajahan is a mystical diagram which pictorially represents the intention the Pande/Empu has for the keris. In western magic we would call it a sigil, a mystical digram that represents the spiritual purpose of the keris, its program if you like. You can think of the physical keris as being the hardware and the mantra/Rerajahan as the software.

During the construction of the keris the Pande/Empu takes a special stylus in hand and traces the Rerajahan diagram into the metal with intense mental concentration. This will form the core of the keris blade. It is the non seen aspect of the keris the only way after construction to know the character of the Rerajahan used is clues in the pamor, dapur. The pamor, dapur always matches the Rerajahan. If someone is skilled in ilmu batin (Science of the heart) they can "read" the character of the keris using their rasa. Other then that dreams received whilst the keris is placed under your pillow can give clues.

Once the keris is awakened (basupati) it is a living thing having a purpose, a name and should be respected (but not worshipped). It must be sustained with the fragrant smoke and oil of botanical origin. You must no use industrial chemical/oils on the blade as it acts as a poison to the isi.

What is the isi but the mantra empowered Rerajahan which resides in the keris. A keris in reality is nothing but a Jimat in the form of a dagger.
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Old 2nd March 2019, 05:53 PM   #2
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As you are probably aware Puasaka, Rerajahan is a Hindu concept and practice which is not uniquely attached to the creation of keris. It is applied as a practice in numerous ritual situation. I believe that many of us have a limited understanding of the exact process applied to instilling isi into a "living" keris as these are secret devices of the empus of the past, but i also believe many of us are vaguely aware that such a practice may indeed be part of the creation of a keris even if we might not be aware of the name of this specific Hindu concept.

http://www.discoveryjournals.org/di...146-150/A6.pdf?

But as far as i know Rerajahan is a Hindu practice that involves Hindu mantras, scripts and symbols. The keris is an iconic cultural artifact that spans centuries and numerous and varied cultural influences. Is it your belief that once Islam took firm root in Jawa and other parts of Indonesia that empus continued to use Hindu mantras and symbolism when bringing a keris to "life"? If not, then is the process still referred to a "Rerajahan" and was it performed my Islamic empus in the same manner and fashion as it was by Hindu empus? Or perhaps you believe that the process of creating the "living" keris died out with the advent of Islam?
You ask "What is the isi but the mantra empowered Rerajahan which resides in the keris" and then go one to state "A keris in reality is nothing but a Jimat in the form of a dagger."
I would suggest that in your first question you might be confusing the map for the territory. The things that represent the isi (mantra and sigils) are not likely to be the isi itself.
As for your last statement, i believe it might be a mistake to claim that the keris is "nothing but" any one thing. In the multi-leveled meanings that are pervasive throughout all of Indonesia the keris is a complex and multi-layered object that hold many meanings and cultural functions all at the same time.
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Old 3rd March 2019, 01:30 PM   #3
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David, when I say that a keris is a jimat in the form of a dagger I am speaking only of keris hidup. Essentially the purpose and process to empower a jimat and a keris are identical (originally). A keris was often attached to the central post of the house to "protect" it in the same way a jimat is hung around the neck to protect the owner.

Has this "technology" survived in Islamic parts? that is an interesting question. As the nature of this subject is secret perhaps we can never know but my suspicion is that it has not (I am not here talking about blacksmithing, obviously the making of keris has survived in Islamic parts)

You can see that vedic jimat have been replaced with Islamic talismans in Muslim parts. I suspect the process of creating a keris has been similarly altered. Vedic mantra will be replaced by Muslim prayers and Rerajahan will most likely be replaced with verse from the Quran. As the science and efficiency of mantra is based on sound substituting for any prayer that takes your fancy in my opinion would not be equivalent.

Having said that as long as a person can go through enough mental gymnastics to convince themselves that what they are doing is rooted and originates in Islam then perhaps it can be retained. We see the same in Silat where for example the prophet Muhammad "was a great silat player" yet we can be quite sure he never knew a single silat jurus.

I have heard that Cimande balur oil is empowered by reciting vedic mantras over it despite the region being Islamic perhaps it was discovered that replacement with Islamic prayers did not work? As long as they can convince themselves that these vedic mantras came from Muhammad its all good

Last edited by Pusaka : 3rd March 2019 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 3rd March 2019, 06:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pusaka
David, when I say that a keris is a jimat in the form of a dagger I am speaking only of keris hidup. Essentially the purpose and process to empower a jimat and a keris are identical (originally). A keris was often attached to the central post of the house to "protect" it in the same way a jimat is hung around the neck to protect the owner.

Yes Pusaka, i realize that you were only talking about "living" keris. However, keris hidup covers much more than the talismanic keris that were attached to central posts as a protective jimat. So i am afraid that i still question your statement the "A keris in reality is nothing but a Jimat in the form of a dagger." It is obvious that many keris hidup were far more than simply a jimat.
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Old 3rd March 2019, 08:33 PM   #5
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Empu Pauzan Pusposukadgo (Alm.) produced some of the finest keris of the modern era.

After the passing of Empu Suparman Supowijoyo (Alm.), Empu Pauzan was recognised as the ranking Empu of the Karaton Surakarta, yet Empu Pauzan himself would never accept the title of "Empu". He preferred to be recognised as "Pande Seni Keris" : "A Skilled Craftsman in the art of the Keris".

Pauzan and I met in 1974, long before he took the decision to attempt to make keris. We became close friends and remained that until the time of his passing. I once asked Pauzan why he refused to be known as "Empu", when everybody referred to him as "Empu". His answer was interesting, and I believe it demonstrates quite clearly the division between Javanese indigenous belief, Javanese mystical belief created by Sufic mysticism, the Hindu-Buddhist beliefs of pre-Islamic Jawa, and the beliefs of those Javanese people who observe the tenets of conventional Islam.

Pauzan's response to my question was this:-

"An Empu is somebody who is believed to be able call life into a keris and imbue it with certain special powers. Now, I ask you Mas Alan, can any man create life? You and I know that only God can create life. Can a man presume to take the place of God? This is sinful belief, and even more sinful if a man were to attempt to bring life into something that man has made. I will never be a part of this sort of belief. I create art. Only art."

Pauzan's Islamic beliefs were very much of a conventional nature. He did not follow the mysticism of Kejawen, he identified as Santri, he unfailingly observed all the requirements expected of a devout Muslim.

For the devout Javanese Muslim, a keris must be no more than an item of dress that might also be an art work, and a way in which he can store wealth.

However, for a Javanese person who follows the indigenous belief systems of Ancestor Worship and Animism the nature of the keris is not the same as it must be for the devout Muslim, or for those Javanese people who identify as followers of Kejawen beliefs, the nature of the keris is again at variance with the nature of the keris for a man like Pande Seni Keris Pauzan Pusposukadgo.

In Hindu-Buddhist Jawa the nature of the keris was again very different to the nature of the keris that has developed since the domination of Jawa by Islam.

During the Central Jawa Period, prior to the migration of power to East Jawa, the keris was primarily a weapon, probably one that was also used in blood sacrifice.

In East Jawa the original form of the keris underwent some change, its nature also underwent change, but it did retain the essentially Hindu edged weapon characteristic of being an empty vessel that had been prepared for the visit of a Deity.

In East Jawa, probably during the Majapahit era, the development of Hindu-Buddhist beliefs and the incorporation of indigenous beliefs into the belief system that became Agama Jawa Hindu saw the identification of ancestors with Deities and since Mount Meru is the place where ancestors wait to become one with their own God, or to be reborn, the idea that an ancestor could also visit an earthly meru took root. Thus the keris had now assumed the nature of a meru:- a place to be held in readiness for the visit of a deity, and in the case of Javanese belief, for the visit of an ancestor.

Since a keris was not permanently occupied, that meant that it was empty, and being empty it was necessary to ensure that no evil or unwanted forces came into that keris.

During the period to the collapse of Majapahit, the keris would have been primarily an item that was reserved for the K'satriya, however, there was a constant population of traders who lived in enclaves along the north coast, most of these traders were Muslim, and they had a tendency to copy the style of the Court of Majapahit. These traders would have had not the vaguest idea of the true nature of the keris. They had probably heard that it had some esoteric characteristics, but to these outlanders, it was merely a personal weapon worn by men of the Court.

With the collapse of Majapahit the keris became a secular object and its new masters invented their own ideas of its nature based upon the vague idea of its esoteric nature.

If we wish to understand the nature of the keris we need to devote ourselves to study of the society of Jawa, its history and belief systems, and we need to cultivate the mental facilities that will enable us to comprehend Javanese values and belief systems.

It is a very facile approach to attempt to understand the nature of the keris in the absence of the necessary foundations that might permit this.
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Old 3rd March 2019, 08:47 PM   #6
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Thanks for this summary Alan.
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Old 3rd March 2019, 11:25 PM   #7
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Below are quotes from the Magus of Java he basically says what I have said though being from a Chinese background he uses the word FU instead of Jimat/Rerajahan. He also clears up the misconception that an ISI is a created being. This mystic used his clairvoyant ability's to investigate the construction of the keris and the nature of the ISI contained in it

"When I first developed my power," John said, "l was curious
about the abilities of the keris. In an antiques shop I found a keris of
power that was rusting away the storekeeper could not sense that
the keris was charged you see. That weapon was five hundred years
old but he thought it was junk and treated it as such. l bought it for
a few dollars and took it home where I investigated its origins using
my own skills. In the very Center of the keris, buried in the layers of
metal, was a strip of paper* on which a charm was written in Sanskrit
letters. It was very similar to a Chinese talisman, a fu. At that point I
understood the technique of fabricating the keris"

*The author is mistaken here the Rerajahan is not drawn on paper for obvious reasons instead it is scribed on the metal with a stylus

"Samar (the name of the keris) is a created being isn't he?"
John looked at me with interest. "No, Kosta you are missing the
point. Nice try, but no cigar as they say. Samar is not a created
being at all he is the extension of a man who once was"

"A Fu comes from our own person John said. When we make a
Fu we extend our consciousness and our power into the charm and
that power can serve a specific purpose for example when I
speak to a keris it is actually the spirit of the keris maker whom I
am speaking to this man has, in the past extended a part of his own
life force and spirit into the fu in the heart of the keris."
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Old 3rd March 2019, 11:53 PM   #8
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Ah yes, John Chang.

Belief can be very powerful.
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Old 4th March 2019, 11:04 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Ah yes, John Chang.

Belief can be very powerful.


What part of what he said above is false ?
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Old 4th March 2019, 02:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pusaka
What part of what he said above is false ?

I believe you are asking the wrong question.
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Old 4th March 2019, 05:26 PM   #11
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Darren, I neither stated nor implied that there was anything false in your quoted passage. I simply commented that belief can be powerful, and I feel that this is an accurate statement.

The thing is this:- you are trying to address the keris from one direction, I am addressing the keris from a different direction. Each of us has certain life experience and knowledge that helps to form our opinions. I have a very lengthy period of experience with people who possess similar perceived abilities to those of Mr. Chang, in fact, I live with one of these people, I have had others who were relatives. We do not all see the world in precisely the same way.

I have spent over 60 years in the study of all things that relate to Jawa. Since 1974 I have spent between one month and six months every year except three, living in Solo in Central Jawa. The perceived abilities of Mr. Chang do not amaze me, nor do they impress me. True, he does appear to possess certain abilities, but from my perspective those abilities have absolutely nothing at all to do with the keris.

I do not have any problem at all with the way in which you are pursuing knowledge of the keris, I believe that you are sincere in your beliefs, and I also believe that if you continue your pursuit of knowledge for long enough you will find that which you are seeking.
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Old 4th March 2019, 09:04 PM   #12
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I think if a person has the ability to sense a keris in a junk shop. Then use their clairvoyant vision to see a Rerajahan buried in the centre of a kris and even be able to see its characters that is not an achievement to be sneezed at. Lets keep it real, none of you guys could do this!

Personally I regard this person to be an expert on keris because you can hand such a person a keris and he can tell you things about that keris that you could never hope to know.
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Old 4th March 2019, 09:24 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pusaka
I think if a person has the ability to sense a keris in a junk shop. Then use their clairvoyant vision to see a Rerajahan buried in the centre of a kris and even be able to see its characters that is not an achievement to be sneezed at. Lets keep it real, none of you guys could do this!

Personally I regard this person to be an expert on keris because you can hand such a person a keris and he can tell you things about that keris that you could never hope to know.



Everyone is allowed to have their own opinion; this is your's and that's just fine with all of us I'm sure.
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Old 4th March 2019, 10:39 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pusaka
I think if a person has the ability to sense a keris in a junk shop. Then use their clairvoyant vision to see a Rerajahan buried in the centre of a kris and even be able to see its characters that is not an achievement to be sneezed at. Lets keep it real, none of you guys could do this!

Personally I regard this person to be an expert on keris because you can hand such a person a keris and he can tell you things about that keris that you could never hope to know.

Yes Pusaka, LET'S keep it real.
I've seen plenty of video footage of John Chang doing his stuff and i own the Rings of Fire videos. Much of it looks very interesting. He does seem to be able to manipulate his chi energy in unique ways. Am i still a skeptic. Of course. I also happen to be very good friends with a few of world renown stage magicians who can do many of the things shown in those videos through devices of illusion. Now, I'm not saying that Johnny isn't the real deal. He very well could be. But neither you nor i have any firsthand experience with him or any real evidence to prove that one way or another. We just have no way to really tell if those things he might tell us about a keris are real or not. If you think he is on the up and up it is for one reason and one reason only. You BELIEVE in him. That's fine. We all believe in one thing or another with out any empirical evidence to back it up. Much of the world operated on faith and belief.
In the videos i've watched i must say that i like John and i want to believe he is the real deal. That said, one thing i don't believe he is, and i seriously doubt that he would claim to be, is a keris expert. He may well be sensitive and able to read certain energies, but i seriously doubt when it comes right down to it, that he actually knows much about keris themselves.
So let's keep it real, eh? Just because you read or saw in a video that John could sense the energy in a keris and have a clairvoyant vision to see a Rerajahan buried in the centre of a kris and even be able to see its characters does not mean that is what really happened. The maker of the keris is long dead. Anyone could make up any story about any old keris and there is really no way to disprove it, is there? You either believe or you don't believe.
I understand that you want to believe. That is really just fine with me. Believe all you want. But it is important that we don't attempt to present our beliefs as hard fact. Keep the faith, by all means. Live, learn, experience all that you can firsthand. But try not to impose your beliefs on others nor assume what others can and can not do regarding their own sensitivity to such energies.
I do have one piece of personal logic that i would like to throw out into this discussion. You quoted the following from a book (i assume this was written by those Ring of Fire guys?):
"A Fu comes from our own person John said. When we make a
Fu we extend our consciousness and our power into the charm and
that power can serve a specific purpose for example when I
speak to a keris it is actually the spirit of the keris maker whom I
am speaking to this man has, in the past extended a part of his own
life force and spirit into the fu in the heart of the keris."
This would make a lot of sense if one were creating a jimat for oneself (and just so that you understand, i have indeed created many talismans, jimat and magickal weapons for myself over the past 40 or so years that i have been involved with occult sciences). But an empu/pande is creating a keris for another person and probably creates many over the course of their lifetime. What you interpret John as saying here is that the isi is not a separate entity, but a part of the keris maker himself. How does that work for the keris owner in a magickal sense? Why would that person want to communicate with the keris maker through their keris, a weapon, a magickal/spiritual object that has been created in order to facilitate the owner's spiritual growth and well being, bringing specific energies into their life and meant to carry those energies and that of their family line down through the ages as pusaka? (I am, of course, speaking of keris hidup here, not a keris merely created as an item of formal dress or art.) How many parts of themselves do you think an empu has to pass on into the living keris that they make before their energies are tapped? Or do those empus have an infinite resource of spiritual energies to draw from and if it is indeed infinite, then is it truly an entity that is of their own ego or perhaps something far larger and greater than themselves?
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Old 4th March 2019, 11:42 PM   #15
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I'm sorry Pusaka. I realize you are probably still digesting my questions and composing responses, but i have a few more, and since you apparently know a lot about this topic (though i am still unsure of your source beyond the Ring of Fire videos) i have a few more.
As a disclaimer let me just say that personally i do in fact believe in this concept of the keris hidup, if for no other reason than the fact that there are so many people who sincerely do. And as Alan stated, belief can be very powerful. Very powerful!
So let's say you do happen upon one of these living keris. You take it to someone like John Chang , or maybe you are developed enough to read it for yourself so you put it under your pillow and communicate with it. So you have a living keris that an empu placed a very specific "Rerajahan" into that has a very specific pamor and Dhapur all designed to bring something very specific to this one man's life in Bali 500 years ago. Now what? It was passed down as pusaka over the centuries, given to the very specific members of each person's family that the keris could jibe with, because certainly these specific energies weren't for everyone, carrying this power and lineage with it. And now you have it. It's not your pusaka now, is it? I mean, you own it, but you have no lineage, not real connection to the piece outside of that. So what now? Is this keris now a power object for you? If so why? How do you use it?
I hear a lot from collectors about the excitement of owning a keris pusaka, often from collectors who are not even members of the culture, let alone family members in the line of inheritance for the keris. You can't just pick up the magical lineage of power in such keris and wield it yourself, can you? If so, to what end? Is it possible that this "most important aspect of keris" is something that we as collectors either can't or have no right to access?
Hopefully you can help me with these questions. Thanks!
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Old 5th March 2019, 12:57 AM   #16
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David, until I started this thread did you know what a Rerajahan was? did you know that these mystical drawings were inserted in keris during construction? I would not blame you if you did not because its not common knowledge. The fact that it is not even mentioned once in this entire forum despite all the years says it all.

Now how did this John Chang guy know that such a "device" was hidden in the keris? Either he made a more then casual study of keris construction or it is as he claimed that he could simply "see" it. The fact that he calls it a FU points in the latter direction.

You say you have watched the video of him, then you know a full team of Scientists was sent to discover if he was a fraud. Could your magician friend you speak of duplicate what john chang does just wearing his underpants with a metal detector passed over his body? My "belief" in John may not have occurred without such rigorous testing. John has refused to communicate any further with the public so its clear he is not after fame. He is also a wealthy man so he is not after money. Nor does he want to teach you anything actually many have sought him out and he has refused to teach them despite large sums of money being offered.

Now to your last question if your thought and breath went into making something you are forever connected to it energetically.

Such an energetic connection can be used by a skilled person to hone in on the maker of the object. John uses this link to speak to the spirit of the dead maker. If he really can communicate with Empu's of the majapahit period then yes he is an expert in keris because what better teacher could you have then direct communication with an empu majapahit?

If your intention from the beginning was to create something to serve Mr X and his family then that is what that ISI will do because that is what you have programmed it to do. In this sense the ISI does not enjoy true free will but it has life. In western magic such an entity is sometimes called a servitor for good reason.

Part of the contract is that the owner will feed the ISI via incense smoke which renews and builds its energy.

The question about the Empu's energy is more complex. It requires a knowledge of mantras. Is the power of a mantra solely derived from the person who utters it or in uttering it is the person tapping into something universal and outside himself? Every breath you take you are tapping into something outside yourself prana (chi) and manus (Li) are two different things however.
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Old 5th March 2019, 02:11 AM   #17
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I can only repeat Alan's words here. Belief can be very powerful.
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Old 5th March 2019, 10:44 AM   #18
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David many people believe a keris pusaka can not be passed on to someone outside the family (without a handover ceremony conducted by a member of the family anyway). For that reason they are only interested in a keris made specifically for themselves. If I seen a nice keris for sale though I wouldn't worry that it was made for someone else. I would be happy to have it on my wall regardless.
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Old 5th March 2019, 03:43 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pusaka
David many people believe a keris pusaka can not be passed on to someone outside the family (without a handover ceremony conducted by a member of the family anyway). For that reason they are only interested in a keris made specifically for themselves. If I seen a nice keris for sale though I wouldn't worry that it was made for someone else. I would be happy to have it on my wall regardless.

I don't believe i or anyone else here even suggested that one cannot or should not collect old keris pusaka. My comment was aimed at the habit of some collectors making a point of identifying keris in their collection as keris pusaka when that chain of lineage had been broken and the keris no longer serves as pusaka. I believe the same can be said of keris hidup. You can collect them, care for them, but the "mission" they were originally intended for is over and the idea that we can access or harness someone else's power or magickal intention for our own needs is probably a bad idea even if it were possible. So yes, your wall would make a wonderful "retirement home".
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Old 6th March 2019, 02:11 AM   #20
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This really has been a remarkable thread. I keep writing more posts to put into the discussion, but then I re-think the wisdom of what I have written, and I delete my comments. Not everything is suitable to be aired in public.
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Old 6th March 2019, 02:03 PM   #21
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOoo1uRZ5tM

Earlier it was asked if the use of Rerajahan in keris construction had survived in Muslim parts. From the text below it looks like it is a possibility, at least the word has survived in non Hindu parts but what it represents there we can only know by comparison.

"What are the conditions if there are young people who want to become masters like you?

There are two manuscripts that become references. First , Kepandean Dharma texts made in the era of the Kingdom of Kediri, Singasari, and Majapahit. Secondly the Rerajahan Keris text which explains the requirements to become a master or cleric."

https://lifestyle.bisnis.com/read/2...engan-sang-empu

Secondly I searched to see if I could find an example of a Rerajahan being scribed into the metal of a keris. In the video (6:15) you can see a Balinese Pande using the special scribe I spoke of earlier to trace what appears to be the AUM mantra onto the metal. Not sure if this would be classed as a Rerajahan but you get the idea. Similar stylus are used by pedanda/pemangku to scribe aksare on strips of metal during the construction of jimat.
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Old 6th March 2019, 06:47 PM   #22
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Thanks for putting up those links Darren, interesting.

Was there something in particular that you wanted to draw out attention to in the Basuki Yuwono article? I read that one through, but I have not got time right now to look at the other articles before & after it.

I've looked at just the 6.15 cut of the pande inscribing the metal, I have not yet looked at the rest of this video --- again, time. I'll have a look later.
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Old 6th March 2019, 07:43 PM   #23
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I watched the entire video. Very nice Pusaka, thank you for posting it. It may be one of the most detailed presentations i've seen in youtube videos on the process of making keris. It's a shame that i don't speak the language and could only understand certain key keris terms that were used throughout, but the visuals were informative.
I also noted the use of the metal scribe being used early in the process in that video. As i stated before, it is not at all surprising to me to see this. You asked me earlier if i was aware of the term "Rerajahan" before you brought up this topic. While the term was not completely familiar to me, the practice most certainly is. Similar processes are enacted in the creation of talismanic objects across all cultures. The letters, sigils and mantras might differ, but the application and desired result is basically the same. So while it is nice to see a video of a keris pande actually performing this aspect of empowering the material used in the early stages of keris creation it is not at all surprising to me. No one here has argued that this is not a part of the process.
It is also nice that you seem to have found the word "Rerajahan" in conjunction with keris being used in Jawa. My internet searches on that front came up empty. As you noted, i am not sure if it is understood in the same context in Islamic culture since in the interview his response was that one must know the "Rerajahan Keris text which explains the requirements to become a master or cleric.". Given the confusion of online translators it's hard to say exactly what their understanding of the term is, though i would be surprised to find Islamic empus using Vedic mantras and symbols in the making of keris. As you stated before, they may well have substituted passaged from the Quoran instead.
What i wonder now that you feel you have established that Rerajahan was and perhaps still is a part of the process for making a spiritual keris, where you would like to take this discussion? I seriously doubt we will be able to go into much detail on the specifics of the practice, nor, if we could that we even should. So what should we be learning here?
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Old 6th March 2019, 08:13 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Thanks for putting up those links Darren, interesting.

Was there something in particular that you wanted to draw out attention to in the Basuki Yuwono article? I read that one through, but I have not got time right now to look at the other articles before & after it.

I've looked at just the 6.15 cut of the pande inscribing the metal, I have not yet looked at the rest of this video --- again, time. I'll have a look later.


Just that it mentions a "Rerajahan Keris text" which is studied by keris makers in Jawa. I am wondering what that might be.
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Old 6th March 2019, 08:33 PM   #25
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David,

I second that, one of the most interesting videos I have seen also, talk about a feast for the eyes!

My reason for starting this thread was twofold:

1 because no such thread discussing Rerajahan in the construction of keris existed prior to it and thought it would be good to change that.

2 and my main reason was I was hoping that some member/s of this forum would have some knowledge in this area maybe even share some examples of Rerajahan used in keris making.

I dont feel I have succeeded in my objective, either:

1 There is not much knowledge on the subject here due to its specialist nature.

2 Maybe there is some knowledgeable but don't feel comfortable openly discussing it.

3 The topic doesn't resonate with them and therefore have no interest in it.

As for me it is these deeper esoteric aspects of the keris that I find most interesting. Actually it is the esoteric aspects of the keris I have spent most my time uncovering.
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Old 7th March 2019, 02:43 AM   #26
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Thanks for your response Darren.

In respect of this text "Rerajahan Keris".

What Basuki Yuwono says is this:-

" Terdapat dua manuskrip yang menjadi acuan.Pertama, naskah Dharma Kepandean yang dibuat pada era Kerajaan Kediri, Singasari, dan Majapahit.Kedua, naskah Rerajahan Keris yang menjelaskan persyaratan untuk menjadi empu atau penggandring."

the crux of the sentence is "---acuan. Pertama ---"

the meaning of the word "acuan" is "to pay close attention to the words of a teacher", so used in this sentence it is rather peculiar syntax. In free translation I understand what Basuki is saying as this:-

"There are two manuscripts that must be given close attention before anything else --------"

I emphasise "free translation", as to translate exactly as written it would sound extremely peculiar. I've matched my translation to translations of two native speakers, both give the same meaning but in different English words, in fact one of these native speakers did not even know the word "acuan" and had to look it up in a dictionary before the whole sentence became clear to her.

Basuki then mentions his two manuscripts.

I've never heard of either of these manuscripts.

Dharma Kepandean I could find with a web search as a little primer published in Bali, it claims to be a translation from a lontar held in a Balinese collection. I can find no academic reference to this lontar.

The Rejahan Keris manuscript I can only find in reference to Basuki himself. I have no idea where the original has come from.

I do not know the word "rerajahan" in a Javanese context.
I do know it in a Balinese context, but only in very recent times.
I know the root word "rajah", as a "tattoo, magical drawing, or palm lines", and its intensified form "rajahan" as a special sort of tattoo.

I have never heard the word "rerajahan" used in connection with keris during all the time I have spent in Jawa and Bali.

EDIT

I've just finished watching the video.

Nice production, nice to watch, but it does not give even the smallest inkling of what is involved in the making of a keris blade.

I read it as a promotion for Museum Neka --- which is certainly worth a visit, I like it very much, visit it every time I'm in Bali, and I'll be there again in a few weeks.

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Old 7th March 2019, 03:41 AM   #27
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Darren, this has been a pretty decent sort of a thread, its really nice that you started it, and we've had the opportunity to talk about a few things that seldom get a mention, but I'd like to go back to your post # 7 where in the quote from the book we read this:-

"--- In the very Center of the keris, buried in the layers of
metal, was a strip of paper* on which a charm was written in Sanskrit
letters.---"


You have commented:-

"*The author is mistaken here the Rerajahan is not drawn on paper for obvious reasons instead it is scribed on the metal with a stylus"

In fact, the speaker would have found a piece of paper, and there would have been writing on the paper, which might very well have been a charm.

You see, as keris blades become old, those that were not very well made in the first place begin to delaminate. Sometimes the owner will write something on a piece of paper and tuck it down into the delaminated section of the keris.

What is written might be a genuine charm, or it might be something that pretends to be a charm, keris dealers with somewhat less than the desirable level of integrity will sometimes prepare rotten old unsaleable keris for sale by inserting little half hidden pieces of paper with something written in hanacaraka script into a delamination in the blade. This is no secret, it is well known market place trickery in the Javanese keris trade.

There is no tradition of which I know, nor that my teachers knew, nor that is contained in the primary Surakarta Empus Text-book, that calls for the inscription of magical drawings into any part of the metal used to produce a keris blade. My training has all been Javanese, it may be different in Bali, I do not know because I have never had instruction from a Balinese pande.

The thing that we see in the video where the pande is scratching something onto the metal very probably is "aum". A Hindu will usually invoke the assistance of Ganesha at the beginning of any new undertaking. Nothing strange, hidden, or unusual in this.

Why has the subject of "rerajahan" never come up in our keris discussions?

Well, I guess it is because of a couple of reasons, one of which is the word itself, which appears to be a pretty recent addition to the Balinese lexicon. The old word is "rajah" or "rajahan", and it is such a common thing in everyday Balinese life that it really would not rate a mention in discussion specifically about keris. In discussion of Balinese esoteric practices it might get a few mentions. But even then, I'm not so sure that the "rerajahan" form would be found in old sources.

Perhaps the other reason might be that the whole concept of "keris magic" is so little understood that those who do have some comprehension of this also have sufficient understanding to withhold discussion of these matters in public --- if at all.

Last edited by A. G. Maisey : 7th March 2019 at 06:36 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 7th March 2019, 01:42 PM   #28
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Alan, Thanks for the info about the de-laminated keris with paper inside. I myself have seen many keris for sale including shady talismanic keris but have never seen what you describe.

You mention lontar text, I do know that the images used to construct jimat are taking directly out of lontar text.

For now I guess the way forward is to locate those two text spoken of and perhaps get talking with Balinese pande and ask them directly.

EDIT:

"Some of the ancient lontar texts included complex drawings along with corresponding Balinese calligraphy that are used by balians to create amulets called jimats. Jimats are created for a variety of uses, healing is one usage. In constructing a jimat, the balian redraws the illustration, first asking permission to engage in this activity, then proceeding with focused intention upon the sick recipient.

A Balinese sacred healing image
The illustration is usually drawn upon paper, although some are executed on white material or metal, depending upon the usage. Next, additional aksare are etched with a sacred tool onto a small piece of gold, silver, copper and bark of an indigenous Balinese tree. The balian folds the drawing in half, shaves incense into the crease then continues folding adding incense shavings with each fold until a small square approximately 1-1/2" is reached. The metals and wood are placed on top of the drawing with shaved incense in between each layer. The entire piece is slipped into a sheave of white cloth, then secured on all sides with threads."

http://www.drgrotte.com/BalineseMedicine.shtml
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Old 7th March 2019, 07:13 PM   #29
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Darren, I know two Balinese pande. One I have known since , I think, 1984, at which time he was working with his father whom I also knew. This man is probably the most highly respected pande keris in Bali. The other pande I know is much younger and is a "new boy on the block". He is quite talented, but has not yet built his reputation.

However, I would never ask such questions as I believe you are suggesting of either of these men. This would be considered to be improper, arrogant, ill mannered behaviour. It would indicate that I thought I had the right to know of their personal practices, and as such my question would be treated with contempt and I would be given an incorrect response, possibly a response that reflected the answer they thought I was expecting.

In the societies in which these people live we need to become not just a part of the society, but a part of the segment of that society before questions about personal practices, especially those connected with money and personal belief, will be tolerated.

The only way to truly know anything about these matters is to be accepted as, let us say, "a member of the club". If you are not a member of the club, you are an outsider, outsiders have no right to ask, and even less to know.

The pandes of Bali separate themselves from the rest of Balinese society. They are members of the Pande Clan. They have their own priests. Even other Balinese are outsiders.

In Jawa the situation is not as tight as in Bali, but outsiders are still not accepted until they have demonstrated that they might be suitable to be accepted.

I believe that it is pretty well known that I was taught how to make keris by Empu Suparman Supowijoyo; that teaching stretched over a 14 year period.

Let me tell you what came before my acceptance as his student. I was accepted at age 41, in the Solo of the 1980's, and before, most ahli keris would not accept men who had not demonstrated that they were mature and committed as students. You needed to be a stable member of society, married, preferably with children, and of good reputation; if you wished to learn how to make keris you needed to demonstrate that you had the funds to pay for the process.

At age 41 I had already studied Javanese society, history, art, culture and specifically the keris, for 27 years, I had already had 15 years of face to face contact with Indonesia and had periodically lived in Solo for periods of a few months, for 8 years, I had already learnt basic forge work from an Australian traditional blacksmith, Gordon Blackwell, I had already made one keris with pamor, as well as several other daggers with pamor, and a number of knives made of mechanical damascus and high carbon steel.

That was my background when Empu Suparman accepted me. But he then had numerous meetings with me over about a 2 year period, during which time he probed every corner of my personality and life. He spoke with people in Solo who had known me for long periods of time. In short, he conducted a two year long interview in order to assess if I was suitable to be taught how to make keris.

The "hands on" teaching began 2 years after I was initially accepted.

All education costs, in one way or another, it is not simply a matter of asking questions.
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Old 7th March 2019, 07:52 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pusaka
Alan, Thanks for the info about the de-laminated keris with paper inside. I myself have seen many keris for sale including shady talismanic keris but have never seen what you describe.

Can you define "many"? Surely you must be aware that Alan has seen and physically handled more keris over the past 50 years than the majority of our membership combined. That you or i may not have encountered this is neither surprising nor of any consequence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pusaka
You mention lontar text, I do know that the images used to construct jimat are taking directly out of lontar text.
For now I guess the way forward is to locate those two text spoken of and perhaps get talking with Balinese pande and ask them directly.

I admire your optimism on this front, though i suspect you will find the task of locating these two texts about as easy as locating the Holy Grail. But i wish you luck and would love to hear about your findings if you ever are able to get your hands on them.
I also wish you luck when you finally locate a Balinese Pande and meet with him face to face to ask that he impart to you all his greatest secrets for the preparation of a "living" keris. Ah, to be a fly on the wall for that conversation.
I am sure that you realize that we are indeed fortunate to have, right here in this conversation, a man who studied directly with two acknowledged Mpus and who has created some fine keris himself. I find it interesting that when he tells us, "There is no tradition of which I know, nor that my teachers knew, nor that is contained in the primary Surakarta Empus Text-book, that calls for the inscription of magical drawings into any part of the metal used to produce a keris blade" that you don't seem to even skip a beat. I am not suggesting that you look no further, but you seem to prefer the mythos of Dynamo Jack as popularized by Lorne and Lawrence Blair or the legends of keris passed on through Westernized Silat to the accounts of someone who has actual firsthand knowledge working with well known Mpus. True, as Alan states, he has not worked with a Hindu pande and it certainly would not be surprising to find some things done a bit differently there given they still adhere to Hinduism in Bali. However, we should also consider that keris in Bali are a direct line of descent from the Mojopahit empire of Jawa.
Of course, this does not mean that Alan is infallible on these matters and certain i have disagreed and debated him on numerous points over the years. But it is remarkable to me how easily you seem to brush off his experience because it does not jibe with or give you the answers that to seem to have already assumed to be true.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pusaka
"Some of the ancient lontar texts included complex drawings along with corresponding Balinese calligraphy that are used by balians to create amulets called jimats. Jimats are created for a variety of uses, healing is one usage. In constructing a jimat, the balian redraws the illustration, first asking permission to engage in this activity, then proceeding with focused intention upon the sick recipient.

A Balinese sacred healing image
The illustration is usually drawn upon paper, although some are executed on white material or metal, depending upon the usage. Next, additional aksare are etched with a sacred tool onto a small piece of gold, silver, copper and bark of an indigenous Balinese tree. The balian folds the drawing in half, shaves incense into the crease then continues folding adding incense shavings with each fold until a small square approximately 1-1/2" is reached. The metals and wood are placed on top of the drawing with shaved incense in between each layer. The entire piece is slipped into a sheave of white cloth, then secured on all sides with threads."
http://www.drgrotte.com/BalineseMedicine.shtml

I'm trying to understand what this information shows us in regard to keris. You seem to keep coming back to this idea that the keris is nothing more than another form of jimat, a talisman, a charm. Certainly there are keris we can regard as being "talismanic", but i believe we sell the keris short if we insist that all it is or can be is just a talisman. I don't think anyone will disagree with you that this method of Rerajahan may well be used in Bali to create simple talismans or charms. Of course, balian are highly respected healers in Bali and people there frequent them more often than medical doctors, especially when their problems seem to be more a matter of niskala rather than sekala. But a balian is not an mpu or pande and showing that they may use Rerajahan in the creation of jimat is hardly evidence that keris pande also use the same process. It seems quite a jump from there to then state that Rerajahan is the "soul of the keris".
In your post (#25) you stated your reasons for starting this thread:
1 because no such thread discussing Rerajahan in the construction of keris existed prior to it and thought it would be good to change that.

2 and my main reason was I was hoping that some member/s of this forum would have some knowledge in this area maybe even share some examples of Rerajahan used in keris making.

As both Alan and i have pointed out, there may indeed be reasons why there was no such thread on "Rerajahan" here as it might relate to keris. But for you, this void, this hole, this flaw in our keris knowledge "says it all'. No Pusaka, not just here, but actually not anywhere that i know of (and i participate in 4 major online keris forums and moderate on 2 of them and can find no mention of Rerajahan there either). As i believe i have already stated, and you must realize this having some knowledge of the use of sigils in Western Magick, this process of magically charging objects with letters, sigils and words (chants) is quite common is esoteric circles across many cultures and certainly we can find that it is indeed a practice in Bali. That does not, however, support the notion that Rerajahan is specifically used in the creation of keris. Yes, we do see a pande in the marvelous video to posted inscribe something quickly on the billet before he begins, but it doesn't seem to be anything like what i image is the more complicated procedure of Rerajahan. I do find Alan's explanation that he may be inscribing an aum as an offering to Ganesha to open the way for the start of the work very plausible however. Of course, this is all changed now so when we google the term "Rerajahan + Keris" people will undoubtably be directed right here. I thank you for that.
I'm afraid your second and main reason for opening this thread seems a bit fantastic to me. Let's say for a just a minute that your suspicions about Rerajahan and keris are correct. As i stated early, if there was hard evidence to support this i would not find the concept too farfetched. Let's also say that there was someone in our membership who had a direct line of understanding about it and its application to keris (though i would think that if anyone here was privy to such knowledge it would be Alan). Why on earth to you suppose for even a minute that person would be willing to share such information in an open forum like this? I mean seriously, would not the exacting methods of instilling isi into a keris blade be the most highly guarded secret amongst Mpus? I would think that if such a secret did exist the details of it would not be revealed even to the Mpu's apprentice until the very final stages of their training. You are not going to find this sort of information in online forums, videos, articles or even books. Or i should say that you may find things that might appear to be such knowledge, but are not, because every step along the path of spiritual knowledge is fraught with hucksters, con men and fools. Deep truths are never revealed this way because people would learn them before they were ready to actually know them and that can be a very dangerous situation indeed. It is always easy to find the "truths" we want to hear because there are always people ready and able to provide such misdirections, especially if they can find a way to make a living doing it. But if you ever do meet a pande keris who is willing to teach you his greatest secret of how to bring life into a piece of forged iron i would not be the least bit offended if, after careful consideration, you decided not to reveal such a great secret in an open forum such as this.

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