In progress : Reading Centhini:Pulau Besi

Originally I wanted to use ‘Pulau Marmer Hitam’ as the title, but after much reading and reading, I figured that I should use the real name of the island, which is Pulau Besi. Many other Centhini books call this island Pulau Marmer Hitam(island of black marble), because of the appearance of this magical island that is black and shiny.. But Amongraga himself calls this island Pulau Besi or Iron Island, because the main constituent of the building in this new island is from iron.

Okay let me tell you more about the island and why i choose this story.

Amongraga, after being reunited back with his wife and brothers and sisters, went with his wife towards the west of Java. He reaches the end of Banten (the extreme west of Java) and prays to God so that he is allowed to create a new island. God granted his wish. There, in the middle of the wild southern sea at west java, appeared a new island. Amongraga calls this island ‘Pulau Besi’ or iron island.
He lived there happily with his wife. The island is marvelous. The building is made from iron, painted shining black. The trees have gold as fruit and silk and purple cloth as leaves. It has a fountain which branches into 100 points, there are practically wealth in every side of the island, from good quality mori cloth, silk, gold, gemstones, etc.
One day, a merchant bumped into the island and he was stranded there. He seeks help from Amongraga because he was lost in the sea; he wanted to sell the things in his boat to Amongraga. But Amongraga didnt take anything from his boat. Instead, Amongraga tells him to take the wealth in the island as long as his boat can fit them. This merchant was beyond grateful. He left the island with all kinds of wealth, and he started telling people about this new island called Pulau Besi with its generous owner, Amongraga and his beautiful wife, Tambangraras.
Boats of all kind started to visit that island just to take the wealth, because Amongraga lets them take everything they want.
Amongraga’s generousity reaches the ears of Datuk Ragagunting from Bengkulu, Sumatra.
Datuk Ragagunting wanted to test Amongraga’s generousity; he doesnt want wealth, but he wants Amongraga’s wife.
He brought his 80 students with him to that island with the bad intention to take away Tambangraras.

I am planning to present this story in the form of monologue and music, using purely Sundanese as medium of language.
It might sound very blasphemous to present a Javanese literature in Sundanese,because of the history of rivalry between Pajajaran kingdom and Majapahit kingdom in the past. Until now, some sundanese people still doesnt like javanese people and vice versa.
BUT if we see Centhini, the book covers all sides of Java island, from west to east. Some prominent places of west java that is mentioned in Centhini are this Pulau Besi, Karang mountain, Bogor, Salak mountain, and the ruins of Pajajaran kingdom. In fact, Amongraga spent most of his life in Karang hermitage before he went to marry Tambangraras. He learnt most of his religious knowledge in Karang hermitage. It won’t be impossible that Amongraga bumped into sundanese people and live their culture.

In Reading Centhini:Pulau Besi, i am telling the story of the island and the happenings there from the point of view of one sailor from Banten who went to that island regularly to take some wealth.

Below is an excerpt of my script in Indonesian. I am collaborating with a sundanese music group, Layung Kinanthi and a sundanese literature student from Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia to translate my script into sundanese and present it in a monologue and music.

seh amongraga
lelaki kasep berilmu tinggi
ilmu kebatinan dan ilmu ilmu lainnya  

niken tambangraras
wanita geulis
yang setia dunia dan akhirat  

yang lelaki berasal dari Giri dulunya
yang wanita berasal dari wanamarta
terpisah bertahun-tahun lamanya
akhirnya bertemu di wanataka  

dengan izin Allah
pindah ke pulau besi
dengan izin Allah pula
merubah pulau ini jadi pantai indah nan sorgawi  

bangunannya dari baja utuh
dicat hitam bakar mengkilap
air mancurnya bercabang seratus
pohonnya berbuah emas berdaun sutra  

aki bertanya
mengapa pindah kemari
kan sanak keluarga di wanataka
apa tidak rindu  

seh amongraga berkata
ingin menyepi dari dunia fana
supaya hidup sempurna
bahagia sampai tua  

kalau begitu mohon ajarkan saya
supaya lebih bijaksana
sukur sukur mencapai sorga
sama seperti anda

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