Chapter

Mysticism and Islam in Javanese <i>Rāmāyaṇa</i> Tales

Mandakranta Bose

in The Ramayana Revisited

Published in print October 2004 | ISBN: 9780195168327
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835362 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195168321.003.0012
 Mysticism and Islam in Javanese Rāmāyaṇa Tales

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This chapter delves into the historical and evolutionary process of the movement of the Rāmāyana story in Indonesia and its religious and political implications. It argues that cross-cultural traffic between Hindu-Javanese social and religious practices, on the one hand, and those of the Muslim immigrants who arrived in the 18th century, on the other, have resulted in a synthesis in which Javanese shadow puppeteers not only find audiences for Hindu myths across religious boundaries but also adapt Mahābhārata puppets to tell Rāmāyana stories. The process subverts the linearity of the Rāmāyana and builds a discourse in which the puppets serve as material objects that encode ideas of character, ethics, behavior, and morals.

Keywords: Rāmāyana; Indonesia; shadow puppeteers; Mahābhārata puppets

Chapter.  8686 words. 

Subjects: Hinduism

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