Friday, 10 February 2017

Marvellous mythical beings


Creatures of creation and destruction are entrenched in our cultures, writes ninotaziz JUST a month or so ago, my family and I watched the hit Warner Bros movie and yet another exhilarating fantasy adventure from the Harry Potter world created by J K Rowling, Fantastic Beasts And Where to Find Them. Mythical being such as flying horses, dragons, griffins and the all-good unicorn have been with us for the longest time. 

And it’s rather timely that they took centrestage in the movie, subtly echoing the cry for saving our world’s own animals in danger of extinction. 

Lovers of legends and folklore from around the world would know that the idea of using the marvellous and horrifying in storytelling is as old as time itself. Just like in the movies, Greek storyteller Homer used such mythological creatures, some of which included the three-headed Chimera and winged P├ęgasus to great effect. In the Iliad, Homer described the Chimera as “... a thing of immortal make, not human, lion-fronted and serpent behind, a goat in the middle, and snorting out the breath of the terrible flame of bright fire.” 

To those who listened, the Chimera must have sounded so terrifying, the real embodiment of destruction. 

I have always wondered why there’s a need for, and prevalence of, such creatures in legends? What is their purpose? 

But before we explore these questions, we need to be reminded that the Western world does not have the monopoly on such fantastical beings. In our own legends of old, our Hikayat, we too possess our own wondrous beings; beings gifted with the power of strength, wisdom, cunning and yes, destruction too. 


With the legends disappearing, there are many stories of mythical animals which are no longer known. It’s a huge pity as our children will only grow up to know of Western giants, ogres, unicorns and wise old owls from other cultures and none from their own, which are rich and inspire creativity. 

In fact, we have many strange and wonderful beings in our legends. From the renowned Book of Kings, Sulalatus Sulatin, also known as Sejarah Melayu, we can read about the horse that lived under the sea and could fly around the world in a single day. The fastest steed of the skies was Farasul Bahri, a Semberani, a flying horse who belonged to no one but answered to the King of Dika, Raja Fatabul Ard, the sove-reign of the sea world in Sejarah Melayu. The only mortal who rode the Semberani was Raja Chulan — grandson of Onang Kiu (daughter of Raja Suran of Gellangui) and father to Sang Sapurba, Sang Meniaka and perhaps the most famous, Sri Tri Buana, or Sang Nila Utama, the founder of Singapore.

Another marvellous creature in our legends is the Bayan bird or Burung Bayan. Today, the story of the Bayan bird is almost totally lost to us in general storytelling. However, in the olden days, the legendary bird was one that brought romantic notions. It was said that when you called the Burung Bayan, it would land on the golden coconut tree in the garden and no other. It would then play the loveliest song of “12 ragam”. 

To invite the Burung Bayan to speak, it must be served seven bits of rice from a golden plate placed on a gold tray. And it was provided a perch to stand on made of gold and the loveliest gemstones while it listened to your request. In Hikayat Malim Dewa for instance, the Burung Bayan came to assist Tuanku Gombang Malim Dewa to find the most beautiful and suitable princess to marry. After many adventures, the king was finally united with Tuan Puteri Andam Dewi. 


The Nusantara is surrounded and connected by the sea. Perhaps this is why the Naga is one of the most prevalent mythical animals in every Southeast Asian legend and mythology. Stories involving the Naga King and a princess are familiar in many countries like Vietnam and Laos. 

In Indonesia, specifically during the Srivijaya era, the Telaga Batu inscription featured seven Naga heads on top of a transcription of an allegiance oath, believed to be dated circa 686 CE. Another was found in Ligor dating 775 CE, which described the ruler as being a patron of the Naga.


In our own epic legends, Merong, as in Merong Mahawangsa, refers to the dragon race or great snake. 

Moving to the east coast, in the Makyong story Endeng Tejali, Nek Sepit Bentala Naga looked after the lovely Puteri Bongsu at Tasik Pauh Janggi in the middle of the sea, which happened to be home to the Naga folk. Meanwhile, in the Wayang Kulit Maharaja Wana, we meet Sepit Bentala Sang Naga Maha Gangga, king of the ocean who refused to help Maharaja Wana pull down the causeway linking the island Langkapuri and the mainland. 

Perhaps one of the most famous Naga stories in Malaysia is that of the mythical Naga Tasik Chini. It is said that a Naga used to reside in Lake Chini in Pahang until the onset of the big flood when the Naga left for the South China Seas. To this day, the existence and whereabouts of the Naga remain a mystery, but continues to fascinate not only Malaysians, but also those around the region. 


The Indian poet Valmiki gave the world the Garuda. In the Ramayana, Garuda was one of the creatures that came to the aid of Rama in the battle against Ravana. With the influence of Hinduism during pre-Islamic times, the Garuda became a familiar character in our lores. While the Garuda remains the king of the skies in Nusantara mythology, in many instances, the Garuda was the purveyor of destruction.


In the early chapters of Merong Mahawangsa, one of our oldest epics tied to the Kedah sultanate, the Garuda was described as being unhappy at the prospect that two great kingdoms of mankind — Rome and China — might unite, and thus he sought to destroy the envoy from Rome in a great battle over Langkapuri. This led to the birth of Kedah, led by Merong Mahawangsa and his generations. 

Likewise, in the Legend of Bidasari, a folklore that used to be immensely popular in Malaysia, The Philippines and Indonesia, the story opens with the scene of Garuda wreaking havoc over mankind. Everything was razed to the ground. This was also a familiar theme in the legend of Malim Dewa. 

A disgruntled suitor of Puteri Andam Dewi sent two garudas to destroy the princess’ kingdom. This provided the hero with the opportunity to save the princess and win her hand. And so, in many of the legends, it would appear that the very chaos the Garuda created helped strengthen the cause and Man’s resolve to overcome all challenges. 


Mythical beings in storytelling have been used in many cultures to depict power, evil, beauty, wisdom, cunning and many more attributes of mankind. The Greek had their Homer. We too had our own penglipurlara, storytellers of old, who used mythical beasts and animals as a means of depicting good and bad. There are many more such beings to be shared which are fast disappearing from our corpus of memory. Maybe, by learning about and listening to stories from our wondrous legends — of marvellous and sometimes evil creatures — we might be able to better understand the nature of mankind. And perhaps, even ourselves. 

Source : New Straits Times
Link :
Written by : ninot aziz



Beberapa lalu, saya dan keluarga menonton filem pengembaraan fantasi terkenal keluaran Warner Bros dan sebuah lagi filem dari dunia Harry Potter hasil nukilan J K Rowling, Fantastic Beasts And Where to Find Them. Elemen mistik seperti kuda terbang, naga, griffin dan unikorn baik sentiasa bersama dengan kita.

Boleh dikatakan sudah tiba masanya untuk watak binatang ini ditengahkan dalam filem sebagai menyahut seruan keperluan menyelamatkan binatang yang diancam kepupusan. 

Para pencinta kisah legenda dan pencinta kisah lama dari seluruh pelusuk dunia pasti tahu idea menggunakan elemen hebat dan menakutkan dalam penceritaan telah lama digunakan. Tukang cerita dari Greek, Homer menggunakan unsur binatang mitos termasuk Chimera  yang berkepala tiga dan Pegasus yang mempunyai sayap dengan baik sekali. Dalam lliad, Homer menggambarkan Chimera sebagai "... sesuatu yang kekal abadi, bukan manusia, berupa seperti singa dan berupa seekor ular di bahagian belakang, berupa seekor kambing di bahagian tengah dan mengeluarkan nafas berupa api yang sedang marak.

Kepada para pendengar, watak Chimera pasti menakutkan dan pemusnah.

Saya sering tertanya-tanya, apakah keperluan mewujudkan watak seperti ini dan kenapakah binatang seperti ini diwujudkan dalam kisah legenda? Apakah tujuan sebenar mereka?.

Sebelum kita menyelami soalan ini, harus diingat bahawa dunia Barat sahaja yang memonopoli watak seperti ini, kisah legenda kita, Hikayat, turut mempunyai watak seperti ini. Watak itu dianugerahkan dengan kekuatan, pintar, licik serta bersifat pemusnah. 


Kini, kisah legenda semakin pupus, menyebabkan banyak kisah mengenai binatang mistik turut hilang dan tidak lagi diketahui. Agak menyedihkan anak-anak kita membesar dengan mengetahui binatang, gergasi unikorn dan burung hantu yang bijaksana dari Barat yang lain budaya tetapi tidak mengetahui elemen seperti itu dalam budaya kita yang juga kaya dengan kreativiti.

Malah, kisah legenda kita turut mengandungi banyak watak pelik serta hebat. Buku yang terkenal seperti Books of Kings, Sulalatus Sulatin yang dikenali sebagai Sejarah Melayu turut menampilkan watak kuda yang tinggal di dalam laut serta mampu terbang ke seluruh dunia dalam sehari.

Kuda yang paling pantas ialah Farasul Bahri, Semberani, kuda terbang tidak bertuan tetapi hanya berbicara dengan Raja Dika, Raja Fatabul Ard, negara berdaulat dunia laut dalam buku Sejarah Melayu. Satu-satunya manusia yang dapat menunggangi Semberani ialah Raja Chulan - cucu kepada Onang Kiu (puteri Raja Suran dari Gellangui) dan ayahanda Sang Sapurba, Sang Meniaka dan mungkin yang terkenal ialah Sri Tri Buana atau Sang Nila Utama, pengasas Singapura.

Satu lagi binatang menakjubkan dalam legenda ialah Burung Bayan. Hari ini, kisah Burung Bayan seolah-olah hilang daripada kisah legenda kita. Dahulu, burung legenda ialah watak yang membawa elemen romantik. Dikatakan apabila diseru Burung Bayan, ia hanya akan menginggap di atas pokok kelapa emas di taman dan akan menyanyikan lagu indah 12 ragam.

Bagi memujuk Burung Bayan bercakap, ia perlu dihidangkan tujuh butir beras di atas pinggan emas yang diletakkan di atas talam emas. Disediakan juga tempat bertenggek diperbuat daripada emas dan permata ketika ia sedang mendengar permohonan kita. Sebagai contoh, dalam Hikayat Malim Dewa, Burung Bayan membantu Tuanku Gombang Malim Dewa mencarikan baginda puteri yang paling cantik dan paling sesuai untuk dikahwini baginda. Setelah mengharungi pelbagai pengembaraan, Baginda berjaya mengahwini Tuan Puteri Andam Dewi.



Nusantara dikelilingi dan disambung melalui laut. Mungkin ini sebabnya watak naga sering digunakan dalam setiap legenda di Asia Tenggara dan mitologi. Kisah yang mempunyai watak naga dan watak tuan puteri sinonim dalam kisah dari banyak negara seperti Vietnam dan Laos.

Di Indonesia, pada era Srivijaya inskripsi pada Telaga Batu mempunyai naga berkepala tujuh. Di bahagian atas terdapat inskripsi perjanjian taat setia, dipercayai bertarikh sekitar 686 SM. Satu lagi inskripsi ditemui di Ligor bertarikh 775 SM menjelaskan pemerintahnya ialah ketua naga.

Dalam epik legenda kita, watak Merong, dalam kisah Merong Mahawangsa merujuk kepada keluarga naga atau ular raksasa.

Beralih ke pantai timur, dalam kisah Makyong bertajuk Endeng Tejali, Nek Sepit Bentala Naga menjaga Puteri Bongsu yang cantik di Tasik Pauh Janggi yang terletak di tengah-tengah laut yang merupakan tempat tinggal keluarga naga. Sementara itu, watak Sepit Bentala Sang Naga Maha Gangga boleh dilihat. Beliau ialah raja laut yang enggan menolong Maharaja Wana menarik jambatan yang menghubungkan pulau Langkapuri dengan tanah besar.

Mungkin salah satu kisah naga yang terkenal di Malaysia adalah kisah mistikal Naga Tasik Chini. Dikatakan Naga pernah tinggal di Tasik Chini sehingga berlaku banjir besar yang menyebabkan Naga meninggalkan tempat tinggalnya dan berpindah ke Laut China Selatan. Sehingga hari ini, kewujudan dan lokasi Naga itu berada masih menjadi misteri namun ia masih mengagumkan bukan sahaja rakyat Malaysia malah di rakyat rantau ini.



Valmiki, penyajak India memperkenalkan Garuda kepada dunia. Dalam kisah Ramayana, Garuda ialah salah satu binatang yang membantu Rama dalam pertempurannya dengan Ravana. Maka, telah menjadi tradisi menggunakan watak Garuda. Ini kerana pengarauh Hindu sebelum kedatang Islam ke tanah Melayu. Watak Garuda kekal menjadi raja dalam kisah mitos Nusantara dan turut menceritakan mengenai kemusnahan.

Dalam bab awal buku Merong Mahawangsa, salah satu epik tertua, terikat dengan Kesultanan Kedah, Garuda digambarkan sebagai watak yang tidak gembira dengan kemungkinan penggambungan dua kuasa besar iaitu Rom dan China. Lalu, ia berhasrat ingin memusnahkan rombongan dari Langkasuka dalam pertempuran besar. Pertempuran ini membawa kemunculan Kedah yang diterajui oleh Merong Mahawangsa dan generasinya.

Kisah Legend of Bidasari, sebuah kisah lama yang pernah popular suatu ketika di Malaysia, di Filipina dan di Indonesia. Kisah ini bermula dengan Garuda sedang memusnahkan kehidupan manusia dan segala-galanya. Tema ini turut digunakan dalam legenda Malim Dewa.

Pelamar Puteri Andam Dewi telah menghantar dua ekor garuda untuk memusnahkan kerajaan tuan puteri. Ini memberi peluang kepada hero untuk menyelamatkan tuan puteri dan seterusnya memenangi hatinya. Dalam banyak kisah, watak Garuda akan muncul sebagai pemusnah dan manusia muncul sebagai mengatasi segala cabaran.


Watak mistik dalam kisah telah banyak digunakan bagi menggambarkan kuasa, kejahatan, kecantikan, kepandaian, licik dan banyak lagi. Kisah Greek menggunakan watak Homer. Kita mempunyai penglipurlara, pencerita pada zaman dahulu yang menggunakan binatang mistik dan binatang bagi membezakan baik dan jahat.

Terdapat banyak watak yang dapat dikongsi sedang hilang dengan pantas daripada memori kita.

Mungkin menerusi pembacaan dan mendengar kisah legenda - binatang yang hebat yang kadang kala jahat - membuatkan kita lebih memahami sifat manusia dan memahami diri kita.

Diterjemah oleh : Teratai Melur

E-mel :
**Jika memerlukan khidmat terjemahan, sila e-mel butir ke alamat e-mel tertera di atas. Terima kasih.