The Koboi Returns 2023 – 10

In the Malay cosmology, 5. Kayangan is located above the Pokok Pauh Janggi which rises through the 2. Pusat Tasik Pauh Janggi, which is directly above the 6 Dasar Laut or ‘underworld’. In the Islamic cosmology, in the uppermost realm of Heaven, there is the Toba tree, “whose shade a rider could travel for a hundred years without crossing it.” Down below, in the realm of the seven hells, the Zaqqum tree rises out of the Hellfire with fruit-stalks like the heads of devils. Then there is the Sidrat al-Muntahā, which marks the boundary between the seven realms of paradise and the three realms of the domain of God. There is also the Tree of Immortality in the Garden of Eden which plays a significant role in Man’s descent into the world to experience the difficulties of life and death, by whose difference, the nature of paradise can be understiood. There is also the the Olive Tree that stands in no place, or every place. According to the Holy Koran, it stands “neither of the East nor West.” It’s oil is the source and being of earthly light.

I would like to suggest that the Pokok Pauh Janggi can be seen as a single tree that serves similar functions to the various Holy Trees of Islam. Anker Rentse offers an insight into the syncretic assimilation of the local Malay Cosmology with the Islamic one. “Shurga, Heaven, is on the top of Pauh Janggi, and Nuraka, Hell, is down below its roots. A gigantic hole between the roots causes the ocean water to disappear into hell’s big boiling-pot, kawah nufaka, whence the whirl-pool. Underneath the pot burns everlasting fire. A dragon guards the hole, the gate to hell (pintu nuraka) with its body in order to prevent the ocean from running dry.

Image: Eighteenth century Ottoman diagram from the Causus/ The Malay Cosmos diagram is adapted after Md. Salleh Yaspar in Malaysian World View edited by Mohd Taib Osman.

https://magictransistor.tumblr.com/post/121976939786/ottoman-diagram-of-heaven-and-hell-caucasus

https://www.islamcan.com/common-questions-about-islam/story-of-the-fall-of-man-in-quran.shtml

http://www.studiesincomparativereligion.com/public/articles/The_Tree_Symbol_in_Islam-by_Noble_Ross_Reat.aspx#_ftnref71

Rentse, Anker. “NOTES ON MALAY BELIEFS.” Journal of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 11, no. 2 (117) (1933): 245–51. http://www.jstor.org/stable/41559822.

Image: https://magictransistor.tumblr.com/post/121976939786/ottoman-diagram-of-heaven-and-hell-caucasus

https://islamqa.info/en/answers/1920/trees-mentioned-in-the-quraan-and-sunnah

The Koboi Returns 2023 – 6

The Malay and Javanese word ‘kayangan‘ is synonymous with adnan, eden, firdaus, janah, nirwana, surga, indraloka, kedewaan, keindraan, suargaloka, suralaya, surgaloka and paradiso. In Malay cosmology, 5. Kayangan is inhabited by Dewa, Perman. This ‘skyworld’ is located directly above the Pokok Pauh Janggi which rises through the Pusat Tasik . This 2 Pusat Tasik Pauh Janggi is, in turn, directly above the 6 Dasar Laut which can be seen as the ‘underworld’. The combined downward spiral of the Pusat Tasek and the upward thrust of the enormous Pokok Pauh Janggi both pass through the 1 Dunia, combining to create the axis mundi of the Malay cosmos.

Anker Rentse explains, from ethnographic notes that seem to have been made in Ulu Kelantan“Shurga, Heaven, is on the top of Pauh Janggi, and Nuraka, Hell, is down below its roots. A gigantic hole between the roots causes the ocean water to disappear into hell’s big boiling-pot, kawah nufaka, whence the whirl-pool. Underneath the pot burns everlasting fire. A dragon guards the hole, the gate to hell (pintu nuraka) with its body in order to prevent the ocean from running dry. In Pusat Tasek an account is kept of the good and the bad deeds of every human being in the world. The accountant in Heaven is Ka’ Tebir, and in Hell, Kiraman. The last one is said to be so busy on occasions, that he gets angry, throws his pen on the floor and declares, Ini sekarang sudah chukup!”

The diagram is adapted after Md. Salleh Yaspar in Malaysian World View edited by Mohd Taib Osman.

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/kayangan

Rentse, Anker. “NOTES ON MALAY BELIEFS.” Journal of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 11, no. 2 (117) (1933): 245–51. http://www.jstor.org/stable/41559822.

Dari Pusat Tasek 27

Taib Osman
Diagram by Niranjan Rajah combining the Malayy ontologies as described by Md. Salleh Yaspar and Anker Rentse.

According to Taib Osman, in the Malay cosmology, 1. Dunia is inhabited by Man, animals, plants, objects, spirits; 2. Pusat Tasik Pauh Janggi is inhabited by Nagas, Jins, Garudas; 3. Kayangan is inhabited by Dewa, Perman; 4. Dasar Laut is inhabited by Raja Lebis. Further, according to Anker Rentse, Syurga sits above the Pokok Pauh Janggi, while Neraka lies below it. It is from below the Dasar Laut, from hell’s boiling-pot or the kawah nufaka, that rises the swirl of the Pusat Tasek. A gigantic hole between the roots causes the ocean water to disappear into the boiling-pot. A dragon guards this hole that serves as the pintu Neraka. Its body also blocks the hole, preventing the ocean from running dry. In the Pusat Tasek an account is kept of the good and the bad deeds of every human being in the world.

https://www-jstor-org.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/stable/41559847

Dari Pusat Tasek 22

1. Dunia is inhabited by Man, animals, plants, objects, spirits; 2. Pusat Tasik Pauh Janggi is inhabited by Nagas, Jins, Garudas; 3. Padang Jauh dan Puncak Gunung is inhabited by Giants, jins; 4. Pulau Buah is inhabited by Ancestral spirits; 5. Kayangan is inhabited by Dewa, Perman; 6. Dasar Laut is inhabited by Raja Lebis. Modified from a diagram by Md. Salleh Yaspar.

The combined downward spiral of the Pusat Tasek and the upward thrust of the enormous Pokok Pauh Janggi combine to create an axis of Malay Ontology or cosmos. Anker Rentse explains, from ethnographic notes that seem to have been made in Ulu KelantanShurga, Heaven, is on the top of Pauh Janggi, and Nuraka, Hell, is down below its roots. A gigantic hole between the roots causes the ocean water to disappear into hell’s big boiling-pot, kawah nufaka , whence the whirl-pool. Underneath the pot burns everlasting fire. A dragon guards the hole, the gate to hell ( pintu nuraka) with its body in order to prevent the ocean from running dry. In Pusat Tasek an account is kept of the good and the bad deeds of every human being in the world. The accountant in Heaven is Ka’ Tebir, and in Hell, Kiraman. The last one is said to be so busy on occasions, that he gets angry, throws his pen on the floor and declares, Ini sekarang sudah chukup!”

The Dari Pusat Tasek exhibition will run at Percha Artspace, Lumut Waterfront, till 19 JAN 2020  Photographs of the Lumut performance will go towards making the 13th series of the Koboi Project tentatively titled Badan Aku Tubuh Negara. The draft of this work can be viewed at  https://koboibalikkampung.wixsite.com/sialjambalang

https://www-jstor-org.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/stable/41559847