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Batara Guru : The Supreme God

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At a glance

Description
Origin Indonesian Mythology 
Classification Gods
Family Members Siboru Porti Bulan (Wife), Mula Songta, Mula Songti, Shiboru Sorba Jati, Siboru Deak Patujar (Children)
Region Indonesia
Associated With Absolute Powers

Batara Guru

Introduction

Batara Guru is considered to be the supreme god in Indonesian Hinduism, and his name is derived from the Sanskrit word Bhattaraka. He is regarded as a kind spiritual teacher, similar to the guru aspect of Hindu god Shiva in India. However, Batara Guru has more aspects than the Indian Shiva, as the Indonesian Hindus blended their spirits and heroes with him.

Batara Guru is a type of creator god that is worshipped in various Hindu mythologies in the region, especially the Javanese and Balinese mythology, also known as Rudra Shiva. In Indonesian mythology, he is considered to be as powerful as Jupiter from Roman mythology. In the Indonesian mythology of Sumatra, Batara Guru is regarded as a primordial being who created the universe and is similar to the creator deities of Central Asia and North America.

Physical Traits

In the Luwu region of Indonesia, Batara Guru is conceptualized as formless, potent, invisible and unlocatable but other regions have more vivid descriptions of the god. In the famous shadow puppet plays of Indonesia, Batara Guru is the only character whose feet face forward, with four hands, pointed canine teeth, a blue neck and paralyzed legs.

Family

The family lineage of Batara Guru change depend on the island of Indonesia you go to. Every island has their own version of the mythology and who Batara Guru’s parents, wife, siblings and children are.

He is among the trinity of gods in Indonesia and he is one of the three sons of the divine giant hen Manuk Patia Raja who was an avatar of Debta Asi Asi or Shiva. He then married a goddess named Siboru Porti Bulan and had 4 children, Mula Songta, Mula Songti, Shiboru Sorba Jati and Siboru Deak Patujar.

Other Names

The name of the Battara Guru is derived from the Sanskrit word Bhattaraka, which means noble lord. In Indonesian Hinduism, he is referred to as Siwa, which means a guru. In other Southeast Asian countries, such as Indonesia and its neighbours, Batara Guru is also known as Sang Hyang Manikmaya, Sang Hyang Caturbuja, Sang Hyang Otipati, Sang Hyang Jagadnata, Nilakanta, Trinetra, Girinata.

Powers and Abilities

Being the supreme god, Batara Guru is considered to have absolute powers over everyone and everything in the universe. Being supreme, he is completely devoid of form and is considered one who is everything and everywhere all the time. He is an avatar of Shiva that gives revelations, gifts and abilities.

Modern Day Influence

Indonesian Hinduism and its vast mythology is on the verge of dying out as now the country of Indonesia has embraced Islam. The followers of this religion  and its cultural traditions are restricted to a few pockets in the country. Although certain traditions are still kept alive by the followers, this is dwindling in the otherwise very accommodating Indonesian society.

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