Javanese Prophecies

Sumatra and Java are the islands of Indonesia. In Medieval period, those islands were ruled by Hindu-Buddhist Kings. But later on Muslims conquest, it turned into Islam majorly.

Coming to Javanese Prophecies, two accounts are found.

1. Sabdo Palon Prophecies:

Sabdopalon was the spiritual advisor of King Brawijaya V, the last King of the Majapahit Dynasty – Indonesia’s most powerful kingdom between the 14th to the 15th Century. Their domain stretched all the way to Cambodia. During King Brawijaya V’s rule, Islam was introduced into Java. King Brawijaya’s descendants all turned Islamic, and started a new Islamic Kingdom in Demak, Central Java. Majapahit Kingdom was a Hindu-Buddhist kingdom, and due to the quick spread of Islam, the power of Majapahit slowly disappeared. Some of the devout Hindu/ Buddhist followers from  the kingdom fled to Bali, some remain hidden and became the people of Tengger (East Java), some became the Baduy (West Java), and many more ethnic communities in Indonesia.

At the brink of Majapahit’s destruction, King Brawijaya V was in Blambangan, East Java. He was with his two loyal servants Sabdopalon and Nayagenggong. They were standing next to a water source. All of a sudden Sunan Kalijaga (one of the 9 Islamic religious leaders who helped Demak Kingdom attack Majapahit) came and talked to the King. Sunan Kalijaga wanted the King to become a Muslim himself. After being persuaded, King Brawijaya V agreed to turn himself into a Muslim and said the holy sentence which reads “I believe that Muhammad is the messenger of God”. After becoming Muslim, King Brawijaya V asked his loyal servants Sabdopalon and Nayagenggong to become Muslims too. They vehemently refused and Sabdopalon said harshly:

“Hamba tak mau masuk Islam Sang Prabu, sebab saya ini raja serta pembesar Dang Hyang se tanah Jawa. Saya ini yang membantu anak cucu serta para raja di tanah jawa. Sudah digaris kita harus berpisah.”

“I am the King of all of the Spirits in the land of Java. I have lived to serve the descendants of the Javanese Kings. This is where we part.”

This story had been written in many prophecies and ancient letters, and the verses after that tells how disappointed Sabdopalon was of his King. He said that as a Javanese King he should have a Javanese spirituality, the Kawruh, now more well known as Kejawen. Sabdopalon and Nayagenggong refused to become Muslims, and before Sabdopalon disappears he said:

“Kelak setelah 500 tahun saya akan mengganti agama Budha lagi (maksudnya Kawruh Budi), saya sebar seluruh tanah Jawa. Bila ada yang tidak mau memakai, akan saya hancurkan. Menjadi makanan jin setan dan lain-lainnya. Belum legalah hati saya bila belum saya hancur leburkan. Saya akan membuat tanda akan datangnya kata-kata saya ini. Bila kelak Gunung Merapi meletus dan memuntahkan laharnya. Lahar tersebut mengalir ke Barat Daya. Baunya tidak sedap. Itulah pertanda kalau saya datang. Sudah mulai menyebarkan agama Buda (Kawruh Budi). Kelak Merapi akan bergelegar. Itu sudah menjadi takdir Hyang Widhi bahwa segalanya harus bergantian. Tidak dapat bila diubah lagi.”

“500 years from now I will return and change the spirituality, and spread it all around Java. Those who refuse will be diminished, they will be food for the demons, I won’t be satisfied until they are all shattered. When Mount Merapi erupts and its lava and ashes fall to the southwest with a terrible smell, that is the signal that I will be coming soon.”

The return of Sabdopalon also marks the end of “Zaman Kalabendu/Zaman Edan” (Crazy Era), and Nusantara will be back to its Golden Era. Sabdopalon asked his King whether he is 100% sure that he wanted to be a Muslim, the King said ‘Yes’. Sabdopalon said that if he meditated, and the water from the water source lets out a beautiful smell, it means that the King was sure that he wanted to change his religion into Islam, and Sabdopalon and Nayagenggo would have to leave him. Sabdopalon meditated, and the water released a beautiful smell. Sabdopalon and Nayagenggo disappeared.

It is believed by Javanese that Sabdopalon will return again with ‘Rata Adil’ to spread Hindu-Buddhist Spirituality and establishes Hindu religion.

2. Jayabaya Prophecies:

King Jayabaya (or Joyoboyo) ruled the Kediri Kingdom in 1135-1157 and is still popular among the Javanese to this day, as written in the Babad Tanah Jawi (Chronicle of Java) and Serat Aji Pamasa .

As most kings of the age, he associated himself to a deity to legitimize his rule. Some sources say that he was the great-great grandson of the god of wisdom, Brahma, and some say that he was the incarnation of Vishnu. His father, King Gendrayana, claimed to be a descendant of the legendary Five Pandava Brothers from the Hindu epic Mahabharata, tracing his lineage to Arjuna, the third Pandava Brother, who himself was the son of the god Indra. Due to this, Jayabaya was believed to have had a powerful magical talent which led to his ability to see far into the past and far into the future. Jayabaya was also said to be wise and eager to learn. Under his rule, the kingdom of Kediri reached its peak of prosperity, particularly in literature.

The historical map of Kediri (Kadiri) kingdom 11th to 13th century Eastern Java.

The historical map of Kediri (Kadiri) kingdom 11th to 13th century Eastern Java.

He patronized a few famous poets of the age such as the brothers Empu (saint) Sedah dan Empu Panuluh who wrote Kitab Bharatayudha (the book of Bharatayudha), a retelling of the Indian epic Mahabharata, in 1157. The prologue of the book names King Jayabaya as the patron of the two poets. The era of the Kediri Kingdom was the golden age for Hindu literature in Java. The king himself published his own books of prophesies such as Serat Jayabaya, Serat Praniti wakya and others.

Jayabaya abdicated in his old age and sought a life of meditation as a recluse in the village of Menang, in the sub-district of Kediri Regency. To this day, the village is still considered a sacred pilgrimage site for the Javanese.

Statue of Vishnu. Kediri, East Java, circa 12th–13th century

Statue of Vishnu. Kediri, East Java, circa 12th–13th century


For Jayabaya, due to his position as king and his preceding reputation as a descendant of a deity, it was easier to get people to believe him and his books were therefore revered almost as much as the man himself.

The Jayabaya prophecies still have great influence on the minds of many Indonesians today because much of what he predicted has come true. One of the most famous prediction of Jayabaya was the arrival of white-skinned men who carry weapons that were able to kill from distance. He predicted that the white-skinned men would occupy Java for a very long time. They would then be defeated, he said, by the yellow-skinned men from the North, who would only occupy Java for the lifetime of a corn-stalk.

Dutch settlement in the East Indies. Batavia (now Jakarta), Java, c. 1665

Dutch settlement in the East Indies. Batavia (now Jakarta), Java, c. 1665.

This prophecy became a reality with the 300 years of Indonesian colonization by the Dutch. The Japanese defeat of the Dutch in Indonesia in 1942 was received with joy as the Javanese viewed it as a realization of the 800-year-old prophecy. The Japanese then occupied Indonesia until 1945, or three-and-a-half years before Indonesia’s independence in August 1945.

Outline of the Japanese entry in Batavia, as depicted by the Japanese.

Outline of the Japanese entry in Batavia, as depicted by the Japanese.

 Jayabaya’s predicted the leadership of modern Indonesia with the rather loose term of Notonegoro, (literally translated as “administrator of the country”).


The most anticipated prediction of Jayabaya is that of the arrival of ‘Ratu Adil’ (King/Queen of Justice, although the Javanese take it for granted that this person will be a man) as the new leader of Indonesia. Jayabaya predicted that this person would be a descendant of the Royal family of the ancient kingdom of Majapahit who would rise to become the greatest leader of Java and the world would ever know.  He would appear, according to Jayabaya, “when iron wagons could drive without horses and ships could sail through the sky” (a time when there are cars and airplanes).

According to Jayabaya, the beginning of this great leader’s life will be difficult. He will conquer many difficulties, humiliation, and poverty. But he will rise above it all due to his sincerity and steadfast heart. The just king will be born in the dark age of suffering to restore order, harmony, and justice in the world.

As the Javanese believe in a cyclical history of alternating prosperity of life – where the era of prosperity will be followed by the era of darkness which will turn again to the era of prosperity in due time, this prediction appeals to the Javanese belief system.

Many Javanese believe that they are now in the middle of Jaman Edan (the age of craziness), or the era of darkness. Therefore, the arrival of the ‘Ratu Adil’ is anticipated as nearing its time and he will usher in the dawn of a new golden age.

Coincidence of Javanese prophecies with Govinda Vakyas

Govinda Vakyam No. 59:
Ruler of Widharba country, will come along with our Veera Yogi.
Mother earth speaks: Emperor shall unite all the lands under him.

Mostly Maharastra refers to as Vidharba desam, but Java and Sumatra Islands are also referred to as Widharba Desam in Mahabharata Yuddha kandam. Sabdapalon and King Jayabaya speaks of a Future Javanese King ‘Rata Adil’, who spreads Hindu – Buddhist Religion and rules just. So I feel this is the same ruler of Widharba desam that joins Veera Vasantaraya.



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