When Barong Swari Expels Plague

When Barong Swari Expels Plague

The Denpasar artist told the story of Barong Swari which was broadcast through the Kreativi Denpasar YouTube channel on Thursday (Dec. 24). The artists involved include puppeteer Agung Wisnawa (I Made Sartika), Walu Nateng Dirah (played by I Made Rai Sunarta), Rarung (Putu Ambara and Aditya Pramana), Lenda Lendi (Ni Kadek Nadia Oktaviani and Ni Kadek Indah Juniati), Telek (Putu Ayu Widya), Jauk (Ketut Pande Wiradharma), Barong (Putu Ananta Khrsna Maharana), Sidakarya Mask (Made Rai Sunarta) and accompanied by the gamelan of Genta Wisesa art studio.

Puppeteer Agung Wisnawa opened the performance with a kayonan dance and started the story from Barong Swari. It is said that Lord Shiva tested the loyalty of Goddess Uma. He asked this Lord Ganesha’s mother to come down to earth to find milk. The request was immediately carried out by Goddess Uma. She finally found a cowherd who was none other than her husband in disguise.

Goddess Uma asked for a little cow’s milk, but the shepherd gave the condition that if asking for cow’s milk, she must be willing to sleep with him. Because of the importance of milk for her husband, Goddess Uma wanted to do such forbidden act. Goddess Uma returned to hand over the milk to her husband. Lord Shiva asked where the milk was obtained and how. Being panicky, Goddess Uma the told lies.

Lord Shiva also called his son, Lord Ganesha, to perform divination in order to find out where the milk came from. Hearing the betrayal of Goddess Uma, Lord Shiva was angry and cursed his wife to become Goddess Durga. Furthermore, Goddess Durga was sent down to earth and spread various plagues of diseases.

To deal with the plague, humans make requests. Lord Shiva sent the three lords to come down to the world and guide humans in order to eliminate the plague having caused suffering and sorrow. Lord Brahma descends into the Bang Mask. Lord Vishnu descended into the Telek Mask while Lord Ishvara descended to become Barong.

Coordinator of Genta Wisesa art studio, Agung Wisnawa, stated that the performance of Denpasar Mebarung by bringing up the story of Barong Swari serves as our reflection to always be introspective, asking for directions before God and its manifestations so as to provide us with guidance and always be vigilant and avoid the plague. “We would like to thank the Denpasar City Government and the Denpasar Creative Agency for continuous provision of support in order to rise together during this pandemic. It is quite important even though there is limited space for human expression in art like in the theme of this year’s Denfest, namely creativity breaks boundaries,” he said. (BTN/015)

Anin Eka

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