The story of Mandaraka Kingdom dated back with its first king, Prabu Sriyati, who was the son of a famous Resi Manumayasa (see Kingdom of Wirata). Prabu Salya or Narasoma was the driver of Karna’s chariot in the battle against Arjuna in Baratayuda. The driver of Arjuna’s chariot was Kresna. Salya’s heart was in favor of Pandawa, but he was cheated by Sengkuni in such a way that put him in the side of Korawa.
The marriage of Salya with Dewi Pujawati was a perfect illusion of classical love between a kind-hearted beautiful lady and a nice handsome man, honest and loyal to each other until the end of time. The young Prince Narasoma, had been instructed to leave the palace because he refused to marry a girl upon his father’s choice. He left the city and wandering around in the country-side. In lonesome place, he met a brahmana/priest, he was a giant, by the name of Bagaspati.
Bagaspati was seeking a good-looking ksatria from Mandaraka Kingdom by the name of Narasoma. As a good father he had to fulfill his daughter’s dream to become the wife of Mandaraka’s prince. Narasoma was in fact a handsome guy like his name: Nara means person, Soma means moon, a person who is good-looking as moon.
As Narasoma refused Bagaspati’s request, he was defeat by this sakti (having strong supernatural power) Begawan and abducted to his retreat in Argabelah. Narasoma was astonished to see that Bagaswati’s daughter was not a giant, furthermore she was very beautiful. For him, she was the most beautiful girl on earth. He felt in love in the first sight. Consequently, he agreed to marry her at once. As for the daughter of Bagaspati, Dewi Pujawati, she was very happy to meet her sweeetheart in her dream-a dream comes true. Brahmana Bagaspati gave his blessing to their marriage, bound by sincere love. His wisdom saw clearly that the union between Pujawati and Narasoma should last happily forever and he was extremely satiesfied that Pujawati should be the only wife of Narasoma until the end of their time, which was a rare occasion in the ancient world.
The newly wed couple was enjoying a happy romantic love amidst the untouched beauty of natural environment. Everything was so beautiful for them, the river, the lake, the forest, the mountain, the sky. They forgot everything except love, they considered as the most valuable gift from beloved God.
The one month honeymoon was almost over, they were preparing to go to Mandaraka. Everything was O.K for Narasoma except one thing. Hesitately he told his father in-law:
“My respected Begawan, “I’m very happy to have a beautiful and polite wife like Pujawati and God willing she will be my only wife forever. She will be the queen of Mandaraka. There is an obstacle in my mind, probably you could help. I see beautiful sunrise in the morning, which makes me feel great. But I see also an awful sunset which makes me ashame”.
Bagaswati, a wise Begawan understood the wish of Narasoma. Due to his love to his only daughter Pujawati and due to her happy life in the future, he was ready to sacrife his life, he replied composedly:
“Your Highness, Narasoma, my son-in-law. You ask my death because you are ashamed to have a giant father-in-law. I shall give everything I have, including my life for the sake for my daughter’s happiness and yours. Take good care of her life and make her always happy.
As a King of Mandaraka, you must be strong and wise. I shall give you a mantra-heirloom “Canda-Birawa”which shall make you more powerful in a battle”(see Baratayuda)
Immediately he gave his keris-heirloom to Narasoma. Narasoma stabbed Bagaspati’s chest with that keris to death. The Begawan was bleeding with white color of blood, not red, a proof of his holiness. The Begawan voice was heard in the air: “Narasoma, I have no hurt feeling. Only remember, in Baratayuda, you will die in the hands of a ksatria with white blood”.
(in Baratayuda, he was killed by Yudistira considered as the most honest man in Wayang)
in their long happy marriage they got 5 children:
1. Dewi Erawati, married wiith Baladewa, the king of Mandura, the elder brother of Kresna.
2. Dewi Surtikanti, married with Karna, Adipati (viceroy) of Awangga, loyal to King Duryudana. They have two children: Warsakusuma and Warsasena. Surtikanti’s love to Arjuna was turned down. She found another man who looked like Arjuna, it was Karna, the half brother of Arjuna. Karna was the son of god Surya with Kunti, his other name was Suryaputra.
3. Dewi Banowati, married with king Duryudana, they have two children Leksmana Mandrakumara and Leksmanawati. The attractive princess Banowati in fact was in a deep love to handsome Arjuna but his father had received the proposal of Korawa. Duryudana was in a mad love to Banowati. Banowati always chased Arjuna to make a backstreet love.her two children were fathered by Arjuna. Arjuna asked Banowati if she really loved him, she had to marry Duryudana. King Duryudana hated very much Arjuna, because he knew that his wife made secret relation with him. After the death of Duryudana in Baratayuda, Banowati became Arjuna’s wife.
4. Raden Burisrawa, He was an unpolite and arrogant giant. Salya has a giant boy as God’s punishment because he hated his own father-in-law, who was a giant. Everywhere Burisrawa always talked and laughed noisily. As a bad guy, he made a good friend of Korawa. He was madly in love with Subadra or Sembadra, the wife of Arjuna. Once, he abducted Sembadra from Madukara, Arjuna’s palace. Luckily Antareja and Gatotkaca, the sons of Bima knew and saved her. In Baratayuda, he was killed during his fight with his long time enemy Setyaki.
5. Raden Rukmarata, Due to his own foolishness, he was killed by Seta in Baratayuda.
The loyal woman: Satyawati
Dewi Pujawati was really a perfect wife, beautiful, polite, honest, loyal and truly dedicated her entire life to her wise husband, Salya. In many occassions, she had daringly defended her husband’s life. It was no wonder, Salya reciprocally adored her more and more.
He proudly gave her a new name, Satyawati, (Satya means loyal) a loyal beautiful woman. Not merely her face was beautiful but the most important was her heart and conduct.
Salya made a vow to Setyawati: “My dear Dewi, (he called her goddess, showing his tender love), do remember that as long as I live in this earth, I will not have other women. My only woman is you, my beloved wife”.
When King Salya was assigned as Korawa’s chief-warrior in Baratayuda, before going to the battlefield, he asked permission to her. He was wearing white clothes meant that as a ksatria he should fight bravely until his death, if necessary. Salya and Satyawati knew in their hearts, that their days of life were numbered. She solemnly, full with respect to her husband, said that she would follow wherever he went. They embraced warmly, in tears of love and understanding before his departure. King Salya was dead as a true ksatria. Satyawati, after requesting permission from the Creator, ended her life by joining the burning of her beloved husband’s body. Their souls traveled together into heaven.
Salya’s position in Baratayuda
Deep in his heart, Salya was in favor of Pendawa. He knew how Pandawa’s family had been cruelly hurt by Korawa and their cronies. Due to their greed, lust of power and material wealth, Korawa had repeatedly wanted to eliminate Pendawa’s family.
But the honest Pendawa was always protected by heaven’s power. It was an education of true life for Pendawa. However hard it was, but they had to pass “the examination”to be always in honest, good and right path to reach the goal.
Several days before the big war, Salya led his huge troops to Wirata where the Pendawa was staying. It was a long and tiresome journey. Korawa were informed by their spies that Salya’s army went to Wirata to join Pendawa. Duryudana was worried if the mighty forces of Mandaraka should back-up their foes. He instructed, his Patih/Prime-Minister, Sengkuni, the Master of dirty diplomacy, to do necessary steps to persuade Salya to support Korawa. Sengkuni sent abundant delicious food and drink, including first quality of wine and alcoholic drink to be supplied to Mandaraka’s army. Some tents and thick carpets were prepared for the whole soldiers to take a rest. Some musicians and women-dancers were also sent to entertain the whole troop. The Mandaraka soldiers and Salya were very pleased with this cordial treatment. They enjoyed the hospitality. Salya taught the service was from Pendawa.
Every evening the same treatment was accepted. After five consecutive days of evening parties, Sengkuni flanked by several diplomats came to Salya’s tent. He greeted Salya with utmost politeness. Salya, a bit tired, wanted to get rid of Sengkuni immediately. Bearing in mind that all the services were from Pendawa he told Sengkuni firmly that he and his troops should support those good gentlemen who had warmly supplied their needs during this long journey.
The cunning Sengkuni smiled warmly, showing a high respect to Salya, said: “Your Highness, the honorable King Salya of the mighty Kingdom of Mandaraka. Your beloved son-in-law, the king of Hastina, Duryudana knows that you are making a long journey to Hastina. He, himself, has ordered to lessen a bit your journey by providing this small service. Now, King Duryudana and queen Banowati, your daughter, are waiting enthusiastically in the palace of Hastinapura to welcome you and your army in a more proper way”.
Salya was bewildered. He realized that he had made a fatal mistake. In acoordance with the principe of Sabda Pandita Ratu (a promise by a King and a Priest must be fulfilled), he was not in a position to withdraw his words. After a moment of silence, Salya told Sengkuni that he wanted to go alone to tell Yudistara of his decision. Afterwards he would come back again to lead his troops to Hastina. Sengkuni was very pleased, his tactics was successful.
It was one of the most difficult time in his life. He had to tell Yudistira of his decision which he himself disliked it.
The Pendawa family listened attentively to his explanation. They were shocked to hear it. Only the honest Yudistira could understand Salya’s decision, he said politely: “My dear King Salya, I honor completely your decision. I and my family have no hurt feeling. Although we have to face each other in the battle, we should remain sincere friends as always”.
Salya could say nothing, admiring Yudistira. Tearfully he said: “My dear Yudistira, please believe me that deep in my heart I am in your side. What could I do?”. Yudistira, a man of low-profile, polite, wise but also clever, replied:
“I predict that in Baratayuda, sooner or later Arjuna shall meet Karna in a duel. King Kresna should drive Arjuna’s chariot. I see that Karna should appoint you as his driver. In that case, I rely on you the safety of Arjuna during the duel meet of life and death. I believe that you should be in our favour”.
Salya, an old wise man understood the message. He nodded gently, embracing all the Pendawa one by one. In tears, he left Pendawa.
In the 16th day of the battle, Karna, the viceroy of Awangga was assigned as Korawa’s commander-in-chief. In the meeting attended by all chief-warriors, he told King Duryudana that he could kill all the Pendawa soonest, if King Salya became his driver. Only King Salya could meet the expertise of Kresna, who would be driving Arjuna’s chariot.
At first, Salya could not accept this duty, it was an insult to him. Duryudana had also persuaded him. Then he remembered the prediction of Yudistira was right. He agreed to be Karna’s driver upon condition that Karna should never speak a world which could humiliate him. Karna agreed. In the 17th day, a direct confrontation between two best warriors, Arjuna against Karna, was unavoidable.
Salya who disliked Karna’s arrogancy from the beginning, mocked Karna by telling him that yesterday Karna had killed a lot of soldiers, but none of them was the five Pendawa. Karna was humiliated and angry. His anger pushed him to take a less rational step. He wanted to eliminate Pendawa faster or at least, Arjuna, his main rival.
Karna aimed his arrow, Wijayacapa straight to the neck of Arjuna. Salya was worried of Arjuna’ safety. But Kresna knew what to do, he stopped the chariot at once by braking it, the front wheels disappeared in the muddy terrain. Karna’s mighty arrow hit only Arjuna’s crown. The arrow Pasopati of Arjuna killed Karna.