Indonesian Batik with Wayang Semar motif

Indonesian Batik with Wayang Semar motif

Semar in his play (character) has a different physical form from other wayang characters. Semar’s shape is unique because of its large and round stature, which likens the earth to being round. Also has a face that is always smiling but also eyes that are swollen with tears which means that in life there is always joy and sorrow. But apart from his physique, it turns out that Semar has the highest and respectable position in his puppet characterization. He was one of the guides, advisers, and caretakers of the knights. The original character of Semar is simple, honest, knowledgeable, intelligent, and has a sharp mind. He is elder because of his nurturing nature, which in Javanese terms, Nyegara which means having a heart as wide as an ocean.  

Semar is also called Badranaya in Javanese terms, which comes from the word Bebadra which means building something from scratch, and Naya which means messenger of the prophet. Which, if interpreted broadly, means a messenger of a prophet or apostle who was sent to build and carry out God’s orders for human welfare. In the puppet story Semar is the leader of the Punakawan or four friends consisting of Semar, Gareng, Petruk, and Bagong. Another unique character, it is not clear whether he is male or female. This is deliberately happened to show that people on earth have never been perfect, because it only belongs to God. Semar was also awarded a special strength which was named Mustika Manik Astagina or Eight Daya.   

The Eight Powers consist of:

  • Never sleepy
  • Never get hungry
  • Never been in love
  • Never sad
  • Never tired
  • Never gets sick
  • Never gets too hot
  • Never get cold  

Semar is also known for his words of wisdom that often come out of his mouth, such as:  

  • “Urup Iku Urup”
    Life is life.  
  • “Sura Dira Jaya Jayaningrat, Leburing Dening Pangastuti”
    Petty, stubbornness, and inner wrath can only be overcome by wisdom, patience and gentleness.  
  • “Datan Often Seagrass Ketaman, Comes Hard Seagrass Seagrass” When tragedy befalls or we lose something, don’t be sad, because all will return to God Almighty