A Last Heaven on Earth

Eons ago, there was no Java nor Bali, for they were one. The inhabitants of the island worshiped the deities of old reverently. Among the gods were Dewi Danu, the patroness of Bali, and Raung, the personification of the volcano. The god pined for the goddess of water, but he was rejected as she saw cruelty in Raung’s eyes. For years he wooed Dewi Danu until she had had enough and separated herself and her people from the main island. This is how Bali parted from Java, and how Dewi Danu exhausted herself to the point that she had to incarnate to sustain her power. For generations she lived as a part of her people, not knowing her true identity. Her latest name was Layonsari. 

Centuries passed and Raung had grown desperate to find Dewi Danu that he left his territory, sacrificing a large portion of his power, to find the island of the goddess. He took along a lion-like spirit called Barong. Raung made his way to the shore and found a ship belonging to the kingdom Kutai. Desperate to find Dewi Danu, he murdered the entire crew after extracting the location from them and set sail there. When Raung arrived, the volcanoes on the island erupted and caused a massive disaster. Worn out from the travel, the wrathful god hid to recuperate and ordered Barong to seek information about the goddess. The spirit was also to kill anyone whom he considered to be suspicious. 

After the catastrophe ceased, Kalianget, the king of the island, checked on the condition of his people. At a westernmost village, Kalianget found Jayaprana, whose positivity enabled him to hope again in the deities. Thus the boy was adopted as the heir. Seven years later, Jayaprana was deemed worthy of the throne and told to pick a wife from the palace. The heir politely declined and instead requested to find his own wife among the people. So he traveled, and at the sacred lake to Dewi Danu, Jayaprana met Layonsari. It took quite some time for Layonsari to reciprocate to Jayaprana’s love, but when she did, the wedding was set up right away. On the occasion, Kalianget began to act strangely. 

It turned out that Barong had succeeded in his mission, collecting information from men and spirits alike. He had also committed several murders so cleverly that no one was suspicious. After making final observations on Jayaprana, Layonsari, and Kalianget, he had gone to report to his master. Now, having recovered a portion of his power, and blinded by his desire for Dewi Danu, Raung had enacted his plan by possessing Kalianget.

Not so long after the wedding, the possessed king ordered Jayaprana to investigate the mysterious murders at the other side of the island. Obeying his adopted father, Jayaprana ventured there and found Barong, who had been waiting for him. Finding himself against an otherworldly creature, he managed to tame Barong with his kindness and wit. With his allegiance changed, Barong told Jayaprana everything he knew about Raung’s plan and offered to take him to Layonsari as fast as he could. 

Meanwhile at the lake, Kalianget revealed himself as Raung and confronted Layonsari. She refused to believe at first, but after Raung explained their history, the goddess inside her began to wake up. Raung tried to take advantage from Layonsari/Dewi Danu’s confusion, but before he could lay a hand on her, Jayaprana arrived with Barong. Hence ensued the fight between man and god, but Jayaprana knew that he was no match to even a greatly weakened Raung. Bidding his goodbye to the tearful Layonsari, the heir and the spirit made a final attempt together to drown Kalianget/Raung into the lake. 

The water was still for a moment until a blast broke the silence. From the lake rose the possessed king, unscathed. He had slain both Jayaprana and Barong as they struggled down the water. However, the sacrifice of the incarnation’s true love had fully restored the goddess in Layonsari. Dewi Danu proceeded to overcome Raung and exorcised him from Kalianget, incapacitating him so devastatingly that Raung would never be able to wander off his territory again.

Having recovered from his possession, Kalianget started asking the goddess about what had just occurred. The deity explained to him everything as she started entering the water. The release of the goddess allowed Dewi Danu to resume her true form and protect the island with her full strength while uniting Layonsari and Jayaprana in the afterlife.

Considering himself and the island to be greatly indebted to all who made the sacrifices, Kalianget started an irrigation system called subak that is rooted in the worship of Dewi Danu. The king also immortalised Barong as the watcher spirit of Bali and built a monument for Jayaprana and Layonsari to commemorate their sacrifice of love. This is how Bali becomes renowned as a last heaven on Earth. All his legacies still stand until now.

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