Dive Into The Philosophical Meaning of Gareng, Javanese Puppet Characters

Gareng is one of the famous traditional Javanese puppet characters which appears often in show shadow puppets. Gareng’s complete name is “Nala Gareng” but he is known to be Gareng only. Gareng is basically one of the members of Javanese puppet with the limp leg. Beside it, he also has another physical disability such as the the broken arm. Based on philosophy, those have different meaning such as don’t take others’ right.


The Deep Meaning behind Gareng’s Name and Physical Condition for Humans’ Life

When you know and learn about Gareng based on his philosophy, you will know the deep meaning behind this character. The original name of Gareng is Bambang Sukadadi and he is the oldest among other three sons from Semar, Petruk and Bagong. Gareng has the polite characteristic and also soft in all of his actions. This kind characteristics make him being appreciated so much in wise. Because of that reason, Gareng was believed to be the advisor of Pandawa. Meanwhile, his physical condition is not perfect.

His face is ugly and his eyes are squint. However, Gareng has positive aura and thought where other people around him always feel happy when they get close to him. In the puppet stories, Gareng is always becoming the mediator when her little brothers fight and even Gareng has made Petruk back to his straight mind when Petruk became the king but he forgot anything and tuned to arrogant King. The name of Gareng means dry in Javanese language. The philosophical meaning about it is the heart is dry from world’s temptation.

It means, he always refuses other toxic. His broken arm even has the deep meaning that he doesn’t like using his power to do something bad. It can be said that his arm is always sealed from the bad habits. His limp leg gives the meaning to be careful in whatever you do because in every single in the world, there is something good and bad. That is why, you don’t need to rush in making decision to move forward. Another meaning of his name is Pegatwaja which is he doesn’t like eating something extravagant, overly delicious and also things that can cause illness.

That is why, Gareng always eat simple food. Meanwhile, his popular name is Nala Gareng which means dry from glory and prosperity. That is why, Gareng always do something good for all people. Gareng was the son of Resi Sukskadi from padepokan Bluluktiba. Over the years, Bambang Sukskati ask for permission to conquer the kings. In the middle of his journey, he met Bambang Panyukilan who was the son of Bagawan Salantara from Padepokan Kembangsore. They went to war because of their own perspective.

The power was so balanced and no one lost or win. However, they both couldn’t stop fighting until they got the physical disability. The war was stopped by Semar or known as Sanghyang Ismaya. Semar made both Bambang Panyukilan and Bambang Sukskati’s faces were ugly with fat stomach, limp leg, no neck, round nose and cock eye. That is why, he was known as Nala Gareng by Semar while Bambang Panyukilan was known as Petruk. It was all the beginning of his philosophy.


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