Balinese history: Pan & Men Brayut

Balinese Hindu mythology and local Balinese history, are colorful affairs, with many cute stories of how Balinese people have faced probelems and dealt with them. One of the famous stories in Bali is that of Pan & Men Brayut.

According to legend Pan and his wife Men, were a poor couple who were always fighting. They always made up in a state of passion, ending up with 18 children. The family was somewhat unrully and the parents struggled to survive, always, fighting and making up again (if you live in a trailer, this might sound familiar). Variations of the story, give each partner the credit for initiating the passion. The family name Brayut, is a Javanese word meaning ‘a family burdened with many kids’.

Men Brayut was a weaver, and so Pan, her husband, had to most of the household chores. Eventually, after their brood has grown up and married, Pan & Men renounce the material world and join a retreat, something that elderly Balinese men sometimes do. Its possible to see the story of Pan & Men Brayut, depicted in Balinese art all over the island.

Neka Art Museum Ubud:
Ubud’s I Gusti Nyoman Lempad, did some fine ink drawings featuring Pan & Men Brayut. Lempad is often referred to as Bali’s greatest artist, his ink drawings immediately recognizable. His drawings of the Brayut story can be seen at the Neka Art Museum in Campuhan (near Ubud). In Lempad’s ink drawing, subjects such as making pork sate and daily family activities ar covered.




Bale Kambang Klungkung:
While enjoying the royal court at Kerta Gosa in the center of Klungkung, you can check out the wayang style murals featuring the Brayut story, inside the Bale Kambang, located behind it.

Pura Dalem Jagaraga Singaraja:
Pura Dalem Jagaraga near Singaraja, has stone reliefs of the Brayut story, laong with animated carvings of other aspects of traditional and modern day Balinese life.

Gedong Library Singaraja:
The Gedong Library contains a lengthy poem about the life of Pan & Men Brayut, entitled ‘Gaguritan Brayut‘.

Indonesia has Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim influences. The Buddhist and Hindu art often features manifestations of various Gods. Men Brayut is sometimes associated with Buddhist tradition, and legend has it that in this tradition she was the evil Hariti, who devoured her children. The story goes that she kept eating her kids until the day she converted to Buddhism, where she became their protector. Hariti is also a goddess of fertility.

You can view a stutue of Men Brayut, as Hariti, at the 11th Century temple in Candi Dasa, and also at Goa Gajah, in the Ubud area.

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