Haunted by Myth : A Memoir

Rahmawati Lotayu Khasana180410150017

When I was in the second grade of high school a teacher of history subjects named Mr. Dwi requires every student to visit a historical site to get to know some of the historical sites in Cirebon city. The purpose of visited the site was to fulfill the final assignment of history subjects. The historical place chosen by him was Goa Sunyaragi. Previously, I actually went to the place with my close friends, but only briefly because at that time we went there in the late afternoon so we could only take pictures in some caves and at that time we did not use tour guide services so we did not know about the history of these place.

When in the class Mr. Dwi gave information that we would go to Goa Sunyaragi on Wednesday afternoon and for the next classes he asked for permission, so we were allowed or not to take classes because we would visited Goa Sunyaragi which is located quite far from our school. When on wednesday afternoon, the teachers, my friends, and I visited Sunyaragi Cave. When we arrived at the location, we had to pay an entrance ticket of IDR 10,000.00. Then the teacher gave instructions that we immediately gathered in the hall because our tour guide was waiting there. The teacher who was accompanied by two tour guides who were very knowledgeable about Goa Sunyaragi explained in detail about how Goa Sunyaragi was built, at what time it was built, and explained the functions of each building, and we had to note the information provided by the tour guide. The tour guide informed us that the hall where we gathered was a place used to practice mask dance, and until now the place is still used. The dancers who were dancing in the hall were possessed by the spirits of dancers from the magical world. The dancer’s spirit named Nyi Mas Gandasari came from Cirebon who was a beautiful dancer in her time.

The tour guide explained that Goa Sunyaragi was one of the sites of the sultans from the city of Cirebon. The site of Goa Sunyaragi area is very wide and inside there are several caves made of coral, the coral were imported from the South coast. There were not only caves, but inside there are several rooms and bale, each of which has a function in the Cirebon sultanate era. One myth that I remember when the teacher explained was that there were two doors that could connect to Mecca (west door) and China (east door). At that time, through the door, someone who passed it would immediately be at their destination, but of course they had to do some rituals first.

After the tour guide finished giving information about Goa sunyaragi, we were allowed by Mr. Dwi to tour the location of the Goa Sunyaragi. I decided to join with Rizky, Iyan, Amel, Tyas, and Ayu to looked around Goa Sunyaragi with them until we arrived in front of one cave called a Goa Peteng which was quite large , it is said that in that era this cave was used for meditation and above the cave there was a building that was fenced off, the building named a Cungkup Kunci that has a function as a place to watch Goa Sunyaragi in that era. Before reaching the door of the cave, we had to pass through a box-shaped path that could only passed by one person. On the right side of Goa Peteng there was a bale and next to the left was a large elephant stone statue. After I looked at the Goa Peteng, I asked Putri to take a picture of me standing in front of the cave while holding a stone statue whose height was not more than one meter, but after Putri took a photo Amel shouted “Ra..! you should not holdi that stone statue because there was a myth that if someone who is still single hold it, you will difficult to get a mate.” After heard her words, I felt shocked and worried but I also did not believe her words because when she talked about it she laughed and made me doubt the information she conveyed was incorrect. But at the same time, I also felt annoyed with her because she did not tell me about that prohibition before I touched the stone statue if indeed the myth was true.

However, at that time to calm myself I tried to think positively because if the stone statue was touched it could cause a someone who still single would have difficulty getting a mate, then why the stone statue was displayed and not given a warning not to be touched by someone who was single. But it is undeniable that I am still a little worried for fear that the myth will come true. After finished to explore Goa Sunyaragi, we decided to go back home. During on the way, I still thought of my friend’s words about the myth of the stone statue.

Until I arrived home I immediately sought information about the stone statue on the internet with various sources explained that the name of the stone statue was Perawan Sunti which had a meaning virgin for lifetime, and it is true that the myth of holding a stone statue would have difficulty getting a mate if anyone who still single and has held Perawan Sunti stone statue must immediately go to one of the caves called the Goa Kelanggengan in order to broke the myth for someone who already holds the Perawan Sunti stone statue. To be honest, I did not fully believe in the myth, so I did not visit the Goa Kelanggengan.

The next day, with a feeling that was still uncertain and curious, I told and asked to Mr. Dwi about what I had done yesterday in the Goa Sunyaragi. Then, he told me that the stone statue I had held yesterday was only a replica, a stone statue that was actually in a storage area or meseum. After knowing that, I felt more calmer because most likely the myth about someone holding a stone statue would be difficult to get a mate is not going to happen on me, because it does not hold the real stone statue.

However, there are several things that I can take as a lesson for this incident, it is better that before I visit this site with a glance, first I should look for information about the place and if there are things that I do not understand, I will ask to my friend or teacher to share information, regarding the history or myth that exists. Sometimes, someone makes a mistake does not because of negligence but because of lack of knowledge and insight. Based on that experience, it makes me interested to visit other historical locations in Cirebon. But, before I visited the historical location I have to find information about the story and myth, both information originating from the internet and friends who had known the historical place to avoid the same mistakes. But actually until now I still thinking about it. Will I have trouble to get a mate? Does that myth turn out to be true? I hope not!

photo by: Rahmawati Lotayu K.

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