Durna and Drupada were best friends since they were young. In his youth Durna’s name was Kombayana. He was a handsome and smart son of Resi Baratwaja, a renowned priest. Baratwaja was so well known that many people came to him to learn many skills. One of them was Sucitra. Sucitra was also a smart student like Kombayana so they soon became best friends. They even vowed they will support one another in good times and in bad times. Several years later both of them passed their studies. Sucitra came home to Pancala, his home country and Kombayana left his house to find a job.
Years later the young Sucitra became king of Pancala. His name was then King Drupada. Meanwhile Kombayana was still struggling by working as a teacher. The news about the new king spread to the whole country and reached the ears of Kombayana. He was very happy and expectant. He had a high hope in his old friend. He remembered their student days and their vow to help each other in bad times and in good times.
So one day he decided to see his old friend. Traveling was hard in those days as there was no vehicle. After walking for several days or maybe weeks, he got to the kingdom of Pancala. Kombayana directly went to the palace. He was amazed to see the grandeur of Sucitra’s palace. Then he talked to the guard.
“Hey, I’d like to see Sucitra”
“Who is Sucitra? Nobody here named Sucitra”
“I mean the king, your king”
“His name is King Drupada, not Sucitra”
“OK, whatever. I’d like to see him”
“Hey, it is not easy to have an audience with the king. Only high ranking officials and respected people can have audience with the king. Who do you think you are?” The guard said.
“I am Kombayana, the son of Resi Baratwaja. I was his friend”
“You were his friend? I guess not anymore”
“Just tell him that Kombayana the son of Resi Baratwaja wants to see him”
Then the guard said,”Ok, I will ask his grace to grant you permission to have an audience. But I have warned you. He might not recognize you. I cannot promise you anything”
Then the guard told Kombayana that he was granted the permission to have an audience with the king on the following day.
“The king is very busy right now. His majesty has no time for you today. But King Drupada is very kind and very gracious so he granted you permission to have an audience with him tomorrow”
“Thank you very much, I’ll be waiting”.
The next day Kombayana woke up very early in the morning. He took a bath and wore his best dress. He could not wait to see his old friend. He was sure that the king would grant him good job and wealth. He could imagine that he would become a high ranking official. He would wear luxurious dress and he would have a big luxurious house. People would respect him. When he was ready he left to the palace. In front of the palace, the guard asked him to wait.
“Wait here for a moment. When his majesty is ready you will be called”
“Ok, I’ll be waiting”
Kombayana had to wait for a long time. He was sitting the whole day in the guard’s booth. In the afternoon after the king finished working Kombayana was called.
“His majesty granted you an opportunity to have an audience. Although you used to be his friend, please be polite at all times. Please address him nicely. You are not allowed to stare at his eyes. You have to sit on the floor. Do not say a word unless you are asked”
“Ok, I know”
“Follow me”, the guard said. “And do as I said”
As they met inside the palace Kombayana could not control his emotion and his behavior. Soon he greeted the king.
“Sucitra, long time no see. How are you?”
The he hugged the king warmly. The guards were very surprised then they quickly held him back and forced him to sit on the floor.
“Behave! Mind your manner! I told you that you have to be polite! Now sit down!”
Then Kombayana sat on the floor. He said further,
“Sucitra, I am your best friend Kombayana. Do you still remember me?
Suddenly the king said calmly.
“Kombayana, I still remember you. It is true that you used to be my best friend. But time has changed. There is no Sucitra here. I am no longer Sucitra. Now I am King Drupada. Everybody must respect me”
“Sucitra, do you still remember our vow? We will help each other in good times and in bad times”
“But friendship is only possible among equals Kombayana. Do you think we are equals?
“Sucitra, I am in a desperate situation. Please help me”
Suddenly the king yelled.
“Enough! Bring him out. Punish him for impolite behavior to the king!”
The guard quickly pushed him. Then outside the palace they hit him many times and repelled him. Kombayana was deeply hurt. The wound is his body healed not long after that but deep inside his heart he had hatred to Drupada. He promised to himself that he would take revenge to Drupada.
Some years later Kombayana got a good job. Because of his skills in the art of archery and military he became the teacher for the royal family of Hastinapura or Ngestina in Javanese language. He had official name of Resi Durna. His duty was to train the son of king Dasarata and ex King Pandu Dewanata. King Dasarata was the older brother of King Pandu Dewanata. Since he was blind it was Pandu who became king. But when Pandu died when his children were very young, then Dasarata succeeded him.
Dasarata had one hundred children from his wife Gendari while Pandu Dewanata had five sons from his two wives – Dewi Kunti and Dewi Madrim. So Durna had one hundred and five students. He taught them archery, politics, martial art and religion. The sons of Pandu were called the Pendawa and the sons of Dasarata were called the Kurawa. The Pendawa were much smarter than the Kurawa.
One day Durna decided to hold a military exercise for both Pendawa and Kurawa. They would be assigned to lead an army in the exercise. His plan was approved by King Dasarata. So he prepared the army and on the D – day he led them to attack the kingdom of Pancala. The Pancala army was no match for the mighty Hastinapura army. They could easily be beaten and the king was arrested.
“Sucitra, now your life is in my hands. If you want to live longer let me hear you beg for your life”
“Kombayana, you can do whatever you want now. You can take my life, but not my dignity. If I have to die now, then I will die now. But I will never beg you for anything”
“Sucitra, never call me Kombayana. I am Resi Durna, the great teacher of the Barata family in Hastinapura. I am the advisor to the great king of Hastinapura. If you want to die now, then you will die now”
“Kombayana, I warn you. The power in your hands must be used wisely. You cannot kill me just because you hate me. If you kill people based on hatred then you are a murderer not a great teacher. You are a criminal although you are a high ranking official”
“Shut up! I don’t need your sermon. Soldier, kill him!’
Just as the soldiers of Hastinapura would kill king Drupada, one of the Pendawa talked to Durna.
“Excuse me, may I say something?’
“Sure Arjuna. What do you want to say?”
“I think he is right. You cannot kill people just because you hate him. You taught me that people must love each other. You taught me that a state may give death penalty but it must be based on justice and law, not on hatred or anger”
“Sucitra, do you hear that? My beloved and smart student Arjuna saves your life today. I will give you clemency on condition that I will take a half of your country and remember Sucitra I will take revenge in the great war of Baratayuda”.
So since that day the territory of Pancala was divided. King Drupada was back in his throne. But Durna was not satisfied. He still had hatred and he wanted to kill Drupada by his own hands.
When Pendawa and Kurawa grew up hostility between the two parties mounted Pendawa thought that the throne of Hastinapura was their right because their father Pandu Dewanata was the king of Hastinapura. On the other hand Kurawa thought that it was their right to become king since their father was also the king and older brother of Pandu.
Many years later a great war of Baratayuda broke out in a land called Kurusetra. The war was between the Pendawa and the Kurawa. Durna was in the side of the Kurawa and Drupada was with the Pendawa. In one of the battle Durna was assigned as a commander of Hastinapura army. There in the battle he met his long awaited enemy. Finally Durna could satisfy his hatred by killing Drupada.
The Javanese culture was influenced by the Indian culture. They translated the Mahabarata story (the story of the Barata family) and Ramayana (the story of King Rama) between the 8th – 11th century. Over these centuries the Javanese writers had written their own version of the story. This story is the Javanese version. The details of the story might be different from the Indian one. Today these stories are still very popular in Indonesia especially in Java, Bali and Madura islands. People in these areas have shadow puppet shows using these stories. The show called wayang kulit in Javanese language. The story is very long that this episode is only a part of it.
Text storyline is taken from Bambang Udoyono http://www.squidoo.com/the-story-of-durna-and-drupada.