Adat Creation: 7 Iban Petaras with their respective special powers

Origin of Adat Iban Part 6

Adat Creation: About Sengalang Burong Immediate Family Members, His Descendant and Marriage Law.

According to Iban tradition, Sengalang Burong is a descendant of a powerful god named Raja Jembu. In Iban ritual liturgy, Raja Jembu is the guardian of the sacred whetstone (batu umai) used by Iban families in farming rituals, most importantly in the gawai batu festival and in the rites of manggol that initiates the clearing of new farm sites. These stones, which are individually sanctified during the Gawai Batu, are believe to come from Raja Jembu’s throne called ‘Batu Tinggi Dedinggai’. Raja Jembu married Endu Kumang Baku Pelimbang and bore six sons and a daughter. This family forms the principal pantheon of the Iban Petara.

These gods and goddess, like human beings, have genealogical pedigrees or tusut. They have remembered ancestors and descendants, which can be found in tusut of living Iban as below:

Raja Durong x Endu Cherembang Cheremin Bintang tauka Tukoh Lawang Pinggai Bekaki >> Raja Jembu x Endu Endat Baku Kansat, Endu Kumang Baku Pelimbang >> Aki Lang Sengalang Burong, Raja Menjaya, Raja Sempulang Gana, Bikhu Bunsu Petara, Raja Selampandai, Ini Inda tauka Ini Inee & Anda Mara (Ganga Ganggai).

Sengalang Burong x Endu Sudan Berinjan Bungkong, Endu Diu Tiong Menyelong = Endu Dara Tinchin Temaga, Endu Langgu Ketunsong Ngembai, Endu Kechapah Dulang Midong, Endu Bentok Tinchin Pengabas, Endu Kechapang Dulang Mas, Endu Moa Puchong Pengabas, Endu Dara Chempaka Tempurong Alang & Ajee

Endu Dara Tinchin Temaga x Menggin (Ming, Siu or Garai) = Sera Gunting x Seri Ngiang = Sera Kempat x Ranjau (f) = Ridoh (f) x Bada = Gupi (f) x Grasi “Belang Pinggang” = Geraman or Ensoh x Tebari (f) = Beragai (f) x Chundau = Beti “Brauh Ngumbang” x Duri (f) = Talak x Pandak (f) = Badas (f) x Girik = Blaki I x Buang (f) = Penyut x Endia (f) = Sudan (f) x Salang I = Blaki II x Beremas (f) = Tur “Bayang”, Ugap & Lada (f).Ugap x Nisi (f) = Salang II x Nati (f) = Limping x Tambong (f) = Uja x Sree (f) = Nyanggau x Gindu (f) = Indoo (f) x Attat = Benedict Sandin, Lenti (f), L.F. Mawar, Gerinching (f)Lionel F. Mawar x Roselyne Petri = Gregory Nyanggau (Author).

The eldest of Raja Jembu’s family is Sengalang Burong, or known as Aki Jugu Menaul Tuntong. He is the Iban God of War and augury, the most powerful of all the Petara. Next is Raja Simpulang Gana, the owner of the earth and principal God of Agriculture. Next are Bikhu Bunsu Petara (High Priestess of Bunsu Petara) and Menjaya Manang Raja, the principal shamanic God. Selampandai or Sempandai is the creator of man and God of Smithing, who is said to have fashioned the bodies of human being at his forge. Ini Inda or Ini Inee is the Iban Shamanic goddess. Anda Mara or Gangga Ganggai is the Iban God of riches and material wealth.

Sengalang Burong died and was buried on top of Tutop hill in the Ulu Merakai, Kalimantan Barat region. After departing their earthly domain he led a migration of the Gods to the various realms in the sky. But before they depart ways, Sengalang Burong divided his parent’s property. It is in this division that whatever each one inherited determined his or her special powers as a deity.

Ini Inda received Raja Jembu’s medicine box or lupong made of a bark of enteli tree, and all its content and so became celestial healer and, with her brother Menjaya Manang Raja, whom she consecrated as the first “transformed” divine patron of Iban shamans in the first ‘Bebangun’ ceremony on top of Rabong hill. Sempulang Gana was absent searching for engkenyang plant when the division of their parent inheritance took place. When he returned, he found nothing left of his parent’s estate except for the earthen firebox belonging to the family’s cooking hearth (tanah dapor). At first Sempulang Gana was angry, but was later informed by his father-in-law, Petara Semarugah, of its value. He discovered that he had received the most valuable inheritance of them all, the earth itself. Since then, as owner of the earth, all the other gods and all human being have had to make offerings to Sempulang Gana in order to obtain his permission before farming the earth.

Sengalang Burong took for himself a powerful war-charm called igi mudan, and so became the god of war and of divination and the principal source of omen birds. When Sengalang Burong separated from the Orang Panggau at Nanga Nuyan, he led his followers to a celestial world called Tansang Kenyalang. He built a substantial longhouse with his own bilik at its centre and the apartments of his seven son-in-laws, the seven principal augural birds, at his sides, relative to one another, signifying the meanings attribute to augural signs each bird represent or conveyed. The eight augural birds, nendak, is not a relation, but a poor client of Sengalang Burong. He lives in a room without verandah attached to Kelabu’s apartment. Ketupong (Jaloh or Kikeh), Beragai and Pangkas (Kutok) apartments are on the right side of Sengalang Burong, with Bejampong, Embuas and Kelabu (Papau) apartments to his left side. The seventh omen bird, Kunding or Burong Malam, the husband of his youngest daughter with whom Sera Gunting committed incest with, Endu Dara Chempaka Tempurong Alang, had to leave the paternal longhouse after the incestuous affairs. Kunding is actually a cricket, though his name literally means “night bird”.

These omen birds are said to possess certain particularly human characteristics. Ketupong, the senior son-in-law, is the natural leader. A man of few words, he must be heeded when he makes his appearance on earth. Ketupong has two manifestations; when he speaks with a slow tik-tik-tik, is important; his fast repeated alarm cry is known as Jaloh, which indicates the message be treated with most urgency.

Bejampong is known for his swiftness and agility, is second in command. Beragai also called Burong Gaga (the happy bird), due to the “laughing” sound of his call. Beragai serves as shaman-healer (manang) in Sengalang Burong’s longhouse. The other five birds, have more or less equal power although Burong Malam have the least influence since he and his wife have left their longhouse. Nendak, being a poor hanger-on rather than a relation, carries omens of considerable less importance.Through this complicated system of omens, Sengalang Burong regulates communication between gods and man. The gods instruct man by sending birds or animals with messages sanctioning or disapproving the activities of humans.

In the course of his return journey from Sengalang Burong’s longhouse, between the sky and this world, Sera Gunting meets the spirit of the moon (bulan), the seven sisters (Bintang Banyak or Pleiades) and the three sisters (Bintang Tiga, the Orion’s Belt). From these stellar goddesses, he learned the signed that the farmers must observe to determine the time for them to clear and plant their farms. From the spirit of the moon, he learned the rule that regulate days of labor, rest and planting various crops or plants corresponding to the phases of the moon.


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