The gandik of this keris features a Buddhist mythological creature known as ‘Makara‘ (Sanskrit; Javanese: Makårå). The Makara resembles the mouth of the rākṣasa (Sanskrit: ‘giant’, ‘demon’) whom is ‘The Lord of Time’ (Sanskrit: Bhaṭṭāra Kāla, or Rāhu; Javanese: Batara Kala, or Kala Rao). Batara Kala’s manifestation in the form of Makårå is also a symbol of the Buddhist teaching of impermanence (Sanskrit: ‘anitya‘) since everything will be ‘eaten’ by time, or consumed by Kala Rao.
The Makara can be found in many ancient temples in Indonesia. The most common place where the Makara is depicted is at a temple’s gate. In this way, then, the Makara watches over the sacred temple compounds. This, of course, is a symbolical representation of Batara Kala’s spiritual duty as a Dharma Protector (Sanskrit: ‘Dharmapala‘).
Next, the face of the Makårå on the gandik of the blade of this keris is named after the wise sage (Javanese: ‘pandhitå‘; Sanskrit: ‘paṇḍita‘) Bagaspati, a seer (Javanese: ‘rêsi‘; Sanskrit: ‘ṛṣi‘) in the form of a demon (Javanese: ‘buta‘; Sanskrit: ‘bhūta‘). As mentioned in the Mâhabhârata (Sanskrit: Mahābhārata), Rêsi Bagaspati is the younger brother of Kuntiboja – the father of Kunti; the mother of the pandhawas (Sanskrit: ‘pāṇḍava‘) – and the son of Rêsi Jaladara of the Dewasana hermitage and Dèwi Anggini, a royal descendant of the Magadha Kingdom. Hence, he was born under the name Bambang Anggana Putra.
Though In his early life Bambang Anggana Putra was a courageous warrior (Javanese: ‘satriyå‘; Sanskrit: ‘kṣatriya‘), yet when he later married Dèwi Darmastuti he was cursed by Sanghyang Manikmaya who turned him into a demonic creature (Javanese: ‘rêksasa‘; Sanskrit: ‘rākṣasa‘). The reason for this was that Bagaspati’s daughter, Dèwi Sêtyawati (‘She who has the Truth‘), a celestial nymph (Javanese: ‘widadari‘, ‘apsari‘; ‘Sanskrit: ‘vidhyadharī‘, ‘apsaras‘) dreamt of Narasoma whom she wished to marry. Narasoma, however, initially refused to marry Dèwi Sêtyawati because she was the daughter of a rākṣasa. Though later when he recognized the beauty of this celestial nymph, Narasoma finally did agree to marry Dèwi Sêtyawati, but on the condition that her father would disappear from the world. And so, as an act of compassion for his daughter, Bagaspati decided to renounce the world and went out to practice austerities in a hermitage on Mount Arya Bêlah.
Thus, after an extensive period of practice as a brahmin ascetic (Javanese: ‘brahmana‘; Sanskrit: ‘brāhmaṇa‘) Bambang Anggana Putra became known as Rêsi Bagaspati (‘bagas‘: strong, powerful; ‘pati‘: lord), whom people sometimes also refer to as Bêgawan Ganggaspati (Javanese: ‘the Honorable Master’; Sanskrit: ‘bhagavān‘: honorable, ‘pāti‘: master ). Since during his retreats Rêsi Bagaspati mastered the ajian Cândrabirawa – a spell which enables a person to prolong his life span until forever – he is revered for the tremendously strong magical powers he thus possesses.
Rêsi Bagaspati’s story corresponds also with the symbolical meaning of a keris with thirteen luks, for this type of keris symbolizes a person’s aim to guard and maintain the stability in his life, which allows a person to spend more time and effort on developing his or her spiritual practice.