Ahuta Sar Mata Seri Buhana

When I raided my dad's collection of books last weekend, I found one which I think should be read by those who are very interested in Brunei culture and which I really really hope that Dewan Bahasa will reproduce or reprint or whatever but at least make it available to the public again.

The book is entitled "Ikhtisar Budaya" which was first published by DBP in 1976 and have been reprinted in 1982 and 1986. It's a collection of essays by local historians and sociologists looking at the three aspects of Brunei culture from its customs (adat istiadat), the arts and its belief in animism. Among the essays, the title included the Adat Istiadat, Ciri Gelaran, Adat Menghantara Tanda Tunang, Naubat Diraja, Gulingtangan, Pertukangan Emas dan Perak, Perusahan Bertenun, Peranan Rumah Perkumpulan Dalam Masyarakat, Menangkap Ikan and Ukuran Senjata Besi. The essays are written by practically all the big names in Brunei's history and culture circles such as Pehin Jamil, Dato Mahmud Bakyr, Dato Dr Latif and Dato Ampuan Sabtu.

What I will be doing is to pick up the various topics over the next couple of weeks and share with readers about aspects of Brunei Culture which you may not know much about.

I have always wondered about a particular phrase which is always read out during the award ceremony of Cheterias and Pehin Manteris. I have always been curious about it as when that part is read - it really sounded very foreign. A number of our younger readers may have missed the ceremonies but over the last 14 years or so, we have had something like 3 ceremonies where new Cheterias and new Pehin Manteris as well as the upgrading some of those titles. The ceremony is very traditional and when these titles are awarded, a letter or Surat Chiri is read out to announce the title. I found that part of the Chiri and I am reproducing it here:-

"Ahuta Sar Mata Seri Buhana Si Cekap Perkasa Pera Sang Si Jaya Perbuhana Au Bajana Madanadika Bacubala Pera Kerma Kerta Maskalang Ku Permala Malai Warna Utika Ayuta Si Dewa-dewa Perbu Peri nama"

Apparently this is mostly written in Sanskrit many hundreds of years ago but with the conversion into Islam, it has been 'islamised'. The historical aspects are interesting as some of the words referred to some ancient kings of Brunei or has undergone historical changes throughout the ages. Loosely translated, that part of the Chiri is as follows:-

"Dengan nama Tuhan Yang Maha Melihat, Yang Maha Menerangi Alam, Yang Maha Cekap Perkasa, Yang berjaya menguasai alam. Oh! Tuhan Yang Maha Kaya, Engkau yang mempunyai kekuasaan yang melakukan sesuatu kehendak kepada seluruh alam, jadikanlah (orang digelar) kalung bunga kesayangan, sebagai kasturi yang harum semerbak, menjadi senjata yang diperbuat daripada permata yang berwarna-warni, untuk raja yang memerintah."

So if the next award is ever made in our lifetime, now we know what those foreign sounding phrase mean.


Anonymous said…
Just a thought - why can't we use the translated version during the ceremony? Logically, all of us can understand better, I guess rather than the original sanskrit.
Anonymous said…
interesting... i always love to know and learn about the adat istiadat especially for wedding ceremony and majlis memberi gelaran to cheteria and pehin. My grandfather was a cheteria if im not mistaken my dad said he was one of the cheteria 16. i never understand what a cheterias are really for.. what are their duties and all. What are the difference with the pehins? and is it only the Pengirans can be a cheteria?
jefrisalas said…
Hi there,
It's interested to know you have all the popular our national songs here.
If you don't mine to share, where can i get the songs in MP3 format.
I would love to have it.

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