Primbon is a book of Javanese heritage that is oriented towards the relationship between human life and the universe. Primbon serves as a guideline for determining attitudes in an action in life. According to the online version of the Indonesian Dictionary of the Language Development and Development Agency, Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia, primbon is defined as a book containing predictions, a book that collects various Javanese knowledge, contains occult formulas, complex number systems for calculating lucky days, and taking care of all kinds of important activities.

Primbon or paririmbon comes from the word in Javanese. Primbon literally comes from the word “rimbu” which means a deposit of various records by Javanese people in ancient times which were later passed down or distributed to the next generation. There are also those who argue that the name primbon comes from the word “mbon” or “mpon” which in Javanese means the parent with the prefix pri to expand the root word.

The notes containing this important knowledge are then collected into a primbon book which has been a reference source for people from the Javanese tribe since ancient times. Primbon is used as a guide or direction in order to achieve safety and physical-mental well-being. [5] Although it is more common among the people of Java, Bali and Lombok. In fact primbon can also be found in the culture of other ethnic groups of the archipelago. On the island of Kalimantan, for example, Alfani Daud once found a tradition of calculating the primbon time among the Muslim community in Banjar.

The content of Javanese primbon contains mostly discussion about calculation, prediction, fortune-telling, predicting human nature, and others. Calculations and predictions by religion use a calendar or calendar as their basis, which consists of a combination of the day and the weton. Since ancient times, the calculation of time using the Javanese calendar has been used for various purposes, for example to determine the time for planting or commemorative events.

Currently, a number of primbon books are still kept by the Indonesian government with collection management through the National Library. The types of prima donuts collected by the national library include Kitab Ta’bir, Primbon Padhukunan Pal-Palan, Mantra Siwastra Raja, and Lontarak Bola.

The existence of primbon and its birth and development cannot be separated from the influence of Islam in the archipelago, especially Java, where there are many Islamic values ​​that are adopted and side by side with Hindu and Buddhist elements. Initially, primbon were only in the form of personal records that were passed down from generation to generation in the palace environment which consisted of the royal family and the courtiers. When entering the 20th century, primbon manuscripts began to be printed and published freely. However, at that time the Primbon manuscript in a systematic book form had not yet been published.

The origins of Javanese primbon are said to be related to human life in the past, which was so dependent on the process of exploring, observing, and studying natural phenomena in order to keep away from bad things in the form of failures and calamities. Every incident that occurs is recorded on tal or siwalan leaves which were used as writing media before the existence of pencil and paper as in the modern era. The notes on the leaves are then called lontar leaves, which comes from the word “ron” which in Javanese means leaf and tal.

The existing records were then arranged and compiled and developed to form a calendar system, seasons, and constellations, as well as natural signs such as the location of a mole, dream interpretation, supernatural powers and others. As a summary, these records were compiled into a master text called primbon. From this, it can be understood that primbon means the parent of a collection of records regarding the thoughts of the ancient Javanese. Primbon is then considered important and has been used as a reference for the Javanese since ancient times as a guide for life.

Based on historical records, primbon and the changes that accompany it have witnessed the entry of Islam to Java. At that time, the main figures who spread Islam in Java, aka wali Songo, took the initiative to collect ancient records full of Hindu and Buddhist influences to convert them into Islamic nuances. At that time, primbon as a record of the collection of ancient Javanese occult science was very thick with mysticism from animism and dynamism that previously existed. Sentences containing worship of the gods and supernatural beings were then replaced with verses from the Koran. This is what led to the mixing of Javanese and Arabic in the primbon mantra.

The inclusion of Islamic nuances is also found in the calendar system from the Saka year to the Hijri calendar. It was the King of Mataram, Sultan Agung Hanyokrokusumo, who implemented this change of the calendar system with the aim of making Muslims unite to fight against the Dutch VOC while preventing the influence of Christianity or Catholicism from being brought from Europe.

Sultan Agung applied Javanese calculations as his policy after seeing the lives of two groups of people, from the santri and abangan in Java. Sultan Agung wants to reconcile the two groups, each of which has its own calendar system. The students used the hijriyah calculation while the abangan used the saka. A Javanese calculation was determined which used the calculation of the month from the hijriyah calendar but started from the Saka year and used Javanese market names.

The oldest printed primbon manuscript dates back to 1906 and was published by De Bliksem. After 1930, Primbon published in a systematic book form. The manuscript teaches that a good day is a basic step of every human being. In that good day, it is believed that there is an influence from natural forces. That reason also causes everyone to have a different good day.

As described by Bay Aji Yusuf, primbon did not exist during the Hindu Buddhist era in Java. The term or jayabaya prediction was even just written by Ranggawarsita during the Islamic Mataram era so that it is certain that elements of Persian Sufism such as calculations in wisdom and science of falaq also had an influence on the emergence of primbon.

The influence of the knowledge of wisdom and science of falaq from Persia on primbon can be seen from the thick concept of macrocosm (universe) and microcosm (human) which in Javanese is termed the gedhe universe and the little one. This concept in wisdom is called ‘Alam Al’ Ulya and ‘Alam Al Adna where the macrocosmic movement will influence the fate of the microcosm. Another thing that shows this influence is the use of letters. As is well known, the letters in the Javanese and hijaiyah alphabets have their numerical values ​​and are not meaningless.

Source : wikipedia


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