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The Life of Prince Diponegoro of Yogyakarta, 1785–1855

Peter Brian Ramsay Carey

This book is a completely revised version of The Power of Prophecy; Prince Dipanagara and the End of an Old Order in Java, 1785–1855 (2007). A vivid biography of Indonesia’s foremost national hero, it tells the story of a remarkable figure whose life spanned his native Java’s troubled transition to the modern world. It will be read with profit by all those interested in the impact of European imperialism on non-European societies, the cultural encounter between West and East, the role of Islam in anti-colonial resistance, and the making of modern Indonesia. An Indonesian-language edition of Destiny has been published simultaneously by Indonesia’s leading publishing house, Penerbit Buku Kompas (Gramedia), as Takdir: Riwayat Pangeran Diponegoro (1785–1855).
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Chapter III: Pilgrimage to the South Coast, circa 1805



Pilgrimage to the South Coast, circa 1805

Lelono: Spiritual Wanderings as Rite de Passage

Diponegoro’s emergence into manhood was marked by a number of significant events: the passing of his great-grandmother on 17 October 1803, his investiture as Raden Ontowiryo on 3 September 1805, and his lavish kraton nuptials on 27 February 1807 (Chapter II). These last could be perceived as something of an official court rite de passage between his pre-pubescent years at Tegalrejo and the beginning of his young adult life as a Javanese nobleman.

Whereas for most of his contemporaries, such a young adult life might now have entailed family responsibilities around the Yogya kraton, for Diponegoro there was an added dimension. A second and more meaningful rite de passage – this time an extended form of spiritual wandering or lelono – loomed. This would confirm the spiritual practices of his youth and clarify his prophetic destiny. What this entailed has been well expressed by the Javanese historian Soemarsaid Moertono (1976:20–1):

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