BRAHMA & ELOHIM IN BATARA GURU MYTH OF DAIRI BATTAK
Erle Frayne D. Argonza
The Dairi Battak, who live to the north of the Toba and are .more or less in contact with the Muhammadanized Garo, have a version 26 which presents interesting differences. Batara Guru (Sanskrit Bhattara Guru), the highest of the gods, once sent a servant to get some venison, which was greatly desired by the deity's wife, who was about to give birth to a child. The hunt being unsuccessful, the divinity then sent the raven on the same quest, but he also could find no such food any-where in the realms of the gods. In the course of his search, however, he discovered a cave, in which was a pit whose bottom he could not discern. The longest vine was too short to measure its depth, and a stick thrown down the opening disappeared without a sound to indicate that it reached bottom. Determined to solve the mystery, the raven flew down into the opening, and after a long journey in complete darkness at last reached the surface of a wide-extending sea. After exploring in vain, the raven wished to return in order that he might report his discovery, but could not retrace his way to the opening through which he had come, though luckily he found floating upon the sea the bamboo which he had thrown down the hole, and on this he rested.
Meanwhile Batara Guru became impatient, and accompanied by several attendants, he flew down the dark opening in the cave, taking with him from the sky-world a handful of earth, seven pieces of wood, a chisel, a goat, and a bumble-bee; and reaching the surface of the sea, he built a raft from the pieces of wood. The raven now appeared, sitting upon the floating piece of bamboo, and at his request Batara Guru called to the eight wind-directions, whereupon darkness at once gave place to light. By his command the goat, accompanied by the bee, went down under the raft to support it on his horns; but in finishing the raft the chisel broke, and the handle hit the goat upon the head, which made him shake it violently, and the raft with it, for which the deity chided him and ordered him to keep still. Then taking the earth which he had brought with him, Batara Guru spread it upon the raft, thus making the world, and gave this to the raven for a dwelling-place.
Another one of the myths that is so rich in archetypes. Batara Guru (Bathala in Tagalog) signifies collectively Brahma, deity of the physical universe, and the Elohim, originally comprising of 7 hierarchs who assisted in the ideation and materialization of forms.
The descent from spiritual to the material planes by the souls so created was also depicted. Venison, raven, bumble bee, and so on, are symbolic of the devic and elemental forces that would assist in creating vehicles of forms for humans to embody into in the descent to the material planes.
The narrative concluded with the formation of the life-supporting dimensions or ontological planes, ready for evolving the humans that were on the progressive descent to the physical plane where mental and physical perfection will be achieved. Thus, spiritual, mental, and physical evolution all happen in synchronous fashion.
[Philippines, 20 June 2011]