The role of Gajah Mada and the Palapa Oath

Fater Raden Wijaya died, he replaced by his son, Jayanegara. During his reign, there were several rebellions, such as the rebellion by Nambi Kuli.

Of all the rebellions, the most dangerous one was Kuti’s rebellion. Kuti was a Dharmaputera, a government official whose duty was to keep the continuity of the throne. During the rebellion, Kuti managed to take control of the capital town of Majapahit.

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Because the situation was very critical, the king moved away to a village called Badander. He was guarded by 15 members of the Bayangkari (royal company) commanded by an officer named Gajah Mada.

Gajah Mada and his men were able to suppress Kuti’s rebellion. In return for his merit, Gajah Mada was appointed chief minister of Kahuripan, then chief minister of Kediri. In 1331 there was a Sadeng rebellion.

The ruler of Majapahit at that time was Queen Tribuwana, while the prims minister was Arya Tadah. Since Arya Tadah was was sick, Gajah Mada was appointed acting prime minister of Majapahit. He was assigned to command Majapahit army to surpress Sadeng rebillion, and Gajah Mada succeded in putting the rebellion to an end.

As a reward for his merit, Gajah Mada was appointed prime minister of Majapahit, replacing Arya Tadah. At the inauguration ceremony, Gajah Mada pronounced an oath which later on became very famous. In his oath, he declared that he would not enjoy ‘palapa’ (worldly enjoyment) before the entire Nusantara (Indonesia) could be united under the control of Majapahit.

To realize the goal, Gajah Mada built a strong armada. The armada was commanded by Admiral Nala (Empu Nala). By means of the armada, Majapahit managed to conquer Dompu in 1340 and then Bali in 1343.

The king of Bali named Badahulu was killed in the battle. However, before Gajah Mada could completely realize his oath. Tribhuwana died in 1350. She was succeeded by Hayam Wuruk (1350 – 1389).

He used the title Rajasanegara. He was assisted by Gajah Mada in running the government. The cooperation between the two figures made Majapahit reach its golden period. Below are some remains of the glory of Majapahit.

  1. The book of Negarakertagama says that the territory of Majapahit included Sumatera, Malay Peninsula, Kalimantan, Java, Sulawesi, Nusa Tenggara, Maluku, and Irian (Papua).
  2. The men of letters of Majapahit could produce famous works, such as : Negarakertagama book (by Empu Prapanca) and Sutasoma book (by Empu Tantular)

Read also: Majapahit Kingdom in history

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