Location of Temple and The White Elephant Story
THE NAME AND LOCATION OF THE TEMPLE
The “SAHASRA ADHI PURA” Temple Complex, located 4 kilometers east of the city of Solo (the formal name is Surakarta) in the Village of Sonosewu (modern name of Wirun), the Sub-District of Mojolaban, the District of Sukoharjo, the Province of Central Java, Indonesia.
Sahasra Adhi Pura (Thousand Temples Organization,) owns approximately 6000 square meters of rice field land where we operate the kundalini yoga center with a Javanese pendopo (traditional roofed pavilion with open sides), water meditation pools, many Hindu and other pictures, indoor and outdoor meditation spaces, and an office/library/Caretaker House. We are presently constructing the ARGO Complex inside its elliptical perimeter on the northern half of our land.
The White Elephant spirit leads to Sonosewu
In 1745, Prince Garendi led a rebellion against King Paku Buwono II (one of the great, spiritually developed Kings in Java.) King Paku Buwono II, or “The Nail of the Universe,” was king of the Surakarta Palace during the legendary Mataram Kingdom of Islamic Indonesia, located at that time a short distance from what is now Solo, in Kartasura. After his palace was destroyed in the rebellion, the Paku Buwono II decided to move, re-locating the heart of the Mataram Kingdom. To determine an auspicious new location, the king assigned Duke Tirtowiguna, Prince Wijil, Duke Honggowongso, and other high court councilors to survey and evaluate prospective sites. The king’s courtiers obtained magical help in their search from a White Elephant who guided them to three places:
- Kadipolo, where the Sriwedari Park in Solo is now located. It was determined by meditation that a palace built at Kadipolo would expand and prosper for some time, but there would be great instability and a lack of harmony throughout the realm. The new Mataram Kingdom would be short-lived.
- The Village of Solo, which is where the new Surakarta Kraton (Palace) is currently located, inside the high enclosing walls of the Baluwarti village. Again in meditation it was foreseen thet a palace established at this site would expand, become very prosperous and famous but the king’s power would diminish towards the end of the Mataram Era. The king would not reign over a large kingdom anymore, but possess only the palace grounds. However, it was foretold that if this site were chosen, the kingdom would persist for a long time.
- Sonosewu, east of the Bengawan Solo River, west of the Village of Bekonang. This was already known as ancient holy ground. It was predicted that a palace built here would expand, become prosperous, know glory, but would usher in a return to Hinduism. It was seen that if the kingdom were to be established at this location, Hinduism would return to Java. It should be mentioned that the word “keraton” or “kraton” (Javanese for “palace”) is also interpreted as “pura” (Javanese for “temple”), which is the original meaning of the word.
After considering the three alternatives, King Pakubuwono II, who was versed in the Muslim mystical tradition, chose to build the palace at the Solo location. The truth of the White Elephant’s predictions speaks for itself.
Two Hundred Years Later
Over two centuries later, in the late 1980’s, certain events ensured that Sonosewu maintained its reputation as a sacred power spot:
The local government planned to build an irrigation and flood control canal to the east of Solo, cutting through an ancient shrine nest to where the White Elephant had indicated the Sonosewu Palace site. However, every effort to build met with failure. Bulldozers, ploughs and great steel machinery heaved and died with each new onslaught. One of the bulldozers even caught on fire. Defeated, the government moved the canal slightly to the west, safely hugging the outside of the sacred area, which was left unmolested by any further development plans.
In 1986, the buried ruins of a 6th or 7th century Buddhist temple were discovered, along with various valuable artifacts, gold, and pic. Mystics and thieves came in droves to plunder the precious artifacts, gold, or pic, but very soon met with accident or misfortune. In the end, nearly every offender returned the stolen goods taken and carefully covered the temple with earth once again, where is remains until this day (although the lore of Sonosewu still abounds with tales of magical “pusakas” – heirlooms and power objects – and precious “keris'” – Javanese daggers – dug up by humans or spirits from the land.)
The White Elephant at work again
When Sahasra Adhi Pura was looking for the site of its new meditation center, and the Thousand Temples Complex (as received in a vision by Bapak Hardjanta Pradjapangarsa), the Yogi directed them to look east of the Bengawan Solo River. Sonosewu was the chosen spot, banked to the west by a large canal, with three volcanoes: sacred Mt. Lawu in the east and to the west, Mt. Merbapu and Merapi, still smoking gently.
When the day came to find the rice farmer who owned the land he did not at first want to sell. He had been farming it for many years and his son would own it one day . He also said someone else was interested in the land. When we returned to the site a few days later the farmer approched us and said he had had a dream that a white elephant had come to him and told him to sell the land to whoever could bring him a statue of a white elephant. As it was we hurried back and brougth a statue of Ganesh the beloved son of Shiva and Laksmi. Within the hour, he had agreed to sell the land. Astonished by the sudden change of heart we asked him what made him change his mind and he told us the story of the white elephant. He said the dream was an omen that he could not ignore guiding him to sell his field for the construction of the new temple.
The rest is history. Or it will be as soon as the temple is finished… Hope to see you there.