After almost two weeks of uncertainty surrounding issues of succession within the Yogyakarta Palace, Sultan Hamengkubuwono X - now Hamengku Bawono X - finally appeared in public on Friday afternoon to clarify the matter.
Speaking at a meeting held at Ndalem Wironegaran, the residence of his eldest daughter Gusti Kanjeng Ratu (GKR) Mangkubumi - formerly GKR Pembayun, the sultan said that the recent decisions he made were based on a revelation from God he received through his ancestors, kings of the Mataram kingdom.
"I don't mind getting scolded or questioned by my brothers. I will not do anything about it because I would have been afraid of getting scolded by God [if the decisions were not made]," the sultan said before 300 people sitting on the floor of the residence's joglo hall, listening to his explanation.
The sultan also sat on the floor while giving his explanation, accompanied by his wife GKR Hemas and four of his five daughters.
The sultan, however, declined to give details on how he received the revelation. "I cannot explain further. This is very personal," he said.
He only called on the people to accept his two recent decisions, called sabda raja (king's proclamation) and dhawuh raja (king's command).
During the meeting, the sultan elaborated on sabda raja and dhawuh raja, respectively regarding the change in his royal name and the naming of his eldest daughter as GKR Mangkubumi, which many have seen as an effort to make her his heir.
The sultan also said that the residence of GKR Mangkubumi was chosen as the site to explain the sabda raja and dhawuh raja instead of the palace because he did not want to be accused of gathering the masses at the palace for support.
"This has to be done here and only because it was requested by the people," Sultan said.
He also said that both decisions were made suddenly because of the timing in which he received the revelation.
"It was clear in the revelation that the decisions had to be made on Wage Thursday [April 30] and Wage Tuesday [May 5]," said the sultan, adding that preparations for both processions were carried out quickly.
He also said that his brothers had been invited to the occasions but none showed up.
"I am OK with it. There are risks to every decision we make."
With regard to the issue of succession surrounding the issuance of the dhawuh raja, the sultan said that the revelation he received told him to change GKR Pembayun's title to GKR Mangkubumi. He said that it did not mention anything about naming her a crown princess.
However, he admitted that during the dhawuh raja procession, he told his eldest daughter - after receiving the new title GKR Mangkubumi - to sit on the special chair that only the heir of the palace could sit on.
GKR Mangkubumi, whose complete title is now GKR Mangkubumi Hamemayu Hayuning Bawana Langgeng Ing Mataram, said that she learned about her new title only when she was called to come forward by her father during the procession to receive the title.
"I realise I am bearing a great name in my title. With a great name also comes great responsibility," said the 43-year-old after the meeting.
Sociologist and Javanese culture observer Bayu Wahyono of Yogyakarta State University (UNY) said that the sultan's moves had transformed the palace's regulations.
"Historically and culturally, the Mataram kingdom [the previous name of the palace] has always been open to change," Bayu said.
Separately, Javanese art practitioner Bondan Nusantara expressed his satisfaction with the sultan's explanation on the matter. He also expressed hope that the palace would not be divided like the Surakarta Palace.