18578 298179180747 82972305747 3590204 3395519 n

An artist's depiction of kahyangan as a place where gods and goddesses reside.

Kahyangan is a concept of heaven of ancient Javanese people, an incorporeal mystical realm where ancestor spirits or hyang reside. Before being introduced to Hinduism and Buddhism, ancient Javanese worshiped ancestor spirits. The word kahyangan was formed from the word hyang added with prefix ka- and suffix -an, and means the realm of hyang.

The concept of swarga was later introduced after Hinduism and Buddhism came. It means the place for the spirits of people who have done good deeds when living. The word swarga and the word kahyangan were both then used to depict the concept o heaven with slightly different meaning.

After the introduction of Islamism and Christianity, the meaning of both words changed further, of which the word kahyangan is used to mean the realm where gods and goddesses reside, and the word swarga or sorga means the final resting place for the spirits of people who were living by the rules and teachings of their religion.

Kahyangan is referenced in many Javanese folktales and legends. Some of the stories which make references to kahyangan are: