Whenever Javanese scholars are asked to name the high points of their literature, almost certainly they will include the Wédhatama. This is because it is considered to contain the ‘highest wisdom’ appropriately cast in a mould of fine poetic language.
The challenge of translation has already been met by several others, so that we can speak of ongoing process of interpretation, in which the present English translation represents only the most recent stage and in turn invites the critics to correct and improve it, as our knowledge of Javanese language and literature grows and deepens. On the other hand, though, any statement on this subject, relating to the highest spiritual truths, can be no more than an approximation; in the end words fail, leaving only something like a star or flame pointing the way onward (compare Wédhatama IV .21, and see the drawing on the front cover).
This working paper offers an English translation, accompanied by the standard Javanese text, for the perusal of students, with a short introduction and a number of explanatory notes intended to aid the process of interpretation.