Ramayana and Mahabharata are epics of Indian origin, which are one of the greatest inspirations of theater and dances in Indonesia.

The Mahabharata, also called Bharat Yudha, depicts the eternal struggle between the good and the evil, represented by the five Pandawa brothers and their hundred Kurawa cousins respectively. The Pandawa, best known as Arjuna and Bhima, by the aid of Krishna, are victorious thanks to their supernatural powers. With heroic models, the Mahabharata is the preferred narrative of Javanese.

The Ramayana is very popular in both Java and Bali. In Bali, it tells the story of Rama and his wife Sita kidnapped by the demon Ravana. Rama, aided by the monkey king Hanuman, releases Sita and becomes king. In the Ramayana of Indonesia, Sita is described as a brave and strong woman, who is different from the character in the original version.