Saturday, July 7, 2012

On Bali there is a link to enlightenment.

The beliefs of the Balinese are a living force that pervades the island. The island sings of love. The love of making an offering of woven palm leaves and beautiful flowers, or lighting a stick of incense and by praying a Mantra.

Bali Hinduism is a combination of elements from Indian Shivaite and Buddhist  traditions with older beliefs and practices. One of the oldest names for the Balinese religion is “Agama Tirtha” or religion of Holy waters. . Tirtha (holy water) has always been used in Hindu religious ceremonies. The word tirtha comes from Sanskrit and means ‘holy' or ‘to cleanse'.  The holy water possesses the means of opening our hearts to prayer.

The aim of Agama Hindu Bali (the religion of most Balinese) is to reach peace of spirit and harmony in this material life. In practicing their faith, Hindu communities try to achieve a spiritual balance of worship between Tattwa (philosophy), Susila (etiquette/morals), and Upacara (rituals).  On Bali there are two ways to pray: 'mbakti' and 'muspa'. The first is worship through devotion, the second shows respect with flowers.

According to the Balinese the Universe is divided into three realms: the realm of the gods , the realm of the demons and ground spirits  and the realm of the people. Their universe is divided into three areas; the mountains are the home of the gods; the sea where the powerful forces of dissolutions dwell; and the intermediary region, where
people live. This three part lay out is repeated endlessly  in the villages, homes and shrines of Bali.  Bali is known as the Island of the Gods. This is because there are thousands of temples from the state temples Bali’s ( Sad Kahyangan) 6 major temples honored by all the Balinese (we will visit three)  to Village temples, every village has three the Puri Puseh or ancestor temple nearest the mountains, the Puri Desa the central village temple and the Puri Dalem or temple dedicated to Siwa, or the god of dissolution, usually nearest the cremation ground.

Then every home has temples and shrines.(We will hopefully visit my friend Anom’s traditional Balinese compound) Finally there are temples in the rice fields dedicated to Dewi Sri, goddess of Rice. Of course the Balinese honor nature, and power spots like Banyan trees, Caves, and rivers they bring offerings to.

Balinese religion is embedded in deep tradition of animism and  the veneration of ancestors. Their Hindu gods are abstractions associated with natural forces. Vishnu with rain and water, Brahma with Creativity Fire and volcanoes.  Shiva with flowers and wind. This is the Hindu Trinity Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva (Siwa) the renewer.
The Supreme Being  is referred to as Sang Hyang Widhi Wisa. He falls in line with religious beliefs that resolve around a single god of whom all other gods are manifestations.

Balinese Priest are the most respected members of Balinese society and help guide the actions of the people to ensure the harmony  of the Bali-Hindu universe. The three basic levels are the high priests or pendanda, pemangku  or temple priest and balian or healers.

The Pendandas, or high priest are of the Brahmana caste. They are not bounspecific temples and their primary task is the making of holy water for important temple festivals and directing the rituals of live and death. They use holy hand gestures called mudras  and mantras for making holy water.
The second type of Balinese priest is Pemangku or temple priest. They are associated with one temple and  concentrate and disperse holy water  and preside over temple ceremonies .
The third type of priest is the Balian, who thru trance are mediums for the gods and ancestors.  The Balian is consulted for the reason for an illness, or who is reincarnated in a new baby and act as healers.  


  1. Bali has the complete range of accommodation options, with everything from guest houses, budget family hotels, luxury villas, to high-end resorts.

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