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Animal Sacrifices  

by on Wednesday, 9 May 2007One Comment | 17,347 views

Animal sacrifices or using animals in religious ceremonies is obligatory in Bali. Most of Balinese ceremonies require one or more animal to be scarified. Killing animal in this way is not considered a cruelty. When animal is killed in sacrifice, it acquires karma, enough perhaps, to allow it to be reincarnated at higher level. The body is not important to the Hindu faithful. It is shell. Animal that is killed for a sacrifice is always treated with a great reverence. Offering are made to it. Mantras are recited, asking for improved status in the next life. An animal cannot be sacrificed without these prayers and offerings.

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Animals that are sacrificed are various range from chicken, duck, goose, pig, dog, turtle, goat, water buffaloes, eagles even tiger. The animal sacrifices mostly occur in Bhuta Yadnya (rites for demon) ceremonies since demons love to see and taste blood and flesh. This bhuta yadnya is usually conducted to appease the demon and to restore the balance of positive and negative force.

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The smallest animal sacrifice is using a small chick at the conclusion of a ceremony. This ritual known as penyamblehan, from the word sambleh, “meaning to kill an animal as a part of rite against demons”, in which a pemangku (temple priest) takes a small chick and twists its head off, throwing the head and body on the ground so that the blood will flow. Sometimes for a larger ceremony, a small male pig known as celeng butuhan, is used for the same purpose, in which case its throat is cut. In a very largest ceremony a water buffalo, kebo, may be used.

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The most frequent animal sacrifice in Bali can be found in caru ceremony. Caru is the name for all class of animal sacrifice that is made to the demon, bhuta kala or, more philosophically, to the negative force of the universe. The smallest form of caru that requires animals sacrifice is the eka sata, which requires one brumbun chicken (chicken that the colors its feathers are the mixture of four colors – white, yellow, red and black). Next scale is panca sata, which requires five chickens of different colors – white, red, yellow, black and brumbun. Next is the panca kelud, which includes the five chicken plus a dog of the color the Balinese call blang bungkem. This dog has a black snout and red or brown body. Larger still is the rsi gana, requiring the same animal as panca kelud plus one white duck.

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The next in scale is wraspati kalpa which involves same animal as rsi gana plus one goose. The most elaborate caru of all is called taur or tawur. In addition to above animals this taur requires a water buffalo, a goat, a cow, a black pig and a goose with black and white coloring. The biggest animal sacrifice known by Balinese is the animal sacrifice in Eka Dasa Rudra ceremony (a great exorcism once every a hundred years). The scale of taur at this ceremony was staggering. An effort was made to get an example of every sort of animal native to Bali, and that including everything from insect up to tiger, from turtle up to eagle. The count eventually reached about 60 varieties of animals.

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Another form of animal sacrifice is makelem or drowning live animal to honor the deities of sea, lake or throwing it into a volcano to appease the mountain deities. For a small-scale ceremony drowning a duck and a chicken is enough but for a massive one a goat or water buffalo is required.

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Last but not least is the titi mahmah or buffalo bridge offering. This offering consists of hide head and hooves of the buffalo lie on the ground, covered with many palm leave offerings, with a sugar palm figure on each side of buffalo head. This titi mahmah is a symbol of a bridge between the world of man and the world of God.

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