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Home » Religion

Balinese Hinduism: A Living Organism  

by on Friday, 27 April 2007No Comment | 2,976 views

Balinese Hinduism is very much a living organism. It is alive. And the visible sign of it is its never-ending adaptation with the Desa (place), Kala (time), Patra (circumstance), the results of this adaptation is numerous variations of Balinese Hinduism, especially in the field of ritual and ceremony. Each village (desa) has its own version of a ritual and may have a wide difference with the neighboring villages.

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This time, however, I will not point out the adaptation of Balinese Hinduism in the concept of place but rather in a framework of time and circumstance, and one of numerous example of this adaptation is the Tumpek Landep that will be celebrated on Saturday, 4/28/2007.

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The Tumpek Landep, is a holyday dedicated to the Sanghyang Pasupati, the God of steel implements especially the weapon that has been “pasupati-ed”, or invested with magical power. On this day Balinese show their gratitude to the Sanghyang Pasupati and all the steel implements that make Balinese life easier and safer.

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At first, on this holy day only the weapons that have magical power, especially sacred Kris and spear given a veneration and special offering, early in the morning these weapons are washed with water of yellow coconut (nyuh gading) and dried with a clean new piece of cloth. Then they are wrapped with wastra (a clean holy cloth) and a sasap (a symbolic accessory made of young coconut leaf) are tied on each weapon. After that they are placed in a special place, given a special offering, and sprinkled with holy water and yellow coconut water.

With the passing of time, new implements made of steel and useful to the Balinese life appears, and weapons are now not the only thing that is useful to the Balinese. And nowadays, all steel-made and plastic-made implements are given veneration and offerings. Among the newly venerated implements are car, motorcycle, pushbike, personal computer, television, laptop, scissors, knife, etc. Even hand phone now begins to creep into the list.

The reasoning behind this mass addition is that all these newly venerated implements have helped the Balinese in their daily life, in their works. They are now the weapons that are used in daily struggle of life; make the struggle easier and sometimes they become the tools of living. Taxi drivers will decorate and give an elaborate offering to their car, students will give special veneration to their personal computer, and so on. They deserve an offering as a sign of gratitude, for Balinese anything that have helped them deserve some appreciations.

Although the numbers of the implements that have to be given veneration and offering have been increased rapidly, the magically powerful weapons are still deeply venerated by the Balinese. Bigger and more elaborate offering are given to these sacred weapons much bigger than the offering for the newly venerated implements.

The change in the celebration Tumpek Landep holiday shows that Balinese Hinduism is aware and adapts with the time and circumstance.

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