No ceremony, ritual, or offering is believed to be accepted by God without proper incantation (mantra) is chanted by a qualified priest or high priest to summon God from heaven and beg Him to accept the essence of the offerings and witness the ceremony or ritual. Balinese considered the mantra that is chanted by the priest as “finisher” (pemuput) of the ceremony, without it all offerings just a heap sewn coconut leaf, foods, fire and water.
The word ‘mantra’ means ‘form of thought,’ mantra is considered to be the original form of a thing, an immortal form, a formula that cannot be destroyed, and the source of all immortal form. Mantra is believed to be the first language of human, and as the first and the right language mantra serves as sacred expression that is used in a ceremony. Mantra is a holy vehicle which connects the devotees with God. Mantra contains the holy name of God and since His power is believed to be united with His holy name, mantra can be used to summon God or at least personification of His power to descent to the world of human.
Mantra consists of combination of sacred characters, arranged in one way or another to create a certain sound. In order to give the wanted effect, mantra must be sounded in a right way, according to its rhythm (svara) and sound (varna). Mantra has its own vibration and sound, if it is translated into another language, mantra lost its rhythm and turn into an ordinary sentence. Successfulness of a mantra also greatly depends on the holiness of the one who utters the mantra.
Though mantra that is used in Bali is countless in number, but it can be categorized into four groups based on the effect of the mantra:
1. Siddha (mantra that bestows a success)
2. Sadhya (mantra that full of help)
3. Susiddha (mantra that finishes the work)
4. Ari (conquer the enemy)
Mantra is used for various purposes such as attain salvation, worship the manifestation of the God, worship the ancestor spirit, communicate with gods, communicate with ghost or other spirits, summon power or ability from a super human (purusottama), summon God to accept the essence of offering and witness the ceremony, neutralize negative force, exorcise the evil spirits, cure a disease, create holy water, destroy plants, animal, and humans, control plants, animals, humans, spirits and gods, negate the effect of poison, and purify the body.