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Rerajahan: Sacred Drawing  

by on Thursday, 7 June 2007No Comment | 43,584 views

Religious symbols, icons, or signs can be found in surprisingly numerous numbers in Bali. Surprisingly? Since they are perfectly interwoven in everyday Balinese life, one hardly realizes their existence. Some religious symbol can easily be recognized, for example Rerajahan. Rerajahan is the most obvious and easily recognized Balinese religious symbol.

Rerajahan is a drawing of sacred characters or images on a piece of cloth, metal plate, pottery, leaf, fruit, wood, weapon, basket or skin. The drawing of the rerajahan can be categorized into 11 groups:

1. Drawing of holy characters (vijāksara) or short incantation.
2. Drawing of sun, star or moon combines with holy characters
3. Drawing of flower, especially lotus flower with holy characters on its petals
4. Drawing of animals such as tiger, crocodile, lion, snake or dragon
5. Drawing of human or part of human body
6. Drawing of distorted human body such as human with animal head, animal with human head, or human without head
7. Drawing of gods and goddesses, with their weapons and vehicles.
8. Drawing of distorted gods or goddesses or in their angry personifications
9. Drawing of gods’ weapons combines with holy characters
10. Drawing of demons, spirit or strange creatures; sometimes equipped with their weapons.
11. Drawing of sacred buildings

Rerajahan serves various purposes range from inviting the gods to descend to mortal world to harming or killing the enemy. Basically, the functions of rerajahan can be categorized as follow
1. to get protection and magical power from the god that is drawn in the rerajahan for example the power to prevent rain
2. to purify the body and soul
3. to enhance the spiritual power of someone or something
4. to get a unique talent or power, for example ability to run fast or can not be seen
5. to get sympathy or admiration from other
6. to drive away pestilence, or bad luck
7. to protect the house compound, rice field, village or children
8. to prevent or negate physical or magical attack from the enemy
9. to harm or kill the enemy

In order to fulfill these various functions the rerajahan have to be invested with a power. A powerful rerajahan is made on an auspicious day with specific offerings and of course a qualified rerajahan maker. After the drawing process is finished the rerajahan is invested with magical power by its maker by using Pasupati mantra (pasupati incantation).

How to use a rerajahan? Rerajahan is used in many ways, rerajahan that is used for protecting house compound or rice field are usually buried in the ground in the middle of house compound or rice field, and some protective rerajahan are also hung or attached on the gate or part of the house. Some rerajahan are inserted in a belt, draw on a t-shirt, or swallowed. Swallowing rerajahan is considered the most dangerous method since Balinese believe that rerajahan is alive and sometimes can control or harm the user when he or she is not in a good condition.

For Balinese, using with rerajahan is a dangerous thing to do since it involves strong magical power and also invested with unknown risks. Besides using rerajahan is just a way to achieve something, and of course, there are many other better to achieve it with much less risks.

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