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Wrath of the Deity  

by on Sunday, 13 July 20083 Comments | 2,350 views

Thousands of religious ceremonies that are held by Balinese each year for centuries give the island of Bali a unique characteristic; bring visitors to the island; drain the resources and savings of them who perform the ceremonies; give income to the suppliers of materials that are use in the ceremonies; make the Balinese to take a short leave from offices; and sometimes make them work harder to earn enough money for holding the ceremonies. In short, these ceremonies make most of the activities on the island keep on going.

pura-taman-ayun

Why Balinese hold thousands of ceremonies every year? There are many reasons that underlie the holding of religious ceremonies. One of them is fear of deities and God wrath. Most Balinese believe that if negligence in holding religious ceremonies incites the wrath of the deities and God. The wrath of the deities will result on punishment. The punishment does not take the form of a judgment in the afterworld, but in the form of illness, misfortune or death. This idea deities wrath (kaduken, or kasalahang) is still feared by most of Balinese.

As single brief example should make this point clear. Consider the following passage from sacred manuscript Dewa Tatwa (History of God) the passage begins with a list of offerings that should be made at any Ulun Swi (Head of the Rice fields) temple. After the list comes following warning:

“if these ceremonies are not performed at the Ulun Swi temple, and the Masceti temple, and to Rambut Sedana, the rice terraces will not be productive, nothing will be sufficient, there will be short measures, not enough to eat or drink because the essence will be taken back by the deities of Mount Agung and Batur, so the realm will be consumed by drought, there will be plague and epidemics, human will be distressed, by the god who reign s in the Ulun Swi temple.

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  • 3 Comments »

    • putu said:

      Very interesting article.
      Is fear the only reason we pray to god and deities? In that case, throughout all our time we live in fear to gods and deities.
      As a tour guide, I often explains to my “tamu” that we pray to thank God for our prosperity and piece. Or we pray to seek guidance from the gods or anchestors or maybe to beg for blessing. And we do this by holding a religous festival or presenting offering to gods in form of “canang sari” or aturan.
      But by the way, I want to share this with you. Sometimes my clients ask me,” What is that little basket with flowers and incense that we saw in the streets and every house for?”
      What would be the best way of answering this question? Thank you, Sidharta.

    • sidarta (author) said:

      if the question is, What is that little basket with flowers and incense that we saw in the streets and every house for?” the best and “save” answer of course “it is offering to gods”.

      but if the question is, why you present an offering? oh, this one is tricky to answer. you can choose the safe and easy piece like “we pray to thank God for our prosperity and piece. Or we pray to seek guidance from the gods or anchestors or maybe to beg for blessing. And we do this by holding a religous festival or presenting offering to gods in form of “canang sari” or aturan”. but we Balinese know that not all Balinese present some offering base on this reason. some Balinese see the activity of presenting an offering as an obligation, or even burden, sometimes they present the offering out of fear that something bad will happen if they do not present the offering, sometimes they present the offering out of “peer presenting” for example everybody make offering so we have to make offering to or they will consider us as thrifty or afraid of spending money for God, etc. as a matter of fact Balinese Hinduism is full of “peer preasure”.
      there are a lot of motives why Balinese present the offering, it is up to you whether you want to use “safe and easy” answer or hit for the complicated one.

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