BALI CULTURE INFORMATION

 

 
 
The Island Of Bali, Indonesia

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RITES AND FESTIVALS

RELIGIONS WERE BORN OF MAN'S DESIRE to understand and control the mysterious process of nature. Fear of the eerie, unseen forces that cause birth, reproduction, and death, awe before the power of fire, wind, and water, made him worship the elements of the teeming world in which he lived. Only by the existence of psychic forces and powerful spirits could he explain -lie perpetual motion of the sun and the moon, the roll of the sea, and the movements of the clouds, the wind that shakes the trees, lightning, thunder, and rain.

Health, fertility, and ,success he attributed to his magic harmony with these forces, while for earthquakes, volcanic disturbances, epidemics, and the loss of crops he blamed the anger of spirits whom he had failed -o propitiate

Eager to place his fate in the hands of superior beings who would take care of his needs and on whom he could place the responsibility for his failures, man created a pantheon of supernatural beings - protective gods and adverse evil spirits - whose goodwill he aimed to gain by rites, offerings, and sacrifices. Unconsciously, by elaboration and by the adoption of new elements into the pantheon, he ended by developing an elaborate system of ritual and magic acts.

Thus the primitive Balinese made of their island a magic world populated by gods, human beings, and demons, each occupying a level allotted by rank: the deified spirits of their ancestors dwelling in the summits of the volcanoes that form the island; ordinary human beings living in the middle world, the land that lies between the mountain tops an the sea, which is the home of devils and fanged giants, the enemies of mankind.

Placed between these two poles from which emanate opposing forces (the positive from the mountains and the negative from the underworld) , the entire life of the calm and sensitive Balinese - their daily routine, social organization, their ethic: manners, art; in short, the total culture of the island - is moulded, by a system of traditional rules subordinated to religious belief: By this system they regulate every act of their lives so that i shall be in harmony with the natural forces, which they divide eternally into pairs: male and female - the creative principle right and left; high and low - the principles of place, direction and rank; strong and weak, or healthy and sick, clean and unclean; sacred and powerful or unholy and dangerous; in general: Good and Evil, Life and Death.

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