The Island Of Bali, Indonesia




These temples are frequented by the ancestral gods, who are supposed to occupy temporarily the little empty shrines dedicated to them, when visiting their descendants. The Balinese live with their forefathers in a great family of the dead and the living, and it would be absurd for them to try to make converts of another nationality, since the ancestors of the converts would still remain of another race apart.

Rather than a sectarian Church system, separate from the daily life and in the hands of a hierarchy of priests to control and exploit the people, the religion of Bali is a set of rules of behaviour, a mode of life. The resourceful Balinese fitted their religious system into their social life and made it the law (adat) by which the supernatural forces are brought under control by the harmonious co-operation of everyone in the community to strengthen the magic health of the village. Like a human being, the community possesses a life power that wears away and must be fed by the regular performances of magic acts of the " right," the side of righteousness.

The life power is seriously impaired by the magic evil, that of the " left," or by the polluting effects of sickness and death. Bestiality, incest, suicide, and temple vandalism are among the acts of individuals that would make the entire village sebel, or magically weak. The spiritual health is also undermined by the gradual predominance of evil forces, the demons and witches that haunt the village.

Some of these are easily disposed of, but the main concern of the Balinese centres in the propitiation of the protecting ancestors who descend to this earth on special holidays and at the anniversaries of the innumerable temples, when they receive offerings and entertainment from the people. By these ceremonies and temple festivals the populace hopes to entice the spirits to remain among them; the beauty of the offerings, the pleasant music, the elaborate theatrical performances, aim to keep them from growing bored and leaving.

Motivated by this background of religious beliefs, the Balinese found it necessary to establish a system of communal cooperation to provide for the magnificent festivals that are such an important part of their life. The spirit of co-operation soon extended to their personal and economic life and developed into a primitive agrarian commune in which every village was a socially and politically independent little republic, with every citizen enjoying equal rights and obligations.

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Seminyak Bali Private Villa