BALI CULTURE INFORMATION

 

 
 
The Island Of Bali, Indonesia

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RITES AND FESTIVALS

SOCIETY AND RELIGION

That the tjandi bentar represented the two halves of a unit was obvious; in most of them each side was elaborately carved, often with the design also cut in two, as in a temple. near Mengwi where half of a monstrous face adorned each side of the gate. Furthermore, the two inner sides were invariably left smooth, clean surfaces that shone by contrast with the elaborately carved rest of the temple. This we decided was an inviolable law until we found one tjandi bentar in Pura Bangkung, in Sukasada, North Bali, with its inner sides carved. This exception, however, is not important, given the anarchy that prevails in North Balinese temples, and since there is no rule in Bali without its exception.

All sorts of theories have been advanced as to the significance of these two gates, the most characteristic structures in the temples. It has been said that the tjandi bentar represents the two halves of the mountain Mahameru, which was split by Pasupati (Siva) in order to place each half in Bali, one as the Gunung Agung and the other as the Batur.

A scholarly Balinese told me that it represents the two halves of a complete thing, the male at the right, the female at the left; or it is perhaps symbolical of the splitting of the material world to permit the entrance into the mystery with the physical body. Dr. Goris suggests as the origin of these gates the remainders of the old tjandis, the burial towers of the former kings, a logical explanation because of the cult of deified kings linked to the ancestorworship and, further, because of the identical shape of the Balinese temple gates and the old tjandis, a shape of temple gates which dates back to the most ancient of Javanese temples.

The tjandi form appears throughout Balinese ritual as the symbol for the universe: a pyramid of receding platforms - the foundation of the earth and the mountains - the intermediate space between heaven and earth, and the stratified heavens, represented by the pagoda-like roofs (tumpang), or by gradually decreasing stone mouldings.

The first courtyard is only an antechamber for the preparation ,f feasts and for other social purposes. It is in the inner court -hat are erected the altars and shrines that serve as rest-houses for the gods during their visits to this earth. The principle of orientation - the relation of the mountains to the sea, high and low, right and left - that constitutes the ever present Balinese Rose of the Winds (nawa sanggah) , rules the orientation and distribution of the temple units. The principal altars and shrines :re arranged in two rows on the honoured sides of the court: kadja, upward to the mountain, and kangin, to the right of this direction.

First in importance is the gedong pesimpangan (K), built in the middle of the kangin side, a masonry building closed by wooden doors dedicated to the local deity, the ancestor-founder f the community, often named after the village, as, for in-Lance, in desa Dedap he is called Ratu Dalam Dedapan. Inside ',ere is often a stone phallus (lingga) and, since the building can be locked, there the relics and heirlooms of the temple are

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