BALI CULTURE INFORMATION

 

 
 
The Island Of Bali, Indonesia

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THE CALENDAR

These, his feminine manifestations (sakti) , are taken by the common people as his literal wives, but the learned interpret these wives, and his connubial relations with them, as the two eternal principles: male and female, spirit and matter, united for the constant production and reproduction of the universe, the exaltation of the union of the sexes for procreation.

The well-known Indian trinity, the supreme gods Brahma: Vishnu, and Siva, are in Bali expressions of the one force called, Siwa, but there is also a trinity in Bali: Brahma Siwa (Brahma) Sada Siwa (Wisnu) , and Pram Siwa (Iswara). In the mind of the common people even this trinity becomes, with typical Balinese miscomprehension, a deity in trinity becomes, called Sanghyang Trimurti or Sanggah Tiga Sakti, " the Shrine of the Three forces."

Thus Siwa "is fire (Brahma) who through smoke (vapour) becomes water (W'isnu) ," which in turn fertilizes the earth (Pertiwi) to produce rice (Sri) . Ideas such as this, juggled cleverly by the high priests, repeat themselves in endless sequence to form the intricate Brahmanic philosophy. All the gods that overcrowd the Balinese pantheon are thus manifestations of Siwa, but they are not always on the side of righteousness, because the good creative and reproductive forces can be polluted and turn into evil and acquire a destroying, angry form. Thus the reversed form of Siwa is Kala, Lord of Darkness, born out of Siwa to destroy the world, just as Siwa's wife Uma became Durga, goddess of death, completing the cycle from life to death. In the Balinese manuscript Usana Djawa we find the story of the birth of Batara Kala:

Siwa had created creatures with no ethics and without a code of morals, who went naked, lived in caves, and had no religion. They mated under the trees, left their children uncared for, and ate whatever they found, living like beasts. This made Siwa so angry that he decided to create a son to destroy the unworthy human beings and told his wife Uma of his intentions while mating with her. She withdrew indignant and in the struggle Siwa's sperm fell on the ground. He then called the gods together and told them, pointing to the sperm, that should it develop life the result would bring them into great difficulties.

The alarmed gods began to shoot arrows at it; the sperm grew a pair of shoulders when the first arrow struck it, hands and feet sprang out after the second, and as they continued to shoot arrows into it, the drop of sperm grew into a fearful giant who stood as high as a mountain, demanding food with which to calm his insatiable hunger. Siwa called him Kala and sent him down to earth, where every day he could eat his fill of people, and the human race rapidly dwindled away. Wisnu, alarmed, called upon Indra for help to save mankind, and it was decided to civilize them by sending several of the gods to teach them the law of life, agriculture, and the arts and to provide them with the necessary tools.

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