HIGH PRIESTS AND THE BRAHMANIC
the scriptures the priests obtained the all-powerful mantras,
formulas of magic words recited, or rather mumbled inwardly,
accompanied by special gestures to give added emphasis to
this abracadabra. Mantras consist of litanies of praise.
each phrase preceded by mysterious sounds, syllables that
are repeated in rhythmic sequence and that perhaps produce
the ccstasy by which the priests commune with the gods.
are ten of these magic syllables (adasa aksara) , the proper
use of which is kept a strict secret, because " they
can become extremely dangerous in
the hands of the ignorant." They form an integral part
of the nawa sangga, the ever present Rose of the Winds,
together with the gods, patrons of each direction, and the
colour of each point of the compass.
The synthesis of this is contained in the Word of Words
of the Yogis: Om, pronounced in Bali ong, consisting of
the sounds ah - u - m, or, as the Balinese say, ang, ung,
mang, and again sada siwa, prama siwa, and maha siwa, or,
further still, Brahma, Wisnu, Iswara, the eternal Trinity
manifested throughout the universe: heaven, earth, and underworld;
fire, water, and wind; male, female, and hermaphrodite.
ritual; for instance, two ongkaras facing or turned away
a living being, the ongkara has a crown (the upright dash)
, a forehead (the circle) , eyes (the half-moon) , beside,
a mouth, trunk, stomach, and legs - the various sections
c: the lower character.
The magic formulas are the essential part of the religious
service of the high priests, the often mentioned maweda,
throu which the pedandas make the " pure " holy
water (tirta) used in such profusion in the ritual that
the Balinese have come to, call their religion agama tirta,
the " science of the holy water. The making of this
holy water is the principal function and main source of
income of the pedandas, who sell it to the people. often
for exorbitant prices.
are various kinds of holy waters in varying degrees of power
depending on the standing of the priest who makes it. the
ritual undergone, the formulas used for its consecration,
and, of course, the price paid for it. Simple yeh ning,
clean water. can be procured from a holy spring such as
the one high up on the slopes of the Gunung Agung or near
the crater lakes, or can be made by a low-caste priest by
placing flowers of three colours in ordinary water and reciting
a mild prayer over it.
from a " yellow " coconut (nyoh gading) may be
used in an emergency, but all these are poor substitutes
for the real thing, the tirta made by a Brahmanic priest
through the complete performance of the maweda, the religious
service. Thus tirta pelukatan, the water that has the power
of curing almost any sort of spiritual impurity, is sanctified
by the embodiment of the gods in it, through the person
of the high priest, and is the water essential to important
ceremonies. Humans may procure a more expensive and considerably
more powerful tirta: the toya pangentas, in which only the
holiest formulas are employed and 1ich contains ingredients
such as rice dyed yellow, powdered sandalwood, inscriptions
(pripih) on thin plaques of gold, a ring set with a jewel,
and even powdered rubies.
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