HIGH PRIESTS AND THE BRAHMANIC
priest has first to purify himself thoroughly by reciting
mantras for each action of his morning toilet. He washes
his hair, rinses his mouth, polishes his teeth, and rinses
his mouth again; washes his face, bathes, rubs his hair
with oil, combs it, and then dresses. For each move he has
to recite a short mantra, one for each garment he wears.
Meantime on a high platform his wife has arranged his paraphernalia
(upakara) : trays with flowers (night-blooming flowers if
the ceremony is to take place at night) , gold or silver
vessels containing grains of rice and sandalwood powder,
his holy-water container (siwamba) with a silver sprinkler
(sesirat) and a longhandled ladle, (tjanting) , his prayer
bell (gantha) , an incensebuner (pasepan) , and a bronze
oil lamp ( pedamaran) .
away in baskets at one side of where the priest will sit
are the atributes of Siwa he will wear during the ceremony:
the bawa, a bell-shaped mitre of red felt with applications
of beaten gold and topped by a crystal ball, the "
shimmer of the sun " (suyra kanta ) , and a number
of strings of genitri seeds (ear-rings, bracelets, neck
and breast beads) ornamented with pieces of gold set with
linggas of crystal, phallic symbcls.
Once seated cross-legged among the upakara, the priest proto
purify his person; he lays a prayer cloth over his lap and
with his hands on his knees he mumbles a formula and asks
Batara Siwa to descend into the water-vessel and into his
. He stretches his hands over the incense smoke, uncovers
the tray in front of him, and mumbles the mantra asta mantra,
the hand-cleansing formula, rubs the palms of his hands
with a flower and sandalwood powder, " wiping out impurity,"
and recites formula for each finger as it is passed over
the palm of hand, taking flowers which he holds over the
incense smoke and then flinging them away saying: "
Be happy, be perfect, be glad in your heart."
induce trance, the priest uses pranayama, breath control.
closing each nostril alternately with a finger, breathing
deeply. and holding his breath as long as possible, then
exhaling through the other nostril. With a blade of grass
he inscribes the sacred ong in the holy water, prays again
with a flower which he drops into the water-container, then
takes his bell in the left hand and strikes the clapper
three times with another flower held in his right hand.
Now his breath, his voice, and his spirit (idep) are in
unison with the deity.
The priest proceeds, mumbling his guttural prayers, ringing
the bell alternately with swift, intricate gestures of the
hands and fingers, taking flowers at intervals, dropping
them into the holy water or holding them over the lamp and
the incense, and flinging them away. He rings the bell louder
and quicker and stops suddenly.
During these preliminaries he gives signs of the oncoming
trance; he gasps, his eyes roll back, and his movements
take on a tense, unearthly air. Now the deity is within
him and he sprinkles holy water and flings flowers, not
away, but towards himself. He touches his forehead, throat,
and shoulders with sandalwood powder and puts on the attributes
of Siwa: he ties a long blade of alang alang grass around
his head; wears the beads over his ears, across his breast,
and on his wrists, and places his red and gold mitre on
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