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Traveller's Tales

 

MELASTI


A unique ritual called Melasti is performed during a few days prior to the Saka New Year in the Balinese Hindu calendar and Hari Raya Nyepi, or the Day of Silence, which falls on Thursday March 26, 2009. That is the day where the real world is on total halt and no activities except of those ritual related activities. During Nyepi, no light of any form can be lit up, be it of electricity or any kind of fire, for cooking purposes. Balinese Hindu believers take it very serious indeed, even airport have to be closed down for the entire 24 hours. Tourists can only wander around the hotel’s compound and only a shade lamp can be lit up. While it may sound unimaginable, however, most tourists expressed that it is indeed a challenging tasks, on the other hand, it is also a moment to remember in one’s life time.
 
 
 
 
Melasti is a rituals of both devotions and purifications journey, where thousands of Balinese Hindu believers flocked to the nearby shore in order to perform this unique rituals. However, the biggest of all is the Melasti rituals performed in Pura Besakih, The Mother of All Temples for Balinese Hindu believers located under the shadow of equally the most sacred mountain, The Majestic Mt. Agung.
 
 
After performing all sorts of rituals, thousands of people marching along the hilly road of around 70 kilometers, carrying the sacred effigies, symbols, attributes and other deities (known as pusaka) belonging to the Pura/Temple to the southern shore of Watu Klotok. While those “pusaka” are carried in estafet between many Banjar or villages along the route. However, many of those believers simply walk the hilly road of 70 kilometers, testing their both physical endurance and spiritual devotions, in order to receive purification from The Lord of the Ocean. 
 
 
The Marching of those believers, wear Balinese traditional dresses, mostly in white, humming the sacred mantra or spiritual songs or in meditations enrich by the sounds of Balinese gamelan instruments, which add to the already mystical atmospheres. The Pecalang or local security guards make sure that every aspect of the ritual processions are conducted in the most orderly manner. The Priests are in constant communications with the spiritual world, accompanying the chosen guard, mostly the chosen women as the medium, who are in the state of trance and dancing throughout the journey.
 
 
 
From the Besakih Temple, the procession make one stop before reaching the Watu Klotok beach and another one stop before going back to Besakih Temple. Along the route, thousands of people gather in sacred places or every crossings in order to pay homage to the caravan of the wholly spirits.
 
 
 
These unique spiritual journey is not as simple as it may look. Problems do occur, if the spirits of the Goddess on the march are not happy with something. If the spirits of the Goddess decided to change the course of the route, the chosen women in trance would signal to the priests and the necessary detour will have to be made accordingly. At one time, the spirits of the Goddess were rather unhappy and refused to continue their journey and as results, all hells broke lose….. Apparently the priest discovered that the Goddess were unhappy when the processions have to pass the decoration which were not done properly, using plastics instead of with the traditional materials……
 
 
This year, the Melasti celebrations is supposed to be a special ones, following the ritual of Panca Bali Krama, a sacrificial and purification rituals for the whole island of Bali, and this year, performed in every 10 years, following the ritual of Panca Bali Krama, a sacrificial and purification rituals for the whole island of Bali. The rare rituals will be conducted in The Mother of All Temples of Besakih, on 25th March right after the Melasti caravan is back to the Besakih Temple, finishing it unique journey of 70 kilometers and back …..
Well, one could not possibly understand how these spiritual world works, with other senses, except simply by becoming a true believer….
 
Hope you like it and see you in the next article …..


 
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