Bali, Indonesia is a land of people who adhere to deep family religious traditions that weave throughout all aspects of their lives on a daily basis. At the entrance of every home, business and each villa at the Kayumanis private villa resort and spa where I was staying (whether there were guests or not), you will find a small woven tray made from banana or some other leaf containing a small portion of their food and flowers. The offerings are called canang sar and are performed as rituals to thank Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa in prayerful praise and thanksgiving. They believe in karma in the sense that by giving up something of their time, talents and possessions and even their vices, they will receive good back from their Gods.
They believe in a trinity but worship many gods and goddesses such as Saraswati who is the goddess of knowledge, arts and music. The traditionally worn dress and basket offerings on top of women’s heads was in honor of this special event celebrated every six months and happened to occur during the time I was there when it culminated with a huge parade beginning from one temple located at one end of Ubud, and running through the village, where I stayed, to another temple on the opposite side.
“Offerings are an essential part of worship. During puja a devotee presents gifts that, according to tradition, the particular god or goddess likes: often flowers, special foods, grains, coconuts, or oils. If the offering is made in a temple, a portion of it is kept for use by the temple, and the rest is returned, now blessed by the deity. Offerings made in the household shrine are later divided among family members. Reciprocity, the process of giving and receiving, is an essential aspect of Hinduism. Hindus are taught that by giving, they receive, and that when they receive, they should respond with gifts. When a Hindu prays for a specific favor from a deity, he or she may vow to present a special gift to the god or goddess or to perform an arduous duty if the wish is granted. Much of the apparent wealth of a temple and many of the good deeds carried out in a community are the direct results of honoring those religious commitments.” Puja Why are offerings given to the Dieties Smithsonian
Temples are the adorning trademark of Hinduism. If you can see past the walled lining and into the resident’s courtyard, chances are you will not see their home but rather, you will see the top of beautiful stone carving temple spires reaching heavenward. From the outside it is very difficult to decipher one’s wealth. I asked someone how you can tell the rich from the poor. He told me you can only tell once you’re on the inside of the home by the wood or stone carvings that ornate the walls…how unostentatious.
The good works of the Balinese people was demonstrated to me daily as each bowed in reverence with hands clapped together in namaste greeting me with “good morning Ibu”. Their sweet and kind service to me was so humbling. I truly wanted to package each one up and bring them home with me in my suitcase…didn’t think my suitcase was large enough or that my husband would approve, so I didn’t (this time) :). However, I am a changed being because I know these beautiful people whose mile-wide white smiles and loving brown sparkling almond-shaped eyes greeted my green eyes with purity and integrity, honor and truth. They are content with what they have and are unassuming in their purpose to serve and work. They are a loving and content people who are unpretentious by nature. I was very fortunate that the quaint and quiet resort where I stayed was located on the outskirts of Ubud city and right inside the village where it hires the local artisans and agriculturalists.
I loved everything about my vacation and pray that through my good Karma, sacrifice and service to others, I will be BACK!!!
(sorry about the blurry pics of these home temples….I was obviously driving by when I miraculously caught them just at the right times and at least it gives the viewer a glimpse of what my blog is about)