the old culture from balinese and all i know will show in this blog

Monday, 23 June 2008

The People, the Village, and Orientation Of Bali

The People, the Village, and Orientation Of Bali

Bali is a densely populated island. Most of the population live in closely packed villages of 2.000 to 4.000 people on the fertile southern slopes of the island, along the ridges that carry the irrigation ditches. On these slopes it is usually only a fifteen minutes’ walk from one village to the next through the open rice-fields. On the northern coastal strip, the villages are spread along the Java sea. Traditionally the social organization of the island was based on the village, with each village being completed self-sufficient, providing all needs and functions from birth through cremation. Presently, as in all industrializing countries, the cities and tourist centers are absorbing, to some extent, the flow of goods and services. The social organization of the village is one of the most unique aspects of this enchanting island. The village is very much of communal unit, almost and extanded family. The layout of Balinese village and the life of is members is closely tied to religion and the religious life of the people. The center of village is usually an ancient and gnarled banyan tree, regarded as sacred and believed to be the first tree on earth. High in its creepered branches or in a special tower nearly is the village “kul kul,” a wooden gong that acts as a warning of danger, tells of a death in the village, of calls the men to gather for a meeting of the “banjar”. Its importance persists, even in the modern Indonesia stete. A village may have several banjars, with each banjar having some separate allegiances to certain temples, palaces, and holidays. Even the bustling metropolis of Denpasar is rigidly divided into its constituent banjars. All decisions concerning the walfare and future of its people are made by the 100 percent agreement of all married men in the banjar. The Balinese are aware that this means that new ideas take a long time to find their realization, but at least thing move along peacefully and in union. Each family has some communal duties to perform for the banjar. Almost every Balinese village has here major temples. The “pura desa,” (literally, the “temples of the village”) stands near the center of the village. Its functions are concerned with everyday village matters and ritually prescribed village gatherings. At the northern end of the village, towards the sacred mountain, Gunng Agung, is the “pura puseh.” This is a “origin” or “navel” temple, the temple dedicated to the spirits of the land and of ancient ancestors. In Bali towards the north, towards the mountain, is heavenly, good, “uranic,” towards the south, towards the sea, is earthly, evil, “chtonic.” As most villages are built on a slope, the southern end, or “kelod,” is the lowest part of the village as well. Here in the south are located the “pura dalem”, (the “temple of the dead”, and the burial ground with its mournful “ kepuh” tree. This temple is for the souls of the recently deceased and the major temples symbolize birth (pura puseh), and death (pura dalem). In the center of every banjar also the Bale Banjar, or banjar pavilion. Meeting are held here, village feast are prepared, and people gather here at night to play cards or just talk until the down. The communal work is administered from the Bale Banjar. This work consist of repairing roads, bridges, and irrigation canals, the upkeep of the temples and preparation for cockfights and celebrations. Many villagers spend more time in Banjar pavilion than they do at home. The Balinese do everything in pairs groups. The Bamboo platforms in the Bale Banjar become long best at night, where villagers often sleep, sardine-like, safe in the company of their fellow man. The banjar is the core of village life. It runs its own affairs as a communal organizations, such as the local dance group or rice-field association. In contrast to the egalitarian nature of the village political and economical organization , is the caste system, a mainly social convention based on the Indian ideal. Nearly every village has a “Geria” the recidence of a”brahmana,” and a”puri,” the residence or palace of a “ksatria.” Before the Banjar all are equal. Outside the banjar the “tri-wangsa” (the three higher castes) are held in great respect and are spoken to in a different, more refined language, than that used in every day speech on the roads or in the market. Over eighty per cent of the Balinese are “sudras” or casteless. The three higher castes are the descendants of the Javanese conquerors of Bali in the 14th century, or exile from the spread of Islam in Java in the 15th and 16th centuries. Traditionally the Brahmanas ( with the title Ida Bagus ) were the priestly and scholarly caste, the Ksatrias ( Anak Agung; Cokorda), the political and princely caste, the Waisya (Gusti), the administrative and warrior caste. Ideally the members of these caste should only marry within their own caste, but this conventions is no longer strictly adhered to. A Balinese, then, live under two bonds. The first is determined by his descend and caste. The second is determined democratically by his village and banjar organization. Before Indonesia gained independence there was a third bond owed to a liege lord or prince, similar to feudal Europe. Language is a complex matter in Bali, Basically there are two different Balinese languages. T common or low language of the sudras is of Austronesian (Polynesian) derivation. The high language of the tri-wangsa is a Javanese court language which owes much of its derivation to Sanskrit. A Sudra should use the high language when speaking to a member of a higher castes, and he should be replied to in low language. To cover the embarrassmem that sometime emerges, a polite, “middle” language is used. Now a fourth language, the state language Bahasa Indonesia is taught in the school as a unifier for the modern Indonesian Republic. Within the philosophy of Balinese religion are the consepts of “buwana alit” and “buwana agung,” the microcosm and the macrocosm. The individual is the microcosm of the society at large; the one can not exist without the other and they are, because of this, the same. Over the centuries, the Balinese have had and strong sense of culture and an orderly and human society. They had assimilated two period of influence from java. Now they face the influence of mass tourism and technology. Hopefully, the village structure.

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