4 Golden Rules of Balinese Lifestyle

Category : Adventure | Posted On Jun 28, 2020

A recent podcast shared the concept of "rules for life" of Balinese Hindu which focuses on Purusa Arta, the four objects of human pursuit. Read as we take you through the set goals of life and how to achieve them.

For us outsiders, Balinese beliefs always offer us an interesting perspective on how to live or approach your own life. Purusa Artha literally means the object of human pursuit in Sanskrit for all Hindus and not just Balinese Hindus.

There are four Purusa Artha in the belief but in Balinese concept there are layers to go through to achieve it. t is these layers that make this subject so incredibly complex. This is the first layer. The second layer would be the Panca Yadnya, five sacrifices or offerings — I would liken these to commandements. Within these five sacrifices are the rites and actions we must do to achieve the layers above. I would liken this to prayers and baptisms, for example.

The goal of every life and just not human is to achieve moksa the ultimate enlightment of the soul, it is when the soul becomes one with the universe, bhawana alit, bhawana agung is the macrocosm. Moksa or Purusa Artha is last of the life goals.

The other three, are dharma, Artha and kama. Words you may have heard before.

Dharma is the balance referral and it is the center of Hindus philosophy. It is what governs the harmony and the kharma or actions must be taken to complete the balance. Each person has their own duty to keep order in the universe. 

Artha is translated as prosperity. Which can also be confused with materialism but should be viewed as means to an end. Artha is an enabler for us live fullest while doing what is required spiritually. 

Then we have "Kama" which is easily recognized by the most from the word "Kama Sutra". It shows that how important the nature of desire is and enjoying the offerings of life. However with time it has been bastardised to something purely erotic however it goes beyond this and can also be seen as desire love passion all other things that gives life the meaning.

Individually Artha and Kama may seem sinful and filled with vice however important is to do them both with consideration of dharma. Evaluating the limits of right and wrong. You are free to enjoy the luxuries of life acquire wealth for a better life but not with the element of greed without exploiting others. Yes you can desire someone, but if they don’t desire you or if you are committed to another, make sure your actions or kharma are in line with what is right. All actions must create balance in the universe

This covers up the first layer, the four goals of life. Breaking this down Bali have this second layer the Panca Yadnya. The commandments that tell you what you need to do.

The five sacrifices or offerings are as follows:

First is sacrifices to the Gods known as Dewa Yadnya. In this you make a promise to offers your services and pray that includes committing to the daily offerings, joining full moon, auspicious day ceremonies, participating in religious teachings and joining the full moon and temple.

Pitra Yadnya is your sacrifices made to the ancestors and spirits. It is to pay respect to those who came before you as they gave you life but also to elders and parents. It covers all the aspects from paying respect, their words, caring for them and importantly promising to carry out their cremation ceremony so that they may enter their next phase in life successfully. It is a cycle, our parents care for us, and in return, we promise to send their soul, or atma, to the afterlife — and we hope too that our children will do the same for us.

Rsi Yadnya is the third which tells to respect the holy work and the holy people. It asks you of simple things from helping the priests, building the temples or shrines and contributing actively to welfare of the religious structures.

Manusa Yadnya is the fourth which is human offerings or sacrifices. This refers to Balinese Hindu's promises to complete the rite of passage that every human in the world must go through. They are 13 in total and it starts right from the baby in the womb, to the marriage and sometimes beyond. 

Finally is the Bhuta Yadnya, sacrifices for the negative forces, the Bhuta and kala. Why? Well as we discussed in a previous episode, Bali is all about balance and the negative forces must be given respect and offerings in order to placate them and allow harmony in the world — this also allows for humans to carry out their way of life in peace. This is done at all scales, from the daily mecaru offerings, to the cenential Eka dasa rudra ceremony for a giant universal cleansing held at Besakih Temple.

That is the second layer, the third layer is the breaking down of each of the Panca Yadnya and committing to the actions required within them. All of these interlock together, guiding us in actions that help to create balance in the universe.


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