Essence of Balinese Tantra and Yoga #1

The very heart of Balinese Tantra, Yoga, and all its religious teachings can be summed up in one word, transformation. Either Balinese meditative techniques or ritual is all based on it their transformative purposes. Transforming bad energy into good one; demonic to the divine; human to god, sickness into health, mortal to immortals, earth to heaven, etc.

Transformative Rituals

One of the biggest temple festivals held in Bali is called Eka Dasa Rudra, a ritual that is only held in Besakih Temple, once in 100 years. The purpose of the ritual–like any other ritual in the Caru-category– is to transform “demonic energy” into “divine energy”. Transforming Bhutakala into Dewata. Or to put it in another way, to bring back things into their natural divine state.

There is also another Caru ritual held in every house, in the village’s temple, or conducted when it’s necessary. For example, when a place is believed to bring bad luck, haunted, etc, a Caru ritual will be held there. Even when someone starts a new building, then a Caru will be held before any work.

A Caru ritual always involves blood, meat, alcoholic liquor, and fish, which are four elements of Pancamākara. The maithuna (sexual intercourse) is used in symbolic form only.

Transformative Meditation

While a Caru ritual is used to transform energy in the macro-cosmos (a home, a field, or the whole island), the meditation process is used to transform inner energy (micro-cosmos). Transforming inner demons into divine light. And this is the very heart of one of the most well-known Balinese teachings called Kanda Mpat.

Kanda Mpat means “four siblings”. According to Balinese mystical teachings, we are born with four supernatural siblings. They have accompanied and protected us from the womb, and after birth.

But then we forgot our brothers, and so they left. When they left, we can’t recognize them anymore. And because we can’t recognize them, they become enemies, became demonic. When they are forgotten and treated as an enemy, then they cause problems, bad luck, illness, and all bad things.

It is our duty then to bring back home the forgotten brothers. And the home is the body itself. When they are home, united as a family, the transformation process takes place in the consciousness.

The meditation practices of Kanda Mpat are accomplished through nyāsa (the practices of placing sacred objects, both real and imaginary, into body parts). After the four enemies become four brothers, they will provide guidance and protection. Even to the afterlife.

Other than the so-called Kanda Mpat, maybe every other meditation practice (in Bali) is transformative in its nature.

Mpu Kaṇwa (A 10th Century sage-poet) sums up meditation process in one line: hamutěr tutur [to transform the consciousness]. When consciousness transformed, the state of Yoga penetrated, and that is the way to make Śiva realized [ring angamběki yoga kiteng sakala].

The last thing to note is; when Kanda Mpat is in a demonic state, those demons stayed in four cardinal directions (East, South, West, Nort), as well as in the body. In the center is us, which is The King of Demon. And when Kanda Mpat is in divine state, we are the King of God, Śiva.

From this teaching came one Balinese saying, “bhuta ya, dewa ya” (humans are the demon, humans are the god).

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