Even Hindu funerals in Bali are powerfully suggestive ceremonies of fantastic cultural and religious meaning. Necessitating a complex equipment and indicated by a large subsequent, funerals are focused on Bali cremation ceremony of the dead body, identified as ‘ngaben’ or ‘pelebon’. This process is regarded as essential if the 5 elements building up the microcosm of the people body are to be returned to their original home, the universe’s macrocosm.
The five elements, Panca Maha Bhuta, are the earth (pertivvi), water (apah), fire (teja), air (bayu), and ether (akasa). Considering that the déterminant dimensions could only be achieved through water and fire, the ashes are distributed in the waters of the sea or if the distance is way too far, in a river or lake. The funeral ceremony is usually led by a priest and highlighted by a plentiful offering of gifts. For the occasion, a significant bullock-shaped wooden framework is built and then completely covered with white drapes if the departed belongs to a priestly caste; in black, if not.
There are ceremonies for each stage of Balinese life however often the last ceremony cremation is the largest. A Balinese cremation could be an remarkable, magnificent, colorful, noisy and fascinating occasion. In fact it often requires so long to arrange a cremation that years have passed since the death. Throughout that time the body is momentarily buried. Of course an auspicious day must be selected for the cremation and since a big cremation could be very costly business many less wealthy people may take the possibility of joining in at a larger cremation and sending their own dead on their way at the same time.
Brahman, nevertheless, should be cremated promptly. Separated from being yet another event for Balinese noise and confusion it’s a fine possibility to observe the amazing energy the Balinese put into generating real works of art which are completely ephemeral. A lot more than a body gets burned at the cremation. The body is brought from the burial ground (or from the deceased’s home if it’s and ‘immediate’ cremation) to the cremation ground in a high, multi-tiered tower called ‘Bade’ made of bamboo, paper, string, tinsel, silk, cloth, mirrors, flowers and anything else vibrant and colorful you could think of.
The tower is brought on the shoulders of a group of men, the size of the group based on the importance of the deceased and hence the size of the tower. The funeral of a former rajah of high priest may require hundreds of men to tote the tower. A long the way to the cremation ground certain precautions must be taken to ensure that the deceased’s spirit does not find its way back home. Loose spirits around the house can be a real nuisance.
To make sure this doesn’t happen requires getting the spirits confused as to their whereabouts, which you do by shaking the tower, running it around in circles, spinning it around, throwing water at it, commonly generating the trip to the cremation ground anything but a stately funeral crawl. At the same time, there’s likely to be a priest midway up to tower, dangling on grimly as it sways back and forth, and doing his best to soak bystanders with holy water.
A gamelan sprints along behind, supplying a superbly exciting musical complement. Camera-toting tourists get all but run down and once again the Balinese show that ceremonies and religion are there to be appreciated. At the cremation ground the body is moved to a funeral sarcophagus-this should be in the form of a bull for a Brahmana, a winged lion for a Satria and a sort of elephant-fish for a Sudra. These days, however, almost anybody from the higher castes will utilize a bull. Finally up it all goes in flames-funeral tower, sarcophagus, body, the lot. The eldest son does his responsibility by poking through the ashes to guarantees that there are bits of body left unburned.