Craft&Culture


    The Springs Of Bali

      1-11-2016
     

    The Springs Of Bali

    The Springs Of Bali

    The Springs Of Bali

    The Balinese construct pipelines at the spring to help them collect the water.

    The Springs Of Bali

    The Springs Of Bali

    The Springs Of Bali

    The Springs Of Bali
    The Balinese construct pipelines at the spring to help them collect the water.

    The Springs Of Bali

    How water and springs play an important role in Balinese Traditional...

    Strolling along a river in Bali, one might stumble upon a temple that is named Pura Beji. Just like other temples in Bali, it is made of black stones. However, since Pura Beji is nestled by a spring, the original color of the stones has faded through time as they are now covered with moss. Thus the stones seem to be turning green and look more striking under the sunlight.

    Almost every village in Bali has its own Pura Beji. This temple is built to honor Dewa Wishnu, the God who preserves the whole universe, and the fact that water is one of the most important elements of life as no living creature can survive more than three days without it. The Balinese believe that Dewa Wishnu can help smooth the water’s flow, and because of this a statue of Dewa Wishnu stands at almost every spring in Bali.

    Water also plays an important role in most Balinese traditions and ceremonies. Take a look at melukat, for instance. This ceremony uses holy water to cleanse the mind, body and soul from all negative energy. The use of water in ceremonies like melukat is one of the reasons why the Balinese always strive to preserve the springs in their villages.

    Spring Statues
    To help them collect the fresh water, they construct pipes at the spring. Since the Balinese have a high sense of art, they also create statues with intricate details at the end of the pipelines. Some pipes are adorned with a dragon statue, while others are with a lion or tiger statue. The pipes end at the mouth of these statues so it looks as if these animals – which symbolize strength – have water flowing out of their mouths.

    To preserve water, the Balinese also plant big trees like banyan trees for example, which can hold water in their roots. Not only do these trees give a positive impact to the environment by helping to cleanse the water, they also prevent mudslides during the rainy season. These trees also become home to the wild animals in the area.

    One For All
    Everyone is welcome to take water from the springs for everything they need, from taking a bath to washing the clothes, or for ceremonies. Many villagers even drink the water straight away. The water is so clean and fresh that up until today no one has been infected with diarrhea from drinking the water from the spring.

    It is also amazing to see how the Balinese take the water just as much as they need – many take only five liters of water although some can take as much as 19 liters. But no one is taking more than they need and no one needs to pay a cent for the water, although some places provide a charity box for people to give donations to maintain the Pura Beji or for ceremonies at the temple.

    Every day there is always at least one person giving offerings to the spring to honor Dewa Wishnu and to show how grateful they are for the God that has given them abundant fresh water. The offerings consist of various flowers as well as incense, all of which are placed neatly in a plate made of young coconut leaves. A big ceremony is also held once a year to celebrate the anniversary of the temple. Each of the temples in Bali has its own anniversary, and the local priests calculate the exact date.

    Local Gathering
    During my visit to a spring in Batubulan I witnessed hundreds of people coming and going from morning until afternoon. Some people only took some water then left right away, while others spent more time taking a dip in the spring to refresh their energy in the sunlight. But the most interesting fact is that the spring has become some kind of a place where the villagers meet. While washing their clothes or filling up their containers, the villagers greet each other and share stories. They talk about almost everything, from the village gossip to national issues – some even discuss events that take place at the neighboring village.

    Witnessing the activity of the Balinese people at the spring, I could see how they honor their God and the environment, and how they respect each other, all at the same time. This definitely reflects the Tri Hita Karana, the living concept of the Balinese that embraces the balance of life.

     

     
    Oka Dwi Prihatmoko

       Contributor : Oka Dwi Prihatmoko


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