The Chosen One


    The Chosen One

    The Chosen One

    A Balian Usadha can cure others through a massage

    The Chosen One

    Photo by Risty Nurraisa ( A Balian Kapaican is hiven a talisman, like a ring, to help others
    The Chosen One

    The Chosen One
    A Balian Usadha can cure others through a massage

    The Chosen One
    Photo by Risty Nurraisa ( A Balian Kapaican is hiven a talisman, like a ring, to help others

    The balian, a Balinese healer, is given power by the universe to help cure others...

    “If we can accept that we are the sum total of all past thoughts, emotions, words, deeds and actions, and that our present lives and choices are colored or shaded by this memory bank of the past, then we begin to see how a process of correcting or setting aright can change our lives, our families and our society,” Morrnah Nalamaku Simeona, a kahuna lapa’au or healer from Hawaii once said. She is well-known for her “hooponopono”, a traditional healing method.

    When I was assigned to write about traditional Balinese healers, I was a bit doubtful because I thought this topic may be too unrealistic or even nonsensical to some people. But for me, who lives on this island where humans and nature live side by side to create a harmonious symphony of life, this Balinese healing method quite makes sense – maybe not logically, but more for those who believe.

    Belief Over Logic
    Most people tend to go to the doctor rather than a traditional healer when it comes time to need medication. Over the years, modern medications have been developed to address our health problems, while the traditional healing process has been left behind.

    It was Morrnah Nalamaku Simeona who introduced a traditional healing method called “hooponopono,” that has made traditional medication a more logical and friendly option. Her approach – which combines the traditional Hawaiian values of forgiving and reconciliation with Christian education and her philosophical studies on India, China and Edgar Cayce – has successfully made many people realize that the healing process actually starts in their own mind.

    Even though modern medicine has invaded almost all parts of the world, the existence of traditional healers cannot be underestimated. In many countries where spirituality is still strong, these healers in their own society become the first to fight diseases – although until now there are still some pros and cons about it. But here in Bali, the traditional and modern medications work together to serve the island.

    The Balian
    Balinese traditional healers have become more widely known since the movie “Eat, Pray, Love” screened globally. I Ketut Liyer, a Balinese healer who specialized in fortune reading, appeared in the movie to help Elizabeth (an American tourist) during her tough moments. Until now, I Ketut Liyer still helps many people from around the world who believe in what he does.

    In Bali, a traditional healer like I Ketut Liyer is called a “Balian”. It is not easy to become a balian, as a matter of fact it is more likely to be impossible, because this job is not for everyone. Only a chosen one, who is chosen by a higher being, can be a balian. And there is no particular description of what kind of person would fit the job. A master or doctorate degree means absolutely nothing if you are not the one. A well-trained doctor or nurse will not get this job unless they have the signs.

    Here are some signs of how someone can be a balian:
    • A sudden trance during a traditional Balinese ceremony.
    • A sudden gift in a form of a talent, given by nature to cure others.
    • A repeated dream that appears in someone’s sleep that allows him or her to use spiritual power to cure others.
    • Receiving a talisman out of nowhere such as a ring, a stone, a small sword, or other.

    Balian Kapaican
    A Balian Kapaican is a Balinese healer who is given a talisman by the universe. The talisman can be in a form of a stone, a ring, a small sword and even an animal that has the ability to cure someone with a broken chakra or to help others who suffer from a serious illness like a mental break down.

    Some of the Balian Kapaican get their talisman in an unexplainable situation, such as during meditation or a prayer. Some balians claim that the talisman is given to them by a complete stranger. If the balian refuses the talisman, there will be some consequence that they have to face. No one knows what the consequence will be except the balian him or herself. Some say it can be a struggle in life, an illness or other difficulty.

    I have witnessed someone who didn’t claim herself as a Balian but she was blessed with a talisman in a form of an animal. The animal is called a lungsir, a small golden snail that will turn into oil when put in a glass bottle. The oil is capable of curing many illnesses, from stomachache to fever, from wounds to a black magic attack. She got the lungsir every time she visited her family temple, and she is the only person in her family who has this “talent”.

    Balian Katakson
    This Balian gets their power in a trance. When they are in a trance everything will happen in an automatic mode. The Balian Katakson doesn’t know what is happening during the healing time, and no one teaches them what to do and how to heal another person. Everything just happens like that.

    When the power arises, their body will start moving as if being controlled by a higher being and the healing time begins. A Balian Katakson is sometimes invited by the Balinese to perform exorcism. Usually, the candidate for a Balian Katakson is scouted for during a traditional Balinese ceremony. A trance during a ceremony is usually the sign that someone has what it takes to become a Balian Katakson.

    Balian Usadha
    People call them the apprentice because their healing power comes from practicing. Usadha means medication, so the Balian Usadha is specialized at curing illness. This type of Balian is a bit different from the others as this one is more logical. No trance and no talismans, but still it’s not a job for everyone because the skills of a Balian Usadha can only be mastered by the chosen one. Those skills include medication massage, reiki (transferring positive energy) and mixing herbal medicine.

    Balian Campuran
    A Balian Campuran is blessed with more than one of the aforementioned powers. They can be a Balian Katakson who also has talismans or a balian with all of the above powers.

    A responsibility always comes with a list of obligations. A balian should do the following to maintain his or her ability:
    • To understand that to be a Balian is a huge responsibility.
    • To pray to God as God is the source of everything in this universe.
    • To always be grateful for this beautiful life.
    • To perform a certain traditional ceremony to mark their recruitment process.
    • To serve society unconditionally. Balian should not charge the patients – it is up to the patient whether or not they want to honor the Balian’s help.
    • Without trust from the patients, a Balian won’t be able to perform their healing procedure. They are not allowed to force people to believe in what they do.
    • To perform a self-cleansing ceremony regularly.
    • To keep on practicing.

    What You Believe
    The Balian is actually a part of the Balinese culture. What the balian performs is not animism. It is only God that they worship, not the talismans or the statues in their temple. Those talismans and statues are simply the tools to remember the power of God that they are using to help others.

    And in the end, people believe in what they want to believe. We cannot force each other to understand our belief, can we? A belief is an acceptance of what we witness. It is you who will decide whether this story is a fact or a fantasy. And both opinions are welcome. So, what do you believe?

    Bayu Rahanatha

       Contributor : Bayu Rahanatha

      Magazine issue > Craft&Culture
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