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Old 21st January 2019, 08:09 PM   #1
A. G. Maisey
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Default OGOH - OGOH

I believe that most, if not all, regular followers of threads and posts to this Forum for discussion will understand that it is totally impossible to gain any worthwhile understanding of the keris in the absence of an in depth understanding of the cultures and societies where the keris is found.

Once we begin to involve ourselves in the study of these cultures and societies we find that a whole new world, and world-view opens before us.

Every year in Bali, Hari Nyepi is celebrated:-

Part of the Hari Nyepi celebration is the involvement of the Ogoh-Ogoh figures, one of these figures is shown below.

Here is a link to a 6 minute video that you may find interesting:-
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Old 21st January 2019, 10:39 PM   #2
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Thank you Alan.
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Old 21st January 2019, 10:52 PM   #3
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Wisdom and Humanity exemplified.
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Old 22nd January 2019, 11:53 AM   #4
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I notice that the "Supreme God" Sanghyang Widhi Wasa (or Acintya) is worshipped during the melasti ritual and shown in the video as engraved on an empty throne. It seems to me that not much is known about this god (distinct from the trimurti gods Shiva, Brahma, and Vishnu) outside Bali.
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Old 22nd January 2019, 11:59 AM   #5
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I have had the opportunity at two times to be on Bali at Hari Nyepi and noticed that many tourist don't show respect for the Bali culture.
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Old 22nd January 2019, 09:31 PM   #6
A. G. Maisey
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It is very true that South Bali has become a big pot full of tourists.

Tourism is Bali's biggest industry, and what happens in South Bali has been, and continues to be reshaped to promote tourism and harvest the mighty Tourist Dollar.

I've been going to Bali since 1966, I have relatives who live in Bali and I have spent a lot of time there myself. In my opinion the last good year for Bali was 1982, after that it accelerated in its decline of Cultural Tourism --- something that had been espoused by all concerned since the 1920's --- and focussed more on a type of tourism that was more attractive to the vast bulk of tourists from the Outside World, and this Outside World includes the rest of Indonesia.

So, when we look at the Ogoh-Ogoh Parade what we need to understand is this:- in the form that we see now in tourist centers of Bali, this parade has only existed since the early 1980's.

Yes, it is a tradition, the philosophy behind it has existed for I don't know how long, but as Money Tourism grew in the late 1970's and early 1980's Bali, and indeed the Indonesian government was searching for ways get as many people as possible to come to Bali, so the little banjar focussed ogoh ogoh ceremonies of creating and then burning the monsters became a public spectacle, and the tourists loved it.

Disrespect for Bali tradition?

Often, and in many forms, but as far as the Ogoh Ogoh Parade goes, what we see now is something that was created for tourists, so whatever happens where the tourist parades of Ogoh Ogohs are concerned doesn't much matter.

The real, original thing looks pretty much like what is shown in the video, just one or two little figures. The burning and the kids playing in the field were shot in Ubud by the look of it, the cemetery where they burnt the Ogoh Ogoh is right next to a place I have stayed a few times.

There is book written by Phil Jarratt "Bali: Heaven and Hell" ISBN 978 1 74270 692 4 that attempts to provide an overview of Balinese history from early times up to the present; it is not an academic publication, some of the historical detail is open to question, but as far as a commentary on Bali in the period from the mid-1960's to the early 2000's it reflects my experience exactly.

If we wish to understand what South Bali is now, this book will help immensely.

However, as sad as the deterioration of Bali may be, we really should not feel too bad about that. The Balinese have been pretty successful in limiting the tourist pollution to a part of Bali, ie, the stretch of South Bali around the coast, that historically has been identified as a buffer against the dark forces of the Southern Ocean. This buffer now contains the Dark Forces of Money Tourism. No great difference.

Last edited by A. G. Maisey : 22nd January 2019 at 09:51 PM.
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Old 22nd January 2019, 09:48 PM   #7
A. G. Maisey
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Jean, with Indonesian Independence the principle of freedom of religion and One God was put in place (Pancasila). However, the religions recognised by the new Indonesian Government were limited, and a couple of those religions need to do a little bit of restructuring in order to comply with the new requirement to worship "One God".

The Buddhists adopted the principle of Adibuddha as the only Buddhist God, and Bali-Hindu put forward Sang Hyang Widi Wasa as the principle of belief in One God.

You could say that Sang Hyang Widi Wasa became more prominent in the Bali-Hindu belief system with the arrival of Indonesian Independence.


A thought just occurred to me. In Hindu belief in general, there is the acknowledgement that the individual deities are in fact aspects of a central entity --- somebody will perhaps argue with this, and as with all things concerned with belief systems, everybody is entitled to the belief that works best for him.

However, with this "Sang Hyang Widi Wasa" name, I believe I recall reading somewhere that this actual name --- not the concept, just the name --- was invented by Christian missionaries to express the Christian idea of God Almighty. I suspect this might have happened during the 1930's, certainly not back in pre-Puputan Bali.

Last edited by A. G. Maisey : 22nd January 2019 at 10:13 PM. Reason: spelling
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