Balinese Hinduism

Balinese Hinduism (Indonesian: Agama Hindu Dharma; Agama Tirtha; Agama Air Suci; Agama Hindu Bali) is the form of Hinduism practiced by the majority of the population of Bali.[1][2] This is particularly associated with the Balinese people residing on the island, and represents a distinct form of Hindu worship incorporating local animism, ancestor worship or Pitru Paksha, and reverence for Buddhist saints or Bodhisattava.

The population of Indonesian islands is predominantly Muslim (about 90%).[3] The island of Bali is an exception where 83% of its people identify as Hindu (about 1.7% of the total Indonesian population).[3] Upon independence from the Dutch colonial rule, the 1945 Constitution of Indonesia guaranteed the freedom of religion to all its citizens.[4] In 1952, states Michel Picard – an anthropologist and scholar of Balinese history and religion, the Indonesian Ministry of Religion came under the control of Islamists who severely constrained an acceptable definition of a "religion".[4] To be acceptable as an official Indonesian religion, the ministry defined "religion" as one that is monotheistic, has codified religious law and added a number of requirements.[4][1] Further, Indonesia denied the rights of citizenship such as the right to vote to anyone not belonging to an officially recognized monotheistic religion.[1] The minority Balinese Hindus adapted and declared their form of Hinduism to be monotheistic, and presented it in a form to be politically eligible for the status of "agama". Balinese Hinduism has been formally recognized by the Indonesian government as one of the official religions practiced in Bali.[1][4]

TanahLot 2014
Tanah Lot temple, Bali
Pura Besakih Sunrise 01
Pura Besakih, one of Bali's most significant Hindu temples.


Cérémonie au temple de Goa Lawah
Ceremony in Goa Lawah Temple, Bali

Hindu influences reached the Indonesian Archipelago as early as the first century.[5][6] Historical evidence is unclear about the diffusion process of cultural and spiritual ideas from India. Java legends refer to Saka-era, traced to 78 AD. Stories from the Mahabharata Epic have been traced in Indonesian islands to the 1st century; whose versions mirror those found in southeast Indian peninsular region (now Tamil Nadu and southern Andhra Pradesh).[5] The Javanese prose work Tantu Pagelaran of the 14th century, which is a collection of ancient tales, arts and crafts of Indonesia, extensively uses Sanskrit words, Indian deity names and religious concepts. Similarly ancient Chandis (temples) excavated in Java and western Indonesian islands, as well as ancient inscriptions such as the 8th century Canggal inscription discovered in Indonesia, confirm widespread adoption of Shiva lingam iconography, his companion goddess Parvati, Ganesha, Vishnu, Brahma, Arjuna, and other Hindu deities by about the middle to late 1st millennium AD.[7] Ancient Chinese records of Fa Hien on his return voyage from Ceylon to China in 414 AD mention two schools of Hinduism in Java,[5] while Chinese documents from 8th century refer to the Hindu kingdom of King Sanjaya as Holing, calling it "exceedingly wealthy," and that it coexisted peacefully with Buddhist people and Sailendra ruler in Kedu Plain of the Java island.[8]

About 1400 CE, the kingdoms on the Indonesian islands were attacked from coast-based Muslim armies.[6] Over the 15th and 16th centuries, this Muslim campaign led by Sultans targeted Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms and various communities in the Indonesian archipelago, with each Sultan trying to carve out a region or island for control.[9] Four diverse and contentious Islamic Sultanates emerged in north Sumatra (Aceh), south Sumatra, west and central Java, and in southern Borneo (Kalimantan).[10] The violence ended the Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms and communities in many of the islands of Indonesia.[6] In other cases, Hindus and Buddhists left and concentrated as communities in islands that they could defend. Hindus of western Java moved east and then to the island of Bali and the neighboring small islands, thus starting Balinese Hinduism.[11] While this era of religious conflict and inter-Sultanate warfare was unfolding, and new power centers were attempting to consolidate regions under their control, European colonialism arrived.[11] The Indonesian archipelago was soon dominated by the Dutch colonial empire.[12] The Dutch colonial empire helped prevent inter-religious conflict, and it slowly began the process of excavating, understanding and preserving Indonesia's ancient Hindu-Buddhist cultural foundations, particularly in Java and western islands of Indonesia.[13]

Upon independence from the Dutch colonial rule, Article 29 of the 1945 Constitution of Indonesia guaranteed the freedom of religion to all its citizens.[4] In 1952, states Michel Picard, the Indonesian Ministry of Religion came under the control of Islamists who severely constrained an acceptable definition of a "religion".[4] To be acceptable as an official Indonesian religion, the ministry defined "religion" as one that is monotheistic, has codified religious law, possess a prophet and a Holy Book amongst other requirements.[4][1] Balinese Hindus were declared as "people without a religion", and available to be converted. Balinese Hindus disagreed, debated, adapted, and declared their form of Hinduism to be monotheistic, and presented it in a form to be eligible for the status of "agama" under the 1952 amended articles.[1][4] To accomplish this, the Balinese Hindus initiated a series of student and cultural exchange initiatives between Bali and India helped formulate the core principles behind Balinese Hinduism (Catur Veda, Upanishad, Puranas, Itihasa). In particular, the political self-determination movement in Bali in mid 1950s led to the joint petition of 1958 which demanded Indonesian government recognize Hindu Dharma.[14] This joint petition quoted the following Sanskrit mantra from the Hindu scriptures,[15]

Om tat sat ekam eva advitiyam

Translation: Om, thus is the essence of the all prevading, infinite, undivided one.

— Joint petition by Hindus of Bali, 14 June 1958[14]

The petition's focus on the "undivided one" was to satisfy the constitutional requirement that Indonesian citizens have a monotheistic belief in one God. The petitioners identified Ida Sanghyang Widhi Wasa as the undivided one. In the Balinese language this term has two meanings: the Divine ruler of the Universe and the Divine Absolute Cosmic Law. This creative phrase met the monotheistic requirement of the Indonesian Ministry of Religion in the former sense, while the latter sense of its meaning preserved the central ideas of dharma in ancient scripts of Hinduism.[14]

Bali became the only part of Indonesia to remain predominantly Hindu.[16][17] The populations of the islands off the east coast of Bali are also mostly Hindu, and there are Hindu villages scattered near the eastern shore of Java.

Key beliefs

Balinese Hinduism is an amalgamation of Indian religions and indigenous animist customs that existed in Indonesian archipelago before the arrival of Islam and later Dutch colonialism.[18] It integrates many of the core beliefs of Hinduism with arts and rituals of Balinese people. In contemporary times, Hinduism in Bali is officially referred by Indonesian Ministry of Religion as Agama Hindu Dharma, but traditionally the religion was called by many names such as Tirta, Trimurti, Hindu, Agama Tirta, Siwa, Buda, and Siwa-Buda.[19] The terms Tirta and Trimurti emanate from Indian Hinduism, corresponding to Tirtha (pilgrimage to spirituality near holy waters) and Trimurti (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva) respectively. As in India, Hinduism in Bali grew with flexibility, featuring a diverse way of life. It includes many of the Indian spiritual ideas, cherishes legends and myths of Indian Puranas and Hindu Epics, as well as expresses its traditions through unique set of festivals and customs associated with a myriad of hyangs - the local and ancestral spirits, as well as forms of animal sacrifice that are not common in India.[19]

Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa (left), the Divine Oneness and supreme god (Brahman) of Balinese Hinduism. Acintya is a part of temples, home shrines and ceremonies, remembered with a colorfully decorated stone seat, Padmasana (right).[20]

Acintya Bali
Altar in Ubud

The general beliefs and practices of Agama Hindu Dharma as practiced in Bali are a mixture of ancient traditions and contemporary pressures placed by Indonesian laws that permit only monotheist belief under the national ideology of panca sila.[21] Traditionally, Hinduism in Indonesia had a pantheon of deities and that tradition of belief continues in practice; further, Hinduism in Indonesia granted freedom and flexibility to Hindus as to when, how and where to pray.[22] However, officially, Indonesian government considers and advertises Indonesian Hinduism as a monotheistic religion with certain officially recognized beliefs that comply with its national ideology.[21][22][23] Indonesian school text books describe Hinduism as having one supreme being, Hindus offering three daily mandatory prayers, and Hinduism as having certain common beliefs that in part parallel those of Islam.[22][24] Scholars[22][25][26] contest whether these Indonesian government recognized and assigned beliefs reflect the traditional Balinese Hindu beliefs and practices before Indonesia gained independence from Dutch colonial rule.

Some of the Hindu beliefs officially recognized by the Indonesian Ministry of Religion include:[22][24]

  • A belief in one supreme being called 'Ida Sanghyang Widi Wasa', 'Sang Hyang Tunggal', or 'Sang Hyang Acintya'.
  • A belief that all of the gods are manifestations of this supreme being. This belief is the same as the belief of Smartism, which also holds that the different forms of gods and goddesses, Vishnu, Siva, Shakti (Devi) are different aspects of the same Supreme Being. Shiva is also worshipped in other forms such as "Batara Guru" and "Maharaja Dewa" (Mahadeva).

The sacred texts found in Agama Hindu Dharma are the Vedas and Upanishads.[27] They are the basis of Indian and Balinese Hinduism. Other sources of religious information include the Universal Hindu Puranas and the Itihasa (mainly Ramayana and the Mahabharata). The epics Mahabharata and Ramayana became enduring traditions among Indonesian believers, expressed in shadow puppet (wayang) and dance performances. As in India, Indonesian Hinduism recognizes four paths of spirituality, calling it Catur Marga.[28] These are bhakti mārga (path of devotion to deities), jnana mārga (path of knowledge), karma mārga (path of works) and raja mārga (path of meditation). Bhakti marga has the largest following in Bali.[28] Similarly, like Hindus in India, Balinese Hindus believe that there are four proper goals of human life, calling it Catur Purusartha - dharma (pursuit of moral and ethical living), artha (pursuit of wealth and creative activity), kama (pursuit of joy and love) and moksha (pursuit of self-knowledge and liberation).[29][30]

God and deities

Some of many Hindu gods and goddesses of Balinese Hinduism: Ganesha (left), Wisnu on Garuda.

Downtown Ubud Bali Indonesia - panoramio (23)
Garuda Wisnu Kencana monument

Balinese Hinduism includes the Indian trinity concept called Trimurti consisting of:

In Balinese Hindu texts, the alternate tripartite concept of Shiva of Indian Shaivism is also found. This is usually referred in Balinese as "Siwa-Sadasiwa-Paramasiwa", where Shiva is the creator, the maintainer and the destroyer of cyclic existence.[31]

Along with the traditional Hindu trinity, Balinese Hindus worship a range of gods and goddesses (Hyang, Dewata and Batara-Batari), as well others that are unique and not found in Indian Hinduism.[32] Sang Hyang Widhi literally means "Divine Order",[20] also known as Acintya ("Inconceivable")[20] or Sang Hyang Tunggal ("Divine Oneness"),[20] is the concept in Balinese tradition of Hinduism that parallels the metaphysical concept of Brahman among Indian Hindus. Ceremonies include an empty high seated chair. It is also found at the top of the Padmasana shrine outside houses and temples. This is for Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa.[33] According to Balinese Hindu precepts, there are many manifestations of Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa in the form of gods such as Dewi Sri - the goddess of rice, and many other gods associated with mountains, lakes, and the sea.

Ethical values

The axiological ideas of Balinese Hinduism parallel those in the Indian Hinduism. However, states Martin Ramstedt – a scholar of Hinduism in Southeast Asia, they are termed somewhat differently and passed on from one generation to the next as a community and at spiritual ceremonies. Unlike the Islamic schools in Indonesia and Hindu Ashrams in India, and in light of the official representation of Balinese Hinduism, the traditional precepts and values are acquired at homes, rituals and through religious symbols.[34][35] For example, the symbolism connected with the sprinkling of "tirtha", or holy water that bridges the material and the spiritual, this water is first sprinkled over head that is understood as "purification of manah (mind)", then sipped to be understood as "purification of wak (speech)", and then sprinkled over the body symbolizing "purification of kaya (attitude and behavior)". Thus, states Ngurah Nala, the younger generation becomes "acquainted with the ethical values embodied in the concept of tri kaya parisudha, or the attainment of a pure or good mind (manacika), pure or good speech (wacika), and pure conduct (kayika)".[34]

Birth and life

Canang sari offerings

There are a total of thirteen ceremonies concerned with life from conception until, but not including, death, each of which have four elements: placation of evil spirits, purification with holy water, wafting of essence, and prayer. These ceremonies mark major events in a person's life, including birth, puberty, tooth filing, and marriage.[36] A new-born baby is believed to represent the soul of an ancestor, and is regarded as a god for the first 42 days of its life. However, the mother is regarded as impure, and is not allowed to participate in any religious activities during this period. A baby must not touch the impure ground until it is 105 days old, half-way to the celebration of its first birthday according to the 210-day Balinese pawukon calendar. Once the child reaches puberty, the six upper canine teeth are filed until they are even.[37][38]

Death and reincarnation

The most important ceremonies take place after death, and result in the soul being freed to be eventually reincarnated. Unlike the death rites of other religions, the physical body is not the focus, as it is seen as nothing more than a temporary container of the soul and fit only for expedient disposal. In fact, the body must be burned before the soul can leave it completely. The cremation ceremony to bring this about can be extremely expensive because an elaborate ceremony is a way of showing respect for a soul destined to become a god with considerable powers over those left behind. Therefore, bodies are sometimes temporarily buried until the family is able to accumulate enough funds for a cremation, although the bodies of priests or high class families are preserved above ground.[39][40]


Galungan and Kuningan

Nyepifest auf Bali
Ogoh-ogoh procession on the eve of Nyepi

The most important festival is Galungan (related to Deepavali), a celebration of the triumph of dharma over adharma. It is calculated according to the 210-day Balinese pawukon calendar and takes place on the Wednesday (Buda) of the eleventh week (Dunggulan). According to tradition, the spirits of the dead descend from heaven, to return ten days later on Kuningan.


Nyepi, or the Day of Silence, makes the start of the Balinese Saka year, and is marked on the first day of the 10th month, Kedasa. It usually falls in March.[41]

Other festivals

Watugunung, the last day of the pawukon calendar, is devoted to Saraswati, goddess of learning. Although it is devoted to books, reading is not allowed. The fourth day of the year is called Pagerwesi, meaning "iron fence". It commemorates a battle between good and evil.[42]

Caste system

Balinese caste structure has been described in early 20th-century European literature to be based on three categories – triwangsa (thrice born) or the nobility, dwijati (twice born) in contrast to ekajati (once born) the low folks. Four statuses were identified in these sociological studies, spelled a bit differently from the caste categories for India:[43]

  • Brahmanas – priest
  • Satrias – knighthood
  • Wesias – commerce
  • Sudras – servitude

The Brahmana caste was further subdivided by these Dutch ethnographers into two: Siwa and Buda. The Siwa caste was subdivided into five – Kemenuh, Keniten, Mas, Manuba and Petapan. This classification was to accommodate the observed marriage between higher caste Brahmana men with lower caste women. The other castes were similarly further sub-classified by these 19th-century and early-20th-century ethnographers based on numerous criteria ranging from profession, endogamy or exogamy or polygamy, and a host of other factors in a manner similar to castas in Spanish colonies such as Mexico, and caste system studies in British colonies such as India.[43]

Professions and colors

A procession with offerings entering a Hindu temple Bali
A procession with offerings entering a Hindu temple in Bali

Bali has a caste system similar to the Indian system in its ancient form. In ancient India, caste was called varna, meaning coloring of the neutral or transparent soul or the propensity of the soul to behave according to certain tendencies based on its innate nature. Based on this propensity people selected their profession. Later this process through erosion became a family lineage/birth based system. This same system has been adopted in Bali and it is called 'Wangsa' which is related to the professions of the ancestors. However, even in Bali today, irrespective of the profession of the individual, they claim to belong to their family wangsa. There are four basic wangsa or professions, known collectively as caturwangsa—all Balinese belong to this group. The top three wangsa are, Brahmana, Satria (or Ksatriya) and Wesia (or Wesya) represent nobility, and are known as triwangsa. The fourth and most common wangsa is Sudra.

These wangsa groups are subdivided, and each has certain names associated with it. The teachers and priests, Brahmanans, have five subdivisions, and are said to be descended from one individual. Men and women have Ida as the first name. The Ksatriya are traditionally rulers and warriors. Typical names of this wangsa are "Dewa Agung", "Anak Agung" and "I Dewa". The Wesia, most of whom are called Gusti, are considered to have been merchants of different kinds. The most common wangsa in Bali in terms of numbers, is Sudra since 90% of Balinese Hindus belong to it which are the common people as farmers and others. The Pandes or Blacksmiths have a special 'clan' that is not mentioned in the Catur Wangsa group but is considered especially important for its skilled works and being the smithers of fire, Dewa Agni or Dewa Brahma.

Dietary law

Under no circumstances may Balinese Hindus consume the flesh of human, tiger, monkey, dog, crocodile, mice, snake, frog, certain poisonous fish, leech, stinging insect, crow, eagle, owl, and any other bird of prey.[44]

Pork, chicken, fruit, vegetables, freshwater fish, and seafood are widely consumed. However, just like most Hindus, Balinese Hindus rarely if ever eat beef.[44] This is especially true for those who belong to the higher castes of Brahmin and Kshatriya, who have special dietary restrictions. Brahmins especially are forbidden to consume or even touch the flesh of bull or beef; additionally they must not eat on the street or marketplace, drink alcohol, or taste the offering food and fruit.[44]

Outside Bali and Indonesia

Balinese Hindus built Pura Parahyangan Agung Jagatkarta, the second largest temple in Indonesia after Pura Besakih in Bali, dedicated to Hindu Sundanese King Sri Baduga Maharaja Sang Ratu Jaya Dewata. Pura Aditya Jaya is the largest temple in Indonesian capital Jakarta.[45]

At least four Balinese Hindu temples exist in Europe. A padmasana exists in Hamburg, Germany in front of the Museum of Ethnology, Hamburg.[46] Pura Girinatha in Dili, Timor Leste, was built by Indonesian immigrants.[47] The recently constructed Pura Tri Hita Karana is located in Erholungspark Marzahn park in Berlin, Germany. Two Balinese Temples exist in the Pairi Daiza botanical garden in Belgium.[48][49]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f McDaniel, June (2013), A Modern Hindu Monotheism: Indonesian Hindus as ‘People of the Book’. The Journal of Hindu Studies, Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/jhs/hit030
  2. ^ "Sensus Penduduk 2010 - Penduduk Menurut Wilayah dan Agama yang Dianut" [2010 Population Census - Population by Region and Religious Affiliations] (in Indonesian). Badan Pusat Statistik. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  3. ^ a b Indonesia: Religions, Encyclopaedia Britannica
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Michel Picard (2004). Martin Ramstedt (ed.). Hinduism in Modern Indonesia. Routledge. pp. 9–10, 55–57. ISBN 978-0-7007-1533-6.
  5. ^ a b c Jan Gonda, The Indian Religions in Pre-Islamic Indonesia and their survival in Bali, in Handbook of Oriental Studies. Section 3 Southeast Asia, Religions, p. 1, at Google Books, pp. 1-54
  6. ^ a b c Mark Juergensmeyer and Wade Clark Roof, 2012, Encyclopedia of Global Religion, Volume 1, pages 557–558
  7. ^ Kenneth Hall (2011), A History of Early Southeast Asia, Rowman & Littlefield, ISBN 978-0742567610, Chapter 4 and 5
  8. ^ Kenneth Hall (2011), A History of Early Southeast Asia, Rowman & Littlefield, ISBN 978-0742567610, pp. 122-123
  9. ^ Taufiq Tanasaldy, Regime Change and Ethnic Politics in Indonesia, Brill Academic, ISBN 978-9004263734
  10. ^ Gerhard Bowering et al., The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought, Princeton University Press, ISBN 978-0691134840
  11. ^ a b James Fox, Indonesian Heritage: Religion and ritual, Volume 9 of Indonesian heritage, Editor: Timothy Auger, ISBN 978-9813018587
  12. ^ Wendy Doniger (2000), Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of World Religions, Merriam-Webster, ISBN 978-0877790440, pp. 516-517
  13. ^ Jean Gelman Taylor, Indonesia: Peoples and Histories, Yale University Press, ISBN 978-0300105186, pp. 21-83 and 142-173
  14. ^ a b c Martin Ramstedt (2003), Hinduism in Modern Indonesia, Routledge, ISBN 978-0700715336, pp. 9-12
  15. ^ Michel Picard (2003), in Hinduism in Modern Indonesia, Routledge, ISBN 978-0700715336, Chapter 4, pp. 56-74
  16. ^ Jones (1971) p11
  17. ^ Ricklefs (1989) p13
  18. ^ Nigel Simmonds, Bali: Morning of the World, Periplus, ISBN 978-0804843966, pp. 41-43
  19. ^ a b Michel Picard and Rémy Madinier, The Politics of Religion in Indonesia - Syncretism, Orthodoxy, and Religious Contention in Java and Bali, Routledge, ISBN 978-0415613118, Chapter 5 and notes to the chapter
  20. ^ a b c d Margaret J. Wiener (1995). Visible and Invisible Realms: Power, Magic, and Colonial Conquest in Bali. University of Chicago Press. pp. 51–55. ISBN 978-0-226-88580-3.
  21. ^ a b McDaniel, June (1 August 2010). "Agama Hindu Dharma Indonesia as a New Religious Movement: Hinduism Recreated in the Image of Islam". Nova Religio. 14 (1): 93–111. doi:10.1525/nr.2010.14.1.93.
  22. ^ a b c d e Shinji Yamashita (2002), Bali and Beyond: Explorations in the Anthropology of Tourism, Berghahn, ISBN 978-1571813275, pp. 57-65
  23. ^ Michel Picard (2003), in Hinduism in Modern Indonesia (Editor: Martin Ramstedt), Routledge, ISBN 978-0700715336, pp. 56-72
  24. ^ a b June McDaniel (2013), A Modern Hindu Monotheism: Indonesian Hindus as ‘People of the Book’, Journal of Hindu Studies, Oxford University Press, Volume 6, Issue 1, doi:10.1093/jhs/hit030
  25. ^ Anthony Forge (1980), Balinese Religion and Indonesian Identity, in Indonesia: The Making of a Culture (Editor: James Fox), Australian National University, ISBN 978-0909596590
  26. ^ Putu Setia (1992), Cendekiawan Hindu Bicara, Denpasar: Yayasan Dharma Naradha, ISBN 978-9798357008, pp. 217-229
  27. ^ Martin Ramstedt (2003), Hinduism in Modern Indonesia, Routledge, ISBN 978-0700715336, Chapter 1
  28. ^ a b Murdana, I. Ketut (2008), BALINESE ARTS AND CULTURE: A flash understanding of Concept and Behavior, Mudra - JURNAL SENI BUDAYA, Indonesia; Volume 22, page 5-11
  29. ^ Ida Bagus Sudirga (2009), Widya Dharma - Agama Hindu, Ganeca Indonesia, ISBN 978-9795711773
  30. ^ IGP Sugandhi (2005), Seni (Rupa) Bali Hindu Dalam Perspektif Epistemologi Brahma Widya, Ornamen, Vol 2, Number 1, pp. 58-69
  31. ^ Helen M. Creese (2016). Bali in the Early Nineteenth Century: The Ethnographic Accounts of Pierre Dubois. BRILL Academic. pp. 226–227. ISBN 978-90-04-31583-9.
  32. ^ Haer et al (2000) p 46
  33. ^ Eiseman (1989) p 274
  34. ^ a b Ngurah Nala (2004). Martin Ramstedt (ed.). Hinduism in Modern Indonesia. Routledge. pp. 77–79. ISBN 978-0-7007-1533-6.
  35. ^ Martin Ramstedt (2004). Hinduism in Modern Indonesia. Routledge. pp. 26–28. ISBN 978-0-7007-1533-6.
  36. ^ Eiseman (1989) pp 362 & 363
  37. ^ Haer et al (2000) p 52
  38. ^ Eiseman (1989) pp 91
  39. ^ Haer et al (2000) p 53
  40. ^ Eiseman (1989) pp 116–117
  41. ^ Eiseman (1989) pp 186–187
  42. ^ Eiseman (1989) pp 184–185
  43. ^ a b James Boon (1977). The Anthropological Romance of Bali 1597–1972: Dynamic Perspectives in Marriage and Caste, Politics and Religion. ISBN 978-0-521-21398-1.
  44. ^ a b c Miguel Covarrubias (2015). Island of Bali, Periplus classics. Tuttle Publishing. p. 87. ISBN 9781462917471.
  45. ^ "Pura Aditya Jaya, Pura Terbesar di Jakarta" (in Indonesian). SOUL OF JAKARTA. Retrieved 3 September 2017.
  46. ^ "CELEBRATION: Balinese Festival Finds Home in Germany". Hinduism Today. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  47. ^ The Bali Times: Pastika Thanks Gusmao over Dili Temple, accessed on November 24, 2015.
  48. ^ The big balinese temple.
  49. ^ Pura Bunga - the flower temple.

Further reading

  • Davison, Julian; Granquist, Bruce (1999). Balinese Temples. Periplus Editions. ISBN 978-962-593-196-8.
  • Eiseman, Fred B. (1989). Bali: Sekala & Niskala Volume I: Essays on Religion, Ritual, and Art. Singapore: Periplus Editions. ISBN 978-0-945971-03-0.
  • Haer, Debbie Guthrie; Morillot, Juliette; Toh, Irene (2000). Bali: A Traveller's Companion. Editions Didier Millet Pte Ltd. Publishers Ltd. ISBN 978-981-3018495.
  • Hobart, Angela; Ramseyer, Urs; Leeman, Albert (1996). The Peoples of Bali. Blackwell Publishers Ltd. ISBN 978-0-631-17687-9.
  • Jones, Howard Palfrey (1971). Indonesia: The Possible Dream. Hoover Institution Publications. ISBN 978-0-15-144371-0.
  • Vickers, Adrian (1989). Bali: A Paradise Created. Periplus. ISBN 978-0-945971-28-3.
  • Hoadley, M. C. (1991). Sanskritic continuity in Southeast Asia: The ṣaḍātatāyī and aṣṭacora in Javanese law. Delhi: Aditya Prakashan.
  • Hughes-Freeland, F. (1991). Javanese visual performance and the Indian mystique. Delhi: Aditya Prakashan.
  • Lokesh, Chandra, & International Academy of Indian Culture. (2000). Society and culture of Southeast Asia: Continuities and changes. New Delhi: International Academy of Indian Culture and Aditya Prakashan.
  • Cœdès, George (1968). Walter F. Vella (ed.). The Indianized States of Southeast Asia. trans.Susan Brown Cowing. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-0368-1.
  • R. C. Majumdar, Study of Sanskrit in South-East Asia
  • R. C. Majumdar, India and South-East Asia, I.S.P.Q.S. History and Archaeology Series Vol. 6, 1979, ISBN 81-7018-046-5.
  • Daigorō Chihara (1996). Hindu-Buddhist Architecture in Southeast Asia. BRILL. ISBN 978-90-04-10512-6.
  • The journey of the Goddess Durga: India, Java and Bali by Ariati, Ni Wayan Pasek, 2016, ISBN 9788177421521, Aditya Prakashan, New Delhi

Acintya, also Atintya (Sanskrit: "the inconceivable", "the unimaginable"), also Tunggal (Balinese: "Unity", "Divine Oneness") is the Supreme God of Indonesian Hinduism (formally known as Agama Hindu Dharma), especially on the island of Bali. Acintya is equivalent to the metaphysical concept of Brahman of Indian Hinduism, and is the Supreme God in traditional wayang (shadow puppet) theatre. Acintya is also known as Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa, also Sanghyang Widi Wasa (the "Divine Order"). All gods, goddesses and existence are believed to be the manifestation of the Acintya in Balinese Hinduism.


The Annaprashana (Sanskrit: अन्नप्राशन, Annaprāśana, Bengali: অন্নপ্রাশন, Onnoprashon) also known as Annaprashana vidhi, Annaprasan or Anna-prasanam or Anna Prashashan, is a Hindu ritual (Saṃskāra) that marks an infant's first intake of food other than milk. The term annaprashan literally means "food feeding" or "eating of food".The Annaprashana, unlike many other Samskaras, remains an important ceremony in modern India.

Bakti Negara

Bakti Negara is a style of pencak silat from Bali. It is firmly rooted in old Balinese Hinduism and philosophies of Indonesia. The name means "national devotion", from the Sanskrit words bhakti (devotion) and nagara (country). It is the most widely practiced martial art in Bali and the most well-known style of Balinese silat, to the point that the system is commonly referred to simply as pencak Bali or kuntao Bali.

Some movements are similar to Balinese dances and performing arts like the Barong dance. Although the system is very much self-defence oriented, its practitioners also participate in modern competitions and have achieved some important victories in many regional, national and international tournaments.


Bali (Balinese: ᬩᬮᬶ) is a province of Indonesia and the westernmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands. Located east of Java and west of Lombok, the province includes the island of Bali and a few smaller neighbouring islands, notably Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan, and Nusa Ceningan. The provincial capital, Denpasar, is the most populous city in the Lesser Sunda Islands and the second largest, after Makassar, in Eastern Indonesia. Bali is the only Hindu-majority province in Indonesia, with 83.5% of the population adhering to Balinese Hinduism.Bali is Indonesia's main tourist destination, which has seen a significant rise in tourists since the 1980s. Tourism-related business makes up 80% of its economy. It is renowned for its highly developed arts, including traditional and modern dance, sculpture, painting, leather, metalworking, and music. The Indonesian International Film Festival is held every year in Bali. In March 2017, TripAdvisor named Bali as the world's top destination in its Traveller's Choice award.Bali is part of the Coral Triangle, the area with the highest biodiversity of marine species. In this area alone, over 500 reef-building coral species can be found. For comparison, this is about seven times as many as in the entire Caribbean. Most recently, Bali was the host of the Miss World 2013 and 2018 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group. Bali is the home of the Subak irrigation system, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also home to a unified confederation of kingdoms composed of 10 traditional royal Balinese houses, each house ruling a specific geographic area. The confederation is the successor of the Bali Kingdom. The royal houses are not recognised by the government of Indonesia; however, they originated before Dutch colonisation.

Balinese mythology

Balinese mythology is the traditional mythology of the people of the Indonesian island of Bali, before the majority adoption of Hinduism.

Balinese mythology is mainly a kind of animism with some widely known characters and deities. Many themes of Balinese mythology have been adapted and worked into current Balinese Hinduism.

Balinese people

The Balinese people (Indonesian: Suku Bali) are an Austronesian ethnic group and nation native to the Indonesian island of Bali. The Balinese population of 4.2 million (1.7% of Indonesia's population) live mostly on the island of Bali, making up 89% of the island's population. There are also significant populations on the island of Lombok and in the easternmost regions of Java (e.g. the municipality of Banyuwangi).

Balinese temple

A pura is a Balinese Hindu temple. and the place of worship for the adherents of Balinese Hinduism in Indonesia. Puras are built in accordance to rules, style, guidance and rituals found in Balinese architecture. Most of the puras are found on the island of Bali, as Hinduism is the predominant religion on it; however many puras exist in other parts of Indonesia where there are significant numbers of Balinese people. Mother Temple of Besakih is the most important, the largest and holiest temple in Bali. A large number of puras have been built in Bali, leading it to be titled "the Island of a Thousand Puras".

Balinese traditional house

Balinese traditional house refers to the traditional vernacular house of Balinese people in Bali, Indonesia. The Balinese traditional house follows a strict ancient architectural guide which is a product of a blend of Hindu and Buddhist beliefs, fused with Austronesian animism, resulting in a house that is "in harmony" with the law of the cosmos of Balinese Hinduism.

Hinduism in Belgium

Hinduism is a minority religion in Belgium. According to the PEW 2014, Hinduism is also the fastest growing religion in Belgium. There are estimated to be about 6,500 Hindus in the country, which includes 1,500 Hare Krishnas and 5,000 other Hindus. Hinduism is not recognized as a religion by the Belgian government.Attempts have been done by the Hindu Forum of Belgium (HFB) to make Hinduism an officially-recognized religion in Belgium.

Hinduism in East Timor

Hinduism is a minority faith in East Timor. Almost all of them follow Balinese Hinduism

Hinduism in Germany

Hinduism is a minority religion in Germany.It is practised by 0.1% of the population of Germany.


A Hyang (Kawi, Javanese, Sundanese, and Balinese) is an unseen spiritual entity that has supernatural power in ancient Indonesian mythology. This spirit can be either divine or ancestral. The reverence for this spiritual entity can be found in Sunda Wiwitan, Kejawen, and Balinese Hinduism. In the modern Indonesian this term tends to be associated with gods, devata, or God. The realm where the hyangs reside is called kahyangan; the abode of gods, now a synonym for svarga or heaven in modern Indonesian.Hindu Balinese spiritualism describes hyang as a venerated spiritual existence, that deserves a special reverence. Hyang is commonly described as a sacred and luminous personal form. It is the name for a spiritual existence that has supernatural powers, portrayed like the sun in a dream. His arrival in a person's life gives contentment without a pause for a long time, which is indistinguishable between dream and reality. Indonesians generally recognize this term to refer the cause of beauty, the cause of all existence (creator), or simply to refer God.


Ogoh-ogoh are statues built for the Ngrupuk parade, which takes place on the eve of Nyepi day in Bali, Indonesia. Ogoh-ogoh normally have form of mythological beings, mostly demons. As with many creative endeavours based on Balinese Hinduism, the creation of Ogoh-ogoh represents spiritual aims inspired by Hindu philosophy.The main purpose of the making of Ogoh-ogoh is the purification of the natural environment of any spiritual pollutants emitted from the activities of living beings (especially humans). The forms of Ogoh-ogoh represent the Bhuta-Kala (Bhuta: eternal energy, Kala: eternal time), according to Hindu teachings. The imperceptible potentials of nature cannot be thoroughly explored by anyone. Philosophically, civilized men are required to manage the natural resources without damaging the environment itself.

Aside from being the symbol of Bhuta-Kala, Ogoh-ogoh is considered a symbol of modes of nature that form the malicious characters of living beings. Each village usually build one Ogoh-ogoh mainly built by each village's Seka Truna Truni (Balinese village's youth organization), but often some smaller ogoh-ogoh also built by groups of children around the village. Some artist also usually build one. After being paraded on a convoy around the town, finally it is burnt to ashes in a cemetery as a symbol of self-purification.

An Ogoh-ogoh is normally standing on a pad built of timber planks and bamboos. The pad is designed to sustain the Ogoh-ogoh while it is being lifted and carried around the village or the town square. There are normally eight or more men carrying the Ogoh-ogoh on their shoulders. This procession is accompanied by orchestral music performed by the youth. The use of flares is also a main part of the parade.

During the procession, the Ogoh-ogoh is rotated counter-clockwise three times. This act is done at every T-junction and crossroad of the village. Rotating the effigies during the cremational parade and the eve of Nyepi represents the contact of the bodies with the spirits. It is intended to bewilder the evil spirits so that they go away and cease harming human beings.

The Ogoh-ogoh is a very recent addition to the Nyepi ceremonies, first appearing in Denpasar in the early 1980s. At that time, they were carefully monitored for any criticism of the Suharto regime.

Padmasana (shrine)

The padmasana (Kawi and ultimately derived from Sanskrit term for "lotus pose" is a type of shrine in a Balinese temple. The shrine is basically shaped like an empty throne on top of a pillar. Together with the Meru towers, the padmasana is a type of shrine reserved for the most important deity in Balinese Hinduism, usually to represent the Supreme God, also known as the Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa.

Polygamy in Indonesia

Polygamy is legal in Indonesia, the largest Muslim population in the world. Polygamy in Indonesia is not just practiced by Muslims, but also customarily done by non-Muslim minorities, such as the Balinese and the Papuans.A Muslim man may take up to four wives. As allowed by Islam, a man may take more than one wive as long as he treats them equally and can financially support them all. Despite such religious legality, polygamy has faced some of the most intense opposition than any other nation with the majority consisting of Muslims. Recent restrictions have brought about harsher penalties for unlawfully contracted polygamous unions and polygamy is said to be on the decline. Indonesian military personnel are only permitted to practice polygamy if their religion allows it. Additionally, he must prove to the government that his first wife is unable to carry out her duties as a wife.Polygamy under Balinese Hinduism is sanctioned and unrestricted, but the marriage is regulated by adat (traditional customs). Although polygamous marriages are practiced in Bali, the nature of Hindu polygamy has not been included in the national marriage law debates. The native inhabitants of West Papua and Papua have been practicing polygamy long before the arrival of Christian missionaries. The Papuans who choose to still practice polygamous marriages after being Christians usually conduct the adat marriages instead of the church one.On a separate note, a study found that polygamous politicians are overwhelmingly less likely to gain female votes than monogamous politicians.


Prajapati (IAST: Prajāpati-Rajjan or Rajanya, "lord of creation and protector") is a Vedic deity of Hinduism. The term also connotes many different gods, depending on the Hindu text, ranging from being the creator god to being same as one of the following: Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Agni, Indra, Vishvakarma, Bharata, Kapila and many others. According to George Williams, the inconsistent, varying and evolving Prajapati concept in Hindu mythology reflects the diverse Hindu cosmology. In classical and medieval era literature, Prajapati is equated to the metaphysical concept called Brahm as Prajapati-Brahm (Svayambhu Brahm), or alternatively Brahm is described as one who existed before Prajapati.

Puja (Hinduism)

Puja or pooja (IAST: pūjā; Devanagari: पूजा; IPA: [puːd͡ʒɑː]) is a prayer ritual performed by Hindus of devotional worship to one or more deities, or to host and honor a guest, or one to spiritually celebrate an event. It may honour or celebrate the presence of special guest(s), or their memories after they die. The word "pūjā" is Sanskrit, and means reverence, honour, homage, adoration, and worship. Puja, the loving offering of light, flowers, and water or food to the divine, is the essential ritual of Hinduism. For the worshipper, the divine is visible in the image, and the divinity sees the worshipper. The interaction between human and deity, between human and guru, is called darshan, seeing. .

Puja rituals are also held by Buddhists and Jains. In Hindu, puja is done on a variety of occasions, frequency and settings. It may include daily puja done in the home, to occasional temple ceremonies and annual festivals. In other cases, puja is held to mark a few lifetime events such as birth of a baby or a wedding, or to begin a new venture. The two main areas where puja is performed are in the home and at temples to mark certain stages of life, events or some festivals such as Durga Puja and Lakshmi Puja. Puja is not mandatory in Hinduism. It may be a routine daily affair for some Hindus, periodic ritual for some, and rare for other Hindus. In some temples, various pujas may be performed daily at various times of the day; in other temples, it may be occasional.Puja varies according to the school of Hinduism. Puja may vary by region, occasion, deity honored, and steps followed. In formal Nigama ceremonies, a fire may be lit in honour of deity Agni, without an idol or image present. In contrast, in Agama ceremonies, an idol or icon or image of deity is present. In both ceremonies, a lamp (diya) or incense stick may be lit while a prayer is chanted or hymn is sung. Puja is typically performed by a Hindu worshiper alone, though sometimes in presence of a priest who is well versed in a complex ritual and hymns. In temples and priest-assisted event puja, food, fruits and sweets may be included as sacrificial offerings to the ceremony or deity, which, after the prayers, becomes prasad – food shared by all gathered.Both Nigama and Agama puja are practiced in Hinduism in India. In Hinduism of Bali Indonesia, Agama puja is most prevalent both inside homes and in temples. Puja is sometimes called Sembahyang in Indonesia.


In Hinduism, a sampradaya ( Sanskrit : सम्प्रदाय IAST sampradāya) can be translated as ‘tradition’, 'spiritual lineage' or a ‘religious system’. It relates to a succession of masters and disciples, which serves as a spiritual channel, and provides a delicate network of relationships that lends stability to a religious identity.

Satya Dharma Temple

Vihara Satya Dharma is a modern Chinese temple at Benoa Port, Bali. It is a temple of "Satya Dharma" or "Shenism", Southeast Asian names for the Chinese folk religion. Like other Chinese temples and in Bali, this temple also has an altar in its outdoor yard dedicated to gods of Balinese Hinduism.The main deity of this temple is Mazu. As a temple which is built in the international port area, this temple worships the deities of travel safety, sailing, and business. This is the first Chinese temple in Benoa Port thus is expected to be a worship place for the sailors from various countries and also as a tourist attraction.

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