Hindu temple of universal truths

  • Lessons from Bali: even demons become kinder if they are fed on time and treated well (Photograph supplied)

    Lessons from Bali: even demons become kinder if they are fed on time and treated well (Photograph supplied)

Even demons become kinder if they are fed on time and treated well.

I learnt this last week, when we attended a service at a small Hindu temple in the remote mountains of western Bali.

My husband, Bill, and I went for a bike ride. We rode in the equatorial heat along a shady road, flanked by towering mountains of green jungle that swept up to high, mysterious ridges.

Across the empty sea was the perfect cone of the massive volcano that guards the Java Straits.

We turned onto a narrow road that led to the mountains. At the end was the Hindu temple. We pedalled towards its white walls and the gold spires glinting in the heat shimmer.

It was a time of service, and perhaps 200 hundred Balinese were converging on the dragon-flanked gates.

We left our bicycles and quickly wrapped ourselves in sarongs that we carried in our shoulder bags.

We joined the slow flood of the crowd as the sole foreigners, but as we were appropriately dressed, no one paid us undue attention.

The men wear tailored white jackets with a long, straight row of buttons in the front, and hats like short turbans. The women all have long sleeved blouses and, like the men, colourful sarongs. Often, both men and women wear white frangipani flowers behind their ears.

Temples here are embellished with statues of various mythical creatures; buxom goddesses, scowling demons and dragons with bulging eyes and protruding tongues, all carved in stone with awesome artistry.

These figures guard the entrance to the temple from the outside world.

In Bali, Hinduism blends with an ancient form of local animism. Nature is imbued with spirits and they must be both honoured and placated three times each day.

Every Balinese creates small offerings out of flowers, plaited leaves and small fruit treats and these appear everywhere — on sidewalks, in doorways and in front of the hundreds of shrines and temples.

Many worshippers were bringing their offerings in small baskets woven from banana leaves.

Offerings for demons were placed on the floor near the entrance. To the demons went food, and even cigarettes.

For the gods, they left flowers, fruits and incense. Every being in creation is worthy of respect.

“Our demons are mostly peaceful,” we were told with a laugh. “After all, we feed them well!”

The outdoor altar filled with hundreds of little baskets, and countless sticks of incense swirled aromatic smoke in the mild breeze.

My eyes swept over the fine-featured Balinese with their light, mahogany skin framed in brilliant white; the women’s hair, thick and dark and luxurious.

Wild mountain slopes stretched up beyond the altar, and birds called from the deep forest. The service began. It was simply beautiful. It was a ceremony of purification.

The priest came to every sitting person and dipped a handful of sacred durva grass into a silver jug of holy water, sprinkling it over our heads and into our cupped hands.

We brought the drops to our lips. I felt like a happy child in an enchanted land of vivid colours and aromas. I kept smiling. Bright sun was shining on me and I felt it in my soul.

At one point during the prayers all the people raised up their hands together holding pure white flowers and there was the gentle ringing sound of bells.

In that instant, I realised that both beauty and truth are universal, and that all gods and people are one.

Nina London is a certified wellness and weight-management coach. Her mission is to support and inspire mature women to make positive changes in their body and mind. Share your inspirational stories with her at www.ninalondon.com

You must be registered or signed-in to post comment or to vote.

Published Jan 17, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Jan 17, 2019 at 9:10 am)

Hindu temple of universal truths

What you
Need to
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon

  • Take Our Poll

    • "The most effective politician of 2019"
    • David Burt
    • 8%
    • Wayne Caines
    • 9%
    • Craig Cannonier
    • 3%
    • Zane DeSilva
    • 10%
    • Curtis Dickinson
    • 6%
    • Michael Dunkley
    • 33%
    • Nick Kempe
    • 27%
    • Leah Scott
    • 4%
    • Total Votes: 11029
    • Poll Archive

    Today's Obituaries

    eMoo Posts