Getting to Know the Ngaben Ceremony in Bali

Getting to Know the Ngaben Ceremony in Bali

 Generally, the body of the deceased will be buried. However, it is different with the bodies in Bali. There is a special ritual that needs to be done to usher the corpse away for good. The name of the ritual is none other than the Ngaben ceremony. In practice, cremation is often done with such grandeur. With the procession of many people and magnificent decorations. For the Balinese Hindu community, Ngaben has 3 main purposes. The first goal is as a form of releasing the spirit or the Atma from worldly bondage. At a later stage, this release becomes a means to facilitate the spirit to unite with God (Mokshatam Atmanam).

The next goal, is to restore all the elements of the Panca Maha Bhuta. What is Panca Maha Bhuta? None other than the 5 main elements that make up the gross human body. The five elements are solid elements such as bone, flesh, nails, apah which is a liquid element, bayu or air element, teja, heat, and akasa which is an ether element whose existence creates cavities in the human body. Bali is a symbol of the family. When doing cremation, it is a sign that the family who has been left behind has been sincere with the departure of the body.

Types of Ngaben Ceremony in Bali

Ordinary people may only know the Ngaben ceremony in Bali as a cremation ritual. The Balinese themselves have.

There are 5 types of cremation traditions which are distinguished based on how they are carried out, namely:

1. Ngaben Sawa Wedana

This ceremony is carried out by involving the corpse that is still intact. This means that the body is not buried first and its implementation is carried out between 3 to 7 days after the time of death. At special times, there is also the implementation of cremation sawa wedana which is carried out one month after the time of death of the body. During this waiting period, the body is placed in the area of ​​​​the traditional hall. To prevent decay, Balinese Hindus use special ingredients. It's just that lately, this special ingredient is often replaced with formalin. During this waiting period, the corpse will be treated as if it were a living human. They will treat it like someone who is sleeping or resting as usual.

2. Ngaben Asti Wedana

Ngaben asti wedana is a ceremony that involves corpses that have been buried. Before its implementation, the ngagah ritual is carried out first, which is a way of taking the remaining bones from the corpse.

3. Ngaben Swasta

This one cremation tradition is carried out without involving the corpse in it. Its implementation usually occurs due to impossibility, such as when the body is not found due to an accident, died abroad, and so on. Instead of the corpse, sandalwood which has been previously painted and filled with magical characters is usually used. The painting and filling is a representation of the gross body atma of the corpse in question.

4. Breathe

The tradition of Ngaben ngelungah ceremony is carried out for children who have not reached the date of their teeth.

5. Warak kruron

Ngaben warak kruron is specifically carried out for the bodies of babies who have miscarried.

In addition to having different types, the Ngaben ceremony in Bali is also carried out specially. Moreover, for the Balinese people, Ngaben is a very important religious ritual and should not be done arbitrarily.

Unique Ngaben Tradition in Terunyan Village, Kintamani Bangli

Ngaben is a cremation or cremation ceremony in Bali, and this Ngaben ceremony is also a symbol to purify the spirits of the dead. In Hinduism, the human body consists of a subtle body (spirit or atma) and a gross body (physical). The gross body is formed by the five elements known as the Panca Maha Bhuta. These five elements consist of pertiwi (earth), teja (fire), apah (water), bayu (wind), and akasa (space). These five elements unite to form the physical and are then moved by the spirit. If someone dies, what dies is only the rough body while the spirit is not. Therefore, to purify the spirit, it is necessary to perform a Ngaben ceremony to separate the spirit from the rough body.

It turns out that not all Hindus in Bali hold a cremation ceremony for the burning of bodies. In Terunyan, the bodies are not burned, but only placed in the burial ground. Trunyan is an ancient Balinese village which is considered a Bali Aga village or the original Bali. Terunyan has a lot of uniqueness and the highest attraction is the uniqueness in treating the corpses of its citizens.

Trunyan Village which is located on the edge of Lake Batur and surrounded by hillsides, this village has a lot of uniqueness as an ancient Balinese village and Bali Aga. Terunyan village has three types of graves which according to the tradition of Terunyan village, the three types of graves are classified based on the age of the person who died,the integrity of the body and the method of burial, namely:

The main grave, considered the holiest and best, is called Setra Wayah. The bodies buried in this holy grave are only bodies whose bodies are intact, not disabled, and bodies whose death process is considered natural (not suicide or accident).

Young graves, intended for infants and adults who are not married. However, with the condition that the body must be intact and free from defects.

Setra Bantas Graveyard, specifically for disabled bodies and those who died due to either starch or starch behavior (unnatural deaths such as accidents, suicides).

Of the three types of graves, the most unique and interesting is the main grave or sacred grave (Setra Wayah). This cemetery is located about 400 meters in the northern part of the village and is bordered by a protrusion at the foot of the hillside. To bring the body to the grave, one must use a special small canoe called a Pedau.

Although it is called buried, the method of burial is unique, which is known as mepasah. The body that has been ceremoniously carried out according to local tradition is simply placed in a hole as deep as 20 cm. Part of his body from the chest up, left exposed, not buried in the ground. The body is only limited by a dish made of a kind of bamboo to form a kind of cone, which is used to fence the body. 

In Setra Wayah there are 7 burrows divided into 2 groups. Two burrows for the head of the village whose bodies without defects are located upstream and there are still 5 burrows lined up after the two burrows, namely for ordinary people. then occupy the hole. Old bodies, just placed on the edge of the hole.

So don't be surprised if the setra wayah is scattered about human skulls that should not be planted or thrown away. Although not carried out with the Ngaben ceremony, the death ceremony of the Trunyan village tradition is in principle the same as the meaning and purpose of the death ceremony performed by other Hindus in Bali.

The ceremony is held to pay the child's service debt to his parents. The debt is paid in two stages, the first stage is paid with good behavior when the parents are still alive and the second stage when the parents die a series of ritual behavior in the form of a death ceremony.

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