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What India Can Learn From Bali

What India Can Learn From Bali



Bali is a state of Indonesia, a secular country with the biggest Muslim population in the world. But the majority in the state of Bali, over 93 %, are Hindus. Bali is home to 4.22 million Hindus whose ancestors had to flee from other islands of Indonesia, after the great Indonesian Hindu Empire Majapahit was defeated and most of Indonesia was converted to Islam. Here are some interesting facts about Bali that every Indian Hindu must know.

1. Nyepi day, a day of total silence (mauna) once a year, when even the Ngurah Rai International Airport of Denpasar is closed from 6 am to 6 am. No cars, no traffic, no entertainment, no TV. Sit in the house, do contemplation, do prayers. Can we introduce that Nyepi Day in our noisy country?

2. The culture of Bali was begun by the Rishis of India, whose names are no longer taught in the schools of India but which are common in the schools of Bali—Markandeya, Bharadwaja, Agastya – the names we hear in the Puranas but they are part of the way the history of Bali is taught in the schools of Bali. How many Rishis can you name? Do you remember any one of the 402 names of the Rishis and Rishikas (female Rishis) from the Rig Veda (the most ancient and most sacred text of Hinduism), which are our ancestors and the forming fathers of our religion – Vaidika Sanatana Dharma?

3. The national Balinese dress for both, men and women, girls and boys, is Dhoti. No one can enter a temple without wearing a Dhoti. Except in some parts of South India, Dhoti is laughed at in India today. Why are we so ashamed of our heritage? Even most Indian priests change their dress after they are finished with the worship because they feel ashamed in a Dhoti??

4. The social, economic and political system of Bali is based on the principle of tri-hita-karana…three benevolent, beneficent principles— that every human being has three aspects …the duty, the relationship that we have with God [Parahyangan]; the relationship that we have with human beings [Pawongan]; and the relationship that we have with nature [Palemahan] and these are the three principles on which the entire culture of Bali is built. This was all established by the Rishis whose names are just about forgotten in India which are taught in the schools of Bali.

5. Trikala Sandhya (Sun worship three times a day) is practiced in every Balinese school. The Gayatri Mantra is recited by every Balinese school child three times a day. Many of the local radio stations also relay Trikala Sandhya three times a day. Can we even think of introducing something like this to our schools in India? How many Indian Hindus are aware of their duty of Trikala Sandhya? It is as central to our religion as the 5 times Namaz is to Islam, yet?

Please click on images to view in full:

6. In the year 1011 AD, at a place which is now known as Purasamantiga… there was the first inter-religious conference of three religions: Shaiva Agama, Bauddha Agama and Baliyaga, the traditional pre-Buddhist, pre-Hindu, Balinese religion. The scholars and the leaders sat down and worked out a system by which the three religions should work together and exchange forms with each other and that is the religion of Bali today.




7. In Bali every priest is paid by the government. Despite the fact that Indonesia is a secular country with the biggest Muslim population in the world, the priest of every religion is paid by the government so every religion is supported by the government. That is the Indonesian form of secularism. Can we even think of this in India?

8. The national motto of Indonesia “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika. One is many, many is one.” is inspired by an Indonesian Hindu scripture Sutasoma Kakavin. The complete quotation is as follows – “It is said that the well known Buddha and Shiva are two different substances; they are indeed different, yet how is it possible to recognize their difference in a glance, since the truth of Buddha and the truth of Shiva are one? They may be different, but they are of the same kind, as there is no duality in truth.” Why can’t we have “Ekam Sad Vipra Bahudha Vadanti” (The truth is one, but the wise express it in various ways – Rig Veda) as our national motto?

9. Bali is one of the world’s most prominent rice growers. Every farm has a temple dedicated to Shri Devi and Bhu Devi (Lakmi the Goddess of wealth and mother earth – the two divinities that stand on the either of side of Tirupati Balaji in India). No farmer will perform his agricultural duties without first making offerings to Shri Devi and Bhu Devi. That is called culture, that Subak System. The agricultural and water irrigation plan for the entire country was charted in the 9th Century. The priests of a particular water temple still control this irrigation plan. And some World Bank or United Nations scientist did a computer model that would be ideal for Bali. And when they brought the model the Balinese said ‘we have been practicing this since the 9th century. What are you bringing here?’ And I don’t know how many million dollars these WTO, these World Bank people, United Nations people, spent on creating that chart which was already created in the 9th century without any computers…. and that Subak System still continues. Such systems were in place in various parts of the country. Its remnants are still visible here in India. I have visited areas where there is no water for miles due to drought, yet the well at the local temple still provides fresh water.

10. In Bali Hindus still don’t read a printed book when they perform Puja (worship). They read from a Lontar, which have traditionally been scripted by hand on palm leaf. When they recite the Ramayana Kakavin…where the book is kept, worship will be performed. There is a special ritual of lifting the sacred book, carrying it in a procession, bringing [it] to a special place, doing the bhumi puja, worshipping the ground there and consecrating the ground, then placing the book there. Then the priest will sit and recite the Ramayana.

When I was called to Bali it was to teach and preach the Vedic teachings. But I came back with a humble realization that I have to learn more from Bali than I can actually teach them.

~ Facts according to Swami Veda Bharati, a great master of meditation from the Himalayan Tradition, compilation by Madhumati

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51 Responses to "What India Can Learn From Bali"

  1. Nitish Jalali  April 17, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Namaskar. I am Nitish Jalali, born in a Kashmiri Pandit family. Its my great fortune that i was born into a Hindu family. I always aspire to learn more about our culture. You guys have really given me a direction to learn more and more about Sanatan dharma. Its my pleasure that i am born in a age where information is easily accessible. I would like to congratulate you for taking such a beautiful initiative and working so hard to retain our culture back.

    Regards:
    Nitish Jalali

    Reply
    • Agung Pawati  July 6, 2016 at 8:17 am

      Om Swastiastu, namaskar, am greatful was born and brought up in Bali with Hindu Bali culture!

      Reply
  2. T.V.NATARAJ PANDITH  April 18, 2014 at 2:03 am

    RESPECTED GURUJI UR MAGZINE IS VERY FINE .IT IS VERY INTERESTING AND INFORMATIVE.IN MY OPINION IT IS TO BE RAED BY EVERY “HINDU” AND THE DETAILS ARE EVERY HINDU OUGHT TO KNOW. ANANTA PRANAM TO U AND UR TEAM

    Reply
  3. raj  April 21, 2014 at 10:12 am

    ithink indians should really learn from bali how to live with culture

    Reply
  4. dewasugara  April 22, 2014 at 6:13 am

    I am indonesian balinese hindu….then why dont you came to bali sometimes 🙂

    Reply
    • Nimish  March 16, 2015 at 5:27 am

      sure , we will 🙂

      Reply
  5. Rays  April 23, 2014 at 8:01 am

    Aku bangga jadi orang Hindu Bali, mutiara yang tersisa dari peradaban India

    Reply
  6. Rays  April 23, 2014 at 8:09 am

    I’m proud to be a Hindu Bali, is a pearl is left of civilization India

    Reply
  7. Dayu Amba  April 27, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    namaskaram…., I am a Balinese Hindu and married with a Keralites Hindu man, such a combination af two beautiful culture, but then we choose Bali as place to live, we are in modern world yet we never leave our culture. We proud to be born as Hindu. India is a main office, where Hindu was born……, but Bali is just a branch office where Hindu grows beautiful…..

    Reply
    • Sandesh  June 3, 2014 at 6:04 pm

      Namaste. Beautiful words from you madam. Regards

      Reply
  8. s c  April 29, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Thank you all for your good comments

    I’d like to let you know that if anybody wants to learn about SANATAN Dharma please read Bhagavat Gita as it is written by HDG A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada The founder of ISKCON thanks again

    regard
    S C Roy

    Reply
  9. Nandito Brotowinoto  May 4, 2014 at 9:58 am

    AUM suasti astu _/\_

    I thank the writer of this article.
    I am a Javanese Hindu of Indonesia, Java island is the neighbour of Bali island.
    I am happy to read this motivating article.
    We all need to share good things to each other like myself is impressed to Indians be vegetarians, whereas I am not.

    Understand that Javanese are mixed population, Muslim is the majority, followed by Catholic, Christian, Hindu and Buddhist.
    But at the moment it has been 3 years I observed that many non Hindu people converted to embrace Hindu Agama, I am happy to find this figure.
    I prefer not to share negative things happened in the religious life of Javanese people caused by bad influence from outsider, but I am happy to say that Hindu is getting popular in Java island and the number of people who embrace it getting larger.

    I am now enjoying to watch the karma of Indonesians become Hindu 1 by 1 but sure.
    I would say that we Indonesians return to Sanatana Dharma “home”

    AUM shantih shantih shantih AUM _/\_

    Reply
    • sriharsha  April 21, 2015 at 3:51 am

      Amazed by your reply. I was of the opinion that Hinduism and Sanathan Dharm are being killed worldwide in the garb of modernity. At least in India, Westerners were able to brain wash some of the very influential people in north India to the point of disliking or hatred towards their own faith. In South India, priests are mocked for their insistence on preserving traditions. In one way it is a shame that only a few are capable of appreciating the only religion in the world which is tolerant of science and discussion.
      But your reply gives some hope. At least in some parts of the world, the richness of Sanathan Dharma is protected.

      Reply
      • Gede Puja Astika  April 28, 2015 at 3:07 pm

        Om Swastiastu, Om Namaste, Kanjeng Raden Nandito…
        I’m so proud of you to comment very nice in this forum…
        2 thumbs for you…

        Reply
  10. Ram Singhania  August 2, 2014 at 5:37 am

    Hello Sanskriti,
    Good information.But could’nt you shed some light on the name of this country, e.g. BALI?

    Has it some connection to the Vanara king Bali of the Ramayana fame?

    Reply
    • Gede Puja Astika  April 28, 2015 at 3:08 pm

      I think you’re right….there’s some connections to them…

      Reply
  11. uthayasoorian  August 5, 2014 at 2:17 am

    I’m Malaysian Hindu. I’m appreciated and proud of Bali contribution to the Hindu Culture since its became
    branch of Hindu India. We, Hindus needs world Hindu culture Conference which is can provided participants from HIndu culture countries throughout the world contribute their ancient hIndu world for better future.. Aum Nama Shivaya..Inbame Soozgha, Ellorum Vaazgha..

    Reply
  12. Sharath  August 5, 2014 at 2:45 am

    Nice article, hope to visit Bali one day, best wishes to Balinese people.

    Reply
  13. vinay  August 21, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    can anyone suggest me where can i buy books of vedas.
    All four vedas. Not modern or modified one. I want original copies.
    If available, can you give reference where i can find…any website…
    why don’t this website sell or distribute vedas?

    Reply
  14. Sujana Mahartana  August 25, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    Dear everyone,

    Om Swastyastu,

    What a lovely story
    if you guys come to Bali, just stay in my house. it’s free
    I’m happy to tell you about our culture

    Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om
    tutdesujana@yahoo.co.id

    Reply
  15. Budi  August 25, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    I am Balinese,.. I am proud born as Balinese Hindu, the last heritage of Hindu Indonesia Nusantara,

    Reply
  16. Lakshmi  October 19, 2014 at 9:25 am

    thank you for this extremely inspiring article about Hindu traditions in Truly, Indians are asleep to their rich cultural heritage. so much to learn about secularism from Indonesia!

    Reply
  17. Snehal  November 5, 2014 at 9:20 am

    Thank you Sanskriti for sharing sharing such a beautiful article. Truly proud with the culture they follow and importance given to Vedas and Hindu Sanskriti and after reading this article my love for reading has increase more.

    Reply
  18. GSNRaju  December 8, 2014 at 11:13 am

    We have to learn more from Bali.

    Reply
  19. Kalyan  December 14, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    Namaskar to all Balenese Hindu brothers and sisters.. 🙂

    Reply
  20. NAGESWARA RAO NELLORE  December 15, 2014 at 7:13 am

    IT IS TRUE,WHAT IS MENTIONED IN THIS ARTICLE.I HAVE VISITED BALI TWICE,MY GRAND SON CHI.ADARSH VARUN IS IN BALI.MY SON SRAVAN MARRIED A BALINEESE GIRL NAMED SUTARISHA.MY GRAND SON IS ABOUT THREE YEARS OLD IS CHANTING GAYATHRI MANTRA.I AM PROUD THAT I GOT RELATIONSHIP WITH BALI

    Reply
  21. Matthias  December 15, 2014 at 10:48 am

    I live in Bali in an Ashram for one year now doing a special Kundalini meditation and learned a lot about Hinduism. We have the honor to participate in ceremonies and yes everything the article mentions is true. Thanks a lot for your great articles!

    Reply
  22. V V N Raju  December 25, 2014 at 3:36 am

    Thank you for such a wonderful article.
    I was in Bali recently and felt the same thing as writer.
    Truly a great place. Every Hindu should Visit this great place called Bali.
    They have so much respect about mother Ganga , every body say it is their life time ambition to take holy bath at lease once in their life time.
    Such is their respect to Vedic tradition
    Long live Bali.

    Reply
  23. Diepak Paul  January 30, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    There are pockets we do not know about. Let us learn

    Reply
  24. Dyah  March 2, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    I’m an Indonesian and I’m an indigenous faith worshiper. But I love reading the article, as well as all comments. I love your interpretation on Bhinneka Tunggal Ika. You know unity in diversity seems hard to defend these days in our country, as people easily risen bad/negative point of view to anything different, such as religions, tribes, social class, gender, etc. We’re the same as Indians, or any citizens across the world, that must keep struggle to defend peace in our motherland. My opinion is we have to find who ourselves, where we come from and who are our ancestors, so that we can empower our culture and hold it tight as our weapon to fight globalism. Right now, I assist my boss to write a book about Java history, and we’ve been working for a year. I found interesting facts that Indians had arrived to our country as immigrants between 1st century and established first kingdoms in Indonesia, or perhaps they have arrived earlier, we don’t know yet. But I wouldn’t be surprised if one day I found a clue or trusted evidence that we are born by the same ancestor, and I hope it will happen very soon.

    Reply
  25. Sunil Kumar  April 21, 2015 at 4:26 am

    Dear Sir,

    I am Sunil Kaul living in India.My self and my family and thousands of our hindus were forced to leave our houses back in kashmir by islamist zealouts by we have maintained our culture despite all odds.

    Jai Sanatan Dharma!

    Reply
  26. Rajani  April 21, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    I amazed with this news. I’m blessed and proud to be born in Hindu family.

    Reply
  27. Made Tommy Brahmaputra  April 26, 2015 at 2:24 am

    Om Swastiastu | Namaskar | Pranams to you

    Knowledge can be lost, found and returned in a cyclic way within a few or several generations. What India can learn and gain from Bali, Bali once got from Jawa, Jawa once got from India and India once got, amongst other, from the realizations of the ancients Rishis of Indus. Knowledge is always here in the present but not everyone can extract it. It is important also to have in mind that knowledge that has been formed by traditions and culture, as in Bali, need a certain level of discrimination so that one is able to distinguish the presence and non-presence of eternal truths within those expressions. When this ability is achieved one may look at this issue with more clarity. The exchange of knowledge may be perceived as ‘our knowledge’ and ‘your knowledge’ but in reality it is all one dynamically expressed knowledge expressed in different depths, forms and know no boundaries.

    Om, Santih, Santih, Santih, Om | Sarvam Shantih

    Reply
  28. Gede Puja Astika  April 28, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    Om Swastiastu, Om Namaste

    Thank you very much about this article
    This make me more proud as a Balinese man
    Mixed culture of India, Java, Sumatra, China, and Bali Mula (The real Balinese People, the Balinese people of Pre-Buddha or pre-Hindu era) made the Bali getting more beautiful everyday…
    Jay Bali !
    Jay Sanathan Dharma !

    Reply
  29. Chandra  June 25, 2015 at 8:52 am

    Still wondering why in Bali they don’t celebrate big festivals of Hindu. Like Dipawali, Holi, Rakshabandahn , Dashera

    Reply
  30. komang  September 21, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    Om Swasti Astu. Thanks for the great articel.My name Komang from Bali..I’m very courious with Onam Fest..Somehow I do believed strong connection between Mahabali and Bali Island..There are 3 unfamous temples in estern Bali (close to Lempuyang Temple in Bali) called Bhur Temple,Bwah Temple and Swah Temple..And also when pay closed attention to the detailed Onam Fest’s costum with carriying something in their head (we called that dulang in Bali) with umbrella (we called tedung) and also genta..If you went to melasti ceremony in Bali.then we will realised that most detailed onam fest’s costum come alive. Om Santhi Santhi Santhi Om

    Reply
  31. Krishnan s/o Vengadasalam  October 4, 2015 at 2:57 am

    It is a wonderfull articles which inspired me to learn more about our hindu cultures

    Reply
  32. Dr. Lohmus Ramsurn  October 4, 2015 at 2:59 am

    I am a communist and agnostic but I believe in nature. Hinduism teaches us to respect nature and I find the Hindus in Bali are really practising this. I am against the government funding the religions as in Indonesia and even in Mauritius,it’s the same. Why not use this fund to feed the poor instead?

    Reply
  33. ud  October 4, 2015 at 9:01 am

    What about caste system in Bali???

    Reply
  34. Mohan Das  October 4, 2015 at 10:17 am

    Very inspiring and informative. Thanks to Swami Veda Bharati.

    Reply
  35. B R S Goud  October 4, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Really great article.. I want to see Bali once..

    Reply
  36. AshokP  December 14, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    During my family visit to Bali, experienced so many evidence of strong Hindu practices, very much humble people & give respect to everybody. I can’t forget the seen of “whole family in white doti preying under baniyan tree soon after sunset…” hope we relearn & practice these back in India. Wish I am going to spend my longer days over there to relinquish our relegion.

    Reply
  37. Made Sairesh  March 17, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    Every Balinese should be proud of themselves. I am a Malaysian Hindu, and have utmost respect for Balinese, for their dharmic lifestlye.

    Reply
  38. P K Datta  March 17, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    Respected Guruji !
    Pranam !

    I am a Physician from North East India….
    I found the article on Bali in sanskritimagazine is great relief from all the negative issues circulated in media, including social media…..
    I find Balinese can teach us how to practice religion…..in that way I must pay my soulfull homage to Hindus of Bali…….
    Thank you a lot for the article on BALINESE Hindus….feeling good to know their way of life……
    Pranam

    Reply
  39. P K Datta  March 17, 2016 at 8:09 pm

    Sumatra, java, Bali, Borneo…..all these island nurtured Hinduism……Found in the Chronicles of Sri Haraprasad Shastri…….we shall be happy to know more about these places in modern time……

    Reply
  40. Suresh Kumar  March 18, 2016 at 11:32 am

    Great heart warming article and comments. One of my friend’s reaction after spending about a month in beautiful Bali…. India must have been like this before the horrible invasions … I have to visit beautiful Bali… “Tatvam Asi” to all Sanatana Dharmees.

    Reply
  41. Hariharan  March 19, 2016 at 5:59 am

    Add your commentWant to visit Bali

    Reply
  42. Chandra Kishore  July 10, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    Please go to Utube and search ‘Ancient Hindu temples 1000yrs old+ found in Indonesia’.It goes far beyond Bali.

    Reply
  43. Bala  August 19, 2016 at 8:45 am

    Feel very very proud of balinese Hindu. I like and love bali and bali people much more.

    Great Hindusim. Mother of all civilisations preaches peace, unity and tolerance
    Bala India

    Reply
  44. Madhukar  September 14, 2016 at 9:26 am

    I visited Bali last year. It was immemorable visit. As being an born Hindu it was a pleasant surprise to learn our religion being practiced in much more devoted way. It was nice learning their culture and practices which made me really proud.

    Reply
  45. HS Bhandari  September 30, 2016 at 6:20 am

    We went to Bali last year and stayed at Balian Beach for over 10 days. I was overwhelmed to see them practising Hinduism. The moment you say you are Indian and a Hindu, they feel very happy. Smile and Namaste is all you receive everywhere. At every temple the pandeys (pandits) chanted mantras in Sanskrit. The women tie the cloth bands around their waste and heads. I come from Kumaon Himalayas. I had seen my mother and aunties doing this while praying or appearing before elderly. Whenever, I interacted with the local folk, my son jokingly used to suggest I settle down there permanently.
    I fact I was more Hindu there than in India.

    Reply

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