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?

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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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  • 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.

    Nitish Jalali


  • 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…..

  • 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

    S C Roy

  • 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 _/\_

    • 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.

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

  • 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?

  • 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..

    • Namaskaram to every one Pease and love it am fr a hindues Father south indian heritage and roots and my mummy Brahmin me i belive in Hindu religion also I belive in Jesus Christ and the angels Cuz I had one experience in a Catholic cathedral out of body experience my grandparents came from India with the boat ca the Muttla in the early 1900century am very proud to be an Indian I wear my saries go to temples do my puja in am a devotee of Lord Shiva and maa kali Pease and love to a humanity Om..and I have visited my mother land 3times my daughter attended Kodikanial international school tamil naidu I love my India

  • 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?

  • 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!

  • 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.


  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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 !

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

  • 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

  • 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?

  • 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.

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

  • 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……

  • 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……

  • 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.

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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Namaste and Dhanyawaada for this article on Bali Hindus. It is so great pure Hinduism us preserved in Bali.I understand that Bharatanatya is part of the temple rituals in Bali.
    We have had the Balines
    Bharstanatya and Gamelan artists perform in Berkeley California inb the 70s.In USA we are practicing Hindu rituals customs and culture in their purr forms and our next generation is embracing them with pride.Please watch their accomplishments in all walks of life due to their Hindu uprinting.Also please visit Gurudeva.or and watch Hinduism in practice daily and our magnificent temple coming up in Kauii.It represents Hinduism today and it’s future at its best.Om Shanti.

  • i’ve interacted with both bali n malaysian hindus. i have one word i.e respect as they’re awesome ppl. i’ll visit bali in near future . u guys r awesome

  • Absolute eye opener ! And we call and fight over what we call Hinduism here . This should be sent to the Education Dept.to see what is missing in our books.Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev even talked of school books in Lebanon carrying information about the Indian architects and experts building mosques there. .you see lotus flower on the top .,and every school child reads and knows that even labor and elephants were taken from India.!!

    • We are all blessed to be born in Hinduism and it’s great culture. Planning to start a Indo- Bali Hinduism website so that a lot of information can be exchanged about culture, rituals, Mantras and much more. OM Namah SHIVAYA.