Mandala Wisata
Wenara Wana
The Temples

Indian Hindu Gods and Goddesses

Hinduism is believed to have begun, approximately 4,000 years ago, in the region of the Indus Valley located mainly in what today is Pakistan. Hinduism originated when the Aryan people, who came from Central Asia, developed settlements in the Indus Valley and assimilated the deities of the Indus Valley region's indigenous peoples into their own religion. Hinduism emerged as a highly polytheistic religion and a religion involving deities that could embody universal dualities. For example, some of the deities were considered to be both male and female.

During the first millennium A.D., Hindus, throughout India, began worshipping Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu as their 3 primarily deities. This evolution in Indian Hinduism sometimes involved deities being abandoned (they were no longer worshipped). Other deities, that had previously been worshipped as primarily deities, became minor deities (deities that were worshipped as incarnations of Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu). Today, many Indians still worship Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu as their 3 primary deities. Brahma is commonly worshipped as being the creator of the world and Vishnu is worshipped as being the ruler of the world. As the ruler of the world, Vishnu is also believed to sustain life. Shiva represents the god of paradoxes or dualities.

Today, within Indian Hinduism, many people worship Brahman (not to be confused with Brahma) as a supreme deity. However, some scholars argue that Indian Hinduism has not evolved to the point that it is primarily a monotheistic religion. One reason for this is that ,within Indian Hinduism, many people still worship a number of Gods and Goddesses as incarnations of Brahman (including Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu). Other scholars argue that Indian Hinduism has evolved to the point that it is primarily a monotheistic religion because the majority of India's Hindus, despite the fact that they might worship one or more incarnations of Brahman, ultimately believe that Brahman is the embodiment of everything in the universe. Finally, it is possible that Indian Hinduism is both a monotheistic and polytheistic religion because, within Indian Hinduism, Brahman represents both "one" and "many" deities (as a duality).

Balinese Hindu Gods and Goddesses
Today, there are many parallels between Indian Hinduism and Balinese Hinduism. For example, within Indian Hinduism most people worship Brahman as a supreme deity and within Balinese Hinduism most people worship Sanghyang Widhi Wasa as a supreme deity. Sanghyang Widhi Wasa is similar to Brahman, in that Sanghyang Widhi Wasa is believed to embody all universal dualities. Also, Sanghyang Widhi Wasa is believed to have many incarnations.

Almost all of the Balinese Hindu Gods and Goddesses (incarnations of Sanghyang Widhi Wasa) were historically assimilated, into Balinese Hinduism, from Indian Hinduism. However, this assimilation process did not always take place as a result of direct contact between the Balinese and Indians. Many Balinese Hindu beliefs and practices, were assimilated into Balinese Hinduism because of historical contacts that the Balinese had with the Javanese.

Historically, the Balinese rarely assimilated deities, into Balinese Hinduism, without altering their form or the beliefs that surrounded them. As a result, although almost all of the Balinese Hindu Gods and Goddesses ultimately originated from Indian Hinduism, today, there are few similarities between, for example, Durga from Indian Hinduism and Durga from Balinese Hinduism. Durga, within Indian Hinduism, is believed to be one of the female incarnations of the God Shiva (who, in turn, represents the God of paradoxes). The paradoxical nature of Shiva, is further illustrated in the Indian Hindu belief that Shiva can take the form of Paravati and Uma (mild mannered and maternal figures) or Kali. Kali is often depicted, within Indian Hinduism, as being a vengeful incarnation of Shiva, a black figure, a figure with multiple hands holding a bloody knife and another hand grasping a severed head, and a figure that has a necklace of skulls. Within Balinese Hinduism, Dewi Durga is believed to be the consort (spouse) of Dewa Siwa. Along with Dewa Siwa, Dewi Durga is believed to destroy negativity. Statues of Dewa Durga can be found at Balinese Hindu Pura Dalem sites. Within Balinese Hinduism, Rangda is believed to be one of the incarnations of Dewi Durga. Rangda is similar in nature to Kali. However, where as Kali, within Indian Hinduism, represents a very dark and vengeful side of Shiva, within Balinese Hinduism, Rangda represents a very dark and vengeful side of Dewi Durga. Rangda is often depicted, within Balinese Hinduism, as being the Queen of Witches, an expert in black magic, bloodthirsty, a cannibal, an arch enemy of Bali's beloved protector(s), and a figure with grotesque physical traits (such as 6 inch long nails , hairy knuckles, and drooping breasts). Rangda is believed to be a figure that the Balinese historically derived from the Javanese.

Within Balinese Hinduism, Dewi Sri represents a very special deity. One reason for this is that Dewi Sri is believed to be unique to Bali. In other words, Dewi Sri is believed to be a Balinese Hindu figure that the Balinese historically did not derive from another culture. Dewi Sri is the consort of Wisnu, the Goddess of rice, the Goddess of sustenance, and the protector and nurturer of Bali's rice fields.

Butas, Kalas, and Butakalas
Within Balinese Hinduism, "demons" are commonly referred to as butas, kalas, or butakalas. Tourists tend to find demons to be some of the more intriguing of the Balinese Hindu figures. Unfortunately, demons tend to also be some of the most difficult of the Balinese Hindu figures for tourists to interpret. One reason for this is that many of Bali's tourists tend to have a preconceived notion that "demons" are automatically "evil spirits". Within Balinese Hinduism, demons represent "spirits" and there are demons that the Balinese believe are primarily "evil" in nature. For example, as previously mentioned, Rangda is commonly considered to be the rather mischievous incarnation of Dewi Durga. However, within Balinese Hinduism, demons, like Gods and Goddesses, are believed to be capable of embodying universal dualities or paradoxes. Therefore, even a demon like Rangda is not entirely evil in nature. In fact, the Balinese sometimes leave offerings to Rangda with the hope of enticing her to protect their village against evil spirits.

Another reason why tourists often have a difficult time interpreting Balinese Hindu demons, has to do with the fact that there are many forms of Balinese Hindu demons. In general, demons are believed to be figures that are intermediate, in terms of power, to animals (which includes humans) and Gods or Goddesses. Sometimes tourists make the mistake of interpreting this as meaning that Balinese Hindu demons are not related to humans, Gods, or Goddesses. It is important for tourists to keep in mind that Balinese Hinduism incorporates aspects of Animism. Therefore, demons are sometimes analogous to the spirits of deceased animals (both human and non-human). These animal spirits are believed to be capable of wandering the Earth and even inhabiting objects. However, historically, as aspects of Animism and Hinduism came together to form Balinese Hinduism, demons also became an important symbol of the Balinese Hindu belief in reincarnation. In other words, in addition to being Earth bound spirits, demons also came to represent spirits that, through the reincarnation process , achieved semi-unification with the divine. However, it is also important to keep in that within Balinese Hinduism, it is ultimately the divine that embodies everything within the universe and even determines whether or not a person is worthy of being reincarnated in a higher form. Therefore, there are also Balinese Hindu demons, like Rangda, that represent incarnations of a God or Goddess. In their demonic form, Gods and Goddesses are free to move about the Earth and directly interact with humans. They can perform kind deeds for humans that have been good or they can punish humans that have been bad. Similarly, a demon like Rangda, as Queen of the Witches, is capable of protecting or punishing lower demons. Finally, it is important to remember that Dewa Wisnu is beleived to have special powers that allow him to incarnate beyong the realms of the demons. Dewa Wisnu is believed to be capable of incarnating as an Avatar (God-Man).

Within Balinese Hinduism, Barongs represent a special category of demons. Barongs represent the spirits of animals (other then humans). There are some Barongs, like Barong Ket, that the Balinese believe are primarily good in nature. Barong Ket is a mythical creature that has been described as resembling a cross between a lion and a tiger. Barong Ket is depicted, throughout Bali, in the very popular Barong Dance. In the Barong Dance, Barong Ket battles the evil powers of Rangda.

Several Barongs that are beleived to inhabit the Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal and are believed to be capable of protecting the Sacred Monkey Forest, against evil spirits, include the Tiger, Boar, and Monkey (which are all depicted in statues located throughout the Sacred Monkey Forest). However, it is also believed that only temple priests have the ability to detect the presence of these Barongs as they wander through the Sacred Monkey Forest.

Within Balinese Hinduism, all Barongs (including Barong Ket) are believed to be capable of harming humans. As such, it is not uncommon for the Balinese to provide offerings to Barongs. Like other types of demons , Barongs are also sometimes believed to be incarnations of a Gods or Goddesses.

Balinese Hindu Statues
Tourists often wonder whether or not the Balinese worship statues. The answer to this questions, is that the Balinese "do not" worship statues. Statues of Balinese Hindu Gods, Goddesses, and demons, like those found throughout the Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal, remind the Balinese of important Balinese Hindu beliefs and practices. Also, they ultimately serve the purpose of reminding the Balinese that Sanghyang Widhi Wasa is ever present (although in many forms). People that behave in accordance with the Tri-Hita Karana Doctrine might be rewarded. People that do not behave in accordance with the Tri-Hita Karana Doctrine might be punished.

The Main Temple Map
Tri-Hita Karana Doctrine
• The Bathing Temple
• Gods, Goddesses
   and Demons
• The Cemetery and     Cremation Temple
• The Lingga Yoni

They who practice
austerity and faith
in the forest,
The peaceful knower
that live on alms,
Depart passionless
through the door
of the sun,
To where is that
immortal Person,
even the
imperishable Spirit.

The Mundaka Upanishad

Tegal Sari

The Original Ubud
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