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Hindu Dharma - Beliefs

Beliefs :: The Rites of Passage :: Cremation

Hindu Dharma/Agama Hindu is the name of the religion followed by 95% of the population of Bali. The remaining 5% practice a mixture of faiths : Islam, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhism, and Kong Hu Cu.

The aim of Hindu Dharma is “ to reach peace of spirit and harmony in the material life”. In practicing their faith, Hindu communities try to achieve a spiritual balance of worship between Tattwa (philosophy), Susila (etiquette/morals), and Upacara (rituals). These three areas are subdivided into various tenets.
The Tattwa has five principal beliefs (Panca Srada) :
Brahman The belief in the existence of one almighty God head.
Atman The belief in the soul and the spirit.
Samsara The belief in reincarnation.
Karma Belief in the law of reciprocal actions (one gets back, eventually, what one gives out). 
Moksha The belief in the possibility of unity with the divine (Nirwana).
The susila (etiquette) places emphasis on three major rules for behavior (Tri Kaya Parisuda) :
- To think good thoughts.
- To talk honestly.
- To do good deeds.
As well three is an important code of Hindu Dharma called Tat Twam Asi - “ You are as I am;” in other words, “ to feel the feelings of one’s fellow beings.”
Upacara (ritual) is divided into five areas of holy sacrifice (Panca Yadnya) :
Dewa Yadnya - holy rituals for the gods.
Pitra Yadnya - holy rituals for the higher spirits, and “rites of death”
Rsi Yadnya - holy ritual for the holy Hindu prophets (resis).
Manusa Yadnya - ritual for and on behalf of humans (from the baby in the womb until marriage).
Bhuta Yadnya - sacrifices for neutralizing the negative influences from the natural and super natural worlds.
Hinduism is a monotheistic religion with one God head, in Bali called “Ida Sanghyang Widi Wasa,” “ Sang Hyang Tunggal,” or “Sang Hyang Cintya.” Hinduism is often misunderstood as being a faith with many gods and goddesses (Dewas and Bhataris). These other gods are merely realization or manifestations of the holy rays from the one God. The word Dewa (Deva) comes from the Sanskrit word Dev, meaning ray.
Bhatara comes from the word Bhar, meaning protector. The Dewas, or holy manifestations of God which appear most often in Balinese religion are called the Tri Murti, or the holy Trinity.
Brahma - The creator
Wisnu - The preserver
Ciwa - The destroyer or returner.
In Bali the pedanda, (high priest), selected from the Brahman caste, officiates at large ceremonies. The pemangku, or village temple priest, looks after the temple and leads the holy rituals included in the Panca Yadnya.
The holy books of the Hindu religion are the Vedas, which origined in the India. Those which reached Bali are the Catur and the Veda Cirah, which are still used by the priest in carrying out their religious duties. The religion is taught in other forms as well. The most popular of these are the Purana, or morality plays, and the Itihasa, or epic poems, the most well-known being the Ramayana and the Mahabarata. The many theatre forms-the wayang shadow puppet plays, the masked drama, the operas and ballets-are also vehicles of religious teaching.
The beliefs of the Balinese are living force that pervade the island and reverberate outside it. The island sings of love, the love that spends an hour making an offering of woven palm leaves and flashing flowers, the love that finds the time everyday to think of the “other world”, of giving something to the gods, of lighting a stick of incense, of sprinkling holy water, of whispering a mantra as the hands make gentle, sacred movement, of processions incredible in their spelendour, of offerings amazing in their intricacy or surprisingly simple in their humility, of loving work and love bestowed on children a life of love, given freely to everyone in a smile or a wave as you pass by.
On this island there is a link to enlightenment. The Balinese feel themselves to be a blessed people, a feeling, continually reinforced by the wealth of their every-day life and strengthened by the splendour of their religion. It is almost as if the Balinese are living as art continually worshipping their muse. To Nehru, Bali was “the morning of the world,” To the Balinese, Bali is the only “real” world in the world and the sacred mountain Gunung Agung is the “navel of the world,” the umbilical cord form whence the world springs.

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