A Time for Introspection
Siwaratri is one of Bali’s most important religious ceremonies worshiping Siwa, a supreme Hindu God that is held once a year,usually on the 7thBalinese new moon on the local calendar. During this time it is believed that Siwa is in His most intense state, conveying the strongest energy throughout the cosmos. It is indeed a good time for everybody to focus on their inner vision and channel some positive energy to our body and soul in order to purify the spirit and a time to strengthen self-awareness. There are three basic ‘brata’ or rituals,namely Upawasa, Monabrata and Jagrabrata, that everybody has to accomplish to be able to receive this purest energy from the universe and to gain a higher level of consciousness.
Monabrata is a ritual of trying to control your appetence by not doing anything and not using any verbal language thus not talking to anybody. Upawasa is a fasting ritual: no eating and drinking during this time, while Jagrabrata is a ritual where participants have to stay awake all night long. For those who are able to do the three bratas are considered successful in accomplishing “Utama” or the highest level of Brata Siwaratri. For some people who are not able to do all threebratas for certain reasons are understandably considered as “Madya” the middle level of accomplishment, by doing Upawasa and Jagra without Monabrata. And the last one is considered “Nista” the lowest level among the three by doing Jagra only.
Just like any other Hindu ceremonies an array of rituals are held before doing the bratas. Offerings are prepared and presented to deities and ancestors, prayers are held individually, with family or in a group of community. Some villagers go to a village temple to pray and conduct brata, together with friends and relatives. In order to understand better and easier, and to revitalize the meaning of Siwaratri, the young generation are told of an inspiringlocal folktale, known as “Lubdaka” a village hunter who coincidently passed the brata where he was hiding on top of tree while avoiding falling prey towild animals. *BB-RM*