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Good and evil, right and left, gods and demons, are banded into two opposing factions, constantly at war, in which the weapons are their magic powers and the stakes the lives and interests of the Balinese themselves, compelling them to propitiate both sides so as not to attract the wrath of either party. Only by the proper balance between the negative and positive forces are they able to maintain the spiritual harmony of the community. This is particularly important at certain times, such as childbirth, menstruation, death in the village, or when a crime that disturbs the magic balance of the village has been committed; circumstances that weaken and pollute the protective life power of the individual or of the village and render them vulnerable to the attacks of evil.

The antithesis of the state of normalcy, of health and cleanliness (sutji', ening) is for a person or a community to be sebel, unclean, physically and spiritually polluted and, run down, a condition that must be cured by cleansing factors and ceremonies to give added strength to the soul the making of offerings, the use of purifying water and fire, and the recitation of secret magic words by a qualified priest, the three elements of Balinese ritual.

To counterbalance the healthy influence of the gods who produce cleanliness, luck, and fertility, there are evil spirits responsible for all illness and misfortune. Among the countless demons that crowd the spirit world of the Balinese, some, like the raksasas, are inoffensive giants and ghouls that belong to literature, but the invisible causes of evil are disagreeable butas and kalas, symbols of malice and coarseness, that haunt desolated places, the seashore, and the deep forests and infest the dangerous " parts of the village, the crossroads and the cemetery. The butas and Was have no other mission on earth than to annoy and persecute humans, making people ill, disturbing and polluting everything. They can go into people's bodies and make them insane or turn them into idiots.

The tangible gifts to the gods, the offerings (pebanten) like the presents given to human beings, consist of fruits, cakes, rice, flowers, money, chickens, and pigs. They are given in the same spirit as presents to the prince or to friends, a sort of modest bribe to strengthen a request; but it is a condition that they should be beautiful and well made to Please the gods and should be placed on well-decorated high altars. Their devils, however, the Balinese treat with contempt, and the offerings in tended for evil spirits are generally a smelly mess of half-decayed food which is disdainfully thrown to the ground. The deities are served with the essence (sari) of the offerings, which is fanned towards the place they supposedly occupy, carried by the rising
smoke of the incense. Ordinary people take what is left, the material part is later taken home and eaten. Thus both gods and the donors enjoy the banquet. The magic people, the many Balinese possessed by supernatural powers, are not allowed to touch these left-overs from the feast of the gods, the food with out the essence.

Offerings to evil spirits are in themselves polluted and are left to be eaten by the village scavengers, the hungry dogs. The devils receive elaborate sacrifices on certain occasions and on special days, every fifth (klion) and every fifteenth (kadjeng klion) day; but, as they are greedy by nature, the little offerings given them every day a few grains of rice, a few flower petals, and a coin or two - are enough to distract them from their, evil intentions. They become particularly obnoxious at sundown, and on these special dates the women of each household place in front of their gates trays of food, flowers, and money, next to a burning coconut husk.

Great calamities will fall upon the village when the butas predominate or when they are angry. Then they cause epidemics, the loss of crops, and so forth, and only by the most elaborate ceremonies of purification and, great offerings of blood sacrifices can the pollution of the village be wiped out.

Nyepi. Once a year, at the spring equinox, every community holds a general cleaning-out of devils, driving them out of the village with magical curses and rioting by the entire population. This is followed by a day of absolute stillness, the suspension of all activity, from which the ceremony takes its name. Nyepi marks the New Year and the arival of spring, the end of the troublesome rainy season, when even the earth is said to be sick and feverish (panas) . It is believed that then the Lord of Hell, Yama, sweeps Hades of devils, which fall on Bali, making it imperative that the whole of the island be purified.

There is great excitement all over Bali at this time, and on the days before nyepi everybody is busy erecting altars for the offerings and scaffolds for the priests at the village crossroads. Since no cooking is allowed on nyepi' day, the food for the next day is prepared and there are melis processions all over Bali to take the gods to the sea for their symbolical bath. The celebration proper extends over a period of two days: the metjaru, the great purification offering, and nyepi', the day of silence. On the first day the Government allows unrestricted gambling and cockfighting, an essential part of the ceremony, because the land is cured by spilling blood over impure earth.

In Den Pasar round after round was fought all morning; crowds of men gathered in the meeting hall of every bandjar, each bringing his favourite fighting cock in a curious satchel of fresh coconut leaves, handle and all, woven over the cock's body, its tail left sticking out so as not to damage the feathers. Each satchel was cut open and the cocks presented to the audience to announce the matches. The betting began; excited enthusiasts waved strings of kepengs and silver ringgit and yelled at each other. A vicious steel blade five inches long and sharp as a razor was attached to the right foot of each cock in place of the natural spur, which was cut off. When both contenders were ready and the bets bad been placed, the referee and the time-keeper went to their places and gave the signal to start, beating a small gong.

The two cocks, held by their owners, were brought to the middle of the arena, provoked against each other and released. The audience became tense, and the cocks attacked each other with such fury that the eye could not follow them; there were only flashes of the polished steel of the spurs in the cloud of flying feathers. Each round lasted only a few seconds; suddenly the two cocks stopped and stood motionless in front of each other, both streaming blood, until one staggered and fell dead,
the winner crowing and still pecking furiously at the corpse. it frequently happens that both cocks are wounded but the survivor is healed and often lives to fight many battles. A cock is disqualified if it runs away at the beginning; otherwise the fight is to death. When a cock is wounded but it is considered that it can go on. fighting, its owner gives it strength to go on with special massages, blowing his own breath into its lungs; then it is not rare for a badly wounded cock to come out triumphantly over an apparent winner. Should both cocks refuse to fight, they are placed inside a basket, where one cannot avoid being killed. Hundreds of roosters are sacrificed in this manner in every village on the day before nyepi".

The Balinese cannot understand the attitude of the sentimental Dutch, who have forbidden cockfights. To them a rooster is as dead in the kitchen as after a cockfight; besides, cockfights are staged as a religious duty, as a sport that gives an opportunity for a little gambling and as a way to provide food for the next day. The dead roosters are taken home and cooked for the nyepi' meal. After the cockfights, in Den Pasar it is customary to give a banquet for the children of each bandjar, a double row of beautifully decorated trays filled with sweets and cakes served to them by the bandjar officials.

Before sunset the evil spirits had to be lured and concentrated at the great offering, the metjaru, then cast out by the powerful spells of the priests of the village. Facing towars kangin, the East of Den Pasar, were tall altars filled with offerings: one for the Sun and for the Trinity (sanggah agung), one for the ancestors, and a third for the great Was, the evil gods. In the centre of the.ground an elaborate conglomeration of objects was arranged: food of all sorts, every kind of strong drink, money and house utensils, hundreds of containers of banana leaf with a sample of every seed and fruit that grew on the island, and a piece of the flesh of every wild and domestic animal in Bali (a small piece of dried tiger flesh was pointed out) ; all arranged in the shape of an eight-pointed star representing the Rose of the Winds, the whole surrounded by a low fence of woven palm-leaf. The colours; of the four cardinal points were indicated by a sacrificed black goat for kadja, the North, a white goose for kangin, the East, a red dog for Mod, the South, and a yellow, calf for kauh, the West. Small pieces of black, white, red, and yellow cloth were placed over each of the animals to give further emphasis to their colour. A chicken with feathers of five colours was placed in the centre, next to a small circular Rose of the Winds made of rice dyed in the eight different colours of the cardinal directions, with a centre of mixed rice of the eight colours. The collection of all these ingredients had taken months and the majority were wilted and decomposing. On the ground at the right of the metjaru was spread a bit of rice flour in which an image of Batara Kala was drawn and consecrated by a priest,surrounded by a little bamboo fence to keep the dogs from walking over it.

Facing the offerings were the scaffolds for the priests. First a long shed in which eight pedandas, the Brahmanic high priests, sat in a row, wearing their red and gold mitres and with their elaborate paraphernalia of state, ready to pray and dedicate the offerings for the gods. On the end of the shed was a smaller, lower shed where sat the sunguhu , the low-caste priest in charge of dedicating the offerings to the evil spirits, his specialty. These nine priests chanted powerful mantras, accompanied by swift gestures of the hands and fingers, and rang their bells alternately. There were seven pedanda siwa,, one pedanda budda., and one sunguhu - a priest for each of the cardinal directions.

The demons were thus lured to the great offering and then expelled from the village by the curses of the priests. The Regent of Badung joined in the prayers with his entire family, kneeling in front of the Sun-altar and making reverences while the nine priests rang bells and chanted formulas. When they finished, " new fire " and holy water were given by the priests to the beads of each bandjar, and the poor were allowed to loot the offerings for money and other useful objects. Firecrackers exploded in every direction and all the kulkuls in Den Pasar were beaten furiously, the populace ran all over town in groups, often with their faces and bodies painted, carrying torches on the end of long poles, beating drums, gongs, tin cans or anything that made a noise, yelling at the top of their lungs: " Megedi, megedi Get out! Get out! " - beating the trees and the ground, to scare away the unsuspecting butas who had assembled to partake of the offerings. From a dark comer came a deafening din that seemed produced by the frightened devils themselves, but our flashlight revealed a gang of naked children beating empty gasoline. cans The noisy torch parades swept over town until, they were exhausted, long after midnight.

The following day, nyepi, was supposed to be one of absolute stillness, a day when no fires, no sexual intercourse, and no work of any sort were permitted. There was no traffic on the roads and only by special permit and the payment of a heavy fine could the cars of foreigners drive through a town. In most Balinese villages the people were not even allowed out of their houses, especially in North Bali, where the nyepi regulations are strict. In Den Pasar it was forbidden even to light a cigarette, but people went out visiting as on a holiday. Curious tug-of-war games (med-medan) were organized there for the amusement of the young people; in bandjar Kaliungu', men on one side, girls on the other, pulled a long rattan until one side defeated the other, but in bandjar Sesetan a shouting crowd of boys stood facing a group of girls; the boys charged as in a football game and captured one girl, who then bad to be rescued by her friends in a rough free-for-all. Everybody tugged and pulled and the poor prisoner, wild-eyed and with her hair loose, was so roughly handled in the desperate effort to free her that she fainted. But someone walked over to her and unceremoniously emptied a bucket of cold water on her bead so she would revive and the game could proceed; when the girl was rescued the men captured another. Although the unique game is not played outside of the neigbbourhood of Den Pasar and then only on day, the Balinese insisted it had no significance of any sort and that its object was purely play.

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