Bali15 Ngaben, the joyful release of the eternal soul

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YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THIS PRESENTATION HERE: http://www.slideshare.net/michaelasanda/bali15-ngaben Thank you! The Ngaben is the last and most important ceremony of every Balinese life. It's the Balinese word for the cremation of the dead, in which the soul is released entirely from the body to ascend to heaven and to be reincarnated.

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Ngaben

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15 Bali

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The Ngaben is the last and most important ceremony of every Balinese life. It's the Balinese word for the cremation of the dead, in which the soul is released entirely from the body to ascend to heaven and to be reincarnated. The cremation is a big happening in Bali, (especially a royal cremation such as in Ubud last July 2008). But before a cremation can actually take place, there are many complicated ceremonies and preparations before and after the cremation. The three major events which take place before the soul of the deceased is fully released are: The Funeral: here the prethiwi (solids) are placed into the earth by burial The Cremation: the teja (radiance) is released by burning with fire The purification of the soul: the apah (liquids) is dispersed by throwing the ashes into the water Before the influence of the Majapahit, which spread the Hindu religion throughout Bali, the Balinese guided the soul of the deceased in a more simple way. The deceased was taken into the forest where the high humidity and the animals would break the body down quickly. Through this way the soul would be released from the body. Today this burial method only takes place in the Bali Aga villages, such as Tenganan and Trunyan who have never been influenced by the Majapahit before. Incinerarea este cel mai elaborat ş i costisitor dintre toate ritualurile din Bali. Ngaben (incinerarea) elibereaz ă sufletul etern (alma) din vehiculul p ă m â ntesc temporar, corpul fizic. Aceasta implic ă distrugerea deliberat ă a unor î nsemnate cantit ăţ i de bunuri materiale folositoare trecerii sufletului î n lumea de dincolo. Pentru cei vii multe din datorii sunt astfel pl ă tite.

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In Bali a funeral takes place shortly after a person dies, unlike the Hindu in India where the deceased is cremated immediately. The deceased is buried at the Pura Dalem , the temple complex facing the sea. The Pura Dalem is also often referred to as 'the temple of the dead‘. The length of the period between the funeral and the ngaben depends entirely on the financial position of the family, sometimes it even takes years. Only the rich are cremated soon after they have died. Even non-royal funerals can cost eight or nine thousand dollars, in a country who’s per capita GDP is under four thousand dollars a year, meaning the vast bulk of the population live on much, much less than that . Din momentul mor ţ ii p â n ă la încheierea ceremoniei de incinerare , cele 5 elemente principale din care e ste format corpul sunt retrimise î n cosmos în acela ş i fel î n care au venit : bayu ( energia ) este eliberat ă odat ă cu ultima suflare a decedatului prethiwi ( solidele ) sunt î ncredin ţ ate p ă m â ntului prin î ngropare teja ( lumina care radiaz ă ) este emis ă prin arderea cu foc apah ( lichidele ) prin aruncarea cenu şi i î n r â u akasa ( spiritul ceresc ) prin rug ă ciuni ş i ritual Odat ă eliberat , sufletul se bucur ă de minun ăţ iile cerului sau de pedepsele iadului , î n func ţ ie de ac ţ iunile lui din cursul vie ţ ii. Aceasta este concep ţ ia karma- phala , adica „ac ţ iunea care are fructe ( consecin ţ e)”. Sufletul a ş teapt ă re în carnarea ş i , la un moment dat î n viitor , va fi absorbit î n marea esen ţă divin ă .

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On the day of the ngaben the body is transported to the Pura Dalem in a funeral tower. The tower is made out of wood and bamboo. The village carpenter and carvers create an amazing structure full with bright decorations. The tower consists of three levels, of which the platform is the highest. Here the body is placed while the priests stands next to it and escorts it to the Pura Dalem . The base of the tower is built on bamboo poles which is then placed on the shoulders of a group of men who will carry the tower to the temple. In order to ensure that the soul of the deceased doesn't find his/her way back home the men confuse it by twisting, twirling and making full circles with the tower. All the men in the village are delighted to take part in this un-organized spectacle. As an spectator you are just surprised that the tower is still standing in the end… In front of the procession another group of men are carrying the sarcophagus, often in the form of a black bull. It is a impressive structure and the decorations are often very grand as a lot of gold is used in the decorations.

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The funeral tower can be a couple to 10 meters high . In the past it was common to see really high towers, however today this is hardly possible since there are to many telephone and electricity cables hanging over the streets...

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giant bull sarcophagus in which a deceased member of the Ubud royal family will be cremated The sarcophagus always arrives first at the temple, and waits here for the funeral tower to arrive. There is a opening on the back of the bull in which the body will be placed.

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It is not uncommon to have a mass cremation of 100 people on the same day as the ultimate royal cremation when money does not play an issue...

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The gamelan orchestra , at funeral

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Unlike the funeral, the ngaben is a joyful occasion as the soul of the deceased is now ready to continue its journey to heaven followed by reincarnation.

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In the past the widow would be cremated together with her deceased husband as it was her duty to assist him in finding the right way. But fortunately, when the Dutch ruled over Bali they forbade these practices...

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Men play " sulings ", traditional music instruments, during the procession

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The initial purification of the deceased is a fact only when the whole sarcophagus is turned into ashes. The white ashes of the bones are separated from the others and then places with flowers into yellow and white cloth. Only then is the soul of the deceased ready for the final ceremony, in which the soul of deceased is awaken by the priest one final time.

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The final ceremony after the ngaben is usually 12 days after the cremation . But because it is another expensive happening, it can take longer before this ceremony actually takes place. During this ceremony the remaining ashes that was placed in white and yellow cloth is transported on a beautiful construction to the sea . If the sea is too far, then the ashes will be taken to a river which will eventually carry it to sea.

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Text & pictures: Internet Copyright: All the images belong to their authors Arangement : Sanda Foişoreanu www.slideshare.net/michaelasanda Sound : Gamelan Gending Bumbung Jangkrik