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Tumpel Wayang to Safeguard Balinese Spirit

22 July 2009

Balinese life is full of artistic colors. Since being conceived, a Balinese is introduced ritual of magedong-gedongan implemented by means of sesaji offering arranged in such a way to contain full of artistic nuance, giving the sesaji both religious character and magical power expected to safeguard the baby in conception.

More over the sejaji instills a good taste to the baby making its mother to feel happy, full of eagerness and joy. This ritual consequently sends vibration to the baby still being in conception. Similar is the case with further phases of the baby life until becoming grown up. In this span of time a range of rituals take place respectively at the time of birth, of the age of one month and seven days, of three months, of six months or one oton (as Balinese mentions it), and so on, ending at a time when the man reaches grown up stage. At the latest phase of human development, the sesajen offered is very implicated, while its artistic value gets higher. Wealthy men would add an art show to the series of ritual.

Looking on such a phenomenon shown previously, M. Covarrubias, in his book entitled Island of Bali termed all Balinese as artists. Following such a view of the Dutch writer, the Island of Bali had become more famous as Island of Paradise, while Balinese art has echoed throughout the world.

Nevertheless, it has remained a monopoly of only few people who know that Balinese artists own a specific day to keep taksu inner power and their profession intact, including their effort of care taking and safeguarding of their art implements by means of religious ritual procession. The specific day is termed as Tumpek Wayang or Turnpek Aringgit, observed on Saniscara (Saturday) Kliwon, Wuku Wayang, six-monthly.

According to Sundarigarna lontar, Balinese people are busy in ritual performance of Tumpek Kandang Holy Day in prayer to Dewa Iswara Deity, manifesting God Almighty as creator of art and its implements, consisted of puppets, aringit carved objects, idols, pratirma sacred object, gong, musical instrument of gender, gambang, bell, wooden drum, and other Balinese gamelan Bali instruments.

Sesajen offered to art implements during Tumpek Wayang observance consists of implements known among Balinese as peras or ajuman, completed with white duck meat, fruits, such-called canang meraka and pesucian. Meanwhile, sesajen dedicated to safeguard taksu inner power, spiritual and bodily sacredness and safety of artists, consists of sesayut tumpeng boiled rice cone, big- sized sesayut tumpeng, prayascita, penyeneng, and so on, adapted to local tradition.

This Tumpek Wayang ritual means, as it proposed in Sundarigama Lontar Ancient Manuscript, that the observers ask for guidance from Dewa Iswara toward achieving blessing of all kinds of arts with capability of giving material and spiritual prosperity to the whole mankind. More over, artists could also achieve blessing safely in practicing their artistic skill.

Balinese artists, especially gamelan players, dancers and puppeteers, would be very busy in observing rituals and performing a variety of dances. Academy and schools of arts such Denpasars ISI Academy, Batubulans SMK Senior High School of Dance, and art groups, would take part in local temple ritual, while artists being engaged in stage performances, including all-night shows of shadow leather puppet dances.

The importance of shadow puppet-show of specific standard during the day is because of the shows being not merely a usual ones, but this is an occasion used by puppeteers to convey messages of morality filled with teachings of perfect morality and good conducts.

Wayang performances reflected the world of human kind, Balinese called bhuwana alit and the objective natural world with all of its contents, known among Balinese as bhuwana agung. Implements made used during wayang performance, contain specific meanings. Its screen signifies human being, petrol lantern reflects atma spiritual holy rays dwelling in human body, gender musical instruments directing the wayang performance symbolizing human soul vibration. The puppeteer himself is reflecting the God as Jiwatman defining the fate of human beings and other creatures.

Parents in Bali make an analogy of human live as if it were a wayang performance to reflect the law of life formulated as follows: Man may have an expectation and execute a deed to the utmost as possible, nevertheless God will at last decide what would be the result. This law drives Balinese to uphold the following philosophical compass: Maserah ring Sang Hyang Tuduh (Total obedience to the God Almighty), idupe buka megantung ajibok akatih (Life is hanging down upon one hair, meaning that everybody should work and perform as best as possible, while absent of depending himself to the fruit it resulted, because God will define the outcome with justice to all human deed).

By adhering to such a philosophy, a man could not easily be a victim of feeling sorry in case of failure. On the other hand he would not be overacting following a success and not be aired with arrogance because of a feeling of overvalue compared with others. Just such a person is qualified as wise man capable of realizing peace in the world.

Thus, the Tumpek Wayang ritual really is capable of creating a wise man having ability of releasing water of peace in the world. Please, you need not be surprised if at present more Balinese become artist ambassadors touring well-known cities around the world supporting development of world peace through dance performance. In Hindu teaching, God has created this globe by mobilization of all power as if humane beings in dancing. They perform a dance named Dance by God Siwa Natya Raja. Many of the sacred dances believed of having supernatural power in prayer to God conserved up to now in eternality and only takes the floor during certain temple ceremonies.