One Day – Ida Bagus Mahawijaya

Ida Bagus Mahawijaya

Ida Bagus Mahawijaya, a part-time, unofficial priest and educator dabbled in the murky world of Balinese black magic before leaving the dangerous sphere and focusing on positive aspects of Hinduism.

Although many engaged in black magic, or knowledgeable about it, refuse to speak openly, the 48-year-old father of one from Gianyar spoke to The Bali Times’ Arga Sagitarini.

I rise at five in the morning and wash and pray in the family temple. Sometimes I also meditate. Then I get ready for school, where I teach English and religion from 7:30 to four in the afternoon; it’s a high school.

I’m not a priest but people often ask me to be one at their ceremonies. I’m glad of their trust in me, and I try to help them as much as I can. Maybe it’s because of my family name, Ida Bagus, that they see me as a priest. This is the name of the highest priest in Balinese society.

Others might regard me as a priest because I’m frequently in Balinese dress, whether because I’ve been praying and have to get to school on time and have no time to change clothes or whether I’m leading a ceremony at someone’s house.

Most people in my family are priests, actually, and I have thought of becoming one myself – maybe some day, but not now. Being a priest in Bali is appreciated more than anything. Here we worship the Siwa deity as the main representative of God – it can be seen in the offerings, which contain blood, ginger and garlic.

There are two ways of worshipping Siwa: Siwa Mahaguru and Siwa Mahakala. The first is used by most Hindus in Bali as a way of worshipping the power of Shia over happiness, sadness, illness and death. Siwa Mahakala is about worshipping Siwa and trying to be his follower and doing what he does – it’s very special, and I when I was younger I tried to study as much about it as I could. My grandmother was a very great priest who worshipped Siwa through Siwa Mahaguru, and I want to be like her. It makes me feel more comfortable.

However, there are a lot of reasons that make people who study or know about Tantrayana (black magic, of those engaged in Siwa Mahakala) feel uncomfortable. This way, people try to get close to Siwa, who has the power to kill people, and to be a good follower of Siwa, you have to do the same as Siwa. There are five rules that must be obeyed and are called Pancama or the five ma:

Mamsa – Eat uncooked meat and fresh blood, every kind of meat except that of humans;

Matsya – Eat fresh fish;

Mudra – Dance in the cemetry, especially on the holy day of Kajeng Kliwon;

Mada – Get drunk, so that it will be easy to be empty and God will enter your soul, during a trance, which can because of God or a bad spirit. To find out which, you must place fire on the skin of the person in a trance; if they are fine, it means it’s God in their body.

Matuna – Have sex as much as possible, and with as many different people.

I believe that many ancient kings who had a lot of concubines engaged in these practices. They had the power to control and rule people’s lives, which is the power of those who follow Tantrayana, the power to kill people that comes on the request of Siwa the Destroyer during meditation. These people don’t have the power to choose who dies, though.

Such followers of Siwa the Destroyer also have the power of illusion, and the Balinese say that they see them in the forms of trees, animals and, most often, in the form of Rangda, the Demon Queen. Tantrayana followers in Bali are not as radical as those in India, where it was born and detailed in the Mahabharata. It’s written that

these followers danced on thousands dead bodies – in Bali there’s nothing as drastic as that, maybe because the pople think it would give Bali a bad image.

The Balinese think Tantrayana followers are bad people and enjoy hurting others, but they’re not all bad – I think it’s just the beginners who are like that because they’re impressed with their power and try to use it on those who are weak.

Tantrayana has a very close relationship with death, and followers must understand the meanings of death itself and must not fear it. That’s why these people are found in the atmosphere of death, and also birth, as they want to understand it more.

I tried to follow Tantrayana, and once had to sleep at night in a dark cemetery in Sanur – death is happiness, I was told, because it’s when you’re united with God. Tantrayana followers understand this and that’s why they dance on dead bodies and turn up at cemeteries to support people who are mourning. Most of the followers are women, because they are more emotional than men, and to do this, you have to be emotional.

When I get home from school, I carry out my duties as a priest, even though I’m not really one. Afterwards I often teach students who need some extra work, and around 11pm relax with my wife and son and watch some TV. At one the next morning, I sleep.

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