One Day …… in my life

Balinese High Priest

– We must have respect for all of God’s creatures –

Ida Pedanda Gede Tarukan Manuaba is a pedanda or Balinese high priest whose duty is to serve the Hindu society on the island. He helps individuals and families in need of psychological help and teaches the importance of living life according to the holy Hindu book Weda. He believes by helping society, he is working to preserve peace on the island. He lives in a traditional house in Banjar Surya Bhuana, Kerobokan with his wife, Ida Pedanda Istri Penarukan, and shared his day with The Bali Times

I begin my day at 4am and exercise to stay fit and healthy. I walk around the neighborhood and enjoy the fresh morning air. Sometimes I jog from my house to the Dalung market and speak to neighbors and friends I meet along the road.

After the market, I return home for a bath, to clean not only my body, but my mind as well. Around 5am I pray to Merajan, the Sun God. Part of my role as a pedanda is to pray the Nurya Sewana every morning in order to show respect to the Sun God before the sun rises. I believe in showing respect to the God so that he will show respect to humanity and maintain peace in the world.

After the Nurya Sewana, pedandas pray with offerings. One, banten Saiban, is made from a leaf and freshly cooked rice. We make the Banten Saiban to give thanks to God.

After I finish praying, I have breakfast with my family around 6am. After breakfast, I write the Weda on the leaves of the Lontar palm, a traditional cultural Balinese practice.

I have been a pedanda since 2001. We are masters of priests, whose duty is to teach society about honesty, friendship, community service, keeping the peace and protecting the environment. I also teach the community how to make offerings and other ceremonial materials used in Balinese Hinduism.

Part of a Pedanda’s responsibility is to lead Hindu ceremonies, especially for occasions such as marriages, tooth cutting, rites of passage, ancestral worship, death and warding off demons.

A pedanda’s life is full of responsibilities. Pendanas cannot eat meat. We must have respect for all of God’s creatures. We are to set a good example for society. We have to teach people to lead peaceful lives. We teach our communities about spirituality and the importance of being good. In order to do this, we have to learn the Sansekertha language, the Weda and the moral code of ethics. We clean ourselves with the spiritual ceremony known as the Melukat.

Around 1pm I have lunch at home with my family. My family and I make sure to spend time together. After lunch, I ask my grandchildren to take a nap and rest because it’s good for their health. Family is important to me. In fact, the reason I am a pedanda today is because the position runs in the family. I am continuing the tradition of my forefathers, who were also pedandas.

After I found a teacher who taught me the ways of the pedanda, I had a Pediksan ceremony during which I meditated in an isolated room. I had to ask my forefathers, the Pura Khayangan Tiga, and the Mapinton for their blessing. After that, I had to take a bath and prepare myself for the main purpose of the Pediksan, to request the transfer of wisdom and supernatural knowledge from the teacher.

Now in my everyday life, I enjoy passing on this knowledge to other members of the community. In the evenings, I write on the Lontar once more, with my grandchildren, before bedtime around 9pm or 10pm. I go to sleep every night hoping for a nice day tomorrow.

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