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Page 16

The Cremation

here, death is a happy occasion

merely cessation of life

from all earthly troubles and strife

and the soul will be freed

to rejoin Sanghyang Widhi

the proper date must be set

and all requirements be met

myriads of offerings and flowers

a brand new coffin and tower

at last the propitious day has arrived

and all refreshment’s supplied

hear the gamelan roar

they must confuse now the corpse

it has been placed in a tower

amidst decorations and flowers

the men carrying it shout

turning and twisting about

so the soul won’t return

and wander back to the house

a noisy riot explodes

from men that carry the load

hear them yell as they run

as if they’re having great fun

now they quicken the pace

to where the burning takes place

and the priestly blessings transpire

the funeral pyre is alight

flames dance so high

they envelop the sky

and the people sigh with relief

for the soul’s been released

with rejoicing and laughter

they proceed to the beach

casting ashes on water

to their gods they beseech

yes, the people are happy

for their duty’s complete


di sini, kematian adalah kebahagiaan

sekadar akhir kehidupan

bebas dari beban bencana duniawi lepas rohani bersatu kembali

bersama Sang Hyang Widhi

tanggal kembali sudah dipastikan

semua kepentingan sudah terpenuhi

sejuta saji dan bunga warna-warni

kafan baru dan wadah mirip meru

hari kebahagiaan tiba kini

semua kudapan disuguhkan

dengarlah riung rancak gamelan

yang membingungkan jenazah

berbaring dalam wadah

dekorasi kembang warna-warni

para pengarak berteriak

maju-mundur berputar melingkar

bikin rohani tak hendak kembali

ke rumah duniawi sempat dihuni

suara riuh sontak meledak

dari para pengarak wadah

pengarak berteriak berlari

seakan menikmati kesenangan

gerak mereka percepat kini

menuju pembakaran palung api

pedanda memberkati dari bale saj

api kremasi disulut

tinggi jilatannya menari-nari

jauh menjangkau angkasa

pengarak menatap lega

pelepasan rohani kembali

tetap dengan kelegaan dan tawa

orang orang berarak ke pantai

manabur abu ke laut

ke dewa-dewi rohani kembali

ya orang-orang riang

ritual rampung


Death and cremation are a passage from this life to the next in the soul’s journey to heaven. For many days while the body is in the house friends will stay with the family and keep them company. Women busy themselves preparing refreshments and assist in making offerings for the purification of the body. Men build high alters for the offerings and help cleanse the corpse. On the correct day ascertained by the priest the body is purified for burial in the village graveyard.

The body is buried only temporarily until it can be cremated. Men who cannot afford a cremation on the first auspicious day may wait several years until a mass cremation is held, so that everyone can share in the expense. The body of a Brahman cannot be defiled by burial in the earth and it must be cremated as soon as possible. Every Balinese tries to put money aside for their cremation to help alleviate the burden on their family when they die.

As the cremation day approaches every person in the village is busy helping: making the offerings, coffin and large tower. Everything is beautifully decorated to emphasize the importance of a grand send off. The Balinese believe a person consists of three bodies; sarira is the material body, stulasarira is the body of thought and feeling while antakaranasarira is the soul.

The cremation returns the material body to its five main elements and weakens the attachment of the souls towards worldly desires. The world of thought and feeling is what clings to the soul and causes it to be re-born. Only when the body is destroyed and the soul is freed from all worldly distractions can the soul be re-united with the Supreme Being, Sanghyang Widi Wasa. The soul cannot be released as long as the body remains. Therefore a cremation is always a happy occasion.

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