Among older generation in Bali the name of Calon Arang is like arising deep horror of black magic that peeps human dead body at the cemetery during the night time, or radiating malicious disease to cause epidemic and alike horrible human catastrophes. The practitioner of such as powerful black magic master in Bali is associated with a fairy figure of Calong Arang. But the name of Calon Arang in Bali refers to a horrible black magic inspired drama with the key figure of Rangda, a widow who is considered the king of black magic. It is not known the origin of the word " rangda ", many old writers said to refer a widow as an infinitive word without relating the word with the famous myth of Calong Arang.
Old Writing Source
The story about rangda in Bali having the same theme of the ancient story about Calong Arang written around 1462 in Yogyakarta, which manuscript was describing a story during the reign of king Erlangga on 11th century. It is probable that the word rangda derived and assimilated from Calon Arang who lived in the village of Girah. Normally in Javanese ancient language, when mentioning a figure is always associated with their place of living. Such as this Calon Arang is often referred as Calon Arang ing Girah, meaning Calon Arang who lives at Girah. The assimilation of words might happened like this : Calon Arang ing Girah, and in the course of history only mentioned Arang ing Dirah, and then in Bali experienced further assimilation and simplification into Rangdeng Girah, or taken the first word only become Rangda. What ever the difference of name between the figure of rangda in Bali and the Calon Arang of Java, the theme is the same.
The writer take the liberty to appoint the Javanese version of the story which was researched and re-written by the famous cultural expert Prof. Dr. Poerbatjaraka. It is written the story of Calon Arang from a village of Girah, the story happened at the kingdom of Erlangga of ancient Hindu kingdom of Mataram, now Yogyakarta. The kingdom was flourishing in 11th century, at the same time with the king of Marakata in Bali, the sun of famous king Udayana Warmadewa of Bali. During the reign of Erlangga there was a widow at the village of Girah having a beautiful daughter. Her daughter name is Ratna Manggali, who has reached her adultery, but no one among youths from the village and surrounding had the courage to approach the virgin. This is because her mother is known to have black magic knowledge, and practiced it maliciously, and with her bad attitude causing many people were dead even hatred was increasing among the people, yet this is used as a temptation to her thirsty black magic need. Her bad reputation at last reached the palace, and some soldiers took initiative and asked permission to the king to punish the widow. The soldiers headed to the village of Girah and found her sleeping. One solder drag her by her hairs, but one she was startled he glared with 2 wild eyes emanating fire shooting and burnt the soldier, the other took a hundred steps of flee but again her blitz eye fires burnt them except one solder survived the malicious black magic fur. This soldier then reported his horrible experience with the widow to the king, and made the king totally upset and run out of reason to overcome the problem, and wondering that the widow will take action for revenge. Calon Arang knows that the palace involved in this scandalous act of murder trial, and she become uncontrollably angry and spread her magic malicious power causing great epidemic.
Priest the Savior
The king was really made under pressure, and asked the priests to gather on the palace. The priests decided to perform a ceremony to reveal god advise. At last god Shiva gave an omen that there is a powerful priest living at Batu Tulis, the Mpu Bharadah who can assist the king in overcoming the problem. It is said that this religious and learnt figure has the ability to solve any problem in the kingdom not only relating to religion and magic, but also social nature and politic. He married twice, first wife they have a daughter named Wedawati, who was left by her mother at very young age, and always crying on her mother's tomb, and got no god attention from her second mother. Since the child was insisting to stay at her mother's cemetery the priest decided to build his hermitage on the place, so he could take care of his beloved daughter while still keep the compassion with his new family of second wife.
Rection of the Witch
At the other side, Calong Arang knowing the plan of the palace appeared to be more and more uncontrollable, she made his day to worship the god of the black magic, Bhagawati Goddess ( in Bali : Durga Goddess, in Mahayana : Tara Goddess ). She always practices her black magic by dancing at the cemetery together with her sister Larung and his students Woksirsa and Mahisawadana. They play the corps on the cemetery, and other dirty frightening vision.
After they had the ritual at the cemetery then a victim must be taken again. Normal people see this as unreasonable death of human being, and giving more and more pressure, feeling of great scare every time when day changed into dark. The king sent one of important person named Kanuluhan to meet the priest which always welcome by Mpu Bharadah and in turn the priest sent his student Bahula to the palace to follow Kanuluhan. The priest proposed to the king that Bahula will request Ratna Manggali for his wife. The king then prepared a team to escort Bahula visiting the village of Girah for the marriage request. The group was warmly welcome by the widow and after the discussion she become very happy, furthermore knowing that Bahula is the student of Mpu Bharadah. She even did not care about the marriage dowries, the most important that Bahula be the loyal husband of her only daughter Ratna Manggali. After the marriage, Bahula stay in Girah with his beloved wife and having children. Yet every night he found his mother in law going out and back late morning. This is strange, and forced him to ask to his wife. Ratna Manggali then followed his mother like an spy agent, and found her mother with his students were making ceremony at the cemetery, practicing black magic. She run back home and reported to her husband. Knowing this Bahula expressed his concern to his wife, and ask her to find the book that is put on mother's room and which is on certain days given special ritual. He showed the book to Mpu Bharadah. The priest understood that why Calong Arang practices the black magic as the book she reads is the source of black magic. But according to the priest the content of the book is good if it is dedicated to human welfare, no science is bad, it is depend on the person who understand the knowledge. If a person who study this book does not have enough knowledge back ground it will for sure a deviation can happened like Calon Arang.
The Priest of Bharadah
Empu Bharadah then advised Bahula to back to Girah and return the book, and the priest will follow. The priest visited Girah in the hope to advise Calong Arang to stop practicing this evil activities. The response of the widow was in contradictory, as she feel that she had been doing it and it will, unless the priest will kill her and making her reaching the " Sorga " or heaven. Since the priest feel that he with Calon Arang now as a brother in law, he refused, and insisted her to change her life style. This discussion become a high tension debate and making the widow very angry. In her furriated moment she show her talent of black magic, but with the help of her 2 students the priest was undefeated. Yet the priest did not have choice except to keep her quiet, and cremated her as a normal unsin person. After the cremation of Calon Arang her 2 students also surrendered and become the follower of Mpu Bharadah as nun and priest.
This is the end of the story about the origin of leak in Bali, which is a strong indication that a practice of Tantrayana thought born by, Mahayana Buddhist. If we see deeper on above writing one thing influenced the later writing in Bali, that the advocating of the religious figures position during ancient time. Some writing that having the same theme that the religious peoples having important role in the constellation of political condition. The power of king in the past was unlimited, and even some king identified herself as the direct manifestation of god, by imitating the story of avatar of India that the king feel himself as the avatar. Erlangga for example consider himself as the manifestation of god Wishnu, yet the story of Erlangga after the meeting with Mpu Bharadah he changes himself into a hermitage which was affiliated to god Shiwa. In Bali some ancient king through 1000 - 1343 AD also identified himself as the avatar of Wishnu. This is probably the cause of the religious figures feel uneasy with the attitude of the king, since if it is translated further then the religious figures be the servant of the king. The story about Danghyang Dwijendra, Resi Markandeya in Bali can be considered good example of of the effort, how some religious figures took writing medium to up grade themselves at the front of a king and society.
Bali Traditional House
People of Bali
Castes Social Layers
Early Chinese in Bali
Kinship With Long Line
Living Magic Belief
Ngaben Cremation Ritual
Traditional Synbols Pratima
Tenganan Bali Age Village
See other people culture
Among various tour packages and tour options in Bali there are some tours which can be said always on the publications and interest a large part of travellers to Bali. Kintamani mountain tour sits at the first number as the most popular sightseeing tour, second is Taman Ayun and Tanah Lot tour, third is Uluwatu temple tour.