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BANTEN RITUAL

The Symbolization

The name of Banten is probably the most productive word in the daily life of Balinese traditional mothers or house wives, both in the villages or in the bustling cities. The existence of Banten in the life of Balinese has been so preponderant on the religious practices. It looks on physical appearance that Hindu in Bali is a ritual not a religion. Based on the various manuscripts originated from 16th to 18th century the influence of the myth has been so great in the life of religion. Here are some type of Banten so far mostly made by the Hindu families for the ritual. Actually, the priest and their followers such as " tukang banten " or banten makers have developed the variety of it at almost unlimited types and shapes. From unlimited creation of complex young coconut leaves, cookies, plants, meat cooking, and bamboo works. The use of various flowers is determinant on every type of Banten. A simple explanation about banten is a symbolic offering of human being to the gods and nether world with arrangement as much as beautiful appearance can be made. So from this definition writer believed that the unlimited variations born. Unable to explain each symbol, the tukang banten must have made every effort to give meaning to the symbol. That is why from one another there is no common consent concerning the meaning of the symbols, even no agreement about its very known name inherited from the past. It was possible that in the past that art elements made to make festive rituals, then later became symbolized. The tendention of symbolizing instead of looking logical basis to the ritual has caused not small difficulties for Balinese in maintaining the island of Bali.

Effort of Simplification

In the complexity, disoriented varying of banten a foundation in Denpasar made an effort to give a somewhat standard reference for every one to make offering. They wrote the following type and detail of banten elements.Canang is made of palm leave flower, and perfume which a medium to worship and implore to the god of well being. Canang is Canang Sari considered the most simple offering. Canang can be divided into various types. ( a ) Canang Sari is a composition of coconut leave made in round tray filled with betel leave, cake, sugar cane, banana, white - red - blue - flowers with the slices of pandanus leaves and perfume. ( b ) Canang Genten, is the same as canang sari with additional banana called gold banana, red and white porridge and more cakes. ( c ) Canang Payasan or Pasucian, is the symbol of purification, ( d ) Canang Gantal, the use is not clear but much depends on the opinion of tukang banten. ( e ) Canang Pengrawos, usually used during a discussion to decide important matters ( f ) Canang Tubungan is used during the ritual of fetching, there is a belief that the ancestors staying Bantensome where and when a family moved their house, they also bring together their ancestors to the new place. ( g ) Canang Raka, is the same as canang sari, with the content of 5 kind of fruits, used as symbolic purification. ( h ) Canang Tadah Sukla, which is filled with seeds and rhizomes, used for the ritual of ngaben, and ritual to the god of the sun ( i ) Canang Pengengkab, used for the ritual of gong, traditional music instruments, and some sacred dances. ( j ) Canang Sarawati, used during the ritual of symbolic of requesting knowledge to the goddess of Saraswati.

Manuscript

A manuscript named " Tutur Sang Hyang Tapeni " even describing the structure of a banten as having 3 parts or " tri angga ". Main part, middle part, and small part, and also have 8 parts which taking the comparison of human body, it is made an analogy from the part of human body such as head, right and left breast, two hands, stomach, and 2 legs. Some component of human body such as internal parts of heart, lunge, cardiac, and others are translated into the form of banten named " dapetan ". It is said that there are 7 worlds ( influence from Buddhist Sapta Patalars ) and 7 psyches witch turns into 3 worlds and 3 psyches also translated into composition of banten. This has made a complex types of banten composition with tumpeng ( conical rice ) from 7 tumpeng to 33 tumpengs ( un even number ). No source that can explain the basic philosophy Canangof this complex structure of the banten except explanation that sounds unrelated and not understood by normal reason.

Another complex composition of banten is called " Suci ". According to above manuscript the meaning of banten suci is the symbol of creation. Symbolized by the meeting between lingga and yoni the symbols of man and woman or more abstraction about cosmogony the creation of the universe. It is said after the creation the god manifested in the place ( ista dewata ). So it is various life and non life objects can be found on the universe. This has been tried to make on miniature of a banten suci, in which main aspects are symbolized with a form made by rice powder into hard porridge, formed into various type of complex cakes like Japanese kan-ji. Some of these forms can be mentioned here such as flower of rhizome, shell, lizard, and various attributes of gods depicted in Indian book of sectarian Hindu, especially the arms specific to every manifestation of god. According to the manuscript the purpose of banten suci are to keep the people making the ritual and worship the god, and one way to worshipping is making banten suci, as the appreciation of the god and as thanks expression for the creation of the universe, so human beings can ameliorate their quality of life including their next life, to give the chance for those illiterate and having incomplete senses to worship the god through the symbols put in the banten suci. This must be corrected if religious practices are expected to be carried out forever by the people.

Not to Understand

Reading a manuscript or any of its translation like entering a strange world, where logic, concepts and practices are some things that look unrelated, one object appears on various names probably meant to be used at other practice, yet no difference can really be understood. It is by no means possible to draw a simple and palpable understanding of the multifarious types and forms of banten itself. It was most probable that the great variety and inconsistency of the shape, content and use of each subject might have been influenced by the three things; first is the tukang banten that is using her ( mostly women ) initiative interpretation to the situation which often claim as the revelation of supra natural presages, second the tradition of each area, although it is separated only by short distance but the traditional affinity formed a type of secluded area in which free interpretation can be done. Third is also possible with the existence of the attitude that if not exactly as what might be or alternative symbol may be in place. So with these three ways of thinking has made the complexity of the banten will continue to exist. This is worsened also by the fact that priest do not know exactly the philosophy of banten itself, they do not know between philosophy and myth, art and true symbols. It was most probable the complexity of the form was originated from the spirit of aesthetic of Balinese that whenever an event be conducted it must also be festive in nature not less important is to manipulate the environment which can arise certain feeling of piety.

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