About Me

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Taman, Bali, Indonesia
I am just a 38 years old fellow from a small village named Taman, on the island of Bali. There is nothing that is too special about me. I am not a person with degree but I always love to have opportunity to learn new things in my life. I am working just as a driver and tour guide for Bali and I have been happy doing it for more than 16 years now and it might be the only things that I can do for the rest of my life.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Bade ~ Cremation Tower

Bade or Wadah is the named for the cremation tower that is used to carry the corpse down to the cemetery ground from the home. It is the most beautiful and attractive part of the cremation ceremony that invites a lots of spectators and becoming the best object of photography in a cremation ceremony. For the essence of the cremation, it is not a must to be built even if it could be important. It means that without any Bade, a cremation could be done.

Bade is a construction for the dead which has a specific materials, proportions and size. It is constructed with bamboo, paper mace and cotton. The architecture of the Bade’s construction is very different than the architecture of a construction for the living human being moreover for the God.

Bade shows the social status of a person in the community. During the time of the Gelgel Dynasty in the 15th ~ 17th-Century, the kind of Bade that a person can used in his cremation was accordingly to his social status in the kingdom. If someone has a high social status in the community, the more elaborate and higher of the Bade that would be built for his cremation, so it was likely an award from the ruling king. The number of roof that Bade could have is very much depending on what being awarded by the King and it is mentioned in the manuscript of the local clans in Bali.

The Bade represents the universe with its Bedawang Nala (The world turtle) as its base, surrounded by the two dragons, Naga Basuki and Ananta boga as the symbol of safety and perpetual foods. Above them on the backside of the Bade is a big, grotesque mask of Bhoma with its outstretched wings symbol of the lofty forest and mountains. At the very top is the receding size of the multi tiers of roof, symbol of the heaven. The turtle and the dragons live in the lower world named Bhur, and the above is the world of man called Bwah, symbolized with the Bhoma. At the top is the world of heaven, Swah and it is symbolized by the tiers of roof at the Bade itself.

The height of the Bade could reach up to 25 meters and the weight of 11 ton, required a few hundreds of man to carry it. A wealthy family may pay the electric company to remove the wires temporarily for the Bade to go through during the procession to the cremation site.

Why do we have the cremation?

Before we have to answer the above question with any of its own reason, so we have to understand the meaning of the ( Pitra Yadnya) cremation with its diversity of existence. Pitra Yadnya means a sincere devotion to the ancestors, especially to our parents. We are all greatly owe our parents because of the father’s sperm and our mother’s ovum, then through the blood and the umbilical cord of our mother, we are fed with all kind of food that makes us growing and becoming a baby. Our mother gives a birth with such a pain, caring and breastfeeds us till we grow up to be a cute child.

Where do the foods come from? When we were in the womb, the food was in the blood of our mother and being transferred to us, the foods come from the nature that our mother eats, drinks and breathe. It is the fact that can’t be denied. So basically our body is created with the same elements that are used to create the universe. In the Balinese Hindu, it is called Panca Maha Bhuta which consists of Pertiwi (earth), Apah (Water), Teja ( Fire or Light) Bayu ( air) and Akasa ( Space, Ether).

From the elements, we got the life and we owe them for that. We owe them as long as the elements are still in a form of body either when we still alive or after we die. As a debt, it is a duty and responsibility for us to pay it off when the time comes. During our life we carefully look after our body but after it is not needed anymore by the soul, we have to return every element back to its origin. In our Balinese Hindu’s culture, it is the cremation that is conducted in returning the elements to its origin. As a religious and cultured human being and to show our affection, respect, responsibility and honor to our loved family member or ancestors, of course it is not enough just simply burn the body. So an elaborate and beautiful cremation is often being conducted by the family to fulfill the emotion, sense of beauty, respect and manner.