Bali is not like other Indonesian islands because ,ore than half of the population in Bali is Hindu.

I was wondering when i visited Tanah Lot, I met an Indian, I asked her, is Hindu Bali and Hindu India are the same? As we know that India is the country that spreaded Hinduism and Hindu became a prominent religion around 5th until the 14th century.

And she answered ‘no, i dont think so because i saw many differences’

and here we go

Start with their holidays, from here we will know that they have big differences, India has; Holi, Dipawali, Siwaratri, Saraswati Puja, Durga Puja, Chhath Puja, and guru Purnima, and Bali has; Nyepi (Saka new year), Galungan, Kuningan, Saraswati Puja, Siwaratri, and Pagerwesi. Bali and India only have two same holidays, Siwaratri and Saraswati Puja. How they decided the holidays is deferent too, India using ancient Hindu Calendar or Indian called it Indian Calendars and Bali using Saka and Wewaran Calendar.

What about the caste system? It’s almost the same, but still, they have differences.

In India there are 5 big castes they are Brahmanis (priest). Kshatriyas (warriors, rules), Vaisyas (skilled traders, merchant and minor officials), Sudras (unskilled workers), and Pariahs (some people called Harijans, Outcastes, ‘untouchables’ ‘children of God’). But there are not only 5 big castes in India there are about 3000 castes in total and over 25.000 subcastes.

But don’t be surprised, in India high caste and lower caste live separately, and even now on there is some high caste that don’t want to share their water, life food everything with the lower caste.

Bali only has 4 castes without subcastes. There are Brahmanis (priest). Kshatriyas (warriors, rules), Vaisyas (skilled traders, merchant and minor officials), and Sudras (unskilled workers).

For Bali, nowadays it easier, because the government is prohibiting to treat people according to their caste. The differences in the economy between high caste and low caste are slowly eroding, and it makes Hindu Bali more relaxed than Hindu India.

Another different that we can found in daily life is that Balinese Hindu name their children according to their caste and their order to birth.

Names according to the caste :

  • Brahmana they will use ‘Ida Bagus’ for Man ‘Ida Ayu’ for Woman
  • Ksatria : Anak Agung, Cokorda, Desak or Gusti or some people using Dewa or Dewa Ayu
  • Waisya : Ngakan, Kompyan or sang, or Si
  • Sudra : They will not use special name, they just use name according to their order to birth

Name according to the order of birth :

  • First child : Wayan, Putu or Gede
  • Second child or middle child : Made or Nengah
  • Third child : Nyoman or Komang, and
  • Fourth child : Ketut

For Example : Ida Ayu Komang Saraswati, Woman from caste Brahmana and she is the third child in her house.

The important thing is that Balinese and India have a different way of praying. For example, if you are in Bali during the new year Saka, Balinese will hold ‘Nyepi day’  no one is allow to get out from their house. But in India, it’s the opposite, they will  get out from their house, they will celebrate it.

Hindus in India practice Pancawarna (Brahmana, Ksathrya, Waisya, Sudra, and Paria), while Hindu Dharma practice Caturwarna (Brahmana, Ksathrya, Waisya, and Sudra).

Hindu Dharma is a Hinduism which is generally adopted by Balinese tribes in Indonesia. Hindu Dharma is the Hindu syncretism of Saiwa, Vaishnava, and Brahma with the local beliefs of the Balinese tribe. Hindu Dharma comes from the Saiwa Sidhanta, which originates from Madhya Pradesh, India.

Balinese Hindu Believe in : 

  1. Hindu Dharma believes in the existence of God, namely Acintya or Sang Hyang Widhi.
  2. The Hindu Dharma believes that the Trimurti is the main manifestation of Brahman, and the gods and goddesses are mediators of Brahman.
  3. Hindu Dharma believes in atman, karma phala, reincarnation, and moksa.
  4. The Hindu Dharma practices Caturwarna, namely: Brahmana (Hindu instructors and learners), Ksathrya (descendants of kings and commanders), Vaishya (middle class society), and Sudra (servant castes).

Bali’s Hindusbelieve in one and only God, that you can’t found in India. Balinese called it Acintya or Sang Hyang Widi. Besides that, India’s Hindus are polytheist, it means that Indians believe in more than one God.

A long ago, Indonesia didn’t recognized Hindu Bali as a religion. But in 1959, Balinese started a fight for Bali hinduism to be recognized as a religion. After a long journey and many attempts made by religious leaders finally, hinduism was established as one of the official religions in Indonesia because Hindu Bali has a god as the ideology that Indonesia has in Pancasila.

Although both of them are different but they still Hindu, and they believe in God. Not only one way to reach God blessing, so be a kind person and be tolerant!

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