Friday, 4 June 2010

Bungklang Bungkling: Kerauhan (Trance)

Kerauhan (Trance)

A rumour in the village says that ten families have changed their caste to Anak Agung (ksatria caste).

“I heard that during a temple festival in their family temple, some of them went into trance. They maintain that their ancestors told them that they originally came from royal family,” says I Made Jaba Ulian Sudra (I Made Lower Caste).

Everyone laughs. When talking about niskala… always starts with koné (they maintain.…).

The thing is that after ‘changing’ their caste, they act as if they were Anak Agung. They used to sit in the lower level, but now they always try to sit on the higher level or the north pavilion of someone’s house when they attend an occasion or a ceremony there. It was not a problem for them (the men) when villagers call them ‘Pak’ (Mr.), but now they get upset. They want people call to them ‘Ratu’ which makes them smile.

But it is on issue of ‘tanah ayahan’ (village’s property) that makes the villagers angry. Since they changed their status these families have ignored their village duties: they don’t pay their banjar admission fee and they claim that the land where the meeting hall (bale banjar) and the market are located belongs to them.

“It belonged to our ancestors,” they claim.

Consequently, the villagers must pay the rental cost, otherwise they will bring the case to the court.

“This is really a trance (kerauhan) with financial motive: they claim to have received utterances from the gods but actually it is money they really want,” says I Nyoman Meled Kepangor (I Nyoman Trance Very Often).

According to I Nyoman, ‘trance’ can be divided into the following:

“The common one, called ‘buta kala’ trance. When one is in trance what comes from his mouth is some requests for chicken, rice wine and palm toddy. When those things have been provided, everything will be fine.”

Whenever a butha kala (ground spirit) asks for human sacrifice, we should ignore. This kind of butha kala doesn’t know about human rights indeed. Or it might be a ‘work’ of a silly shaman who just wants to ‘scare’ his customers for business motives.

“The second type is called ‘political’ trance. Usually only community leaders who want to be popular or ‘get supports’ from the God Samodaya do this kind of ‘trance’.

There is a community leader who seems very powerful as he is considered to possess magical power from God Siwa, Goddess Durga and other gods as well. It is said that all gods ‘agree’ that he will be the most outstanding leader in Bali. The question is since when do the gods took over Mama Lauren’s job as fortune teller?

The third type of trance is the one with economy motive. With this kind of trance, the gods are supposed to deal with distribution of property ownership, conflicts due to inheritance, and even bank loan.

“He who is in trance has a strong position before the gods.”

There is also what we call ‘psychological trance’ that is old people who are supposed to experience this kind of trance, especially the ones whose children do not really care for them. In Bali, it is common that parents do not get good attention from their children when they get very old. Ironically, when they die, their children will make huge cremation ceremonies for them and make huge towers which sometimes cost millions of Rupiahs.

“Usually during a temple festival in a house, the grandpa or grandma will be in trance and the ‘gods’ will blame the children for having ignored their parents.”

Everyone nods.

“What does the real trance look like?” asks I Made.

“You know, when the gods would like to ‘speak’ to human beings, they can do it themselves without having to ‘borrow’ human bodies as ‘medium’, because human lies.”

Everyone agrees.