Taken from ‘Bungklang Bungkling’, ‘Nak LIngsir’, a column by I Wayan Juniartha, published in Bali Post, Sunday, 1st August 2010.
Old Man (Nak Lingsir)
There has been a question as to why we call a sulinggih (high priest) an ‘nak lingsir’ (old man)?
“Well, it is because most of the sulinggih are already old. When you are not old enough, it is not quiet possible for you to be a sulinggih,” says I Made Sok Tahu (I Made As If He Knew Everything).
Everyone shakes their heads. They know that I Made is always too fast to jump to a conclusion.
“If you don’t believe me, just look around you: Is there any of you around 30 – 40 years old who can be a sulinggih?”
Everyone thinks. It’s democracy era. Everyone has the same right to be a sulinggih. As you can see, a sudra can be a governor now. And a young Balinese even can achieve a doctor degree and become a king at the same time: his name is Shri Shri Srandang Srendeng Amor Ring Acintya Tegehan Munyi Kema Mai I. So any Balinese can become a sulinggih.
“But not for me, Dé. I still can’t control my sexual desires which makes me often have love affairs, and I’m still such a greedy person. If I were a sulinggih, I would often make mistakes in spelling the mantras and I couldn’t keep my eyes off girls wearing transparent kebayas with striking make up and big bums, says I Wayan Ngaceng Sesai (I Wayan Always Hard).
“I can’t either. I still have to finance my 4 children for their school. I need to provide them with things they need. One of them needs a laptop and one needs a Vario motor bike. If I were a sulinggih, I wouldn’t have a chance to pray for human being’s better life. I still need to work hard to pay my debts and bills. So how can I make my followers (sisia) live peacefully? Even if I were a priest, I would just be busy selling offerings (banten) and proposing unnecessary big ceremonies (karya) for my own advantage,” says I Putu Ambisi Korupsi (I Putu with Ambition to be Corrupt).
Everyone laughs at I Wayan and I Putu who dream of being sulinggih, wearing all white but they realize that they themselves are still far from that ambition. I Wayan likes flirting while I Putu likes stealing sesari (money put in the offering during the festival temple).
“When you have become a sulinggih, you should never think of worldly things. I think I’m ready for that. I think I’m ready to be a sulinggih. When is the good day for me for my coronation ceremony (melinggih)?” Asks I Komang Bobag Bogbog (I Komang Full of Bullshit).
Everyone can’t help laughing. Everyone knows that I Komang is in trouble. He stole the village cooperative’s money (Rp. 200 million). He thinks that by becoming a sulinggih, he will escape legal action.
“So I think I was right about what I said before. Being a sulinggih is not easy; especially when you still have strong worldly desires, or do not understand well the meaning of life or the dualism concept ― life and death, happy and sad. If you insist, you will become a Pedanda Baka (a bad priest), then you don’t deserve to be a sulinggih,” said I Made.
So the term ‘nak lingsir’ is quite clear now; no matter how old you are and even if you have had a coronation ceremony, if you get ‘nervous’ when seeing a girl wearing a pink longtorso or can’t control your sexual desire when seeing a sexy girl; or you still have strong material desire for luxury cars, or still want to have a big plot of land and big savings in the bank, then you don’t deserve it.”
A real nak lingsir is no longer interested in luxury cars, beautiful girls, officiating fees (sesari). It is the current situation that becomes their concern and makes them gloomy. It is not the wealth, popularity, nor magical power they want, but a peaceful and harmonious world and blessings from ancestors instead.
That’s a kind of real nak lingsir, in the skala or niskala (in the seen and the unseen worlds) that we can respect and listen to, and follow as much as we can. The rest are the fake ones.