Nyepi, The serene and silent stairs of Peace

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Nyepi, The serene and silent stairs of Peace

Post by Admin » Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:55 am

Om Swastiastu.

I offer a prayer of gratitude towards God, as a thank you for all the love and affection given to us, God’s creatures, who are still lacking and far from perfection. May the devastating storms of life pass with His guidance. Similarly, to you my friends, who have willingly taken the time to look at and even read my writings, I thank you. I feel much honored having you reading this. This writing come from my heart and is to be used as a means of Yadnya to welcome this year’s holy day of Nyepi. Because the basis of my thoughts is Yadnya, I apologize for any lack and ask for your forgiveness. I purposely made the title of these inspirations, based on observing developments and progress, from year to year, which are making Hindus in Bali evermore distant from the inner meaning of the ceremonies and celebrations of the holy days. For an example: Galungan is now almost identical to the Bazar (Banjar charity festivity), Nyepi is now almost identical to the Ogoh-ogoh parades, and Siwaratri is now identified as a Day of Atonement or removal of sins. There are more examples. Therefore, I now try to convey my heart's voice and freely translate the meaning of Nyepi into; Nyepi, The serene and silent stairs of Peace. There may be many more meanings contained in the holy day of Nyepi, but I look at it from this particular angle. Once again, this article is only based on field observations and my hearts vibrations that arise from contemplation. There are almost no references here to books or lontars. One could say, this is a scrambled work of thought that, if not useful, may be dumped into the trash. Nyepi: The word Nyepi contains the element of a verb as it comes from the word 'Silent' and is made into the verb 'Nyepi' (Balinese grammar). Other examples of Balinese verbs using 'Ny' are nyampat from sampat, nyambut from sambut. So the word Nyepi requires us to learn and try to make our life surroundings silent. Silent - in the sense of no noise, no quarrels and no bustle that make us stressed and so forth. Silent - so as to live in a peaceful atmosphere, calm and joyful. This is what our ancestors realized by the ceremonial procession of Nyepi, which implies that we can find things that are naturally silent in the natural crowds. Let us look closely at ceremonies held near the sea. The situation is hot and there are the continuous rumbling sounds of the waves. These are natural events. All of us there (participants of that ceremony) will feel the heat, thirst, hunger, and perhaps exhaustion, and they will be feelings that we might not want. Who wants to be hungry, thirsty, hot etc? However, when we are led in this ceremony, we need to seek silence, by interpreting and absorbing God with full devotion. Sincerity and honesty will make the feelings of hunger etc not noticeable. In the Holy Scriptures, where we are guided to perform this ceremony, it is said that the ceremony is a Procession of Purification in which the Lord takes Amerta (nectar of the Gods) in the middle of the ocean. Why is Amerta portrayed to be in the middle of the ocean? Because Joy and Peace are very hard to realize in our lives, if not based or guided by faith, perseverance and discipline. In short, the ceremony near the sea is a lesson for man to realize both Peace and Joy in life. This is attained under the guidance of God and through religious teachings, which are realized through the ceremony itself. All Processions have to be based on heartfelt sincerity, with keen interest, practical and economical. I see this procession as a procession heading towards Nyepi (or silence), recycling what is not good enough or not useful enough from outside of us, transforming it onto good and useful. The meaning of Nyepi is something we have to do and realize every day, bit by bit.
Let us move on with the Procession of Tawur (using offerings to neutralize negative forces with the Mecaru etc). Tawur is similar to Nyepi in that we are looking for silence within temptations that come from within us. The meaning of Tawur is to neutralize the forces of Bhuta Kala. It is mentioned in the Holy Scriptures that man is God- yes, Bhuta- yes. Bhuta Kala is that kind of nature and behavior which cannot achieve peace and/or happiness. This is why we are looking for the silence of Nyepi to neutralize all the negative characteristics into a positive nature, by realizing the ceremony of Tawur.

SILENCE. If associated with the holy day Nyepi, the "D" day, we will truly enjoy the feeling of serenity and peace. Silence does not mean empty, but the meaning of silence is closer to that of tranquility and peace. Therefore, at Nyepi, my brothers, you should use the opportunity to release lust or entertainment in any form. Please resist those kinds of urges. Let us interpret this life correctly, respect our religion and appreciate our ancestor’s efforts to make all these useful tools clear to us. We should be proud. Who else in the world can stop all cars from driving and stop all activity for one full day? Who else but us in Bali! Let us learn in Nyepi to find Silence.

SERENITY. If we can realize and do all the phases as mentioned above, by interpreting and applying them all into daily life, we are surely going to become a serene and clear thinking person. At that time, when our thoughts become serene, all troubles and problems will slowly go away. There is a string of beautiful words I once read related to the problems described above; HNING, HNENG, ELING, AWAS. If we look at the order of these words in a vertical manner then Hning will have the topmost position and Awas at the bottom, and that positioning constitutes teachings from God. Hning, (clarity) is one of God's characteristics that we find or make happen in this life. Therefore, to find Hning man must go through Awas (Be on Alert) first. After we have implemented alertness into our lives, then we can proceed to Eling (remember/realize). As we reach realization, then we can reach Hneng (calmness). Finally we surely reach the characteristic of Hning (clarity). Our mind is much like water in a jar. When the water is clear and calm, the beautiful and soothing reflection of the moon is clearly seen.
These are some fruit of my thoughts, in response to this time and age, through a review of meanings and realizations of the concept of the holy day Nyepi. "Nyepi, the Serene and Silent stairs of Peace."

Om, Santih, Santih, Santih, Om

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