I have written this, motivated by my conscience. It had long been buried because I did not know where and to whom I should tell this. With a deep sense of hesitation, almost I am forced I write this feeling, as it flows out. Therefore, I apologize to everyone who reads this, if there are any words that cause you discomfort. This is a personal story as the title above illustrates and will be unraveled later. There are, maybe, those among my readers asking: Is it really appropriate to write about personal matters here? Well, as long as there are no laws that prohibit people to tell stories, one may still say there is nothing wrong. Through my worship and praise of God and our ancestors, I pray that my confusion may slowly transform into a useful consciousness not only for me but for all nature. All this happened after I successfully climbed Mount Kailasha in Tibet. A glimmer of light appeared to shine on my subconscious heart, which brought consciousness accompanying the emergence of a sense of pride. After much contemplation, finally my self-awareness and pride flowed into the conclusion that I am proud to be a Hindu. The reasons for this are as follows:
The Holy Hindu scriptures, which no longer are foreign to us, are called Veda, a genuine revelation from God. From all my observations, wherever the Veda is being followed, there will be a shaped and established mindset amongst its followers that will protect, raise and interpret the local culture. So, the teachings will be transformed into a realization that our lives should be acted out on common ground, above all differences. It is not in vain that God gave us the ability to think, so we are able to manage those differences and make them into something beautiful. This thought of mine emerged as an appreciation from the meaning of the concept: "Bhineka Tunggal Ika Tan hana Dharma Mangruwa". First of all I appreciate and pay attention to the differences that exist in me with my other fellow brothers. The concept is very clear, because we, as human beings, are given by God the same limbs or body elements. For example, we all have two eyes, one nose and other parts are the same. However each one of us has a different face, despite the ingredients being the same. My appreciation began at the time when I climbed Mount Kailasha and there were members in my expedition group from a variety of countries. The nationalities and tribes were from America, Malaysia, Africa, Canada, Nepal, and Indonesia. The first thing I was aware of in my heart was gratitude, as my religion has never taught or forbade me talking or limiting social associations with other people. Explicitly speaking, it is not even prohibited to speak with animals as long as it is done with reason within a circle of love. At the time of climbing Mount Kailash, all of us Hindus were doing our rituals of worship on the shore of Lake Manasarover. The prayer rituals performed by us Hindus from Bali and those Hindus from Nepal and Malaysia were very different. But we were very proud to do it in shifts, each one following the other without any feeling of awkwardness. That was when the first feeling of pride filled my heart. It felt as if I wanted to shout “I am very proud to be Hindu. We not taught to be allergic to differences. I am very proud to be a follower of the Vedic culture that gives cultural freedom, art and creativity, as stepping stones to the creator (Mewali ring sangkanin dumadi).” In addition to this, I often think about the traditional Balinese food called lawar. Perhaps we're not unfamiliar with the word lawar because it tastes really good! But if you look for what tastes good within the elements of lawar, you cannot find it, but together it tastes good. Good taste is nothing but a mixture of the ingredients, composed of a variety of ingredients that have been measured in the right dose. Lawar ingredients are raw, some well-done, some cooked. There are fishy smells, bad odors, lovely fragrances, spicy and foreign tastes, sour and other flavors that are mixed in a certain combination, then processed and mixed into tasting delicious. This means, we as humans are taught and should be able to manage our differences into something that creates a great taste, making it appear beautiful and making noise melodious. All of this is derived from the teachings of the Vedas, which are about managing differences into something that creates joy.
Hinduism teaches love for all of God's creation, with regard to the environment, through the concept: "Humanizing the natural environment". Well, this wonderful concept often gets scorned by others, saying we worship stones, worship wood and other objects. The concept is very basic to Hindus but appears to be commonly misconceived by others. We Hindus should be proud of this concept, for if our environment is maintained, we shall always be joyful and live a peaceful life. This is why Hindus are taught to care for the environment, embodied in rituals and ceremonies such as Tumpek Uduh - loving plants for that very important role vegetation serves, for mankind. Would man be able to survive if there was not vegetation? For those who insult us, it only means that they are ignorant without such a teaching. Indeed, each ceremonial procession ends always with praying. In regards to Tumpek Uduh, we do not worship objects (wood) but God in all of His manifestations (wood) and thank Him for all his generosity. I often see and experience, first-hand, flag ceremonies such as our Independence Day. All of Indonesia respects the red and white flag as a symbol of our nation and nationality. Even the flag raisers are trained for several months, at a considerable cost, for this ceremony. During the ceremony, is there anyone feeling that we are only honoring a piece of red and white cloth? Of course not, because the red and white cloth represents our nation and nationality, which we proudly respect. This conceptualization shows the greatness of the Hindu religion and why I am very proud to be embracing it. Many of us still have not been able to implement the beautiful teachings of Hinduism into our daily lives, showing our shortcomings in appreciating Hinduism. The reality is, we have floods because of the human role in causing destruction and harming the environment. The result of this negligence is something that will ultimately come back on our selves. I am proud to be a part of the Hindu community. Many more days are needed, to guide our awareness of the meaning of life, days such as Tumpek Kandang -the essence of caring for animals, and so forth.
Once, I was given the opportunity to meet up with my brothers in the land of kangaroos. Long story short, I saw a Pemangku there, doing the ritual for offerings, using puja in English. That is when my ego appeared and questioned, perhaps even blamed him. If Pemangkus are expected to use old Javanese or Balinese, why now speak English? Will the gods understand English? I quickly realized that God is all-knowing. He knows any language, according to the teachings of my religion. I know that language is the culture of humans, as a communication tool, and because my religion is not a religion of culture, then the freedom to use any language, in accordance with the local culture, is acceptable, as long that it is done within the boundaries of ethics and morals. If my religion would have been a religion of culture (man-made), then Man must use only one language, because it would not be allowed to use a language other than the language of that culture. Again I am proud to be a follower of the Vedic culture (Hindu).
One time, I went by foot, coming back from leading (muput) a yadnya ceremony. In the street, I found a small piece of paper, which perhaps fell from some school children. As I am interested in paper writings, I picked it up and, on reaching home, read it. It turned out to be a piece of the Tri Sandhya Puja and read as follows;
"Om Kesama swamem Mahadewa, sarwa prani hitang karah......"
The rest was lost as the paper was torn. There was also a translation of the Puja written on the paper reading as follows; "Yes, God forgive the sins and wrongdoings from all of your creation...."
After finishing reading, I reflected upon this. For Hindus, the essence of prayer or worship does not only plead for safety for himself or for a certain group before the presence of God, but, for ALL and EVERONE. Hinduism tells its followers to pray for the safety of ALL God's creatures, whether human or other than human beings. Even those who hate and insult Hinduism are prayed for - for their safety and joy. The Hindu religion does not teach individualism and selfishness or properties of a similar nature. Again, I feel very proud to embrace Hinduism, which always strives for its followers to seek peace together. I am always thankful, in the presence of God, for being born, amongst a group of people who follow the teachings of peace, human brotherhood, faith in God and loving care for the environment.
During the time, on my journey to Kailasha through Bangkok, Nepal and Tibet, I saw Hindus originating from those areas. I was surprised to see my brother’s clothes from Nepal and Malaysia. We are all followers of the Vedas but how come their clothes are not similar; likewise our clothes from Bali are not similar to theirs. For a moment questions appeared in my heart. How come the Vedic teachings did not instruct uniformity of clothing amongst its followers? The thought lasted only for a brief moment and then I answered my own question. Clothes are culture, while the Veda's are revelations. Requirements of clothing are not suitable as Revelations. As I mentioned before, how the Vedas is spread is by nurturing nature, lifting up, interpreting and embracing local cultures in a very universal context. What the Vedas do imply is that clothing is within boundaries of politeness and ethics. Rules such as these are implied. Naturally, Hindus’ clothing is very diverse, but if we carefully observe, we find the beauty in this diversity. Finally, I am proud to be a Hindu, too, for allowing creativity to grow according to the culture of each region, which is inherited from our ancestors.
I have a family member who has married out of my religion. During that time, my family held a meeting to address this issue. During the meeting, I heard beautiful sentences amongst the family. There are three things in human life that are still difficult to guess (mystery), namely: When will a pregnant mother give birth? No one can guess this correctly. Who is my 5 year old grandson's soul mate? When is the old grandfather going to die? All these questions, no one can guess correctly. So the most appropriate answer is “only God knows.” Having said this, my family did not demand anything; for example, demanding that her husband had to become Hindu, so that in the future, he would get to heaven. Heaven and hell is a very personal affair (depending on our karma) so there was no question of this demand. Heaven cannot be purchased and cannot be exchanged for goods. God is the only one who knows what events enact Heaven. Maybe it's called match making? The formation of such a mindset is caused by Vedic guidance. But then again, there was also my neighbor who took a wife outside my religion, aduuuh! The demands varied about karma, about heaven and hell and so forth. His opinions were very different from the opinions of my Hindu family. It seems Hinduism does not give a clear road to reach heaven. There is real evidence of many Hindu figures of the past that have left this earth and body, reaching moksa, with a direct ticket to union with God. Finally, this event made me ever more proud to be a follower of the Vedic teachings (Hindu).
From the time of SR School, elementary school in the past, which is now called SD, I was taught the history of Indonesia. However, my grandchildren do not know this history. There is a phrase I have always heard, namely” DO NOT FORGET HISTORY.” If we forget our history, we become men with lost direction in life. When I studied history (SR), I was taught that Nusantara (Indonesia today) had experienced a golden age or the era of Mojopahit. This might have happened in an earlier era too.. This Golden age occurred approximately 5 to 6 centuries ago. The question arose in my mind. In that era what religion did people embrace? What was it like to live in the golden age? In history books, it is written that the golden age occurred during the Hindu kingdoms. This means that the Kings of Mojopahit were Hindus. Yes, surely a certain amount of Hindu teaching must have colored the ways of governing. So, up until now, I really wished to have lived in the golden age. When will I experience this? Finally, I became increasingly proud to be a Hindu, as Hindus once took this nation to reach a Golden age. Let us, together, program ourselves to reach a point that is the Golden age of our country. Do this by: believing in the omniscience of God with faith and devotion, in our own respective ways. Loving our fellow human beings, indiscriminate of who they are or where they are from. Let us love our environment, by treating the environment as we treat ourselves. I'm increasingly proud of being a Hindu.
Regarding death, heaven and hell, to my understanding, the Soul is in the beyond and does, no longer, carry an identity card (KTP / Family registration). So, there are no longer special rooms for the Balinese of Hindu Religion, or rooms for the others. All that does not exist, as the soul has left the body that needed identity cards. What remains are the qualities. The soul, from any origin, as long as it has good qualities needed to meet the criteria to enter heaven, yes! None can repress someone entering heaven. If the soul’s quality is suitable it might also reach hell, yes! None can obstruct the way to hell either. So the quality of the soul is decided by the way it played out in their life. I want to give an example. Air. If we consider the soul to be like Air, and Air is inserted into a car tire, it is called car tire air. When air is inserted into the tire of a motorcycle, it is called motorcycle tire air. When air is inserted into a football, it is called football air. The identity of the air is achieved by it’s wrapping. If the tube is broken and all the air has gone out of the car tires and motorcycle tires, it can no longer be called car tire air, motorcycle tire air or football air. We can only know where the air came from by traces of smell. Well after the air has been released into the wind, the soul air will join his friends, who are of the same quality. (in human souls this is called Karma Wasana). Now, if we go to heaven or hell, it is each individual who determines this, while we are still living. God only opens the door to the great beyond. That is something I realize from Hindu teachings, and so I became even more proud to be a Hindu.
As an expression of pride in being a Hindu, I want to invite along my brothers, who are still in love with Hinduism. Let us understand the vital, precious and noble teachings, amongst others: Tri Kaya Parisudha. Tattwamasi. Tri Hittakarana. Desa Kala Patra. Humanizing nature and the environment. All are based on the teachings of Panca Sraddha. Stop mutual negativity. Learn to gather and understand the philosophy of "Combining differences, which become a pleasure and beauty, leading towards peace and joy together." It all begins with us, for the emergence of an attitude of pride. Pride in being human, pride in being Hindu and pride in being Indonesian.
Thank you for all the attention. Once again, I apologize, for what I've written, if it is considered to be wrong. All of these thoughts and feelings are just my own reflections. The tinkling, musky sounds of serenity lead silence to the mind, from a sound delivered by a different kind of musical instrument. The beauty of a garden, which can soothe the heart, derives from a variety of flowers in bloom. The beauty of Indonesia is due to our diversity of culture, art and customs. Let us awaken diversity to make a beautiful and sturdy unity and to filter out the influence of negative cultures, that are destructive to our beautiful ways of life. What I mean by negative cultures are those that do not comply with Dharma. If there are good qualities presented by a foreign culture, then they should surely accepted. For example 'Pis Bolong' or ancient Chinese coins. Promiscuity is an example of a culture that is not good and worthy of rejection. Let us use the example of our Country Indonesia, which is like a very beautiful painting, painted by our ancestors and admired by all. Let's not paint strokes on it again, especially by those just learning to paint. If you want to try to paint, find a blank paper for yourself. This beautiful painting is only to be enjoyed for its beauty and kept safe in continuity.
Om, Santih, Santih, Santih, Om
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