Life and Death in Bali

Life and Death in Bali

Do you still want to die in Bali? This rather ‘rude’ question is actually meant to tease foreign friends, who once wanted to go to Bali. If possible, they wanted to die in Bali. Due to being very much love Bali, they even want to breathe their last in Bali. Indeed Bali, at least at

Do you still want to die in Bali? This rather ‘rude’ question is actually meant to tease foreign friends, who once wanted to go to Bali. If possible, they wanted to die in Bali. Due to being very much love Bali, they even want to breathe their last in Bali.

Indeed Bali, at least at that time, remained quite pristine, either in the form of their culture, nature and way of life and so on. In short, ancient Bali is very different from the current Bali that is so ‘modern.’ Behavior of the people as well as their culture have begun to get contaminated, the potential of nature has been degraded and so forth. On the one hand, many people are still maintaining their customs, culture and Hinduism strongly and even very strongly.

The aroma of ancient Balinese life indeed remains to exist, even though it has been adapted here and there so that it may be quite difficult to be seen how exactly the real process of its appearance. However, Bali actually has indeed changed both in terms of cultural and social order.

Currently, other than living, dying is difficult in Bali. Perhaps, this is a bit exaggerated but this expression may be true as well. In terms of economic perspective, life is difficult with standard reference that is surely different from the ancient one. The burden of community life has certainly increased. It has not only increased by itself but there are also people deliberately ‘choosing’ such an increase.

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If there are people saying that customs and cultures become powerful variables in the increase of life’s burden, it is not wrong. However, do not make mistake, customs and culture provide an option about how to undergo it so that it does not become a burden. That’s why if we do it in accordance with the rules of custom, culture and religion, certainly it will not be difficult and not become a burden. It is the society having ‘chosen’ so that it becomes a burden.

For example, there are levels of ceremony namely small level (nista), medium level (madya) and high level (uttama). There is freedom to choose one of them and must be adjusted to the socio-economic conditions of society. There are options and no coercion to choose. Performing the ritual or sacrifice is even without coercion. Sincerity is the key.

It’s in the life time. To die, in many cases he said while joking, is also difficult. There are rules to be obeyed. Family should not only bear the cost, but there are also local village regulations (perarem) that must be obeyed. Cremation or burial, for instance, cannot be held any time. There are auspicious and bad days and Balinese names it the ‘ala ayuning dewasa.’ There are other things that should also be understood and obeyed.

On that account, when there are members of the community who die today, they cannot necessarily be brought to funeral home. This must be first informed to the elders whether it is allowed or not. If possible, there must be a deadline how long the corpse can be allowed to be at home before being buried or cremated. Otherwise, many people currently leave the corpse at hospital mortuary. This certainly needs a cost. It can last for a week or even for months.

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Is this considered difficult? Maybe yes. Is there any way out? Of course, there is. Currently there has been crematorium to cremate bodies that are not subject to the rules of the local customary village. Now, it depends on the family to look for the auspicious day and it will cost them less.

Do you still say that life and death in Bali is difficult? Maybe yes, but actually Bali has provided various ways and many things for us to survive. As long as we love this island and take care of it well, Bali will definitely be sustainable. (Gde Palgunadi / Gdepalgunadi@gmail.com)



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