“ Ulun Danu ”

“ Ulun Danu ”

Maintaining and conserving water resources as a source of life. Probably, it is the free interpretation of the phrase ‘ Ulun Danu ’ becoming the major theme of the 39th Bali Arts Festival this year. Water is a vital element in the most basic aspects of life. Without water, no life can survive. There are

Maintaining and conserving water resources as a source of life. Probably, it is the free interpretation of the phrase ‘ Ulun Danu ’ becoming the major theme of the 39th Bali Arts Festival this year. Water is a vital element in the most basic aspects of life. Without water, no life can survive. There are various cultures and rituals about water in this world. However, the estuary remains one, namely water as a source of life that plays a very important role.

Throughout its cycle, water is a natural dance. It is a rhythm of life. To the people of Bali, water is like a human body. It starts in the head, runs to the body and then ends on the feet. This stream is a meaningful procession. Literally, Ulun refers to /ulu/ meaning the ‘head,’ ‘upstream’ or ‘source.’ Meanwhile, Danu means ‘lake.’ Ulu or the source of water lies in the lake. This is just symbolization. It can be in springs, rivers, forests and the sea.

This source of life must be preserved. Never harms it. Do not pollute this so as not to result in harm in the future. That is why, the Hindu community in Bali holds various kinds of ceremony for salvation and welfare related to water. There are ceremonies like Danu Kertih (preserving source of fresh water), Wana Kertih (preserving forest), Segara Kertih (preserving the ocean) and so on. The journey of water is like a painting of life in which humans must understand it as a force of nature. It cannot be challenged but harmonized.

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It is balanced with various endeavors starting from thoughts, words and then deeds. This is also the meaning of ‘hulu’ which means ‘head.’ It entirely commences from the head or the mind. The mind produces an action that is in harmony with nature. That is why, in the past the mind of Balinese people was able to produce a reasoning and pattern of governance management of farming irrigation known as subak or the irrigation cooperative.

It is a masterpiece. This masterpiece is originating from ‘hulu’ to maintain and preserve the water as a source of life. Again, the theme of the current Bali Arts Festival is to remind us in order to continuously keep the forest as an area of ​​infiltration and catchment of water, preserve the lake, river and sea. It is also maintaining the agricultural areas in order not to go through a massive land conversion. (Gde Palgunadi/gdepalgunadi@gmail.com)



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