Well, it just so happens that I live here. Coincidently, of all the islands in the Indonesian archipelago, Bali is the only one with a Hindu majority. What makes it unique, however, is the friendliness of the locals, who address each other with the phrase “Om Swastiastu” when they meet and “Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om” when they part. The former phrase embodies a heartfelt welcome and prayer for the well-being and happiness of others, while the latter is a prayer for universal peace. Together, these two mantras act as the gatekeepers of Aloha. The people here call their religion Hindu-Dharma or Siva-Buddha.
In addition, Balinese Hinduism encompasses a unique view the world, which they call “TRI HITA KARANA,” meaning “the three principles of life” (respect for God, humanity and nature). God is the highest and represents ultimate truth. Humanity finds itself somewhere between the divine and the profane, striving to become godlike, but often falling into temptation and sinking to Creation’s lowest level. Respect for humanity begins with one’s parents and spreads outward to our family members, community, and country, ultimately encompassing the world. Respect for nature brings in an aspect of animism, since it endows trees, plants, animals, earth spirits and even the earth itself with a certain divinity.
By practicing these three principles (of respect), Balinese are able to maintain a balance in their lives, as well as a certain openness, friendliness and lack of prejudice that is rare in most societies. These three principles create a unique culture and imbue the land with a beauty and a special healing energy that has been attracting Westerners to Bali for close to a century.
Now I think the reader can begin to see that Bali and Hawaii have quite a bit in common, and that is why I would like to personally invite Tulsi and her husband, Abraham, to come to Bali – “the Island of the Gods” – to surf its waves, visit its temples, meet its people, and get in sync with the energy of the land. Whoever plans their itinerary, I would ask to set aside enough time for yoga on the beach, as well to pay their respects to Ratu Kidul, “Queen of the Southern Sea,” and with a little time left over to take a refresher course in the subtle art of chilling out…
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om,
December 23, 2019