Mysticism among the Pedandas of Bali

June McDaniel
2020 Religions  
On the island of Bali in Indonesia, the traditional Hindu religious leaders are the pedandas, or brahmin high priests. Their religious status is largely based on their mystical states, during which they create the highest and most valuable form of holy water, which is needed for all religious rituals on the island. It is one of the rare examples in world religions where mysticism is not only integrated into the daily life of the community but is vital to it. These are the religious authorities
more » ... igious authorities who maintain the ancient forms of Indonesian Hinduism, standing against the encroachment of Westernization, Islamization and modernization. Little ethnographic research has been done on them—there are no books about their lives and experiences in any Western languages, and only a few biographies in Indonesian. In this paper, we examine the lives of some Shiva pedandas, discussing their mystical experiences, and the ways that their states fit in with other sorts of mystical experiences in Bali. These other sorts of experiences include those of Buddhist priests, local healers or balians, and the debatably mystical experiences of possession trance.
doi:10.3390/rel11110585 fatcat:evbxurizgbd5hipuvkvzd6axse