I feel I learned the most about the Hindu religion during my visit to the Mother Temple of Besakih while in Bali, Indonesia. A beautiful place, we were guided by a local temple guide who spoke excellent English and was kind enough to share with us some details of his religion. I will share what I found were some of the most interesting points with you now. (You may already be partly familiar with my experience with the Hindu religion in Bali from my previous post.)
The white represents the good and the yellow the bad.
Balance seemed to be constantly represented in the temple. As you walked up the stairs to enter the main area (to which tourists were only allowed to enter with a registered guide) you were amongst statues that represented good and evil. Offerings are given 3 times a day in Bali. Each time you offer to the good spirits and the bad spirits. The offerings for the bad spirits were left on the ground at entrance ways so that the bad spirit would not enter.
Often times, as these offerings contained bits of food, they were eaten by the local wildlife.
Interestingly, priests in the Hindu religion are required to marry and have children. Our guide told us the priest must live a full life, which meant marrying and raising children, in order to offer guidance to others and better understand life himself. I found this to be an interesting contrast to other religions.
Animal sacrifices are also still made at this temple. We saw small birds chained up in the back, but was an issue we did not discuss at length.
Every 15 days people pray at the temple, for the full and new moon and picnics are held at night.
Pagodas around the temple area.
Prayer area. That symbol is the sound “ulm”.
A stark contrast to the Christian churches I am used to visiting, I found the Besakih Temple fascinating. Learning about the Hindu religion, something I knew almost nothing about, was amazing, and I am grateful for the experience.