Apr 21, 2009

Traditional Healer in Bali

Mr. Made was very confused because there was an old man came to his house and asked for a medicine to cure his long sickness. Mr. Made explained to the old man that he was neither a doctor nor a healer. But the old man insisted that Mr. Made cure him because he dreamt that Mr. Made could cure him. The old man is so weak and he could not stand. Mr. Made took pity on the old man and let him sit down; he went to the kitchen to take a glass of water for the old man. The old man drank it and felt better. He said that that his sickness is gone and thanked Mr. Made before he left. Mr. Made stood, confused, not knowing what had happened to him. But since then, he was known as Balian Ketakson or a Balinese traditional healer.

Okay, before we start, let me tell you a bit about Bali traditional healing.

The study of science of healing in Bali is called Usadha, which come from Sanskrit ausadhi meaning herbs. It's true that a lot of the material used for healing comes from various types of plants, and is based on a book called Ayur Veda. This is studied as one of the subject in University of Hindu Indonesia in Tembau.

The Healer (Balian)

You can be a healer in Bali by studying ancient manuscript which reveal about Balinese traditional healing. But, sorry, it will not be in English and not even in Latin but in Balinese letter. Beside learning from ancient manuscript, one can become a healer because he is guided by a spiritual being which he is unaware of. Such healers, like Mr. Made, are called Balian Ketakson, are good at especially curing disease related to mental disorder. But he will lose his curing power in three to five years. Then all his/her patients will start leaving the healer.

You can also be a healer because you are blessed with a sacred object such as precious stone, ruby, ancient coin engraved with picture of Arjun(a) or Bim(a). Dog, cat, monkey, or other animals can also be the sacred objects which belong to the healer. When somebody is sick, maybe the healer will rub the precious stone on the patient body to absorb the "negative energy" in order to cure the patient. He will also lose his power in 5 years, so if healer wants to keep his patients coming, he will start to learn the Usadha.

The Usadha Medicine

Herbal mix is the main ingredients of Usadha. Besides, it also has mix of "animal flesh", mineral, fire, water, sunlight, egg, honey, milk and even urine. This mix can be consumed by the patient, but can also be rubbed on the body. The method used in healing also involve massaging, pulling the body part, pressing, manipulating the position of bone in the case of bone misplacement.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Balian

Beside the good Balian who prevent and heal disease, there are also those who cause disease. Of course, you don't advertise yourself in the local newspaper if you can make your neighbor become sick. Such Balian is called Balian Pengiwa (the lefty Balian) as opposed to the Balian Penengen (the righty Balian) who does good things to others.

Desti, one of the method used for causing other people sick, is a magical power which used certain media like victim's hair, nail, clothes, jewelry, or other possession. It can also be replaced by an egg of red colored hen if possession cannot be obtained. Other methods are: pepasangan or magical force that is buried in the house yard of the victim, "leak": a balian who can transform himself to other form such as animal like monkey, pig, dog, even motor bike or car. Other method is "bebahi" is disease which is made from baby's after birth called kandapat. Last is Teranjana, is a creature which look like human with big protruded eyes which spread disease called Moro that cause the victim to lose their consciousness.

In Health and Sickness

There three main components which make up a human being; wind (bayu, watta), fire (agni, teja, pitta) and water (apah, kapha). The imbalance of those elements in the body will cause sickness such as panes or hot (maybe can be translated as fever), nyem or cold or sebaa (catch a cold or wind??). So, the concept is like this: when somebody is panes or hot, then he will be given herbal mix which has cooling effect and vice versa. Well, this is still a very brief introduction of the Balinese healing, if you're interested, you need to contact the Universitas Hindu Indonesia in Bali.

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