Swollen River (Photo by Thijs Lieffering)
WHAT'S IN A NAME
Here is a story I heard from Suamba, our driver.
Suamba's neighbor, Gustie, once found a dead baby boy by Campuhan river. Since rivers are public domain, the baby became the responsibility of the banjar (community). They gave it the name Buddhalara and buried it at the crossroads on the left side of the street.
Shortly after, a big fire broke out. Three blocks of houses burned down, plus, the banjar's banking system. Many documents were lost in the fire. It was a disaster.
People went to Jero Mangku, their holy man, wanting to know what caused the fire. Jero answered that it was because Buddhalara was buried on the wrong side of the road and was given the wrong name. After waiting for the correct date, the villagers then re-buried him on the right side of the road and changed his name to Buddhayasa, which means both Wednesday (the day he was found) and Patience. Ceremonies honoring the baby were performed every six months thereafter.
People who can see ghosts report that Buddhayasa has now grown into a handsome young man. They see him walk from the river to the crossroads where he disappears. A group of laborers from Java who sleep by the river have also reported seeing a baby turning into a giant.
ADVICE FROM HEAVEN
Painting by Agung
Another story I heard was about a farmer who found a dead baby girl. Since he found her on his own property, she became his responsibility, not the banjar's. He buried her with the required ceremony and continued honoring her, at his own expense, with all the required ceremonies for a safe childhood as if she were still alive. In addition, when he had saved up enough money, he released her soul with the final Balinese ceremony: Cremation, the ultimate and most expensive ceremony.
In gratitude she began appearing to him as a real person and gave him advice from beyond the veil. She would tell him things like, "Your neighbor across the street is suffering. Gather such-and-such herb and give it to him. It will heal him." He would do as he was told and soon he became known as a great healer. She always appears to him during healings and other times when he needs her. He converses with her as if she were sitting right next to him.
Like Buddhayasa, the girl has grown up into a beautiful woman. But unlike Buddhayasa, because her soul was released to further the journey, she lives in heaven. She is now married and has borne several children.
The man who told me this story also said that she delivers messages from the dead. For instance, after the death of one of his relatives, his family had gone to see the healer. (I'm sorry, I never got the healer's name or the woman's name) Upon the family's arriving, the woman knew immediately who they came to ask about. She described the deceased appearance in accurate detail and (without being told) gave his correct full name. She assured the family that he was fine. Then she chided them for not bringing him in earlier for a healing. He would have been healed, she said. He didn't need to die. She then facilitated a conversation between the family and the deceased.
I asked the man to let me know when he and his family were going to see the healer next. I wanted to meet the healer in person. Unfortunately, when he called me months later, spur of the moment, I could not get our driver to pick me up fast enough (he lives half an hour away and was still bathing) to go rushing through Bali's unholy traffic jams to a village halfway across the island, and meet the family there in time. I'm still sorry it couldn't get done.
Agung massaging Phil
Jaime, a Hawaii friend we met in Bali, urged us to visit a healer named Agung. According to Jaime, Agung was a great healer who could also see the future. Agung was raised in the jungle, developed paranormal abilities, and was told to leave the jungle and work in the city. He became a policeman with a reputation for cleaning up corrupt officials, which gave him awesome powers in the police force.
Before any healing sessions, people would have to go through a cleansing ceremony in Agung's home temple. The ceremony was led by his assistant, a young woman who would channel the answers to our questions. It is quite common in Bali to see healers work with women who act as mediums.
When we arrived we were ushered onto the bale (pronounced: bah-leh) and served hot sweet tea. One wall was covered by Agung's colorful and primitive-style paintings.
Wall of paintings by Agung
We came dressed in sarong and sash, as required for temple ceremonies and were duly "cleansed" through the chanting of mantras and offerings of flowers. When the time for questions came, I asked if our landlord was to be trusted to keep his word. He had asked permission to sell the villa before our lease was up because he was in terrible financial need, and he promised to reimburse us for the balance of the lease.
The young woman prayed at the altar for a few moments. When she turned around, her face was grave. I knew the answer would be No. She added the warning to beware of him. When I saw the landlord the next day, I told him that he had no deal. Little did I suspect what he had in store for me. But that's another story.
Phil asked about his health. He was told that he was fine. He had nothing to worry about. We did not know at that time that we would go to Bangkok the following year where the doctors would misdiagnose Phil's heart condition, scaring him into getting two stents. We later learned that Phil's heart was fine. They had given him the wrong tests. However, it did become the reason for us to return to Hawaii, something we're very grateful for.
Bali was paradise. Hawaii is heaven on earth. No way to go wrong.
Radu Palamariu, our friend from Romania had come with us.
He was curious about Agung, but also very skeptical.
Read his fascinating post, titled MYSTICISM AND HEALERS (you'll have to scroll down to it) at: http://palamariu.com/page/3/
Another painting by Agung