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On Wednesday 9th March we celebrated Nyepi, the annual day of silence in Bali and also the start of the New Year. On this day there is no traffic at all on Bali, no lights at night, no loud noise, everyone fasts and so did we.

Nyepi Ratu with Ganesha statue On the evening before Nyepi we first had a ceremony at the big Ganesha statue at the gate. There was a fire with a lot of smoke and the Ganesha statue was washed and covered in nice new cloth. Ratu asked us to sing the Ganesha song and clap, while sending us lots of energy. Afterwards there was a fire ceremony with live gamelan music in the background and we ended the ceremony at the tirtha with a shake and a talk. It all felt very uplifting, sweet and soft. A lot of Balinese had arrived to celebrate Nyepi at the ashram. It was a festive atmosphere right from the start. And after dinner it went on. Ratu called up the Balinese one by one, shook their hand and wished them a happy New Year with the well-known effects! They were all shaking, laughing and moving around. He did the same with the few Westerners who stayed up late. We fell over with laughter, what a good start of Nyepi!

The next day we started our fast (no food, no drinking). The session in the morning started in dim sunlight – it was an almost complete solar eclipse! Later Ratu said that it was a special day, as it was 33 years ago that he became a channel of the divine. At first he didn’t want it, but then he understood that this was his task in life. We sat with him most of the morning near the Ganesha statue that had been blessed the night before. He talked, showed us mudras. The midday shake happened in total silence, no singing of the mantra, hardly a sound was made, a new and meditative experience for us all. Instead of going to the restaurant for a meal, we spent most of our time sitting with Ratu. He was available the whole day, motivating us with talks and demonstrations. He sat at different places in the ashram, ringing his bell, surrounded by people. Late in the morning he was teaching some Balinese girls the traditional dances in the taman, showing them how to bring spirituality into their dance by calling on the deities. In the afternoon he got some Balinese to do kung fu with sticks. 

In the evening we gathered at the water temple in total darkness. There was a long meditation, many people had visions. Because there were no lights on the whole island so many stars were visible in the sky, a unique sight to see the total galaxy shining down on us. There were shooting stars and fire flies as well. For many of us processes started to come up in the evening and in the night, the cleaning was having its effect.

At 6 am the next morning we had the special dish (a sweet soup of mung beans, ginger and rice) which is the traditional way to break the fast, it was delicious and wholesome. After the morning shake, a talk on the steps and singing of the Ganesha song, there was breakfast. Ratu said later that it is good to eat less and sleep less, then we have more energy to live a creative life.

A Balinese wedding

Balinese weddingOne of the ashram girls in the kitchen was getting married and we were invited to go to the wedding, or part of it, as it is a two day affair including a few ceremonies.

Her name is Pentil, she works during the week in Denpasar in a chocolate factory and comes to the ashram in the weekend. She actually spent most of her adolescence in the ashram and is part of the ashram family. Ketut and Nyoman with their kids also came alo
ng. We received a warm welcome from the bride and groom, both in traditional wedding costumes.

Pentil had only heard a few hours before we arrived that Ratu would come to bless them and since she had been too shy to invite him, she felt extremely honoured by his visit and our presence was valued as well.

Balinese wedding

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