In an earlier article I mentioned the importance of Mount Agung to the Balinese people. To add to the significance of mount Agung is the importance that the water has, when blessed by a priest. In mythology, every ancient country has mythology as part of its history, whether it be an old wives tale or a herbal remedy to lance unwanted blemishes or a cure for a significant illness. Bali is no exception as a powerful myth has endured in its history, which has propelled and protected the Balinese for over a 1,000 years.
This Myth is the ancient ritual of Barong dancing, probably the most powerful dance in Balinese history, it is known as I have said Barong dancing. Barong is a purveyor of good as it is a story of good and evil, heaven and hell, black and white magic.
During the 10C there existed a King of Bali or a Sultan as he should perhaps be known, King Erlangga. Now he had a mother, Rangda, and a father, the father whom commended his wife into damnation as she was a keen follower and portrayer of the black arts, sinister magic, over time Rangda became synonymous with all that is evil. Soon Rangda became a widow, after which she summoned all the evil spirits from within the jungles of Bali, her sole plan was to harm King Erlangga, her own son, as she believed he was behind much of the curtailment of her evil magic.
And so the story was born: For King Erlannga the power of her unbridled evil spells and army of demons was so intense that he became powerless against her and was soon to be overwhelmed. Had it not been for Barong as he quickly drew breathe and prayed for the assistance of Barong the spirit of all good. Barong quickly marched to the side of King Erlangga bringing with him King Erlangga’s army of loyal troops, troops that now found courage in the shadow of Barong.
The intense battle commenced and a fight between good and evil, Rangda an emissary of evil on Bali pitched against Barong. Two immortal beings pitched in battle, demons against the mortal troops of King Erlangga. Soon a wicked and treacherous spell had been cast as each of the troops had a Keris in which to attack the demons and bring order to the realm of King Erlangga preserving the lives of the Balinese, delivering them through the paths of evil. However, Rangda had little intention to go without a fight and soon cast her sinful spell on the troops of King Erlangga, causing them to take their poison tipped Keris and plunge it deep into their stomachs; with the full intention of killing each and every one of them. Had it not been for the quick action of Barong then the mythology could well have taken a different course. Barong moved to cast a further spell lifting the troops from harms way by improving their immune systems such that it became resistant to the poison and in fact enhanced their strength and ability.
Barong the King and host of all good spirits gives power to his fourth brother Banas Pati Rajah, a child himself who is tasked with the role of protector of children and to this day Banas pati Rajah is said to exist within all regions of Bali and takes a different form, he can be portrayed as a lion or a Boar depending as to where you are within the paradise Island. It is said that high priest enhance the abilities of these prodigies by sprinkling the holy waters of Mount Agung upon their mortal guise.
And so to this day the dance continues, protecting Balinese from the evils of the devil, the evils or Rangda!