Ngaben ceremony is one of the most famous Hindu-Bali’s traditional-religious ceremonies. Ngaben is the ritual performed in Bali to send the deceased to the next life and is perform by their families and local communities. The body of the deceased will be placed as if sleeping, and the family will continue to treat the deceased as sleeping. No tears are shed, because the deceased is only temporarily and will reincarnate to the better life or find his final rest in Moksha , freeing from the reincarnation and death cycle (Patika Samupadha).
At Ngaben ceremony there are two main paraphernalia (equipment ceremony), namely Bade (cremation tower) and Lembu (giant bull, cremation sarcophagus), all is made of paper and wood. The body of the deceased is placed inside a coffin This coffin is placed inside a sarcophagus. For the royal cremation (Pelebon ceremony), there are also a Naga Banda (a mythical dragon-like creature with a long tail). The Naga Banda is reserved for only the elders of the royal family and is seldom seen in cremation ceremonies
The climax of Ngaben is the burning of the whole structure, together with the body of the deceased. The fire is necessary to free the spirit from the body and enable reincarnation and final rest is Moksha.
Ngaben is not immediately performed. For higher caste members it is normal to perform the ritual within 3 days. For lower caste members the deceased are buried first and later, often in a group ceremony for the whole village, cremated.
Ngaben ceremony is not just about burning the body into ash (cremation) Ngaben ceremonies is a series of processions that occur since the person passed away until after the ash of the death has been thrown away into the sea.
Ngaben ceremony is a ceremony to purify and return the element of Panca Maga Butha (five elements of the universe that form the life itself) in human body (Bhuana Alit, the micro cosmos) to the universe (Bhuana Agung, the macro-cosmos). The elements of Panca Maha Butha in the body of human are:
– Petiwi (the earth, solid matters); like the flesh, bones, and teeth.
– Apah (the water); like blood, tears, saliva, and mucus
– Teja (the light); like the aura and the light of eyes.
– bayu (the air, the wind); like breathe and energy.
-Akasa (the space); the abstract elements (the ether) in human body.
In the Hindu- Balinese religion, there is also known a fundamental concept called Tri Rna.Tri Rna means three types of debts of a human during his/her life, namely :
1. Dewa Rna : debt to creator, who created man and nature that provides all its contents to human life
2. Rsi Rna : debt to Rsi (teacher), who has spread the science for the benefit of mankind.
3. Pitra Rna : debt to parents and ancestors, who had given birth, nurture, and educate humans from the womb to adulthood.
To pay for all these three debts, the Hindu Balinese people perform various ceremonies. Ngaben ceremony is the implementation to Pitra Yadnya(ceremonies). The ceremony must be performed by the family of the death as good as possible.
Ngaben ceremony is a Hindu Bali traditional-religious ceremony which had been held since the past and still survived until now in the midst of changing times.
The Royal Cremation and Mass Cremation Ceremony, July 28, 2012
The Pelebon ceremony was conducted by Tjokorda Putra Dharma Yudha from Puri Kemudasari, Ubud; a branch of the local royal family. While the mass Ngaben ceremony was carried out for deceased community members from 4 banjars in the Ubud Area. In this ceremony we also can see the togetherness among the Puri Ubud and the community and among community members.
The departure ceremony was from Catus Patha (Ubud main intersection). For the royal cremation, the body was carried by a 9-tiered roof, 25 meters high Bade (cremation tower) to the location of cremation at Pura Dalem Peliatan, which is about 800 meters to the east of Puri Ubud.
Although it is a ceremony of death, but Ngaben ceremony atmosphere is always lively. Besides being a traditional-religious ceremony, Ngaben ceremony has also become one of the most famous tourist attractions in Bali.
The mass cremation was held after royal cremation. The remains of the bodies were carried to the location of cremation at Setra Desa Pakraman Ubud (Ubud village cemetery)