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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Clean Your Body and Purify Your Nind at Pura Tirta Empil

More than a thousand years ago a powerful King named Mayadenawa ruled over a vast area which included Bali. Mayadenawa possessed the spiritual power to transform himself into anything he desired. Unfortunately he misused his powers and became a cruel, black magician.
A priest named Sang Kulputih appealed to Indra to come to earth to kill Mayadenawa.Because he had many spies, Mayadenawa learned about the upcoming attack in time and managed to organize his defenses. However Lord Indra's forces were superior and therefore victorious. Most of King Mayadenawa troops fled, leaving him almost without defense.
Then the war was interrupted by nightfall. When Indra's forces slept, Mayadenawa stole into Indra's camp, walking on the sides of his feet as to leave no foot prints, and created a pool of poisoned water. This way of walking gave Tampaksiring its name, for tampak siring is Balinese for 'without imprints'. He left as he came and when Indra's forces woke up the next morning and discovered the water pool, they drank from it and became violently sick.
When Indra found out what happened, he created a large spring of fresh water by stabbing his flag pole to the ground.The clear water was able to cure the sickness of his army. The spring was called Tirtha Empul, which means bubbling spring.
Mayadenawa fled, chased by the forces of Indra. During his flight he transformed himself a number of times, but he couldn't trick Indra with his disguises. When he had transformed himself into a stone, he was shot by Indra with an arrow. A stream of blood flowed from the stone, forming the river Petanu. And for a thousand years this river would be cursed. Rice fields irrigated with its water would make the rice grow fast, but once harvested, blood would come out of it and it would smell bad.
The death of King Mayadenawa is symbolic for the victory of good (dharma) over evil (adharma). The day of Mayadenawa's death is still celebrated, every 210 days according to the Balinese Pawukon calendar, and this day is generally known as Galungan Day

Pura Tirta Empul is a water temple in Bali, located about 12 miles northeast of Ubud. Fed continuously by springs, the Balinese consider the water holy and believe it comes from sacred Lake Batur, atop volcanic Mt. Batur. After it passes through the temple complex, the water feeds the Pakerisan River and many of the subaks to the south around Ubud.
At the center of the temple complex is the spring source, held within a large walled pool. The cool spring water bubbles out of dark grey volcanic sand, which billows under water among electric green freshwater algae and ferns.

Underground channels direct water from the spring pool into the four blessing pools where it spurts from cylindrical stone spouts. The four blessing pools are aligned laterally at the base of the spring pool. The first pool, at the left, has 13 spouts. To receive blessings, a worshipper steps down into the water, submerged to 85 cm, and walks across the stone bottom to the spout on the left. Proceeding from left to right the worshipper repeatedly bows to submerge head and shoulders under the water from each spout, offering prayers and receiving blessings. There are spouts for baby ceremonies, spouts for nightmares, and spouts for holy water to take away.
The spring water passes in underground channels from the blessing pools to the public washing pools and then enters the river to feed the rice terraces to the south.

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