Pura Bukit, carrying the gods to the sea
This is the legend of Pura Bukit and the divine origin of the royal family of Karangasem.
‘A long time ago, the princess of Karangasem became pregnant, but refused to reveal the father of the baby. The king threatened to kill his own daughter. The princess replied, ‘Wait, wait until tonight, and I shall show you the father.’
‘That night, the King and his court were guarding the palace gates. But no one appeared. Finally, in the dark depths of night, a bright ball of light appeared from Mount Agung, flying in the sky, before hovering above the house of the princess. From within the light “bird” cage, appeared a voice, to the trembling King, saying, ‘Do not kill the baby. It is my son. I’m the god of Mount Agung.”
Not long after a baby boy was born, giving great hopes for the future of the kingdom. But while still young, the boy came to the King, saying, ‘My mother and I are leaving for the mountains, where we will live among the gods.’ The King protested to no avail. Upon reaching the foot of Mount Lempuyang, where the strait of Lombok can be seen far below and the twin mountains towering above, the princess placed her cane in the ground. On that very spot grew a kepuh tree, to which the King returned to look for the little boy. But no trace of the son of Mount Agung was ever found. It is around this tree the King built a temple, and it is to this temple we return to make offerings and pray for the sakti, the power, of Betara Alat Sakti, the guardian spirit of the royal lineage of Karangasem.”
To all Balinese, life speaks of an almost eternal exchange between men and gods. At the core of Balinese religion is this creed: without the gods, the life of the environment, the family, my body, the life of all that is nature, prakriti, will whither away. Clearly, in Bali, man lives in suspense. Nature, prakriti, will not automatically sustain its powers without the spirit of purusa.
The royal, like Shiva, needs infusion of sakti, the power without which he, nature, anything, dwindles away. But today, as they cleanse and bathe the spirits of Pura Bukit, and carry the spirits to the sea, the symbol of the all-encompassing God, Brahman, the royal family of Karangasem do again feel confident, that the spirit of Pura Bukit, Betara Alat Sakti, has been revived, and, along with him, their destinies and fortunes.