Bali in a deep silence. It’s Nyepi day, my most favorite day in the whole year, more than I like my own birthday or the New Year (according to the Gregorian calendar). For Balinese, Nyepi is a new year, and 2008 will be the year of 1930 according the Saka year. It’s time to take the journey within and it can really makes you your own best friend in a way.. There are 4 basic “rules” on Nyepi :
– Amati Lelungan : not going anywhere, stay at home or hotels, don’t wandering around. But for some, especially kids, playing or even lying on empty road that usually a very busy traffic is one of the greatest experiences in life that will last long after they enter their adulthood.
– Amati Geni : Geni meaning fire, symbolically it got something to do with the desire in ourselves, known or in a deep unknown world of subconscious mind. The simple way to say it; observe yourself. But literally, amati geni means you can’t turn on the lights or lit up fire But around 1970s, people may go out, there was this ‘night market’ but everything is dark, so people might use this moment to touch others to flirt but mostly they end up by touching people from the same sex. Only street vendor who already ‘bought the fire’ allowed to put an oil lamp in their stand.
– Amati Lelanguan : because on this day we’re meant to be in a deep contemplation, to be meditative, any sort of ‘entertainment’ might distract us. So no tv, radio, loud music, home theatre, etc. The message is really that you must feeling good for just being with yourself..(and maybe with family)
– Amati Karya : again, literally, it means you can’t do anything that consider “working”. The only thing you do or expect to do is just to observe yourself closely, deeply and that’s it. But most of the time, for most Balinese housewives Nyepi day can be a great day for laundry! And for others maybe to clean up the mess around the house. It seems like it never been enough to do those things in a “normal” daily life. When the dusk is coming, then the real contemplation usually begin..
One of the many things in life that I feel grateful of, is Nyepi day. We’re all a bunch of busy people living in a busy, fast forwarding life. In some point, the stop sign is needed. It’s not only for us, the human being who will get all the valuable benefit on this special day.. It does a lot for mother earth, to let her take a deep breath for a while. She gives us the whole year and we never really think of it, and now there’s only this 24 hours for her..Can’t be compared at all, but at least there is this 24 hours..I don’t specialized my self on environmental subject, I’m not equipped myself with accurate data about how much energy we can save on Nyepi day, but basically Nyepi is do-able for every human being living on this earth.
I think for us Balinese, long before all this hustle-bustle about ‘going green’ and certainly long before the global climate change conference which was held last year, the concept of Nyepi day is a very universal value. I never think that only because there are certain rituals accompany it, Nyepi day belongs to “hindu” Balinese. Just feel the connection between us human being and mother earth, it is universal.
But for some reasons, mostly economical, people never really think that Nyepi is also do-able outside this small island. Can we imagine that one day, all the greatest city around the globe have this one special day in a year? Nyepi is universal and very personal at the same time. Lots of people will have to see themselves and become their own best friend. Sometimes in life we’re a complete stranger to ourselves, and if life become too fast to live, Nyepi is the right moment to slow down, take a good look within, observe.. and have a pleasant (or maybe not so pleasant) journey within!