Dream or Reality (23) The holy water
text and image by Hans Smeekes
Once again in the night Fifi and I are silently sitting on our big bed in our dream room of the palace. Waiting for the sign of our friend Tu Tokeh, the gecko, with his specific sound. After which he and his friend Tu Kodok, the frog, will appear on the edge of the window in front of us.
So it happens: Tu Tokeh sticks to his habit, doing it eleven times, always this odd number. And there they are, our two animal friends. Looking at us with big bulging eyes.
“We heard you made a big trip today,” Tu Kodok immediately starts the conversation and obviously very curious about our report of the day.
“Yes today we went quite far,” I respond, “we went in search of a temple, of which it is said it is famous for the holy water.”
“And priests in training go there for education and meditation, we heard,” Fifi adds.
“That sounds very interesting,” Tu Tokeh reacts.
“Yes reason enough to try to find it. The prince eagerly wanted to accompany us, because he had never been there and heard stories about the temple. Stories about the power of the holy water. Also our friend and driver Putu was very enthusiastic, because now he also got the opportunity to visit this temple.
Passing through the most beautiful landscapes of Bali Putu told a story about his village in the mountains. A miracle: from the leaves of a big tree next to the family temple water was dripping. It did not rain for days. So it was really a miracle and people came from far to receive some of this holy water. Thousands of people. While driving he showed us a picture: people sitting in white clothes in front of this special tree. But then suddenly the magical phenomenon stopped.The tree is still there and the spot is still considered as very sacred.”
“The magic of Bali,” Tu Kodok says, “a nice story to start with.”
“Arriving very close to the temple, after many asking, the very last part we had to walk. For Fifi already not easy. It became more difficult for her when the first steep steps of a long concrete staircase down emerged between the foliage of the jungle.
Halfway brave Fifi could not go any further and sat down on the step.”
“That must have been a difficult moment for both of you,” is Tu Tokeh’s sympathetic reaction.
“Yes leaving Fifi there was not easy.”
“But I insisted that Hans should go on further down with the others,” Fifi says.
“And so I did and going more down the view on the mysterious temple in the ravine became more and more ravishing. The thought came up ‘what a pity Fifi cannot see this Shangri-La’. I looked over my shoulder up to wave to her.
We had to pass a small bridge to cross the rough river, noisy winding like a snake round the rocks. Inside the temple a peaceful pond, with lotusses and orange flowers.
The small lake was surrounded by statues and meru shrines.
It was like the pemangku, the temple priest, was already expecting us. The prince and Putu immediately had a conversation with the skinny friendly priest. According to the translation of the prince the water in the lake is very holy and has magical power.
He said also that he had to admit that the descent to the temple is difficult, but once down and being sprinkled by the holy water, going back up will be easy, it will be like flying ...
The priest advised me to tell this to Fifi. ‘She must try, it is specially good for her, taking into account her physical condition, miracles can happen here’ with these words, he encouraged me to convince Fifi. And so I did, going up again.”
“I saw Hans coming up with great effort and it is only because of this and because I love him so much that I went down in the end,” Fifi says.
“You two are really a good couple,” Tu Kodok reacts with a big smile.
“Back down with Fifi the pemangku had already finished his preparations, like making a fire of coconut shells and lighting incense, the smell was overwhelming and he requested us to sit down close to the water.
We prayed in the Balinese tradition with the petals and we got the blessing with the holy water. After that we meditated and the mangku advised us to think of a strong wish. My wish was a better health for Fifi. And it was recommended to concentrate on the surface of the water in the pond. It was said that the pure and the unclean would separate after a while.
Standing on my feet again with pain in my eyes of staring at the pond without seeing the separation I felt a little bit dizzy, almost in trance. But soon I was completely back to my senses as the priest began to shower us with liters of the holy water. Pouring it through a round basket with a hole in the point downwards. We were so very wet, the water kept on coming, the mangku was not to stop, smiling, enjoying his action. Yes it was quite an experience.
‘How you feel?’ the prince asked me. I felt like reborn, I told him.
And then a coconut was falling down with a big bang.
Putu immediately was looking at his watch, it was nearly noon and he said: ’We have to go out of the temple, because this is a sign, it is not good to be in a temple at noon.’
‘That is true,’ the prince confirmed, ‘because otherwise your mind can get confused and you don’t know your way home. There are many stories about that.’
Quickly we said goodbye to the friendly priest who gave us two jerrycans of the holy water, for at home, in return we gave him a donation and thanked him.
So then we went up again. And surprise surprise, the temple priest was right: after a few steps I heard Fifi already happily counting the number of steps. It was indeed easier for her to go up. And better: the pain was much less.
Then it started to rain. Raindrops were falling along the leaves. And I had to think of the story of the miracle tree. It made everything complete. We experienced once again the magic of Bali.
And we were singing: ‘Singing in the rain ..., flying in the rain.’”
And in this room our two friends also are flown away.
Dream or Reality?
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