Hindus in Bali commemorate a festivity of Tumpek Kandang. The festivity falling every Saniscara (Saturday) Pon Wuku Uye actually has a meaning to develop compassion for all the God’s creatures, especially animals. Through the Tumpek Kandang ritual, people are expected to develop the livestock sector to strengthen the economic foundations. Then, how should devotees interpret the Tumpek Kandang?
In the Sunarigama palm-leaf manuscript is stated that on Saniscara Pon Uye pinaka prakertining sarwa sato. In other words, the day should be made the milestone for preserving all kinds of animals. Celebration of the Tumpek Kandang ritual is not meant to worship the animals. It is a religious festival dedicated to worship Lord Shiva Pasupati, a manifestation of God who has created the animals.
On Tumpek Kandang, animals especially cattle are made some celebratory oblations. Essentially, devotees worship the Lord Shiva Pasupati as manifestation of God serving as the king of all the living things. In the ritual procession, devotees invoke blessing in order their cattle could be bestowed with prime healthy and safety. However, philosophically the Tumpek Kandang celebration implies that people should develop compassion for all the living creatures. In the economic context, the procession mandates that agricultural sector in the broader sense (livestock) can be developed to strengthen the economic foundations of society.
Sarasamusccaya says that Ayuwa tan masih ring sarwa prani, apan prani ngaran prana, which means not to ignore any care to animals because they are a force of nature. In other words, people must develop compassion for all beings. Especially on Tumpek Kandang, devotees worship God in His manifestation as Lord Shiva Pasupati in order the cattle could be blessed with welfare.
Similarly, the prayers are also recited for other livestock such as pigs, goats, chickens and ducks. Even, a pig for the Hindu community in Bali is often used as a sort of saving or piggy bank. When people hold celebrations, the pigs are slaughter or in emergency case they can be sold to meet the needs.
As the animals destined for human food, chickens, ducks, pigs and so forth are often used as a protein source to support the human life. To that end, those animals should be constantly developed.
However, other specific animals, especially those belonged to the endangered species, should be preserved. For example, they are green turtles, Bali starlings, deers, monkeys and so forth. These rare animals must be maintained so as not to become extinct.
To keep the endangered species from extinction, Balinese people associate them with mythology. For instance, the animals are regarded as the property (duwe) of God such as the white cow, ape, fruit bats, snake and so on. Through the mythology, devotees are actually encouraged to conserve the wildlife by preserving them based on religious concepts. Mythology seems much more powerful than a call or an appeal to preserve the endangered species.
In the Hindu concept, no single thing is without the power of God. Inside them lie the jivatman or the soul. On that account, the concept of developing compassion for all the God’s creatures should be continued. Through the celebration Tumpek Kandang, people should develop them well for the benefit of life and preserve the endangered species in order not to become extinct. (BTN/kmb)