When you are a dancer or an art enthusiast, do not try to dance or just play the Sidakarya mask arbitrarily. This creepy-look and sacred mask can only be played by certain people. Failing which, do not blame if you can fall limp on stage and sick. In order to be able to play or dance the Sidakarya mask, the dancer should pass through a pawintenan ekajati (initiation rite) conducted by higher priest. In other words, the dancer must perform mesakapan (marriage) ritual with the mask. Besides, the dancer may not talk haphazardly on stage because there are ethical rules to be complied with because the function has been made with certainty.
Indeed, for the Hindu community in Bali the Sidakarya mask is only performed on holy days associated with customary and religious ceremonies. Sidakarya mask is white, has slanted eyes, slightly protruding teeth, half-human face and semi-demonic face, shoulder-length hair and inscribed veil. The dancer always brings a bowl containing canangsari oblation, incense, yellow rice, sekar ura (sowing flowers) and so on symbolizing generosity. On stage, the Sidakarya mask dancer moved funnily and continues to capture a child among the audience to be given coins. It poses a manifestation of healing the sick and brings prosperity to others. Likewise, it is also a symbolizing the life cycle namely, birth, toddler, teenage, old age and death.
A mask dancer, I Ketut Pelor, said the performance of Sidakarya mask had religious significance for accomplishing large ceremonies of the Hindus in Bali. “As the art of ritual mask, the Sidakarya mask is not just intended for accomplishing a ritual, but also for being used as a medium to overcome moral degradation and can become a milestone to strengthen the arts in Bali, especially the sacred dance,” he said. Sidakarya mask is not only seen as a facial mask, but also considered to have magical power so it is staged on certain days. When dancing, a Sidakarya mask dancer must be able to chant sacred mantras and not all people are allowed to do so. “There is dancer who speaks haphazardly and then falls ill. After doing pewintenan the dancer can make performance again on stage,” he said.
Sidakarya mask has the function to accomplish various rituals such as deva yajna (such as ngenteg linggih, pedudusan agung), bhuta yajna (such as tawur agung, caru wrehaspati kalpa) and rishi yajna, excludes the manusha yajna that does not apply the Sidakarya mask. “It is believed that without performing the Sidakarya mask a ritual will result in obstacles, such as causing anxiety in the mind,” he said. Similar opinion was also revealed by mask dancers Ketut Wirtawan and Gde Sudiarcana. Especially for Sidakarya mask dancer, it had some rules to be followed. Failing which, the dancers would surely get a risk because from the making of Sidakarya mask to its performance, it had rules to be complied with such as choosing certain wood, starting on auspicious day and giving initiation with special ritual.
The story began in the reign of Dalem Waturenggong in Gelgel, when he held a grandiose ceremony at Besakih many priests were invited to officiate over the ceremony. There was a priest (Brahmin) from Keling who was not invited but would like to get involved in officiating over the ceremony. The intention was based on kinship between Keling in Java and Gelgel Bali.
Unfortunately, due to long journey and took several days, Pandita Keling arrived in Gelgel in disheveled condition where his clothes were ragged like a beggar. In such clothes, no one in the kingdom believed in him, so Pandita Keling was forcibly evicted and humiliated. After that, Pandita Keling went on a quiet place in South Denpasar known as Sidakarya village.
The ceremony held by Dalem Waturenggong did not bring in blessing, failed and even caused disasters. All offerings became rotten and rats swarmed the rotten offerings. Moreover, the rats destroyed crops more severely so that all farmers became restless.
Through his meditation, Dalem Waturenggong knew who condemned the magnitude of the ceremonies. He then sent Arya Tangkas to pick up Pandita Keling who was still living in a quiet place (Suwung) which is now known as Sidakarya village. The king apologized and invited Pandita Keling to participate in officiating over the ceremony. Even, he got the final session so the ceremony became sida (endowed). To many people, this procession is then known as the finalizing Sidakarya. (BTN/agung/015)