Currently, Balinese people are apparently very eager to watch the Mahabharata TV series aired in one of the private television stations. The elderly, youth and children are so captivated by the beauty of the players and content of the storyline filled with the philosophy of life. Inevitably, aside from Bali, the other regions are also avid to watch this series.
Balinese and Javanese people have indeed been already very familiar with this epic story. The story originating from India quickly spread to Southeast Asia and then got a very special place in the heart of Javanese and Balinese people. The story is about life in the family of Bharata, ranging from their ancestors to the Pandavas and Kauravas, their childhood and the war of both families in the Kuruksetra battlefield. Involvement of both families in the battle with different foundation, namely the truth, untruth and intervention of third party, has caused both families to be roasted in the flames of revenge. Ultimately, the Pandavas wins and the Kauravas loses. The question: does the winning party indeed virtually win?
In Balinese society, the epic Mahabharata and Ramayana belong to a puppetry storyline. When the domain of entertainment is not as festive as it is today, the medium of traditional art such as puppet, drama gong operetta, ballet, gambuh, masks and other was so dominant. By degrees, their existence has been marginalized due to the increasing proliferation of the entertainment world as it happens today. Various film, videos and the Internet can be accessed through sophisticated gadgets. Then, it becomes a challenge when at the same time traditional arts increasingly come to extinction. It is now the shared responsibility of the government and community to make all the young generation closer to return to traditional arts. Many valuable teachings can be learned. They are filled with descriptions on the philosophy of life. It is very sublime!
Probably, it will not be appropriate to compare the current condition of Balinese community to Mahabharata TV series. However, let’s try it slowly. The current condition of our society is probably not much better than that of the Pandavas and Kauravas. A contradiction occurs because the King (read: the government) does not take decisive action. People are set in conflicts and there is a kind of intervention and intimidation. People get disintegrated in addressing particular issues. Okay, this is the dynamics of democracy. However, the impact will be very severe if the leadership as well as the customary, social and religious leaders are unable to play their role wisely. By all means, we do not want if Bali will become the battlefield of Kuruksetra as happens in the storyline of Mahabharata.
Although it was not a performing art, a total of 735 Balinese women roasting coffee…