People of Bali

As a community, the people of Bali are tied to the social and cultural aspects of life by what they call the Tri Hita Karana, which proclaims one’s duty to live a spiritual life as atma (spirit), the duty to look after one’s habitat and habitual areas as angga (body), and the duty of carrying out one’s living as a member of an interconnected community, as khaya (labor).

To this day, the people, society and culture of Bali are characterized by their history and by the ancient influences of Majapahit. The Hindu philosophy of life, the three elements atma, angga, and khaya, has made the life of the population unique and flexible in its response to the changing times. Cultural development and the conduct of the Balinese from ancient times to the modem day can be explained as a flexible process, where economical development, knowledge, and technology have been blended with the colors of local culture.

The culture of Bali is constantly developing and changing, without losing the uniqueness of its own culture. Other than the various new professional organizations, the people of Bali are still strongly tied together by the order of the local traditional culture. Krama adat, warna, wangsa, sorah, sekeha, and other traditional organizations in Bali are social constructs and the realization of the Balinese involvement in the activities of traditional customs, religion and culture.

The difference in wama, or profession, in carrying out ritual activities, are often interpreted from outside as social levels that, in turn, positions the order within customary and cultural society as discriminatory in the framework of caste. There are also some Balinese justify the concept of caste mentioned above, which has led to misunderstandings in the peoples’ daily activities as well.

The titles brahman, ksatria, wesia and sudra, the realization of warna or duties, are misinterpreted as levels within society, rather than metaphysical ideals. Ties of blood within Balinese society are called the soroh (marga). This has provoked the misinterpretation of warna birth in the caste system. Although it is implied in religious teachings regarding duties or warna, (which are open and not necessarily tied to soroh), the custom of passing down these duties within a single soroh has become a tradition over the centuries.

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