The solution to world peace and harmony was revealed to us recently as we sipped on coconut water at a pool bar in Bali.
We were presented with a wide smile with bright white teeth and deep dimples as Marvellous Made’s Mathematical Solution was explained.
This amazing man spoke with great passion as he scribbled the Solution onto a serviette.
Then suddenly he would break the build-up and burst into peels of the most delicious laughter leaving you to wonder if the whole thing was some inside joke, despite the initial intensity of his words.
Then his conviction would shine through once again as more parts to the Solution were revealed.
While the whole encounter was enchanting and entertaining, Made has a serious message he intends to impart to the world – one person or couple at a time.
WORLD PEACE WITH JUST ONE WORD
The first part of his message is that world peace can be achieved with just one word – acceptance.
He explained how the majority of Balinese were both Hindus and Buddhists but shared a respect and admiration for all religions.
This pairing of philosophies was very evident when we visited the Elephant Cave – Goa Gajah – a wondrous temple that had been buried for so long the locals didn’t even know of its existence before Dutch archaeologists discovered it in the 1920s.
The Hindu temple was built in the 9th century and includes giant statues, an intricate entrance gate (now lying in pieces after being shattered by a huge earthquake) and three baths for blessing and bathing.
A little further along is the Elephant Cave, a beautifully carved sanctuary with meditation holes and a shrine of the elephant Hindu god Ganesha.
From here a path takes you down toward a river and the Buddhist temple and lotus pond – the two philosophies seamlessly joined in this ancient place of worship.
The Balinese are quite devout and dedicated to the rituals of honouring the spirits with beautiful offerings they place in doorways, on boats, in cars, on the footpaths and on statues, temples, and shrines each day.
The little baskets – ‘canangs’ – are made by weaving the leaves of coconut trees and decorated with food and flowers and are the foundation of Bali Hindu worship.
It is not unusual to see, shortly after the offering has been made, a local dog or bird feast upon the gift. Or a careless pedestrian step on those left on footpaths.
As all creatures are considered sacred, the Balinese take no offence that their carefully crafted offering is destroyed so soon after being ceremoniously placed.
They celebrate many different religious festivals each year, keeping their philosophy at the forefront of their minds and deeds.
Their quest to reach the state of moksa – where the individual melds with the Cosmos and God – is reflected in their rituals and their lifestyle.
They believe everyone has their own path to travel towards moksa which makes them more about acceptance than the conversion so many religions favour.
“All these wars for religion are crazy,” said our happy philosopher Made.
“They all lead to one God and the same message so people should just do what they do and accept everyone else’s choices.” And then that delicious laugh.
Made told us he believes it is the acceptance the Balinese have that makes it such a popular tourist destination for people from all around the world.
In fact, we met a woman on the plane trip over who had made the 14-hour air trip to Sydney and endured a 15-hour layover (not realizing Sydney airport closes down from 11 pm to 3 am and offers only minimal comfort to weary travellers during that time). She had travelled from her home in Hawaii – another beautiful island full of sunshine and smiles.
This was her 15th year in a row of holidaying in Bali. When I asked her what the attraction was she said it was just “the feeling” in Bali.
“I don’t even both sightseeing anymore,” she said.
“I’ve already been to all the places.
“Bali just calls to me.”
She said she had even considered retiring there but health issues had stopped her.
“People from all over the world come to Bali to find peace,” Made told us.
Their blending of two philosophies, and acceptance of all others puts them in a unique position to lead the world in peace, he said.
And then he followed it up with the Solution.
At this point, I have to tell you maths isn’t my strong suit and I did get quite confused with his numbers, clarity never quite being reached though I asked him to explain the Solution many times.
It goes something like this; you attribute specific numbers to the direction points on a compass. North = 9, South = 4, West = 5 and E = 7. Made didn’t make it clear why those numbers went with those directions, but I believe the 5 represents the earth’s elements, and 7, the number of weekdays. West and East are significant because if you multiply their numbers (5 x 7) you get 35, which is the number of days per month in Bali’s ancient Pawukon calendar – still used to determine the celebration dates for many festivals and personal anniversaries.
This calendar is very confusing to the uninitiated, which could be why Made’s Solution was so hard to understand.
The calendar is made up of six months each containing 35 days. Weeks are from one to 10 days long, so days have a different name, depending what week they fall in. Each day has 10 different names. With this calendar Wednesday does not always follow Tuesday, it depends on which of the 10-week cycles is being used.
I could leave it here and say the answer is obvious. West and East meet to add up to Bali’s ancient calendar month, making Bali the glue that holds the world together.
However, Made’s Solution included more numbers that all had significance, we are just not sure why.
Despite this, his message was clear, if the rest of the world followed Bali’s example of acceptance while remaining true to the individual’s belief system, there would be world peace.
The other part of Made’s message was the importance of keeping the Balinese culture and language alive.
Bali is renowned for its rich cultural heritage and sophisticated art forms including painting, sculpture, woodcarving, and the performing arts.
The traditional tales of the struggle between good and evil are depicted with bold and colourful characters in their stories, which each has a moral to impart, much like Aesop’s fables.
These are passed on to younger generations through painting and sculpture and their wonderfully entertaining dance performances, such as the Barong Dance.
As the younger generations become distracted with modern technology, there is a fear the culture and tradition will be left behind.
Made is involved in several groups dedicated to teaching young people about Bali’s culture and language.
The predominant language spoken in Bali is Indonesian.
We had an interesting moment when a hotel front desk employee was trying to help us with a banking problem and said, “I’ll get this woman to help you as I only speak Balinese.”
We were left wondering what other languages he would need in his own country until it was explained to us that most business transactions in tourist areas are done in Indonesian and that is the language young Balinese people now learned.
However, many Balinese people, particularly in tourist areas, are bilingual – speaking Indonesian and Balinese – and even trilingual, English being the next most spoken language.
The traditional Balinese language has many dialects depending on caste and clan and there is a genuine concern these languages will disappear as Bali becomes more westernised.
Wishing you acceptance and a gleeful week, Tamuria.