Ancient Brahmin Village in Bali Banjar Saren Jawa

I am researching into the presence of Indian communities, the Varnas, loosely and incorrectly translated as Caste today around the world.

The fact that Rama’s Kingdom extended throughout the world, Sugreeve directing his army in search of Sita. to all parts of the world by geographical references with annotation to Hindu sounding names,Krishna’s son Pradhyumna had a city built-in Russia, Lahore being founded by Rama’s son Lava, , Korean Queen from Ayodhya….and more references made me curious.

And there is Chatur varna in Bali!

Banjar Saren Jawa, Bali.jpg Banjar Saren Jawa, Bali. Brahmin Village

Now I find that there is an ancient Brahmin Village in Bali, Banjar Saren Jawa.

It is interesting to note that Muslims there send special food, sans Meat for Hindu Festivals,which is reciprocated by the Brahmins.

I have a post where I had mentioned that a student of my father, who later became Inspector of Schools used to get food from my home when he was on tour to my native city.9 Post ‘Where have these Muslims Gone?)

Banjar Saren Jawa.

‘Residents of the Muslim-majority neighborhood of Saren Jawa in Karangasem started Idul Fitri by sending gifts of hot meals and traditional cakes to their Hindu neighbors.

Saren Jawa, a collection of 125 households, is part of Budakeling,  an ancient Brahmin village with a Hindu majority that is also home to some of the island’s most revered Buddhists priests and literary figures well versed in Kawi and ancient texts.

Sending gifts of food to observe religious festivals is an old tradition for Budakeling’s Muslims and

Local Hindus send similar gifts to Muslim neighbors when celebrating Hindu festivals.

They even cook a special pork-free version of lawar (spicy shredded vegetables with minced meat) called lawar selam. The word selam is derived from Islam, residents said.

The tradition underlines centuries of harmony shared by Bali’s Muslims and Hindus.

After performing Shalat Ied, Saren Jawa villagers gathered at noon at the mosque for a megibung, or communal feast — another Hindu tradition adopted by the Muslims.  The residents were resplendent in Muslim attire and spoke in Alus, the most polite form of Balinese.

Ketut Syukur Yahya and Komang Thoyib sat in a corner of the mosque. The youths have Balinese surnames and Muslim family names.

“We are very proud of our names because they highlight the fact that we are Muslims and also Balinese,” Wayan Lukman Hakim said.

A similar tradition combining Balinese and Muslim names also exists in Pegayaman, an ancient Muslim village in Buleleng.

“Our old mosque has a seven-tiered roof which resembled the Balinese Hindus’ Meru shrine. Our ancestors and elders left behind rituals and traditions that strengthened our emotional bond with our Hindu brothers and sisters,” he added.

Other youths nodded in agreement and in turn described their experiences with that emotional bond. They said they were optimistic that harmonious relations could continue long into the future.

Ketut Syukur told The Jakarta Post of a unique tradition observed during Maulud, the celebration of Muhammad’s birthday celebration, which involved both Muslims and Hindus.

“We built a stage on which Muslims and Hindus youths performed dances and music to honor the Prophet,” Ketut Syukur said.

Hindus offer a similar gesture of respect, he said. Saren Jawa’s elders are invited to attend Budakeling’s major religious Hindu ceremonies and temple festivals — and are also asked to give their prayers and blessing, he said. .


For hundreds of years, a tiny village in Budakeling, Karangasem, has been a model of religious tolerance and acculturation between Hindus and Muslims.

Home to 100 families, the village is known as Banjar Saren Jawa, with “banjar” referring to a traditional Balinese neighborhood association.

Saren Jawa is surrounded by Balinese banjar like Triwangsa, Saren Kauh and Dukuh, all populated by Balinese Hindus following the Siwa-Buda belief system, an amalgamation of Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhist teachings.

Budakeling is an important site for Mahayana Buddhism in Bali as it was brought to Budakeling by Danghyang Astapaka during the reign of Bali’s most illustrious king, Dalem Waturenggong (1458-1550).

Astapaka was the nephew of Danghyang Nirartha, who was Waturenggong’s spiritual guru and the most influential Siwa high priest at the time.

Nirartha was the founder of the blood lineage of the island’s influential brahmana siwa clan, which gives the island most of its Siwa high priests, while Astapaka was the founder of the brahmana buda clan, which gives the island most of its Buda high priests.

Any major Balinese Hindu sacrificial ritual requires the presence of high priests from both clans.

Saren Jawa chief I Ketut Ayu Mudin SAR said the Muslim community in the area began with Raden Kyai Abdul Jalil from Java who visited the Gelgel kingdom in Klungkung and killed a rampaging rhinoceros that had killed many people.



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