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When a Good Shepherd Goes Bad

North Bali Community Undertakes Elaborate Offerings and Drowns a Cow After Local Man Caught In 'Flagrante Delicto' with a Cow


Bali News: When a Good Shepherd Goes Bad
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(10/7/2011)

Bali Post reports that Sangit in Buleleng, North Bali was awash with frantic activity on Tuesday, October 4, 201, as the entire village gathered on the ocean’s shores to participate in the ritual drowning at sea of a cow.

The ill-fated cow, sentenced to an early, watery grave, was known to have recently been sexually violated by a 25-year-old man from the village, identified only by the initials “MS.”

Sexual concourse with an animal is viewed by most Balinese as “salah karma” entailing grave consequences in the order of the cosmos. The incident between the man and the bovine occurred in September, and became known to the entire village who termed the encounter a “disaster” demanding group prayers and that special offerings be made.

According to the village chief or “Klian” of Sangsit, Made Subakti, the required cleansing ceremony demanded the drowning in the ocean of the cow that had been known carnally by MS. On Tuesday morning, the hapless animal was ritually cleansed at a village temple and then dressed in colorful cloths, symbolizing the adornments of a "bride” to be wed to MS.

Afterwards, the cow was loaded into a local boat, hauled out to sea and pushed overboard where the animal was allowed to drown. Meanwhile, MS was compelled to remove his clothing which were symbolically thrown into the ocean with “his bride” to represent his own drowning. Fresh clothing were given the man on the boat who, when he returned to shore, was considered ritually cleansed of his sin.

The entire ceremony cost around Rp.40 million (US$4,450) and was paid via contributions by all members of the village. Surprisingly, MS, known to be a man of limited financial means, was not asked to make any financial contribution for the ceremonies by his fellow villagers.

The traditional and ritual head of the village, Jro Gede Segara, told the Bali Post that the act committed by the village member was done while the perpetrator was under a spell and not conscious of his actions. ”The incident was part of a natural cycle committed unintentionally. (Because of this) the village must receive the consequences as matter of fate,” explained Segara.


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