In one sense, we understood Bhutas as natural elements of this material world. They are also representing material forces, the subtle mundane energies permeates and constitutes this mayic (deluding) impermanent universe. We should consciously treat this world as manifestations of external energy emanating from The Supreme Lord Himself. By doing so, we can maintain this creations with feeling of total gratitude to Sri Bhagavan, as He gives them as His mercy for the conditioned souls. We show honor to these material creations, by which we can make offerings to please Sri Bhagavan in devotional loving service. Because of this thought, the Balinese can’t abandon the value of the Bhutas in their religious lives.
Other meaning of Bhuta is some kind of demonic or ghostly beings. They believed as malign negative spirits who can bring disharmony to the environment. They have subtle forms and can influence human’s subtle body, our minds, by their negative vibrations. They can create disturbance to the performance of sacrificial rites for the Devatas and other religious activities dedicated to God. Disagreement, quarrel, or mere tendencies for gossiping mundane topics in religious function supposed to the results of their negative influences. Some negative spirits also can do more disturbing activities such as haunting living quarters and make their inhabitants fell sick with unknown reason. All of these disturbances caused by the negative vibration of the Bhutas, when they were in improper place and circumstance.
There is an interesting story in the Aitreya-brahmana that tells how rice became the substitute for the meat. "In the beginning the gods used human beings for sacrifice. Overtime the sap of life left the human being and entered the body of the horse. Thereafter, the horse became the object of sacrifice. In time this sap of life left the horse and entered the ox. The ox became the object of sacrifice. Then again when the sap of life left the ox and entered sheep, a sheep became the object of sacrifice. Soon this sap of life left the sheep and entered the goat, wherein the goat became the object of sacrifice. For a long time the goat remained the object of sacrifice. Eventually, the sap of life left the goat and entered the earth. Thereupon, the earth became rice and rice became the fit substitute for the sap of life." Here we get the history of the sacrificial animal and the relationship between rice and the sacrificial animal. So rice for meat is OK. Surprisingly, this also practiced in Bali.
We may think these offerings to the Bhutas as something superstitious. But let we see the morality behind this act. A deep appreciation towards any living entities. Veneration to The Lord’s creations and energies. A humble and loving attitude to the lesser one. Lives and let lives. Don’t you think this perfectly in accordance with Vaishnavism and true Vedic messages? And if the invisible Bhutas don’t actually need or accept the offering, at least the visible Bhutas will take it (dogs, cats, birds, or even ants).
Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya: Chapter 14: Part 3
2 weeks ago