Taro, 30 minutes drive north Ubud, is one of the ancient village in Bali where by you can find sacred white cows sanctuary that are rare to the island; They used to live freely but now surrounded by wire fence.They were believed as sacred properties of The Devatas, and considered as honorable as human Brahmin nobilities. The people of Taro called them by venerable designations Ida Bagus (the handsome one) for the bulls and Ida Ayu for the cows (the beautiful one), the same honorable title to addressed Brahmin's descendants.Even they follewed the same samskara rites as human Brahmin, from birth rite till final rite of burial samadhi (not cremated as common Hindus). Curiously, there weren't any hereditary (human) Brahmin family available at this village of Taro. Another interesting fact I ever heard, that no Brahmin high priest ever dare to preside over any rites in the temple of these sacred cows sanctuary from high platform as usually done in other part of Bali. They choose to sat low, cross legged on the ground.
The people of Taro believes that the sacred cows were actually descendants of Nandishvara or Surabhi-mata, brought originally from India by the great Rishi Markandeya. The mission of Markandeya considered as the first wave of Vedic Brahminical spiritual masters ever came to Bali from Java. Before, he has his Ashram in Di Hyang at central Java, then went further to the eastern part of Java and organizing his new monastery in Ravanga-giri or known today as Gunung Raung.From Ravanga he feel divine urge to brought the Veda Dharma to the neighbor Island of Bali.
The first expedition involved 8000 followers and disciples, but half of them couldn't survived, mysteriously died or fallen ill, by the negative forces of Bali. The sage then decided to return to Java and in deep meditative stage he got instruction from Lord Pasupati to installed special yantra made from five kind of metal on the slope of the highest mountain of Bali called Tohlangkir (now Gunung Agung - Agung means great, the great mountain). In accordance with the divine instruction, the sage came to Bali once again, installed the powerful yantra, and established the first temple of Bali, The Basukihan Temple. Then gradually it grown as today's Besakih temple, The Mother Temple.
Then the sage decided to bring his followers to create a place for living and established new Ashrama or monastery as the base for his preaching work. They came to the considered perfect land, but still a forest of big trees, daru or taro. But the sage could foresee, that the land would give tremendous wealth and very fertile. This place could give us anything we want. So he named itsarvada.So thus came the name Sarvada Taro
Gate to the earthly divine abode of The Great Sage
The samadhi of Sage Markandeya at Taro
The Ashrama of the great Javanese sage Markandeya today became the Pura (temple) Kahyangan Gunung Raung, bring the same name as his previous Ashrama at East Java. The Samadhi and Deity of The sage in the form of Brahmin Hermit still worshiped reverently by the people of Taro, and by other Balinese Hindus as well. Markandeya supposed to belong to Vaishnavite Brahminical order and cow protection was one of the most important tenets in Vaishnavite-Vedic tradition. Markandeya considered as the original Brahmin of Bali. The descendants of this Markandeya Rishi still claimed themselves as Brahmana Vaishnava or Bhujanga, a name which has close relation with Lord Sriman Narayana or Vishnu, Sri Bhujanga-sayana, The Lord Who Lied on Bhujanga (Lord Adisesha, the divine serpent). But here in Taro today, there wasn't Brahmin descendant of the sage anymore, and the sacred white cows were became the actual Brahmins.
18 Maret 2009, The Deity of Markandeya Rishi from his samadhi at Taro was invoked to attend the Pancabali and Sarvadevata-avahana-aradhana (Bhatara Turun Kabeh in Balinese) in Besakih Temple. This rare phenomena of umbrella-like cloud appeared on the peak of Mount Agung. Did the Devatas want to welcome their revered sage, who built a wonderful abode for them at this magnificent temple? (from cellphone camera of one Pujari, Jro Mangku Bhagyartha)
Vaishnavism of Suvarnabhumi and Nusantara (Indonesia)
Indonesia once was part of The Greater India or Suvarnabhumi. The Hindus for centuries called her Dvipantara, “the islands between”, perhaps extended from Jambudvipa (modern Indian subcontinent) to Astralaya (Australia in archaic Javanese). The Indonesians, especially Javanese and Balinese Hindus, also use the name Nusantara for this magnificent archipelago, which has same meaning as Dvipantara in Kavi language (a Sanskritized Ancient Javanese language, may be seven out of ten words was Sanskrit). Indonesia has a long history of Vedic civilization for more than 1500 years (according to archaeological findings). She continued as the greatest Hindu/ Vedic country in Southeast Asia until the fall of the last Hindu Empire of Bilvatikta (Majapahit) and emergences of Islamic kingdom and Sultanates on late 13th century. Today Indonesia is one of the biggest Moslem countries, with the Moslems majority more than 85%. But the deep rooted Vedic practices from centuries weren’t easily ceased and remain as traditional native’s customs scattered here and there throughout Indonesian Archipelago.
I have interested in spirituality since my childhood. Fortunately The Lord Sriman Caitanyadeva gave me mercy to serve under His devotees and together we organize Sri Sri Radha Rasbiharijiu Seva Sanga. To serve The Lord and spreading Hindu-Vedic Vaishnavism spiritual messages. My second fortune is getting contact again with my ancestral faith of Srivaishnavism. My life is now for glorifying My Beloved Lord and His Sampradhayam.