Religion is seen as ‘ageman’ in Balinese Hinduism.
Ageman means clothes or robes or manners in Balinese culture.
Religion as ageman in Balinese Hinduism means religion as a code of conduct which every person will feel comfortable with according to his/her level of consciousness.
Balinese Hinduism says that we cannot impose a code of conduct exclusively which means that it does not believe in ‘only one way or only one path’ for ‘everyone.’
Now arises a question, that does the religion as ageman mean that if needed we can change it, just like we desire? What are the stages of consciousness as per the Balinese Hinduism?
Let’s try to understand this step by step:
At the stage of Anava Marga, a stage in which a person lives with a high level of selfishness and ego, and is deeply self-centered, then the lure of great rewards of virtues are included. These enticements may help a spirit to go on the path of virtuousness.
After this stage, the consciousness gets developed and the person will enter the Bhakti Marga or Yog stage where he will feel the pleasure while conducting worship and services and taking part in religious activities.
Furthermore, from the above stage, a person then enters the stage of Karma Marga Yog where he enjoys his service to humanity and where he takes to implementing bhakti in a wider range.
Perfection in the Karma Marga Yog will then bring a person to the stage of Raja Marga Yog where he will be able to enjoy eternal transcendental happiness and full wisdom and knowledge. This happiness will be pure and without a tinge of sadness.
The peak of silence reached in the Raja Marga Yog will then lead to the attainment of Jnana Marga Yog which will never change, is eternal, reveals itself as the perfect and true awareness.
So, this is not a matter of exchanging clothes but is merely the changes in ‘size’ of the clothes as per your growth in each stage.
In other words: “AGAMA AGEMING ATI”, meaning that a religion is not just a formal identity, but should really be the perfect cloth for our heart and the one which upholds the values of humanity which become the pillar of our lives.
If we confess our faith, then our attitude and manner should lead to the implementation of the existing religious teachings and guidance. Here we say that a person must not merely touch upon the teaching of human values, but must strive to implement them in his daily life.
In short, we must not just believe the truth of a Dharmic philosophy but must pursue it to realize it so as to gain direct spiritual experience.
“Greetings of peace from the bottom of a Sanathana Dharmi’s heart!”
By Parwati Agung