Visits to a spiritual healer and a cleansing spring in Bali leave our columnist feeling rejuvenated.MEDICINE men and women are found in many cultures as an alternative method to manage health issues and help people find balance in body, mind and spirit.
The traditional way of healing continues to exist alongside modern medicine, and in countries like Indonesia, Thailand and India, a spiritual healer is often consulted before a medical doctor.
Intrigued by the way how these mystical therapists work, I made a trip to Bali last weekend to meet traditional healer Ketut Liyer, who became famous after his role in the movie Eat, Pray, Love.
There are a few hundred shamans on the island which is steeped in ritual and spirituality, but 99-year-old Ketut emerged as the most popular following his appearance with actress Julia Roberts in the 2010 movie.
The signboard outside his traditional Balinese home in Ubud described him as a palmist, medicine man, artist and astrologer, and people from all over the world wait in a long queue to seek his advice daily.
Outside the door of his house was a small box filled with flowers and fruits, placed on the ground as an offering to the gods.
A similar one was found in the calm setting of his house in the centre and eight compass directions of his compound.
Seated in a lotus position, Ketut greeted me with a huge, warm smile when he was told I am a writer, similar to author Elizabeth Gilbert who wrote the book Eat, Pray, Love.
Stacked behind him were bundles of ancient palm leaf manuscripts of medicine which were used by him to acquire knowledge through divine inspiration.
Balinese Hindus regard the ninth-generation healer as a “god man” who possesses spiritual power and the words he utters are viewed as a statement from the divine.
According to my guide Gede Agus, Ketut is deeply revered by the people and the healer could tell what their problems were by looking into their eyes.
Besides this, his touch is therapeutic. Young and old come to him with all kinds of aches, pains and personal problems.
Spiritual healers are the first people locals in Bali see before being referred to a clinic or hospital for medication.
This is because they believe evil spirits are responsible for all illness and misfortune.
They think that negative energies can enter anyone’s body and cause havoc, and this is why they come to enlightened masters like Ketut to seek purification.
Goose pimples appeared on my body seconds after Ketut held my left hand to do a reading of, not only my palm, but my entire physiognomy.
He started with my forehead, ears, nose, lips, knees, legs and back and said “you are a good man and you will live for 100 years”.
But this is what he has been saying to others before me.
However, in between his chuckles and reading, Ketut is known to give deep messages and expose dark secrets of individuals.
After seeing him, people leave filled with hope, relief, disbelief, or in tears and feeling a lot happier.
Although I did not go to him for any specific purpose, I found him to be a positive and likeable old man.
I thanked him for lifting up my spirit with encouraging words and giving me a contented feeling following the 30-minute reading.
According to Ketut, his distrust of modern medicine began when he was young. He fell sick and the medicine given by the hospital did not help him.
That night, his ancestors came to him in his dreams and told him what to put on his injured arm – and he was healed.
Since then he has been curing people and only sends them to hospital if he is unable to help.
My journey to the island of gods did not end with Ketut’s reading.
I was urged to go for my karma cleansing at the sacred Tirta Empul temple built by Lord Indra in the 10th century in Denpasar.
It is believed that the wellspring that emerges from the land has healing properties and every day, hundreds of people come to take a ritual dip to sanctify themselves.
I entered the pool and joined hundreds of worshippers in the freezing water with my hands clasped in prayer and dipped my head into the row of 21 spouts.
As I bent my head under each nozzle, I could feel my energy shifting and charging.
I returned rejuvenated, feeling a lot lighter and happier.
Vasthu Sastra talkT. Selva will present a talk on ancient secrets, how to create a “home sweet home” and choose an auspicious property following Vasthu Sastra on Dec 1, 3.30pm, at The Star Property Fair 2012, at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC). Admission is free. To register, call 012-329 9713.
T. Selva, chief news editor at The Star, is the author of the Vasthu Sastra Guide and is the first disciple of 7th-generation Vasthu Sastra master Yuvaraj Sowma from Chennai, India. Selva provides tips on Vasthu Sastra on RTM’s TRAXX fm at 11.15am on the last Friday of every month. You can follow him on Twitter at @tselvas. This column appears on the last Sunday of every month. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, usefulness, fitness for any particular purpose or other assurances as to the opinions and views expressed in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses suffered directly or indirectly arising from reliance on such opinions and views.