Early Morning Ngaben (Cremation)

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by Neil Godfrey

Woke up to my first morning in the world’s largest Muslim nation, though this trip I am in a corner that mixes Muslim with Hindu, Buddhist and animist traditions – Bali. As I stepped out of my very basic but comfortable enough hotel I walked into the following:

It’s a cremation ceremony. Ngaben (pronounced Nah-Ben). I’ve seen a few of these now so I did not wait to see all the doings right through this time. This was the first time I got close enough on the beach to see the body, however. No doubt wishing to look directly into my own mortality. An old man. It was a good seeing so many taking great care to give him a reverential send-off. Not too many years and I’ll be like him. I left smiling, warmly assured. He was so peaceful and loved.