The references about Potong Gigi ceremony are Kala Pati Manuscript, Kala Tatwa Manuscript, Semaradana, and Sanghyang Yama. The Kala Pati states that Potong Gigi is the sign of the human status changing to be a holy human with good manner so that when he/ she dies, the spirit will be in unity with the ancestors in heaven.
Meanwhile, the Kala Tatwa Manuscript states that Bhatara Kala (Kala Godhead) the son of Dewa Siwa (Siva) and Dewi Uma (The Goddess of prosperity) can not meet His father in heaven unless His canine teeth are cut; that is the reason why the Potong Gigi ceremony is conducted by Hindu people.
They want to follow what Bhatara Kala has done in order to meet His ancestor in heaven. Furthermore, Semaradana mentions that Bhatara Gana as the other son of Siva could beat the Nilarudraka (the name of a demon) who attacked the heaven by using his canine teeth.
Moreover, it is stated that Bhatara Gana was born from Goddess Uma as Dewa Siwa was aroused from His asceticism by Dewa Semara ( God of Love). But later, Deity Siwa punished the Deity Semara with his wife, Goddess Ratih, by burning them into ashes, further their ashes were dispersed to the world and cursed the human being so that a man cannot live without a woman.
In the other word, man and woman should live in pairs. In papyrus of Sanghyang Yama mentioned that potong gigi ceremony can be conducted when the child has become a teenager signed by the first menstruation for girl and bigger voice for boy. It usually happened by the age of 14 years old.
THE PURPOSE OF “POTONG GIGI” (MEPANDES) CEREMONY
The further information about the purpose of “Potong Gigi” (Mepandes) ceremony can be found in Kalapati manuscript. In short, it states that there are six teeth in the upper jaw that are scoured by using gerigi, namely the two canine teeth and four incisors.
It symbolized the self-awareness to control the Sadripu (the six enemies) in human soul. Those are Kama (desire), Lobha (greedy), Krodha (furiousity), Mada (intoxicated) Moha (swollen), and Matsarya (jealousy). The uncontrolled Sadripu will endanger the human’s life.
That is the reason why it becomes the parents’ responsibility to suggest the child and wish to Hyang Widhi to be avoided from the affect of Sadripu. The meaning is implicitly sates in Kala Pati, Kala Tatwa and Semaradhana mythology that human must aware in his life.
It is important in order not to get lost or far from his religion teaching (dharma) so that the holy spirit can reach the heaven together with the ancestors’ spirit become in unity with Brahman (Hyang Widhi).The Semaradana also rules the relationship between man and woman must stay in line with the norm.
The “Potong Gigi” ceremony is usually conducted together with the Ngeraja sewala ceremony or normally called the ‘menek kelih’ that is a ceremony to show the appreciation to God because the child has become mature, leave the childhood and become teenager.
THE STEPS OF THE CEREMONY
1. Those who have the mepandes are purified with padudusan madya after the priest doing the ngarga tirta,mereresik and mapiuning at Sanggar Surya. Soon after that, they will worship the Hyang Raditya for safeties in conducting the ceremony.
2. The hairs will be cut and the body is painted with holy letters by using special ink which is called mererajah. The purpose is to purify the body and to sign the changing of the status from tender age to teenager.
3. Get into the bad where the mepandes is conducted, but before that the person must step on the caru as the symbol of harmonious, tap the crow bar three times (Ang-Ung-Mang) as the symbol of Hyang Widhi’s power, and the left armpit nips caket as the symbol of the doubtfulness to be aware of Sadripu.
4. During the mepandes ceremony, the water which is used to gargle is thrown into a kelungah nyuh gading (young yellowish coconut) in order not to create keletehan (make the surrounding in dirt).
5. Mebeakala is held as the media of purification and also to eliminate the mala and ready to face the teen age.
6. Mepedamel is derived from the word “dama” which means wisdom. The purpose of mepedamel after mepandes is in order the child will became a wisdom child during and teen age and so forth, stand to face the happiness and sadness of life, stay in line with Hindu religious teaching, has wide perspective, and has strong self confidence to decide on something and know how to differentiate dharma and adharma.
The following are the symbolization of activities that are held in mepedamel:
- The person wears white fabric, yellow kampuh. and samara-ratih bandoleer as the symbol of God Semara and Godess Ratih (based on Semaradhana manuscript)
- Wearing pawitra yarn which has tridatu colors (red, white, and black) as the symbol of personal band toward the religious norms.
- Testing the Sad Rasa (six flavor) namely, bitter and sour as the symbol to become tough in facing the life which unpleasant sometimes; spicy as the symbol to become not to get angry easily when experiencing or hearing unpleasant things; sepet (casquette ) as the symbol to be obedient toward the rules or norms; salty as the symbol of wisdom, always try to increase the knowledge quality by studying; sweet as the symbol of physically and spiritually happiness life.
7. Natab banten. The purpose is to wish for bless from Hyang Widhi so the real aims of the ceremony could be achieved.
8. Matapak. Spiritually, the parents’ responsibilities toward the child start from fetus until mature has been accomplished. It also symbolized the appreciation of the child to the parents because they already take good care of him/ her, asks for forgiveness from the parents because of the fault, and also wish for their bless in order to be success in facing the life in the future.
9. Persembahyangan (worshiping) to worship Hyang Widhi.
That is all the short description about “Potong Gigi” or Mepandes ceremony or it is well known as Mesangih among the Balinese.