Kehen, according to Don, represents the masculine principle. It sits astride a hill in a small village. Don explains some more symbolism, but I just can't seem to get excited about this temple. It just doesn't appeal to me the way Datur Temple did.

The most wondrous aspect of Kehen Temple, though, for me, stands rooted in a huge banyan tree. This tree supports an altar perched high up in its limbs. Treehouse of the Gods! We wonder how the faithful got it up there--perhaps when the tree was younger and much less tall? Now that it's up there, who ascends so high to place the daily offerings? That's what I call getting to a higher state the hard way!

Not remembering very much of what Don said about this temple, I imagine my own symbolism as this tree being the Tree of Life and the altar as being either our crown chakras or the Antakarana, the energy life-line extending "down" from our souls or God-Selves to our physical vehicles. After a while, Don calls us back to the buses and on to where we'll be eating lunch.


The buses deposit us at the base of a steep hill. We must labor to get to lunch! Many, many steps to climb to the restaurant perched high, but not quite as high, as the hilltop. The restaurant overlooks a multi-vented volcano caldron with lovely Lake Batur curving crescent-shaped around the base of these vents. Beyond the lake we see a ring of steeply rising mountains that encircle everything. We're standing on a part of this ring. This caldera is very ancient and was very large before it blew its stack. The cone is relatively modern. A black lava flow from 1963 has dribbled down the chin of the slope nearest us.

On the restaurant's upper level a sumptuous buffet awaits us. Although we dig in eagerly, we don't tarry long over our food, because the magnificence of Lake Batur and her imposing escort beckon us. We climb up to a higher observation platform. Here we can look down upon the restaurant's roof and observe the ant-sized trucks and cars crawling along on the road far, far below us. I attempt to shoot a panoramic view with my 35mm camera, wishing I hadn't left the minicam behind on the bus. But I'm sure not going to climb back down to get it.

On the way down from this highest platform, we hear tantalizingly tuneful melodies and rhythms from some sort of xylophone-type instrument. When we finally arrive at the musician's level, we discover a Balinese man seated at a gamelan-type instrument made of bamboo instead of metal. Since we have about 15 minutes until our buses depart, I dash down to retrieve the minicam. Upon my return, whom should I see sitting beside the musician and playing a duet with him on an identical instrument, but Don himself! I film their joyous bouncy duet.

Here's a map of Bali, which shows the geographical features of the island. Over at the right, locate Mount Agung. To the upper left of this you'll see a huge crater with a volcanic cone in the middle. This is Mount Batur. The lake is not shown on this map.


Again, refer to this map of Bali. Locate Mt. Agung again. You'll see a small red dot to the lower left of this mountain. This is where the Mother Temple, the largest in Bali, is located. We have to run a gauntlet of vendors up a long asphalt road to reach the temple situated snugly at the base of Mt. Agung. We laugh as we trod upwards. We're having to exert more effort than usual to ascend to the heavenly heights. We can see only the front slope with centered stone steps leading up to the main entrance gate. Little stone statues of demons perch atop walls that terrace the front steps. Hum, do these represent the ego's temptations on the way to heaven, or toward attaining a heavenly perspective on physical life? We can tell, even from this low vantage point that there's more to this temple than meets the eye at first glance. Several thatched rooftops and a few multi-tiered "meru" towers appear beyond the main gate.

Along the outer walls on both sides of the temple are stone steps leading up and up and up, past terrace after terrace. Since we don't have permission to enter this temple, Joan and I veer toward the left set of steps. We joke that we're doing our feminine intuitive approach again. Every few steps we stop to look at a new surprise: a stone wall with a lovely bush or tree hanging over it, another multi-tiered meru, a priest officiating for a family in an inner courtyard, or another low, thatched pavilion. As we labor upward, at every level we stop to look back at the constantly changing view and perspective. We're surprised at how far we've come, yet still haven't reached the top and back of this grand temple!

Finally! Huffing and puffing, here we are at the very top. What a magnificent view of earthly manifestation delights the heavenly eye! No wonder God likes His houses to be perched on hill tops and mountain sides. No wonder the gods, viewing the splendor they created in Bali chose to descend to earth here, to dwell among the mortal vibes, as tradition claims.

A few others from our group have made it all the way to the back of the temple compound to the higher slopes behind it. Here we can sit and sip from the heaven-sent cold drink stand that miraculously appears under the trees. We feel so hot and tired after our long upward journey. Joan and I joke that we hope our final journey to Heaven won't leave us feeling as worn out as we feel right now. In spite of how I feel, I get up and start snapping images. We can actually see all the way to the sea, many miles away below us. Myrna appears, gets a drink and sits with us. We three talk and share bits of ourselves with each other.

The afternoon wanes. The mists slowly creep in from the sea on little cat feet as the sun sinks slowly into the west. Its warm rays guild edges of the temple towers and trees as their details darken into anonymity. Reluctantly we rise, retracing our steps down the other side of the temple steps to the earthly reality of money makers and mechanical monsters.

Here's a page containing lovely photos of many of Bali's temples, most of which I never saw. But these give me lots of reasons for wanting to go back to Bali some day!

Back at "home" in Puri Saraswati, Joan and I flop into bed, setting the alarm to awaken us for the full moon meditation. Tired sinews and muscles gratefully relax. The jarring alarm sounds after what seems like only a minute! We try to get our muscles to cooperate so we can get up. Finally, after about 15 minutes and application of much mental discipline, we get our bodies upright and walking. Fortunately we don't have far to go--only to the lotus pond.

Several of the other members of the group show up, too. We drape ourselves on the mossy steps on the left side of the temple at the head of the pool. We watch the shining bright fullness of the moon as thin drifting clouds draw lacy veils over her face. A perfect, magical evening. We feel close to God and Nature and the healing toning that has called us. Don speaks appropriate words. We tone together for a time. Then we drift apart through the bright night and float silently back to our dens, summoned by the sandman.

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