couldn't be true. The voice persisted."I am sorry to tell you
but Tjokorde Agung died early last Thursday morning
met The Tjokorde Gede Agung Sukawati while I was sitting in the
bar at Tjampuhan Hotel, sipping an air jeruk before lunch. A well-groomed,
middle-aged Balinese, in the traditional local dress, strolled in
from the garden and, as he passed my table, paused to greet me and
inquire whether I was enjoying my stay.
just arrived in Bali I was not used to the genuine interest the
Balinese show in their visitors. When he asked my name, I answered
briefly and asked, somewhat indignantly, what was his.
am Agung", he said simply. Then, after a pause, added: "Tonight
I am making an offering for the spirit of my dead brother. If you
would like to see something of our traditions, you might care to
come to the Puri about seven this evening."
began a friendship that lasted until his death.
I once heard an American tourist boast: "I knew he was a Tjokorde
the minute I clapped eyes on him. Soon as we stepped out of the
automobile I pointed him out to Mamie: 'Lookee here, babe,' I said,
'that chap'll be the Tjokorde; if ever I saw a Tjokorde, that's
the time I thought angrily that these remarks by an American on
a whistle-stop trip through Asia, made Agung sound like some rare
zoological specimen. On reflection I had to ad it that this was
only a variation of the usual tourist question: "Tell me, is
he really a Prince
Agung was born a Prince - more importantly he was born a gentleman.
A gentleman of high . intelligence and great personal charm. A man
steeped in Balinese culture, who had seen many fluctuations in the
fortune of his beloved island - who had survived earthquakes and
revolutions. Throughout change and turbolence his serenity and his
humour remained unshaken.
Agung brought added meaning to my visits to Bali. There was no festival
or ceremony about which he did not have advice. No custom or tradition
which he could not explain.
on that first evening, when I accepted his invitation and joined
his family at the Puri for the offering to his dead brother, I knew
nothing of Balinese customs.
not, for example, expect to eat a lavish serving of rystaffel squatting
cross . -legged on the mat-covered floor of a pavilion which faced
directly into the adjoining one, where the body, surrounded by a
multitude of ornate offerings, lay inside its
casket. In the narrow space between the two pavilions, a group of
thirty or more relatives were playing a lively gambling game, while
seated beside the body, an elderly priest was
chanting from a large book spread open across his knees. Occasionally
a small boy by his side, solemnly turned a page.
was at this ceremony I learned that one does not stand higher than
a prince. When I wanted to rise, I had to slide on my bottom over
several yards of matting, weaving my way between the seated guests,
until I could swing my feet over the edge of the pavilion and stand
on the ground some 3-ft. below, thus coming to a standing position
with my head lower than my host.
that evening, my visits to Bali were invariably woven with events
suggested by Agung.
was the day he asked "Have you seen the trance ceremony at
Hurrying to that village I found it already seething with emotion
and sightseers. And how not. Not one, but seven neighboring Barongs,
together with their opposing Rangdas, accompanied by a retinue of
virgin boys, would come that day to the Pura Kesiman. In due course,
when all the Barongs had assembled in the sacred inner courtyard,
the priests would put the young boys into trance and they would