This comprehensive "introduction" contains much that is thought-provoking and mysterious: explanations of the Hindu "pranas," the "spiritual fire" that lies dormant in the lower chakras, and the Laya yoga
practices that can awaken it.
In doing so I will attempt to show how the ritual actions parallel the steps of Kundalini or Laya yoga (2) whereby the yogi seeks to achieve the reabsorption of the cosmos in precisely the manner just described.
3) This article does not pretend to be a comprehensive treatment of all aspects of the pitra yadnya, but focuses specifically on the similarities with Laya yoga.
As a cultural anthropologist, my attention was drawn not by similarities between the rituals and a specific text or body of texts, but rather by a general resemblance to the Kundalini or Laya yoga familiar to me from Western studies.
Indeed the correspondence proved to be so striking that I would have been prepared to argue for it even in the absence of any direct evidence of an explicit textual knowledge in Bali of Laya yoga.
Finally, I consider textual evidence demonstrating that the philosophical basis of Kundalini or Laya yoga is, or was, well known in Bali.
Although this format inevitably involves a degree of repetition, I ask for the reader's patience since a failure to distinguish between the two would result in a blurring of the parallels with Laya yoga I seek to elucidate.
These suggest that the ten indriya, the ten vayu, and the five tanmatra are symbolized in the piranti and thus are ritually dissolved at ngaben along with the panca-maha-bhuta, precisely as is specified in the rituals of Laya yoga.
In describing the decomposition of the body achieved through cremation, Balinese author Kaler (1993:19) refers to the loss also of the indriya, manas, buddhi, and the ahamkara, thus indicating a knowledge of the components of the self as specified by Laya yoga and Samkhya philosophy.
The dasa bayu are often mentioned in Balinese texts, and although they have not been mentioned specifically earlier in the article as part of the process of dissolving the tattva in Laya yoga, the concept of the ten breaths or life forces is a classic yogic one.
In Laya yoga reabsorbing the five tanmatra is an essential part of dissolving the tattva as they constitute the next five tattva above the panca-maha-bhuta.