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An anthropological study of ‘Rathikāma Bali Yāgaya (Bali ritual)’ in traditional folk medicine to treat infertility

Authors:

G. A. A. N. Srishan ,

University of Sri Jayewardenepura, LK
About G. A. A. N.
Department of Anthropology
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P. N. Abhayasundere,

University of Sri Jayewardenepura, LK
About P. N.
Department of Anthropology
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A. A. J. Jayasiri,

University of Sri Jayewardenepura, LK
About A. A. J.
Department of Anthropology
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W. K. M. Wijayarathne,

University of Sri Jayewardenepura, LK
About W. K. M.
Department of Anthropology
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D. M. K. G. K. Dissanayake

University of Sri Jayewardenepura, LK
About D. M. K. G. K.
Department of Anthropology
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Abstract

Reproductive processes and the generation of posterity are important for the survival of organisms. As man became accustomed to civilized life, motherhood and fatherhood were considered noble and fortunate things. Accordingly, a married couple without children had to face various forms of social stigma. Because married people who do not have children are believed by people to be a symbol of unluck. Thus, infertility is recognized as a disease and there are various treatments for it. Traditional folk medicine in Sri Lanka also offers various treatments to cure infertility. Among them, the ‘Sabaragamuwa Rathikāma Bali ritual’ is performed for both men and women. The researchers aim to study this ‘Rathikāma Bali ritual’ for the curing of infertility in traditional folk medicine and the cultural value given to rituals in indigenous medicine. To achieve these objectives, a content analysis of qualitative data collected using secondary sources is performed here. To alleviate vaginal discharge and vaginitis related diseases in women, the Sabaragamuwa ‘Bali adura’ (Bali performer) conducts the Rathikāma Bali ritual. An idol is made using clay for this ritual. In this Rathikāma Bali statue, a woman with a naked upper body and with a ‘punkalasa’ (pot of prosperity) in her right hand and a ‘sewla’ (Cuckoo bird) in her left hand is moulded. When moulding the Bali statue, the woman’s figure is placed on the man's lap. After the introduction of the Bali statue to the patient (baliya pāwā deema), the ‘Namaskārā’ and ‘Vēēdimālāwa’ (poems and prose) are recited. In this way, all the rites are performed and the Rathikāma Bali ritual is performed till dawn. They believe that looking at the Bali statue and listening to poetry and drinking local medicine until the next morning will cure the condition.
How to Cite: Srishan, G. A. A. N., Abhayasundere, P. N., Jayasiri, A. A. J., Wijayarathne, W. K. M., & Dissanayake, D. M. K. G. K. (2020). An anthropological study of ‘Rathikāma Bali Yāgaya (Bali ritual)’ in traditional folk medicine to treat infertility. TRIVALENT ත්‍රිසංයුජ: Journal of Archaeology, Tourism & Anthropology, 1(2), 36–45. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/tjata.v1i2.36
Published on 30 Dec 2020.
Peer Reviewed

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