Ajik Ngurah at Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay is a special in-house priest who caters to guests’ spiritual aura.
All hotels employ housekeepers, security guards, engineers and gardeners to protect and maintain physical assets. However, one Indonesian resort in Bali has a very special employee – a full-time Hindu priest. His job is to safeguard the resort’s spiritual aura. The guests at the resort also benefit from his blessings.
Ajik Ngurah – a descendent of the ancient Mengwi kingdom and a respected traditional healer – is a full-time priest at Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay. It’s an essential role that underpins the resort’s traditional Balinese philosophy.
Ajik’s unique role as full-time priest at Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay has few comparisons to resorts elsewhere in the world – at least, none that we know of.
His story is equally interesting. He was not always a priest. He joined the hotel as a security guard when the Resort opened in 1993. His spiritual and calming presence influenced everyone at his place of work – even the guests at the resort. Early on during his career, he started receiving signs and felt the calling to become a priest, but ignored it. Soon he realised that he could no longer ignore his true destiny.
Ajik then prepared to resign from his role as a security guard. However, the hotel knew his special talent which endeared him to most guests who visited the resort. Impressed with his popularity with guests, they created a new role to enable him to remain with the team while embarking on the path to priesthood.
As the Resort Priest, Ajik Ngurah now looks after the spiritual and cultural connections of both staff and guests. He is mostly found at the Resort temple, which has a central location just below the lobby as part of the Resort’s Balinese village concept. Here, he conducts ceremonies, blessing rituals, temple tours and meditation practices.
As an ordained Balinese-Hindu priest in his village and the larger Jimbaran community, he continues with his traditional healing devotions. A certified meditation teacher in his own right, he brings a unique angle to guests looking forward to repose and relaxation in Bali.
How did you discover your interest in healing rituals since you started a career as a security guard at the resort?
Becoming a priest or healer was always my path to take. It was my destiny. My parents were both priest and spiritual healer. That means by lineage I was expected to be either of those.
How do you go about creating the healing aura at the resort?
Healing aura or healing energy can’t be created nor can it be eliminated. The energy is always present. It is my duty to purify the energy so it becomes beneficial to everyone at the resort. One way to do this is to regularly do prayers and create an offering. In Balinese belief, the offering also represents the body of the universe. This offering is created to filter the bigger energy or the masculine energy (yang) of the universe. It has to be addressed in a way so it is compatible with our feminine (yin) energy. When we are able to absorb the energy of the universe, a healing energy surrounding the resort is created.
How do tourists and guests respond to your activities?
Guests always react positively to the authentic experience that they see unfold before them. The guests who visit Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay are naturally curious about the cultural aspects of Bali. Seeing me as a resort priest it surely helps to communicate our resort as an authentic Balinese experience.
We have guests request me to do a Balinese blessing for them. There are some guests who are naturally sensitive to energy. So, they request a session with me. After they had their own experience with the healing energy in the resort once, the guests join regularly for prayer sessions with us.
Tell us something about the tradition of healing in your village and also the heritage where it comes from.
The healing tradition in Bali originated from Java during a period after the fall down of the Majapahit empire. The knowledge of healing in my tradition comes from the Lontar manuscript that is a legacy from Majapahit empire of ancient times. It is fused together with the local traditions in Bali. There were always actually two types of healers in Bali, one that learned how to do it through old manuscripts, and others who just happen to become a healer, chosen by the universe to channel the energy.
The ones that are chosen don’t need to learn any sacred chants or any medicine recipe but rather just know what to do. This is how I found me where I am.
Describe a day in your life at the resort.
During day to day operation at the resort, I am in charge of any prayer and offerings at the number of small shrines that dot the vast resort grounds. It’s a calming experience and often guests request for appointment for a session.
How do the hotel staffs connect to you?
Being a priest is an occupation that all the Balinese looked up to. Becoming the resort priest means a special thing for the staff here. They do seek advice from a priest. It can be a regular worldly daily issue or even a metaphysical one. They seek advice about everything. They talk to me about pretty much everything – even their love life!
It often happens that while interacting with guests, especially during prayer sessions, I sometimes just get realisations and insights about them. This in turn surprises our guests, and they welcome my advice or suggestions.
While the spiritual healer takes care of the more subtle aspects of guests’ and the resort’s well-being, the resort’s other employees are keeping it in tip-top physical shape for the return of guests expected soon.
Uday Rao, General Manager of the hotel says that they took this opportunity to upgrade and renovate. All through the difficult days of Covid, they maintained the facilities and systems as though guests were still in-house.
“Guests often comment on the ‘unseen’ energy they feel here,” he says, “they discover the peace and tranquillity and a deep connection to the people and culture of Bali. Ajik Ngurah’s role is focused on maintaining this harmony and balance between God, Man and Nature – something that is more important now than ever before.”