AN ANALYSIS OF THE MANTRA MUTTERED AT MELANAU KAUL SEA RITE AND ITS ASSOCIATION WITH THE COASTAL ECOLOGYPan Hui and Chong Shin
In Sarawak (Malaysia), Melanau ethnic is the coastal dweller. In concordance with their living environment, they inherited and have been practicing Kaul or sea rite until the present day. The purpose of this ceremony is to pray for a good and blessed fishing season. During the ceremony, the principal performer (Bapak Kaul) will mutter Kaul mantra to âconveyâ the villagersâ wishes to the sea spirits or Ipok. This study attempts to analyze the contents of the mantra and its association with the coastal environment. The analysis found that the mantra is constructed in a systematic way with the parts of âopening wordsâ, âappeasing the spirits with foodsâ and âconveying their requestsâ. Since Melanau is a coastal dweller, the content of the mantra inevitably closely related with the coastal ecology, particularly the types of worshiped spirits. This study also found that the Kaul mantra is constructed esthetically.