From Om Swastiastu to Astungkara: Understanding Common Greetings and Phrases in Bali

Bali is a beautiful island with a rich and diverse culture, and understanding common greetings and phrases can help you better appreciate and connect with the local people and traditions.

Here are some of the most common greetings and phrases you may encounter during your travels in Bali:

“Om Swastiastu”

This phrase is commonly used as a greeting in Bali and translates to “may goodness be upon you.” It is often used in place of “hello” or “good morning.” The word “Om” is a sacred syllable in Hinduism and is believed to be the sound of the universe. The word “swasti” means “goodness” or “well-being,” and the suffix “astu” means “may it be.” Together, the phrase Om Swastiastu expresses a wish for goodness and well-being to be bestowed upon the person being greeted.

“Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Om”

This phrase is used to wish peace upon someone and is often used as a greeting or farewell. It can be translated as “peace, peace, peace, peace.” The word “Om” is a sacred syllable in Hinduism and is believed to be the sound of the universe. The word “shanti” means “peace,” and the repetition of the word three times is believed to invoke greater peace and tranquility. Together, the phrase Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Om is a way of expressing a wish for peace and well-being.

“Tatwam Asi”

Tattwam Asi is a Sanskrit phrase that means “I am that.” It is a central concept in Hinduism and is often used in rituals and ceremonies.

The phrase is derived from the ancient Hindu text the Chandogya Upanishad, in which it is written: “Tat Tvam Asi,” or “That Thou Art.” This phrase is often interpreted as a statement of unity and oneness with the universe. It suggests that everything in the universe is connected and that each individual is a manifestation of the divine.

In Hinduism, the phrase Tattwam Asi is used to express the belief that the individual soul (atman) is identical to the ultimate reality (Brahman). It is a statement of realization that the individual self is not separate from the universe, but is an integral part of it.

“Tri Hita Karana”

This phrase refers to the three sources of well-being in Balinese Hinduism: harmony with God, harmony with other people, and harmony with the environment. It is a important concept in Balinese culture and is often invoked in daily life and in ceremonies. The word “tri” means “three,” “hita” means “well-being,” and “karana” means “cause.” Together, the phrase Tri Hita Karana refers to the three causes of well-being: a harmonious relationship with God, a harmonious relationship with other people, and a harmonious relationship with the environment.

“Amor Ing Acintya”

This phrase means “love in the infinite” and is used to express deep love and devotion. The word “amor” means “love,” “ing” is a possessive particle, and “acintya” means “infinite” or “unfathomable.” Together, the phrase Amor ing Acintya expresses a love that is infinite and unfathomable.


This phrase means “thank you” and is commonly used to express gratitude in Bali. The word “astungkara” is derived from the Sanskrit word “stung,” which means “praise” or “gratitude.” Together, the phrase Astungkara is a way of expressing thanks or gratitude.

In addition to these common greetings and phrases, there are many other expressions that you may encounter in Bali. For example, “jegeg” means “beautiful,” and “rahayu” means “blessed.” Learning a few key phrases can help you connect with locals and better understand Balinese culture.

It’s important to note that Balinese culture is deeply rooted in respect and politeness, and using proper greetings and phrases is an important way to show respect to others. When greeting someone in Bali, it is customary to press the palms of your hands together in front of your chest and bow slightly, a gesture known as a “namaste“. This gesture is used as a way of saying “hello” or “goodbye” and is an important part of Balinese culture.

Whether you’re participating in traditional ceremonies or simply chatting with locals, learning a few key greetings and phrases can help you connect with the rich culture of Bali. So go ahead and try out some of these common expressions – you’ll be sure to impress and delight your new Balinese friends!

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