Today, there are many parallels between Indian Hinduism and Balinese Hinduism. For example, within Indian Hinduism most people worship Brahman as a supreme deity and within Balinese Hinduism most people worship Sanghyang Widhi Wasa as a supreme deity. Sanghyang Widhi Wasa is similar to Brahman, in that Sanghyang Widhi Wasa is believed to embody all universal dualities. Also, Sanghyang Widhi Wasa is believed to have many incarnations.
Almost all of the Balinese Hindu Gods and Goddesses (incarnations of Sanghyang Widhi Wasa) were historically assimilated, into Balinese Hinduism, from Indian Hinduism. However, this assimilation process did not always take place as a result of direct contact between the Balinese and Indians. Many Balinese Hindu beliefs and practices, were assimilated into Balinese Hinduism because of historical contacts that the Balinese had with the Javanese.
Historically, the Balinese rarely assimilated deities, into Balinese Hinduism, without altering their form or the beliefs that surrounded them. As a result, although almost all of the Balinese Hindu Gods and Goddesses ultimately originated from Indian Hinduism, today, there are few similarities between, for example, Durga from Indian Hinduism and Durga from Balinese Hinduism. Durga, within Indian Hinduism, is believed to be one of the female incarnations of the God Shiva (who, in turn, represents the God of paradoxes). The paradoxical nature of Shiva, is further illustrated in the Indian Hindu belief that Shiva can take the form of Paravati and Uma (mild mannered and maternal figures) or Kali. Kali is often depicted, within Indian Hinduism, as being a vengeful incarnation of Shiva, a black figure, a figure with multiple hands holding a bloody knife and another hand grasping a severed head, and a figure that has a necklace of skulls. Within Balinese Hinduism, Dewi Durga is believed to be the consort (spouse) of Dewa Siwa. Along with Dewa Siwa, Dewi Durga is believed to destroy negativity. Statues of Dewa Durga can be found at Balinese Hindu Pura Dalem sites. Within Balinese Hinduism, Rangda is believed to be one of the incarnations of Dewi Durga. Rangda is similar in nature to Kali. However, where as Kali, within Indian Hinduism, represents a very dark and vengeful side of Shiva, within Balinese Hinduism, Rangda represents a very dark and vengeful side of Dewi Durga. Rangda is often depicted, within Balinese Hinduism, as being the Queen of Witches, an expert in black magic, bloodthirsty, a cannibal, an arch enemy of Bali’s beloved protector(s), and a figure with grotesque physical traits (such as 6 inch long nails , hairy knuckles, and drooping breasts). Rangda is believed to be a figure that the Balinese historically derived from the Javanese.
Within Balinese Hinduism, Dewi Sri represents a very special deity. One reason for this is that Dewi Sri is believed to be unique to Bali. In other words, Dewi Sri is believed to be a Balinese Hindu figure that the Balinese historically did not derive from another culture. Dewi Sri is the consort of Wisnu, the Goddess of rice, the Goddess of sustenance, and the protector and nurturer of Bali’s rice fields.