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Indonesia A Lost Hindu Empire.


Genealogy of the kings of Majapahit, Indonesia

Image via Wikipedia

This is awesome article about Indonesia a Lost Hindu Empire written by Shreyas Limaye and sheds light on History of Country and its civilization and root Vedanta Philosophy. I urge all the Indonesian people to do some research on their family roots and come back to religion of their ancestor and throw cult of terror from their Mother land and join the Humanity.

Sam Hindu

Lost Hindu Empires of Indonesia ;

By Shreyas Limaye , PhD

One of the common misconceptions about Hinduism is that it is an India-specific religion. Indeed it is true that Hinduism and the Vedanta philosophy originated in India and even today a vast majority of the followers of the religion are Indians; emigration and migration in the last couple of centuries and the universal appeal of Vedanta have made people recognize the fact that it is a global religion with a worldwide following.
 
Even historically, Hinduism was never an India-specific religion. Ancient Hindu idols have been discovered in places as far as central Asia. However, for a variety of reasons, Hinduism got erased from most of the places which lay to the west of India.
 
But in Indonesia, where Hinduism flourished in style and in substance, it continues to maintain its presence even today – reminding us of its past glory and global appeal.

How Hinduism was introduced in Indonesia:

Records of foreign trade with Indonesia exist from the early AD centuries. Consequently, it was earlier thought that Hinduism was introduced to Indonesia through traders arriving from India.

 However, recent discoveries of Sanskrit transcriptions in places like eastern Kalimantan, a considerable distance from the international trade route, and also in western Java have given rise to a new theory that it was introduced to the Indonesian islands through rishis and their Indian and Indonesian disciples.

 References in Balinese literature about Pura Pucak Raung (in the Eastern Javanese district of Glenmore), where Maharishi Markandeya is said to have visited and gathered followers, further bolster this claim.

Local Influence:

But as is common with most of the religions, Hinduism in Indonesia (known formally as “Agama Hindu Dharma” in Bahasa Indonesia) got influenced with local beliefs, customs and traditions and developed a distinctly Indonesian flavor.

 It shares all the main beliefs of Hinduism like a belief that all of the Gods are manifestations of the Supreme Being, belief in the Trimurti of Brahma, Vishnu (Wisnu), Mahesh (Ciwa) representing the creator, preserver and destroyer roles of the Supreme Being, belief in sacred texts of Vedas, Puranas and Itihaasas, etc.

 However it lacks the traditional Hindu emphasis on cycles of rebirth and reincarnation, but instead is greatly influenced by the Chinese and Eastern Asian concept of ancestral spirits. Brahmins are regarded as the prestigious class but instead of being affiliated with any temple, they act as spiritual leaders and advisers to individual families.

Hindu Kingdoms:

Being accepted as an Indonesian religion, Hinduism is reflected in early Indonesian polity as well. Various Hindu kingdoms began to emerge in the main islands of Java and Sumatra. Most notable amongst them are Srivijaya and Majapahit which flourished to become empires and influenced the events of the region.

Srivijaya Kingdom:

Srivijaya kingdom was based in Palembang, in the island of Sumatra. Accounts of its origins vary from 200 AD to 500 AD. But mainly from 7th century AD, it appears in contemporary Chinese and other trade records as an important maritime Indonesian kingdom.

 Srivijaya established suzerainty over large areas of Sumatra, western Java and much of the Malay Peninsula. Dominating the Malacca and Sunda straits, it controlled both the spice route traffic and local trade, charging a toll on passing ships. Serving as an entrepôt for Chinese, Malay, and Indian markets, the port of Palembang, accessible from the coast by way of a river, accumulated great wealth.

 In 903 AD, a Muslim writer Ibn Rustah was so impressed with the wealth of Srivijaya’s ruler that he declared one would not hear of a king who was richer, stronger or with more revenue. Srivijaya also maintained close relations with the Pala Empire in Bengal and an 860 AD inscription records that the maharaja of Srivijaya dedicated a monastery at the Nalanda University in Pala territory.

 Fall of the Srivijaya Kingdom: Relations with the Chola dynasty of southern India were initially friendly but deteriorated into actual warfare in the eleventh century. Although Srivijaya managed to survive Chola invasion and conquest, it got gravely weakened, lost its regional hegemony and gave rise to formation of small kingdoms. As the decline went further, Islam made its way to the Aceh region of Sumatra.

 In 13th century, the kingdom of Pasai in northern Sumatra converted to Islam putting further pressure on Srivijaya. In 1365 AD, Srivijaya was conquered by the Hindu Majapahit Empire from Java. A rebellion in 1377 AD was squashed down by Majapahit, but left the area of Southern Sumatra in chaos and desolation giving further impetus to the growth of Islam.

 By 1402 AD, Parameswara, the last prince of Srivijaya who had fled Palembang after being defeated by Majapahits, married a Muslim princess of Pasai and founded a kingdom on the Malay Peninsula. In 1414 AD, at the age of 70 he himself converted to Islam declaring his kingdom as the ‘Sultanate of Malacca’. 

Other Hindu Kingdoms: During the same time period some other Hindu kingdoms like Sailendra and Singhasari existed on the island of Java. Some of the magnificent Hindu and Buddhist temples in Southeast Asia are built-in that time frame.

The Borobudur temple complex, in honor of Mahayana Buddhism, contains 2,000,000 cubic feet of stone and includes 27,000 square feet of stone bas-relief. Shiva’s great temple is less than 50 miles away at Prambanan.

Majapahit Empire:

Based in eastern Java in since 1293 AD, Majapahit was the last Hindu empire in Indonesia. It reached its height in the mid-14th century under King Hayam Wuruk (1350AD-89AD) and his Prime Minister Gajah Mada.

The New Year ceremony during the Majapahit era was a major religious ceremony which used to be attended by Indian scholars as well. Thus in one of the inscriptions, the poet asserts that the only famous countries in the world were Java and India because both contained many religious experts! However, after the death of Hayam Wuruk, the kingdom grew internally weaker due to family feuds and found itself unable to control the rising power of the Sultanate of Malacca.

Finally in 1478, Brawijaya the last Majapahit ruler converted to Islam. The last remaining courtsmen of Majapahit were forced to withdraw eastward. A large number of courtiers, artisans, priests, and Hindu members of the royalty moved east to the island of Bali at the end of Majapahit’s existence; where they remained isolated before being colonized by the Dutch.

Conversion to Islam:

In both Java and Sumatra, as the royalty converted to Islam, the citizens followed suit. And although many cultural aspects of the religion were preserved, Hinduism ceased to exist as a major spiritual force after being the main Indonesian religion for centuries.

This is undoubtedly a major event in the history of Hinduism and should be studied and understood in great detail by all those who love this ancient continuous tradition. It would reveal the conditions and reasons behind the downfall of Hinduism from one of its strongholds and might prove as a guidance to avoid such circumstances elsewhere in the future.

Hindus Renaissance and Challenges:

Preserved by Balinese Hindus through their turbulent history, Hinduism is experiencing a revival in all parts of Indonesia in the recent times. While many Javanese had retained aspects of their indigenous and Hindu traditions through the centuries of Islamic influence, under the banner of ‘Javanist religion’ (kejawen), no more than a few isolated communities upheld Hinduism as the primary mark of their public identity.

 Even officially identifying their religion as Hinduism was not a legal possibility for Indonesians until 1962 AD, when it became the fifth state-recognized religion. This recognition was initially sought by Balinese religious organizations and granted for the sake of Bali, where the majority was Hindu.

The largest of these organizations, Parisada Hindu Dharma Bali, changed its name to P.H.D. Indonesia (PHDI) in 1964, reflecting subsequent efforts to define Hinduism as a national rather than just a Balinese affair. Religious identity became a life and death issue for many Indonesians around the same time as Hinduism gained recognition, namely in the wake of the violent anti-Communist purge of 1965-66.

Persons lacking affiliation with a state recognized-religion tended to be classed as atheists and hence as communist suspects. Despite the inherent disadvantages of joining a national religious minority, a deep concern for the preservation of their traditional ancestral religious practices made Hinduism a more palatable option than Islam for several ethnic groups in the outer islands.

 In the early seventies, the Toraja people of Sulawesi island were the first to realize this opportunity by seeking shelter for their indigenous religious practices under the broad umbrella of ‘Hinduism’, followed by the Karo Batak of Sumatra in 1977 and the Ngaju Dayak of Kalimantan in 1980. The rate of conversion (or re-conversion) to Hinduism accelerated dramatically during and after the collapse of former President Suharto’s authoritarian regime in 1998.

For some Indonesians this return to the ‘religion of Majapahit‘ was a matter of nationalist pride. PHDI, in an annual report claims the ‘Hindu congregation’ (umat hindu) of East Java province to have grown by 76,000 souls in 1999 alone.

Temple Reconstruction:

Apart from political environment, socio-economic factors also contributed to this trend. In the last few decades, especially after being formally recognized as an official Indonesian religion, some of the ancient Hindu temples are being revived in Indonesia with the generous donations from wealthy Balinese Hindus.

 Surge in the number of households proclaiming themselves as the followers of Hinduism has been seen around these revived temples. Prominent among them include Pura (temple) Blambangan in the regency of Banyuwangi completed around 1978, Pura Mandaragiri Sumeru Agung, located on the slope of Mt Sumeru, Java’s highest mountain completed in 1992 and recently completed Pura Loka Moksa Jayabaya in the village of Menang near Kediri and Pura Pucak Raung in the Eastern Javanese district of Glenmore. Similar resurgence was observed around major archaeological remains of ancient Hindu temple sites in Trowulan near Mojokerto. Economically, the newly built temples have brought new prosperity to local populations.

 Apart from employment in the building, expansion, and repair of the temple itself, a steady stream of Balinese pilgrims to this now nationally recognized temple has led to the growth of a sizeable service industry. In the recent international environment, pondering on the secret to the economic success of their Balinese neighbors, several local inhabitants have also concluded that Hindu culture may be more conducive to the development of an international tourism industry.

What the future holds:Contributed by all these factors, a slow yet certain revival of Hinduism in Indonesia is observed. However, it also should be noted that simultaneously, a steady increase in the number of Wahabi mosques funded by Saudi oil money has contributed to the increased radicalization of Southeast Asian Muslim populace. It would be interesting to see how the Hindu revival movement proceeds under such circumstances in future.

Shreyas Limaye is a PhD student in the Industrial Engineering department at University of Washington, Seattle

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10 Responses

  1. An Eyeopener…Excellent….

    Like

  2. […] voiceoflove wrote: all beaches and resort right ? Bintan and batam quite similar but bali is a different ball game. It's culture/food are different. The people there are look like malays but are hindus. They are the original indonesians, last bastion of ancestry line of people from the legendary Majapahit Empire. Very similar to Taiwan: the original rulers were forced to out of their own country to this little island while Muslim took reign. Indonesia A Lost Hindu Empire. | SamHindu.WordPress.com […]

    Like

  3. Rather than gloat on about a “borrowed” concept from India, named after the Indus river, which has nothing to do with Indonesia, why not teach Indonesians more about their PRE-HINDU history ? What about that? Is it that Indonesian indigenous religions were inferior that you have to pontificate Indian Brahminism to them ?

    Pointing fingers at Islam won’t help. Islam is not a cultural ideology but a faith in God. If you look at Indonesia, very few are actually following “arab” culture. Majority follow their own culture, as shaped by socal evolution and modern times.

    If Islam was not there, Christianity would have spread, and Christianity would surely deal with Hinduism. If Buddhism had spread, Buddhism would have dealt with Hinduism. In either case, “Hinduism” is an Indo-centric religion, it has nothing to do with Indonesia’s inner soul or its own culture.

    If Hinduism is a peaceful and so called tolerant religion, it won’t “insist” in spreading its influence to Indonesia, rather it will accept reality as it is. Mahatma Gandhi’s killer was a Hindu nationalist, who wanted to impose his belief by force. Wether done peacefully or by force, through intention or deception, respecting a person’s original history and culture, is the first step towards tolerance.

    Like

    • Dewi, the way you put it implies as if there had been a “pre hindu periode” in indonesia. If you open your heart to Indonesia history, you would find that there had been no pre hindu period in indonesia.

      Can you name one of Indonesia ancient culture that is not Hindu? Wayang, keris, tirakat, candi … they are all Hindu

      or ancient wisdom that is not derived from Hindu Scripture?
      urip mung sadrema nglakoni (live is simply to conduct duty /dharma )
      memayu hayuning bebrayan agung (wishing for the happines of the universe / loka samasta sukhino bahvantu)
      ngundhuh wohing pakarti (one recieves the fruits of one’s own deeds / karma)

      Indonesia had always been Hindu from the beginning of her civilization. Because Hindu is peaceful and tolerant, what we have is a Hindu with a strong flavor of Indonesia. But it is still Hindu. Our formal history book tell us that the oldest Hindu kingdom in Indonesia was Kutai Kingdom di East Kalimantan, 4 century AD. But when we find a new site which is predicted to be older than 4 century AD, most of the time we identified it as as Hindu sites.

      Like

  4. Allah only teaches Hate & terrorism. He is Satan himself.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/AllahTheLeg


    Like

  5. http://www.articlesbase.com/religion-articles/hindu-god-monkey-legend-hanuman-fantasy-or-reality-4043802.html?sms_ss=facebook&at_xt=4d33139b795a33e9,0

    Like

    • Your god Allah is a leg.

      Ahmed you are right but wrong in same time muhammad he said you can see allah and he is a leg read this hadith :Narrated Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri: We said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Shall we see our Lord on the Day of Resurrection?” He said, “Do you h…ave any difficulty in seeing the sun and the moon when the sky is clear?” We said, “No.” He said, “So you will have no difficulty in seeing your Lord on that Day as you have no difficulty in seeing the sun and the moon (in a clear sky).” The Prophet then said, “Somebody will then announce, ‘Let every nation follow what they used to worship.’ So the companions of the cross will go with their cross, and the idolators (will go) with their idols, and the companions of every god (false deities) (will go) with their god, till there remain those who used to worship Allah, both the obedient ones and the mischievous ones, and some of the people of the Scripture. Then Hell will be presented to them as if it were a mirage. Then it will be said to the Jews, “What did you use to worship?’ They will reply, ‘We used to worship Ezra, the son of Allah.’ It will be said to them, ‘You are liars, for Allah has neither a wife nor a son. What do you want (now)?’ They will reply, ‘We want You to provide us with water.’ Then it will be said to them ‘Drink,’ and they will fall down in Hell (instead). Then it will be said to the Christians, ‘What did you use to worship?’ They will reply, ‘We used to worship Messiah, the son of Allah.’ It will be said, ‘You are liars, for Allah has neither a wife nor a son. What: do you want (now)?’ They will say, ‘We want You to provide us with water.’ It will be said to them, ‘Drink,’ and they will fall down in Hell (instead). When there remain only those who used to worship Allah (Alone), both the obedient ones and the mischievous ones, it will be said to them, ‘What keeps you here when all the people have gone?’ They will say, ‘We parted with them (in the world) when we were in greater need of them than we are today, we heard the call of one proclaiming, ‘Let every nation follow what they used to worship,’ and now we are waiting for our Lord.’ Then the Almighty will come to them in a shape other than the one which they saw the first time, and He will say, ‘I am your Lord,’ and they will say, ‘You are not our Lord.’ And none will speak: to Him then but the Prophets, and then it will be said to them, ‘Do you know any sign by which you can recognize Him?’ They will say. ‘The Shin,’ and so Allah will then uncover his shin whereupon every believer will prostrate before Him and there will remain those who used to prostrate before Him just for showing off and for gaining good reputation. These people will try to prostrate but their backs will be rigid like one piece of a wood (and they will not be able to prostrate). Then the bridge will be laid across Hell.” We, the companions of the Prophet said, “O Allah’s Apostle! What is the bridge?’ He said, “It is a slippery (bridge) on which there are clamps and (Hooks like) a thorny seed that is wide at one side and narrow at the other and has thorns with bent ends. Such a thorny seed is found in Najd and is called As-Sa’dan. Some of the believers will cross the bridge as quickly as the wink of an eye, some others as quick as lightning, a strong wind, fast horses or she-camels. So some will be safe without any harm; some will be safe after receiving some scratches, and some will fall down into Hell (Fire). The last person will cross by being dragged (over the bridge).” The Prophet said, “You (Muslims) cannot be more pressing in claiming from me a right that has been clearly proved to be yours than the believers in interceding with Almighty for their (Muslim) brothers on that Day, when they see themselves safe. They will say, ‘O Allah! (Save) our brothers (for they) used to pray with us, fast with us and also do good deeds with us.’ Allah will say, ‘Go and take out (of Hell) anyone in whose heart you find faith equal to the weight of one (gold) Dinar.’ Allah will forbid the Fire to burn the faces of those sinners. They will go to them and find some of them in Hell (Fire) up to their feet, and some up to the middle of their legs. So they will take out those whom they will recognize and then they will return, and Allah will say (to them), ‘Go and take out (of Hell) anyone in whose heart you find faith equal to the weight of one half Dinar.’ They will take out whomever they will recognize and return, and then Allah will say, ‘Go and take out (of Hell) anyone in whose heart you find faith equal to the weight of an atom (or a smallest ant), and so they will take out all those whom they will recognize.” Abu Sa’id said: If you do not believe me then read the Holy Verse:– ‘Surely! Allah wrongs not even of the weight of an atom (or a smallest ant) but if there is any good (done) He doubles it.’ (4.40) The Prophet added, “Then the prophets and Angels and the believers will intercede, and (last of all) the Almighty (Allah) will say, ‘Now remains My Intercession. He will then hold a handful of the Fire from which He will take out some people whose bodies have been burnt, and they will be thrown into a river at the entrance of Paradise, called the water of life. They will grow on its banks, as a seed carried by the torrent grows. You have noticed how it grows beside a rock or beside a tree, and how the side facing the sun is usually green while the side facing the shade is white. Those people will come out (of the River of Life) like pearls, and they will have (golden) necklaces, and then they will enter Paradise whereupon the people of Paradise will say, ‘These are the people emancipated by the Beneficent. He has admitted them into Paradise without them having done any good deeds and without sending forth any good (for themselves).’ Then it will be said to them, ‘For you is what you have seen and its equivalent as well.'” (Book #93, Hadith #532s)

      http://www.searchtruth.com/searchHadith.php?keyword=his+shin&translator=1&search=1&book&start=0&records_display=10&search_word=exact

      and He will say, ‘I am your Lord,’ and they will say, ‘You are not our Lord.’ And none will speak: to Him then but the Prophets, and then it will be said to them, ‘Do you know any sign by which you can recognize Him?’ They will say. ‘The Shin,’ and so Allah will then uncover his shin whereupon every believer will prostrate before Him

      Like

  6. It intresting phenmena of reconversion, like happen
    in Shri Lanka in early 19nt centuery.
    we indian not aware of same what happening in Indinesia.
    Each conuntry have it’s inner vice or spirit, canot defined by established existing religion’s
    if indonesia have same spririt like it’s own hinduisam process will continue,finally we have to find own truth not borrowed

    Like

  7. Beautiful article! With your permission I would like to post this to my blog site.
    Thanks
    Jay

    Like

    • Jay, Be my guest and share… Sam Hindu

      Like

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